Home Drifting Easy - Fishing Tips Where and how to fish the Thorofare and Convention Hall Channel for flounder
Where and how to fish the Thorofare and Convention Hall Channel for flounder

"I am new to the area. I just got a boat and want to go flounder fishing. I've heard of two good
fishing spots, the "Thorofare" and the "Convention Hall Channel. Where are they and how do you fish
them?"

Most anglers drifting in a boat decide to go flounder fishing. You may catch other fish as well,
but it you set up and fish for flounder with bottom rigs baited with live minnows and squid strips
or frozen shiners and squid strips, the other fish will come along if they are there! Use #1/0 or
#2/0 wide gap hooks and you can also catch trout, bluefish, and stripers if you happen to run into
them.

"Everybody talks about the Thorofare. Where is it and how do you fish it?"

The Thorofare is located on the west side of the bay just offshore of Captain's Hill. If you buy an
ADC Ocean City Visitor's Map for 3.50 you will see the general area called the Thorofare marked on
the chart. Most locals call the deep water between the bulk headed houses and the Little Green
Island called "Dog Island," the Thorofare." (It is deep and swift here.) Other people call anything
between the Rt. 90 Bridge and the area just north of Dog Island the "Thorofare." If you look at it
this way, the Thorofare becomes a very large place and then it seems like most of the fish in Ocean
City area caught here! (I think when someone doesn't know exactly they were fishing or doesn't want
to tell, they say "the Thorofare!)


In reality, that deep slough between the bulk headed houses and Dog Island is the true "Thorofare."
If you drift from buoys #16 to #6 you will be drifting the buoys "north of the Thorofare." Sometimes
people call this "the flats." This whole area can be very good. You will find that channels are
not very wide in our bay and that short drifts across the channels will produce more fish than long
slow drifts over bottom that is relatively all the same depth. Anglers in Ocean City try to drift
from the green marshes towards the buoys, or between the buoys themselves. How your drift goes
depends on the wind direction and the tide.


"How about the Thorofare itself?"

When the tide is boiling in or out very hard, it is difficult to hold bottom in the deep swift part
of the Thorofare. When this happens, you are better off fishing either north or south of the
Thorofare, until the tide slows up. When the tide begins to ease, you can "work" the Thorofare hard
for nice flounder. The easiest way to fish it is to butt up close to the green island called Dog
Island that is opposite the bulk headed houses. Then drift away from the island and bounce your rig
off the bottom (so you won't get hung up on the steep drop-off.) Your water depth will go from a
couple feet to 20-some foot in a minute. Once you get in the deep water, work the drift until the
water shallows up again. Where you drift depends on the wind the tide of course. (Just offshore of
the Dog Island is a little snag. You may lose some rigs to it, but there's flounder around those
snags as well.) Once you know an area has a snag or two, you'll know to bounce your rig off the
bottom just a little in those spots to avoid the snags!

Directly west of Dog Island, next to the houses, you will see a little cut in the marsh that looks
a little like a lagoon. It is deep offshore of it as well. If the wind is from the west you can
butt up to this "cut" and drift across the channel towards the "Dog Island" or the underwater
sandbar just north of the island.


Yes, just north of the Dog Island is a huge underwater sandbar. It also has a quick drop-off next
to it. If you can get the wind and tide right, so you can drift down its edge, you can really have
a productive day. Unfortunately, if the wind is from the west it can keep pushing you up on the
sandbar. If that happens, you are better off going all the way over to the west bank and letting the
breeze drift you from the green marshes towards the buoys. (You see, you have to try to work with
the wind and tide, and use it to your best advantage when taking a drift.) What works out to be a
perfect drift one day, may not work out at all the next day!

(Be sure not to get stranded on the big underwater sand bar.)

Just south of the Thorofare is another green marshy island called Drum Island. If you butt up this
island and drift between Drum Island and Dog Island you will be drifting over some mussel beds (kind
of rough bottom) and some nice deep holes. Some days the flounder are in here and some days they are
not. It is always worth taking a drift or two in here. One advantage here is, not everyone knows
about it and it is seldom very crowded. You can have 50 boats in the Thorofare and north of the
Thorofare and only 5 or 6 boats south of the Thorofare!

"How do you get to the Thorofare?"

If you are coming from the north, go under the main channel of the Rt. 90 Bridge and veer right and
head towards the first buoy you see towards the southwest. Follow the buoy markers (#16 through #6)
until you find the area of the Thorofare you would like to fish.

"What about that Convention Hall channel?"

If you cross under the Rt. 90 Bridge and veer left and go towards the first buoy marker you see
towards the southeast, you will come to this area. Buoy #13 has a big osprey nest on top of it.
That is usually where the drifting begins and continues to be good through buoy #9. Offshore 33rd
Street is where a row of townhouses juts out into the bay. This area was dredged deep when the
townhouses were built and fishing is very good in this area because there are several areas of
bottom changes that flounder like.


Anglers can drift between the bulkhead and the buoys; or they can drift between the buoys
themselves. (Watch out for boat traffic.) A little local secret is to drift "inside" the bulkhead
there at 33rd St. The drift is "short" but sometimes "sweet." Just inside the bulkhead, close to the
private boat slips is deep (close to 20 foot in one spot.) On an incoming tide, you can drift from
the boat slips out towards the Rt. 90 Bridge until the water gets too shallow. Like I say, it's a
relatively short drift, as it shoals up quick, but it can be very good. It also gets you away from
some of the boat traffic. The bulkhead makes a natural windbreaker if the wind is from the south or
southeast.


"What if the tide is outgoing?"

Just make an opposite drift. Go up to the boat slips, travel directly north of them until the water
gets shoals (4 or 5 feet) and then let the tide take you back towards the bulkhead. It will get
deeper and deeper as you get closer to the bulkhead.


The nice part about fishing north or south of the Thorofare and the Convention Hall area is that you
can fish them at almost any tide. Since both these spots are further back in the bay, the current
does not rip as hard as it does in the east channel near the draw of the Bridge. If you've ever
fished this area, the east channel from 9th to 1st Street you will have found you almost have to be
on a slacking tide. (Two hours before and after high or low tide is a must here!) Local anglers
will go here and fish when the tide is slacking, and then move back into the Thorofare or
Conventional Hall area when the tide is running too strong.


The trick to productive flounder fishing is to find and drift over areas of bottom changes. Drift
from 20 foot to 5 foot or drift from 5 foot to 20 foot. That part doesn't matter. Underwater ledges,
the deep edges of sand bars, next to green marshes, an 8-foot hole that is surrounded by 6 foot of
water are all places to fish for flounder. Drift in water at least 4 feet deep and only if it is
close to deeper water. Visualize the flounder, lying on the bottom, facing into the tide, waiting
for your bait to drop in its mouth!

Good fishing.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 June 2009 18:16