Home Drifting Easy - Fishing Tips When does fishing start around Ocean City, Maryland?...
When does fishing start around Ocean City, Maryland?...

Another year is upon us in Ocean City, Maryland and anglers are asking "When will it

It's been a cold winter, and water temperatures, unlike last year,
crept below 40 degrees. We had a great run of stripers just offshore for
the "hearty" anglers that fished into the first weeks of January. Then,
poof, the water got too cold and the fish disappeared.
In March, there were a few "teases" of fish and anglers picked at
"short" stripers at the Indian River Inlet with salt water flies and other
lures. Other than that, anglers had to venture offshore on party boats to
catch tautog or travel inland to fish fresh and brackish water ponds and
creeks for fish such as perch, crappie, and bass.

In early April, anglers looking for striper action ventured inland
to the "rivers" such as the Nanacoke and Delaware Rivers in Maryland and Delaware where stripers go
to spawn and had some "hit and release" action while fishing for species
such as catfish. (Anglers aren't supposed to target or keep stripers in many
of these places at certain times of year when the fish are spawning.) Once
the fish finish spawning (a couple/three weeks) the stripers come to our
"neck of the woods." They start biting in the Delaware Bay, Indian River
Inlet, Delaware and Ocean City Inlet, Ocean City bays, and the Atlantic Coast surf in Ocean City, Maryland That's what we wait for in the spring!!!!

By the time this article hits the paper, striper fishing should be in
full swing. Fishing has a lot to do with water temperatures. In the winter
the water temperatures can go down below 40 degrees. When that happens, fish
rarely bite. The reason anglers can go way, way offshore and catch things
like sea bass in 300 feet of water, is because the water temperature way out
in the ocean is warmer. It is affected by the Gulf Stream.

The Gulf Stream runs miles offshore. When the wind blows from the
East several days in a row, the warmer water comes closer to us. When it
blows from the West, it keeps the warmer water temperatures offshore. That's
why, even in the summer, if it blows Westerly days at a time, the surf water
can be downright chilly! That can be good in the heat of August, but not in
the early spring!

The sun! The sun is so important in the spring. As soon as the
days start to get longer, we have more hours of daylight, and more
likelihood of the sun being out to warm up the waters. When we have a spring
(like we had this year) with of lots of clouds and rain, it takes longer to
warm the bay waters up. But it slowly happens!

In Ocean City, Maryland some of our best early season fishing (for anglers in
boats) are around the Rt. 90 Bridge and the Verrazano Bridge. Anglers catch
stripers and flounder in these two places weeks before they catch them
closer to the Inlet. The reason is that when the incoming water fills the
back bays, the sun beats down on the water. Then, when the tide goes out,
that water can be 10-15 degrees warmer than when it came in! That's why in
the early spring, an outgoing tide will produce more fish than an incoming.
That doesn't mean they bite thru the whole outgoing tide. The best part of
an outgoing tide is the very first part of the outgoing. That would be the
peak high tide and just as it starts to go out. It lasts a couple hours.
The other part of the outgoing tide that is usually good is the "last of the
outgoing." That would be the part of the outgoing that is close to low
tide, but still moving slowly out. (Fish about an hour or two before dead
low tide.) Some people don't like this tide because of navigation problems.
Boating in the Coastal Bays on a low, low tide can be dicey!

When you are waiting for the water to warm up enough for the fish to
bite in the early spring when the water temps are on the "edge" you will
find that the fishing is best when a good tide is towards the middle
afternoon to later part of the day. A late afternoon, high, outgoing tide,
after a sunny day, warms the water up considerably. The waters that crept in
from the ocean on the incoming tide, goes up into the shallow creeks, get
warmed by the sun, and comes back through the relatively shallow waters
around these two bridges on the outgoing tide. Because the water depth
around the Rt. 90 and Verrazano bridge is not extremely deep, it stays
fairly warm, and the fish "turn on." Flounder fishing is especially good
during the day. Anglers use live minnows, frozen shiners, with or without
squid strips for flounder. Some anglers are using lead heads and the 3 or 4
inch Berkley Gulp swimming minnow or mullet grubs (basicly same thing), by
themselves or with a minnow attached for good results in waters 4 to 8 feet

Something fairly new over the last few years is decent striper
fishing around these bridges. Most of the "keepers" are caught at night,
after the water has been warmed up during the day, but some are caught
during the day. Lures work best. Rattletraps, soft bodies on lead heads cast
towards the pilings, or bucktails with plastic trailer worms or grubs. (Or
Berkley Gulp) Some anglers even slow-troll. If you want to bottom fish, good
old fashion bloodworm, peeler crab, or anything live you can get your hands
on will work. (Black salties, large live minnows, alewives, herring .) The
later two are things you rarely can buy..

Tautog are another species of early season fish that anglers like
to catch because they bite in relatively cool water. (Tautog and stripers
tend to bite at 48 degree water temperature.) Anglers use any kind of crab,
clam or crustation. Green crabs, sand crabs, marsh crabs, clam, and shrimp
all will work. Tautog don't bite just anywhere. You have to fish in deep,
running water that has some kind of structure (snags.) The Inlets, the
bulkhead along 2nd thru 4th streets, the end of 6th Street, the pilings near
9th Street Pier, the very end and to the left of the Oceanic Pier casting
towards the Inlet Rocks is an excellent hole, and around the pilings and
draw of the Route 50 Bridge in Ocean City, Maryland.

Again, early in season, the outgoing tide gives warmer water. You can
try fishing the incoming tide, but if it gives up no fish, wait out the
tide, and fish the outgoing. Tautog tend to feed best towards the end of the
day anyway. So if you get a warm day with the sun beating down on the water,
then fish the high outgoing tide, OR, fish the low outgoing tide and you
should have a pretty decent catch. (That is, if you're good at tautog
fishing.) It takes a lot of patience and practice to become a good "togger!"

"What's biting in the surf early in the season?"
It starts with skates, and then we catch spiny dogfish (sharks). This is how
it all begins in early/mid April. Then we get stripers! This should be
happening now. Early season stripers like chunks of bunker, bloodworms, or
any kind of cut bait in the surf. Anglers will also catch blowfish and red
hake on smaller hooks baited with pieces of squid, cut bait or worms. THEN,
when the water temperatures reach 50 we will see bluefish. Usually blues
start biting well the first week in May. Blues like finger mullet! (They
start at the inlets first.) Then, a few weeks later, we'll hear of kingfish
(sea mullet/whiting). These tasty panfish like to eat pieces of bloodworm or
Fishbite bloodworm on small #6 or #8 hooks. Later in the season, we'll get
spot and croaker. but don't expect them too early.

Light east winds.. Warmer water in the surf.. Lots of west winds, and
the water temps drop. When water temperatures are on the "edge" this is a
factor to consider. Besides all that, if it's a nice day, and you want to go
fishing, GO FISHING! If you catch, you catch.. If not, tomorrow's another

Good fishing...

Need bait and tackle? Come see us at Oyster Bay Tackle, Ocean City, Maryland (410-524-3433) or Fenwick Tackle, Fenwick Island, Delaware (302-539-7766), OR Shop Online!

Last Updated on Tuesday, 29 March 2011 00:52