Vacationers come to Ocean City to frolic on the beach. Some try their luck surf casting, especially on those muggy evenings that are better spent outside. And many wonder, "Do people actually catch anything off the beach?"
Anglers expecting to catch large fish (other than sharks and skates) may be sadly disappointed. A big hook baited with a chunk of mullet or squid may while away the time and get a nibble or two, but the real action comes to the angler using a double hooked rig with smaller hooks.
Size No. 8 hooks baited with bloodworms will catch kingfish and numerous Norfolk spot. None of these fish get much over a
pound, but they are excellent to eat and give a good fight on lightweight fishing equipment.
A quick filet job on one of those plump, fresh spot will give the angler another kind of bait. Snapper blues, small sea trout and an occasional flounder will fight for the chance to eat a fileted strip of this bait. Hang the spot strips on a size No. 4 or No. 2 hook. Cast out and reel slowly back toward shore with the rod tip down.
If fishing for flounder, leave the surf floats off. For bluefish and trout, the surf floats add visual appeal and help to ward off troublesome crabs by slightly elevating the bait off the bottom. Flounder are bottom feeders; the blues and trout swim slightly above the ocean floor.
Many anglers like to catch the sharks. Young kids are happy to catch sand shark after sand shark with strips of squid on medium-sized hooks. At night, the fare may be bigger for anglers casting as far as they can. Sand sharks and dusky sharks up to 15 pounds can be taken with squid, mullet or some of the fresh cut spot. Now you can use that bigger hook if you like.
Surf fishing is a fun way to spend some time before the lifeguards come on duty at 10 a.m. and after they retire for the day (about 5:30 p.m.). For anglers wanting to surf cast fish during the day, there is the Fenwick State Park, north of Fenwick Island, or the Assateague state and federal parks on stae Route 611.
Surf fishing on the area beaches last week saw quite a bit of action with Norfolk spot and kingfish. The kick of northeast wind brought the fish close to the beach. Anglers also reported quite a number of sand sharks, some blues, flounder and a few sea trout.
The Ocean Pier was the place to be for sharks Wednesday and Saturday nights during "shark nights." Although most of the sharks brought up are only sand sharks and rays, anglers have observed a number of larger sharks in the chum.
By day, the Ocean Pier is seeing numbers of Norfolk spot, good-sized kingfish, more and more legal sized flounder, and snapper blues and small sea trout.
Flounder fishing in the Ocean City area has been favorable when the weather cooperates. Buoy No. 13 on the east channel continues to be good. Excellent flounder fishing has been reported north of the U.S. 50 Bridge. Jill Posey of Brouge, Pa., caught the largest flounder of the week fishing there. Her catch went 8 1/4 pounds and was taken on a live minnow.
The Tortuga, Ocean City's bay fishing party boat out of Bahia rTC Marina, has found decent flounder catches inside the bay behind Assateague. Drifting from the mouth of the bay toward and past the buoys No. 5 and No. 6, which mark the Ocean City Airport, has seen good fishing.
Pat Moreland of Ocean City went spot fishing near the channel by the state Route 90 bridge with bloodworms and was surprised to come up with 11 good-sized croakers. Anglers are also picking up small trout in the area.
Anglers fishing the Ninth Street Pier in Ocean City are reporting a number of Norfolk spot along with flounder and bluefish up to 8 pounds. Yes, last week when we had the northeaster, larger blues came into the bay.
Anglers on the Oceanic Pier got into some of these bluefish last weekend, casting bucktails with twister worms and tandem lures such as Redfish rigs and double-tied twisters.
Scott Baltz of Old Inlet Bait and Tackle reported good catches of sea trout up to 8 3/4 pounds early Saturday and Sunday morning. The anglers were fishing high slack water with white bucktails dressed with a white plastic worm. Most of the fishermen catching trout were fishing close to or beneath the Indian River Bridge. On the beginning of the incoming tide, anglers have been hitting bluefish with consistency.
Bruce McGuigan of Captain Mac's Bait and Tackle on state Route 54 drifted outside the Indian River Inlet in front of the Coast Guard Station in about 27 feet of water and reeled in a number of flounder up to 4 1/4 pounds, numerous sea trout and good-sized kingfish.
Sea bass fishing on Ocean City party boats has been fair, but Doug Jackson of Newport, N.C, came up with a nice one -- 5 1/2 pounds -- while fishing aboard the Angler last weekend.