Home Drifting Easy - Fishing Tips Surf Fishing in Ocean City, MD- A Beginner's Guide
Surf Fishing in Ocean City, MD- A Beginner's Guide

Drifting Easy by Sue Foster

Surf fishing in Ocean City, MD. A beginners guide.

I love surf fishing in Ocean City, MD and so could you.  Surf fishing is fun, very relaxing, and an easy sport to get set-up and start fishing.

Frank Scott inspired this article when he sent me an e-mail about his first surf fishing experience in April. He didn’t catch anything, but he sure had fun and had some pointers for beginners.  Thanks Frank!

Ten things every new Surf Fisher Must Know:


1) Surf fishing is less expensive than other types of fishing

2) The weather on the ocean beach can change as quickly as the weather on any lake

3)  You need a cutting board to cut up your bait.   

4)  Sue Foster is a great person and a wealth of information

5)  Surf fishing is not a dry sport

6)  If you sit on a bucket, watch the waves, else you will get “splashed”

7)  Surf fishers are a friendly lot

8)  The ocean waves are remarkable

9)  Surf fishing is addictive

10)  Do not leave your bunker in a bucket overnight in your car. (If you do this once you will never ever do it again)


Frank learned several lessons on his first trip out surf fishing!  Yes, surf fishing is less expensive because an entry level 10 foot surf rod and reel with line costs as little as $40 to $50.  If you want to upgrade your surf combo you can buy a really fine one for less than $150.


“What will a little more money get me?”


A fishing reel with more ball bearings will last longer and crank smoother for a longer period of time.  A fishing rod with more graphite will be lighter in the hand and cast a little easier.  A 10 to 11 foot combination is what you want for surf fishing. The reel should be spooled with line anywhere from 15 to 20 pound test monofilament line.  If you are only going to try surf fishing and are not sure if it’s going to be your life’s favorite past time, then a starter outfit is fine. See if you like it and THEN, you can always give it away later to your favorite buddy so he can go fishing with you and buy yourself an upgraded rod and reel.


            “What else do I need to get started surf fishing?”


            A sand spike is number one most important. It’s a plastic PVC tube to put your rod in while baiting up and waiting for a bite. It’s of utmost importance not to let your rod and reel fall in the sand while surf fishing.  When you are finished for the day you should hose off your rod and reel with fresh water. Never, ever, rinse off your rod and reel in the ocean.


            Besides the sand spike, get yourself a 5-gallon bucket. The bucket is very useful, because you can carry all your stuff to the beach. As Frank says, you can also sit on it.  I like to keep my bait in it, because if you let your bait lie on the beach, the seagulls will steal it in an instant!  Other items are:

1)     A pair of pliers to take off skates, blues, sharks and other toothy critters. Never, ever, put your hands directly on a skate or ray.  Never put your fingers in the mouth of saltwater fish that you are not sure of, especially bluefish!  They bite! 

2)     A rag to wipe your hands and grip a fish or sand shark.

3)     A cutting board or piece of wood to cut your bait on.

4)     A knife to cut your bait

5)     Nail clippers, scissors, or some little tool to cut your line if you need to re-rig. (Use the knife in a pinch.)

6)     Rigs, sinkers, bait….


Of course you need surf rigs. All bait and tackle stores have plenty surf rigs to choose from. Many have colorful surf floats on them that raise your bait off the bottom floor away from the crabs. As the seasons change, so do the fish.  As Frank says that I am a wealth of information, well, any tackle store owner will be able to tell you which rig is working best, and what bait is the preferred bait that week. If you don’t ask, you’re not going to find out. So don’t be shy! Ask away!


Buy yourself a couple surf rigs. Always buy at least one extra. Never go to the beach with one rig! What if you lose it? Or a skates mangles it?  Carry sinkers in a couple different weights. I usually take a 3, 4, and 5-ounce pyramid or hurricane type sinker. (Any of the pointy type ones, so they don’t roll back in after you cast them out there!) 


The weather! As Frank says, the weather can change in an instance. If it’s a nice day, and you got the chance to go fishing, go fishing! Don’t worry about the perfect tide as that isn’t as important in the surf as it is in the bayside. 


“Where can I go? When is surf fishing allowed?”


Once Memorial Weekend gets here, surf fishing is allowed before 10 A.M. and after 5:30 P.M. In the offseason, you can surf fish all day as long as no one is in the water in front of you. If in doubt, ask a life guard. If there are no life guards and no one in the water, go fishing!  If you want to fish in the middle of the day in the middle of the summer, you will need to go to Assateague Island and fish in the fishing areas, or go up on the Ocean Pier and cast your surf rod up there. Or cast off the beach side of the Ocean City Jetty. You can also go into the Delaware Seashore State Park, BUT, there you will need to get a Delaware Fishing License. These areas are real nice.


Lots of fish are caught on the beach from May through November, with some being caught in April and December.  Try to find a place on the beach that is not too flat. Drive to the ends of the streets at low tide and look for a hole, slough, or rip. (Dark rolling water means deeper water. Crashing white water means shallow water.)  Reading the beach is an art that is well worth reading about if you get into the sport of surf fishing.  Ask the tackle store owner about it, and I’m sure they’ll give you some tips.   

“What else to know?” 


Well, as Frank says, watch out for those waves! Don’t leave your bait in the car! And enjoy the incredible beauty of the beach!


Good fishing….

Good fishing... See ya soon, in Ocean City, Maryland... and surrounding areas of the Delaware Seashore State Park, Bethany, and Fenwick Island, Delaware.

Need Rigs and Tackle, buy online  





Last Updated on Tuesday, 29 March 2011 00:41