Home Drifting Easy - Fishing Tips Questions about fishing in Ocean City, MD
Questions about fishing in Ocean City, MD

It’s really important to go into a tackle store or marina and ask a lot of questions about fishing, especially if you are new to the area. As they say, the only dumb question is one not asked. In our business answering questions IS our business, so don’t be afraid to ask.

That being said, I would ask myself what I really want to know and jot the questions down on a little piece of paper. Try to be as specific as possible so the clerk behind the counter can be as helpful as he or she can be. It’s easy to answer a specific question like, “What’s biting in the surf?” or “What bait and rigs should I use to catch flounder in the bay?”

It’s harder to answer, “What’s biting?” or “What bait’s best around here?” These broader questions can give you a very non-specific answer such as the answer to “What’s biting?” which could be stripers, blues, skates, tautog, mako sharks, sea bass, tuna or marlin. That would cover inshore, offshore, boat and shore fishing. A good clerk will ask you more questions to narrow down the search. “Where do you plan to go fishing? Do you have a boat? Are you fishing from the shore? Are you going fishing in the bay or the surf?”

It’s also hard to answer questions about the “best bait” without knowing where the angler plans to go fishing and what fish they are targeting. For example, if the angler says he plans to fish from the Bulkhead between 2nd and 4th Streets, the clerk will know that the angler needs sand fleas or green crabs for tautog or live minnows or shiners for flounder. If the angler plans to surf fish and target stripers, the clerk would never sell the angler green crabs. He or she would suggest bunker or clam.

In other words, the more specific the angler can be with the questions, the more the clerk can help with the answers and the more likely you will leave with the correct tackle in your bag!

Granted there are vacationers that come into our tackle store and have never been fishing in Ocean City and don’t know where to go or what to fish for so they really do not know what to ask.

If that’s the case, the best thing is to just say all that up front. “I have never fished here before. I don’t know where to go or what to fish for, but I want to go fishing.” We will then break out the little brochure that has all the public fishing locations on it and show what you can catch at each place. Once the vacationer decides where the family will go, we can help them get the correct bait and terminal tackle to fish that particular area.

If you brought your rods and reels with you, it can help us a lot if you bring them in or describe what you have. That can help in deciding which public area they are suited for. For example, if your equipment was more for freshwater fishing, it would be inappropriate to send you to the Ocean City Inlet where the tide runs hard, or to the Route 50 Bridge that is high off the water. It would suit you better to go to Northside Park, the 9th Street Pier or the Oceanic Pier. On the other hand, if you have 10-foot rods and big spinning reels, you’d be better off casting off the beach or going to the Inlet or Route 50 Bridge.

“What about bait?”

I find it is easier to get the correct rigs for a customer when I find out which bait he or she decides to use. For example, if the patron wants to go surf fishing, I tell them what is biting and then try to find out what fish the angler wants to try to catch. Then I suggest the best bait and the proper rig to use with that bait. For example, if the angler wants to target big stripers or sharks, we choose bunker or clam. Then we choose a surf rig with a pretty big hook. If the angler decides he wants to target kingfish and blowfish and buys bloodworms, I’m not going to sell him a rig with a big hook! No, I’m going to sell him a kingfish rig with a much smaller hook.
Decide where to go fishing…decide what fish to target…decide on the bait and then choose a rig. That’s how I go about it.

Some anglers just want to catch any ole’ thing and don’t care. If that’s the case, we go for the “middle of the road.” We choose an all around bait like box squid, a medium-sized rig with medium-sized hooks.

It’s really important that the angler lets us know if he or she is fishing from the surf or in the bay. Mainly, it’s about the sinkers! Bay sinkers will just roll back in with the waves in the surf. In the surf, you need pyramid or storm type sinkers. If the customer buys a bunch of surf rigs and then lays several bank sinkers on the counter, I always try to ask if he or she is buying them for the surf. Often times, the answer is yes, and we quickly switch the bay sinkers for ones better in the surf.

“Daytime or Nighttime?”

Fishing at night can be different than fishing during the day, so let us know that as well. Anglers at night often use lures at the Oceanic Pier, Inlet areas and Route 50 Bridge. Let us know which place you plan to fish from at night, along with what fish you want to target and we’ll help you pick out the lures! For example, anglers on the Oceanic Pier use smaller lures than anglers fishing off the Route 50 Bridge!

If you’re not sure, don’t be afraid to ask. But don’t over analyze either. As the famous Libby Kelly at Oyster Bay Tackle often says, “Put some meat on the hook and go fishing!” Ask the questions, go fishing and then come back and ask more questions! We don’t mind. That’s what we’re here for! Be sure to show us your catch on your cell phone or we can take your picture right at the tackle shop and send it to the Coastal Fisherman. Your feedback helps us help others!

Good fishing…

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

Last Updated on Tuesday, 11 June 2013 18:44