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Fishing In the Rain

“It’s been raining off and on for three days. The kids are
bored. What can we do? Do fish bite in the rain?”

Fish live in the water and are already wet. Rain doesn’t bother
the fish at all. What does affect the fishing is wind and dirty water that
comes from “run off” from a heavy rainstorm. A light rain or drizzle can
actually be good for fishing. In addition, a falling barometer usually
turns fish on. This means that right before a storm, or at the very
beginning of a weather front, the fish may go into a feeding frenzy.

If you have a boat, you need to be wary and watch the weather.
Even if the fish are biting well, it is not worth getting struck by
lightning, or getting caught in a situation where you cannot see where you
are going. A light drizzle is not a big deal when fishing, but lightning and
thunder mean, “Time to go home!” Standing in a storm with a graphite fishing
rod is like holding a lightning rod.

Look at the radar on the local weather channel before venturing
out. If you see a bunch of yellow and red stuff, watch out. A light
scattering of green means some rain, but no major storm cells. Keep your
weather radio on when in your boat.

If you are fishing from the shore, you can chance fishing in the
rain more readily, as it is easy to “jump back in the car” if the weather
gets worse. Buy a couple inexpensive ponchos or lightweight rain gear. Get
bait that is easy to deal with, like worms, pre-cut squid, live minnows, or
frozen shiners. All these are baits you don’t have to cut. If you are just
trying to entertain young kids for a couple hours use a basic top and bottom
rig set up with two #6 or #4 hooks and a one to one and a half ounce sinker.
Any kind of worm (bloodworm, sand worm, red worm, or night crawler) combined
with a small strip of squid will work anywhere for anything.

“What might we catch?”

In the summertime, you can catch a variety of small fish from
piers, docks, and bulkheads. Little sea bass, croaker, spot, sea robins,
oyster toads, small bluefish, small flounder, and even eels are fish you can
catch almost anywhere. If you are looking for “keeper” flounder, trout,
triggerfish, stripers, or tautog, you need to fish in the areas close to the
inlet. The Oceanic Pier, the bulkhead along 2nd and 4th Street, the 9th
Street Pier, and the Route 50 Bridge are all prime fishing areas for larger
fish. Plus, these areas have an abundance of smaller fish for the kids to
catch as well.

“I didn’t bring a thing with me. No rods and reels or anything.
I guess I can’t take the kids fishing after all!”

Wrong! Most bait and tackle stores rent fishing rod and reels
for the day. Some may also have reasonable weekly rentals. Tell the clerk
where you are going to go and what you would like to catch and let them set
you up with the appropriate rig. If you are just entertaining the children
for a few hours, make sure you have smaller hooks so there’s a better chance
of catching something. If you are in the northern reaches of Ocean City or
in areas around Frontier Town or close to Assateague, you may also want to
carry along some crabbing lines, crab net, and chicken necks. Crabs also
seem to like a little drizzly weather.

“Where can we take the kids in North Ocean City?”

There is a pier at 127th Street behind the Recreational Center
and there is also the new pier across the Route 90 Bridge at 62nd Street.
Both these areas are good to catch some fish with little hooks and pieces of
worm and squid. Both these areas are also good spots to catch crabs. Even if
the crabs are too small to keep, young kids always seem to be fascinated by

Another option for “bad weather” fishing are the bay party
boats. Ocean City has the “Bay Bee” (410-213-1121) at the Ocean City Fishing
Center just west of the Route 50 Bridge, the Tortuga (410-289-7438) at Bahia
Marina at 22nd Street, and the Pony Island Express (410-289-2565) on
Dorchester Street. These captains will be attuned to the weather and know
whether it is safe to venture out or not. They have rod and reels to rent if
you don’t have one. They also have the rigs and bait. All you have to do is
call, make a reservation, and jump on board.

“What about the boats that go out in the ocean?”

You can also jump on one of these boats as well, but if we have
just had a major storm or “front” the ocean may be rough. If you are just
entertaining the kids for a half a day, stick with the bay if the weather is
questionable. It will be much more pleasurable and you will be much closer
to shore if the weather “breaks bad”!

“What about surf fishing?”

Again, rain doesn’t affect the fishing, but the wind does. If we
are having what we call around here a “North Easter” the surf may be too
turbulent to fish. Look at the ocean and the weather before deciding to go
surf fishing. If the weather channel says there is”high surf advisory”
forget surf fishing and stick to the bay. If the wind is blowing over 15
miles an hour from an easterly direction, stick to the bay. But, if the wind
is calm or not blowing too hard and the waves are not too high, you can
certainly surf fish in the rain.

In the summertime, use a kingfish rig with a combination bait of
any kind of worm and a strip of squid. Use a pyramid or hurricane type
sinker in the 3 to 5 ounce range. If you need more than 5 ounces to hold
bottom you are best to fish in the bay. Anglers in Ocean City are allowed to
surf fishing before 10 A.M. and after 5:30 P.M. If you want to fish all day,
go into the Delaware Seashore State Park just north of Fenwick Island. You
can also go to the fishing areas on Assateague Island. There are
surf-fishing areas in both the State and National Parks.

If the tides have been extremely high and we have just came out
of a major Northeaster or Hurricane, the surf may take a day or two to calm
down. But, these same conditions can bring fish into the bay. On extreme
high tides, bigger fish can come to some of the piers in North Ocean City
where we typically only get small fish. Bluefish tend to come into the bays
on a Northeaster as well.

I’m not a believer in taking kids to the rock jetties as it is
hard to fish. But if you’re a seasoned fisherman and want to take a ride to
Indian River Inlet or Ocean City Inlet for a few hours, take some lures and
cast for blues, stripers, and trout. It’s clean and easy, and some times
rainy weather can turn the fish on at the inlets. Some men get their wives
to drop them off at the Indian River Inlet while the wives go to shop at the
Outlet Malls in Rehoboth.

Even the weather channel can’t always predict the weather. If we
get some rain with the party cloudy; if the day is overcast instead of
sunny; if the isolated showers turn into an all day drizzle; getting mad won
’t change the weather one little bit. As long as we aren’t having thunder
and lightning, we can still go fishing.

Fishing in the rain… there’s worse things to do….

Good fishing….

Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 June 2009 18:09