Home Drifting Easy - Fishing Tips Change of Plan...Bluefishing in the Bay- Fishing in Ocean City, MD
Change of Plan...Bluefishing in the Bay- Fishing in Ocean City, MD

Change of Plan!

“Let’s get up early and go flounder fishing!”

My husband and I decided to jump in our boat on my day off and go fishing. The week before we did pretty well on flounder in the bay behind Assateague and decided to go back there and drift around the duck blinds (buoys 12 thru 14) to see if we could scare up some more keeper flounder. I had also read in the Coastal Fisherman online (www.coastalfisherman.net) that some black drum were caught on clams around the Verrazano (Assateague) Bridge. I had brought home a pint of salted clam and thought I’d like to give that a try. Anyway, that was the plan.

“What’s the weather going to be like honey?” I asked my husband, so I could dress appropriately. He replied, “77 degrees high and wind is supposed to be 10-15 from the south. Chance of rain.”
So, I throw on a pair of light-weight capris, a light-weight, long sleeve fishing shirt with a short sleeve t-shirt underneath in case it got hot and my light-weight rain coat. My husband, Bob, comes out with a pair of shorts and a long sleeve fishing shirt and a light raincoat. We’re dressed for a warm day but prepared for a little rain.

We get to the Commercial Boat Ramp and it’s kind of chilly, but it’s only a little after 6:00 AM so I figure it will get warmer in an hour or so. I grab Bob’s extra windbreaker that was lying in the truck and threw it in the boat “just in case”.

It’s low tide and still going out. We cut the corner and ride back behind Assateague and the water is dirty and getting dirtier. Not one single boat is drifting anywhere. Last week, there were several boats fishing there first thing in the morning. (This was not a good sign.) This is when you have to make a decision. The tide will be slack in 20 minutes or so. Do you waste your time and try a spot that doesn’t look so good? No! “Let’s try the Thorofare. I know they caught some there early yesterday morning!”

So we leave the dirty water behind Assateague and take a quick look at the inlet that is also dirty and no one is fishing there either and head towards the Route 50 Bridge. We see several boats fishing just south of the Bridge and I see someone sling a fish in the boat. (OK, that’s a good sign when you see several boats in one spot and someone catch a fish! Especially after it’s been blowing hard for several days.) We ride under the draw and my husband comments that the water is pretty clean looking here. So we drop down and he catches a keeper flounder immediately. OK, the day is young and hopefully we’ll catch several more. I see a boat close to the bridge jigging their rods up and down and they are catching bluefish after bluefish. (Wow! That looks like fun!)

My husband catches a blue on his flounder rig, and I try casting my flounder rig towards a boil in the water and hook one too. My husband says if you want to catch bluefish, put on a lead head and Gulp or a bucktail jig. The tide is totally slack low and we haven’t had another flounder bite, so I go looking though my tackle. We have three old bucktails and a pack of ¼ ounce lead heads with us. That’s it on jigs. I do have a couple packs of four inch swimming mullet Gulp. I would rather have had some 3/8 or 1/2 ounce lead heads and more bucktails in the ½ to ¾ ounce range. But we had to use what we had! I rigged up a lead head in a hurry, straight to the Power Pro Slick line and slipped on a chartreuse Gulp. My husband moved the boat closer to the diving terns and sea gulls that were working the water right at the edge of the sand bar next to Bird Island (The big island just north of the Route 50 Bridge). You could see the bluefish churning under the birds. I casted and had a hit and the bluefish bit my lead head off. My husband got one in, and then lost his bucktail jig. OK! Time to take a short break and tie on some 30-pound Fluorocarbon leader to the Power Pro with a Uni-knot to tie two lines together. Power Pro is great but abrasion resistant it is not! It’s always best to tie in some leader material of some sort. (Hint: We didn’t need Fluorocarbon for blues. Any monofilament leader material would have worked, but that’s what I had in my box.)

The leader material worked better and we caught several more bluefish before the birds disappeared. (We still had a couple bite offs, but I hate to use a metal leader. Sometimes blues will shy away from that.)

“Let’s go to the Thorofare and see if there’s any flounder. The tide was starting to come in and I knew there was a “bite” there the day before. It had gotten colder and the sun was hiding behind the clouds. It even rained for about 20-minutes while we were catching some blues. Our teeth were chattering and we were making comments about the weatherman and what we’d like to do to him. I had my husband’s XXL extra windbreaker on looked like a “rag-a-muffin”. We both were shivering. (Next time, we’re going to throw a couple sweatshirts under the console no matter what the weather report is!!!!) We saw several people out on the water with shorts on looking cold, so we weren’t alone!

So we go to the Thorofare, and can’t even get a bite. We’re freezing and the fish aren’t biting. “Let’s go back and see if we can catch some more bluefish!”

So we go back to Bird Island and the birds are diving and going crazy. Another boat is there casting and catching. We immediately start catching blues and hickory shad, one after another. At least we were warmer catching fish! We kept half a dozen and released the rest. (Bluefish in the one to three pound range are excellent to eat if you cut out all the dark meat and bake it with your favorite sauce!) By the time six other boats found the action, the place got crowded. One boat decided to anchor. (Not nice when everyone else is drifting!)

So, we had caught and released over 50 blues and shad and wound up having a ball except for being cold! We had planned to flounder fish, but quickly changed the plan to catch fish that were biting! Next time we go out, we’re going to have more casting jigs in the box just in case!
The wind came up even more, and the birds were disappearing. The reason it had gotten so cold was because the wind was from the southeast, not the south. An east wind seems to bring the blues into the bay. It also makes the air cooler as the ocean water temperatures were still in the 50’s. Brrrr…

Lesson learned? Be more prepared and have more casting heads and bucktails on the boat! (Here I was an owner of a tackle store, and didn’t have enough tackle in the boat!) Always keep an open mind, and switch to something else if the fish you are targeting aren’t biting. Watch other boats and see what they are catching and where they are fishing, but please don’t get in their way! And always carry an extra jacket or sweatshirt in the boat, especially in the spring!

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.