Home Drifting Easy - Fishing Tips Going Fishing On a Busy Holiday Weekend in Ocean City MD
Going Fishing On a Busy Holiday Weekend in Ocean City MD

“I’m coming down for Memorial Weekend and want to wet a line!”

Coming on a busy holiday weekend to go fishing can be fun but cries for a little planning. Traffic, in itself can be an obstacle. A game plan in advance will make your fishing vacation more pleasant.

If you plan to take a trip out on a bay or ocean party boat it’s a good idea to make reservations and ask in advance where you should park. The one nice thing about fishing on a party boat is that you don’t need a fishing license and bait is usually provided. Study the ads in the Coastal Fisherman online at www.coastalfisherman.net. Hint: Go to “Issues” and click “Download this issue” so you can see all the ads.

Get up early! If you need to go to a bait and tackle store for bait or get a fishing license, go early in the day, get your business done and go to your fishing spot before all the other vacationers get up and out on the road. Ten until noon is usually the busiest time of day for a bait and tackle store on a holiday weekend and the absolute worst time to buy a fishing license. There will probably be a line at the fishing license computer. If you are at all savvy with a computer it wouldn’t be a bad idea to get your license before coming to town on a busy holiday weekend. The Maryland site is https://compass.dnr.maryland.gov/dnrcompassportal. The toll free number for license and free registries is 855-855-3906. These numbers get very busy over a holiday weekend, so try to do it during the week before you come down.

If you can’t get to the bait and tackle store early in the day, then try between 2 PM and 4 PM. Evening hours between 5 PM and 7 PM are also busy, but if you aren’t in a hurry and want to browse, a walk to the tackle store after dinner is not a bad idea. If you need to do time-consuming things like getting your reels re-spooled, renting fishing rods, or you need to buy rods and reels and need to spend time talking to the salesman, try to avoid the busiest time of day or evening. Otherwise, be patient and browse.

That said, try to plan ahead and decide where you want to go fishing and when you want to do it. A lot of folks plan all kinds of activities and fishing is just one of them. Don’t be afraid to use the bus system. For example, if you plan to go to the Oceanic Pier, where you do not need a license to fish, the bus could drop you right there and you wouldn’t have to worry about getting a parking place. Any trip to a downtown fishing area such as the Inlet or Route 50 Bridge, where parking can be congested is a good time to use the bus! Carry your two-piece rods broken down and strapped together. Rig up after you get there.
Swinging rigs with hooks on them is not a good idea on a crowded bus!

“I want to fish somewhere close to the motel!”

The ocean is never far away! The whole beach is available to surf anglers before 10 AM and after 5:30 PM when the lifeguards are off duty. The beach is easy to fish and you rarely lose rigs due to snags. All you need is a fishing rod that is at least 7-foot long that will cast just beyond the crest of the waves. There are stripers, snapper blues, sand sharks, skates and rays. You may also catch a kingfish, trout or blowfish as well. Cut bait such as bunker, mullet or squid, or good old fashioned bloodworms or Artificial Fishbites will work if you use smaller hooks. Be sure to use pyramid type sinkers so your bait stays out there. Bay type sinkers with rounded edges will roll back in! Surf fishing is very relaxing and something the whole family can do together. Be sure to carry a sand spike for your rod so it doesn’t fall in the sand. If you need to buy a surf rod and reel, starter outfits are not expensive. Buy a combo in the 8 to 11 foot range.

“I just want to take the kids out for a few hours on the bayside!”

Again, go early before the traffic gets heavy. This time of year, the downtown bayside areas are best for fishing. The 9th Street Pier, the bulkhead between 2nd and 4th Streets, the Route 50 Bridge, the Inlet Pier and the Oceanic Pier are all good. Fishing in the Inlet is good for adults, but I wouldn’t take young children on the rock jetty. Shiners or minnows are the baits for flounder. Squid will catch about anything. Green crabs and sand fleas will catch tautog. High/low rigs with round or bank sinkers are best in the bay. Buy extra rigs and sinkers so you don’t have to drive around looking for a bait shop!

Night fishing is always a great idea on a busy holiday weekend. The beach is open until midnight. The two downtown Piers (Ocean Pier and Oceanic Pier) and the Route 50 Bridge have lights shining on the water that attract bluefish, shad and stripers. Anglers using Gotcha Plugs, Spec Rigs and Swim Shad lures can have all kinds of action. Parking is your biggest obstacle on a busy weekend, so you may have to park in one of Ocean City’s Municipal lots if you can’t find a parking place on a side street.

The West Ocean City Park & Ride (12848 Ocean Gateway) which is located just west of the Route 50 Bridge offers FREE parking. From there you can walk to the Route 50 Bridge or take a shuttle bus to the South Division Street Transit Center. From there you can walk 2-3 blocks to the inlet, Oceanic Pier, Ocean Pier or the beach near the Inlet or you could jump on one of Ocean City’s buses and go to the Bulkhead between 2nd and 4th Street or to 9th Street Pier. Buses come by every 10-15 minutes and cost $3 to ride all day or $1 each boarding.

•Other parking lots downtown are located at:

•Worcester St., between Baltimore Ave. & Philadelphia Ave
•Somerset St. & Baltimore Ave.
•Dorchester St. & Baltimore Ave.
•N. Division St. & Baltimore Ave. (about 10 spaces)
•4th St. & Baltimore Ave.
•1st. St. & St. Louis

If you come to Ocean City with your boat and trailer and need parking, you want to head to 100th St. on the bayside. This is a boat trailer approved lot. Fee for this lot is $10 a day or $50 a week.

The best place in West Ocean City is the Commercial Harbor ramp at the corner of Sunset Avenue and Golf Course Road.

Other places to launch your boat and leave your trailer for the day are:

•Assateague Island Park (Rt. 611 at Assateague Island Bridge)
•Gum Point Road (off Route 589)
Other places to launch where you can’t leave your trailer:
•The Little Salisbury area at 87th St. and Bering Road - No trailer parking
•Boat ramp next to Smitty McGee's on Rt. 54 in Fenwick Island. It is called Bayville Marina. There is a fee to launch your boat. Call 302-436-5904.

Good fishing….

Sue Foster is an outdoor writer and owner of Oyster Bay Tackle in Ocean City, MD and Fenwick Tackle in Fenwick, DE.