Home Drifting Easy - Fishing Tips Taking the Kids Fishing in Ocean City, MD
Taking the Kids Fishing in Ocean City, MD

"The kids just want to catch anything!”

We hear that all the time in the tackle store. Vacationers just want to give their children the experience of catching and releasing a saltwater fish of some kind.

If the children are really young, in the four to six-year old range, it’s best to take them fishing in the bay. Northside Park has given many a child their first fishing experience. Go to your tide table and calculate when the tide will be high and buy some bloodworms, night crawlers, or artificial Fishbite bloodworms. Buy or make a rig with size #6 or #8 hooks, a 1 oz. bass cast sinker and walk out on the Pier. Northside Park is a free fishing zone as well, so adults can fish with their kids without worrying about getting a ticket!

If the kids are older and want to catch something bigger than a spot, take them to the 9th Street Pier, the Bulkhead from 2nd to 4th Street, the Oceanic Pier, the Ocean Pier or the Route 50 Bridge. You can catch little fish OR you can catch bigger fish from these areas.

I had a family in last week that rented two rods and reels and went to 9th Street for a couple of hours. They were just elated to catch a couple of skates. The kids had a ball.

Now if you and I went fishing, and caught two skates, we might be disappointed, but if you are from some inland state and your kids have caught nothing but a little sunny in a small pond, a hard-pulling, running skate could be exciting!

So if the kids want to catch anything, even if it’s small, stick to the size #6 hooks baited with the worms. If you’re after slightly bigger fare, go to size #4 hooks and bait up with shiners or squid strips. I like to use the box squid and cut it up into little strips. Then you can catch little sea bass, bluefish or flounder. If you want the kids to catch a flounder, get some high/low flounder rigs with size #2 hooks and use live minnows, shiners and squid strips. The hook will be small enough to still catch something else.

If you take the kids to the Bulkhead at 2nd through 4th streets, tell them to fish straight down, because they will get hung up if they cast way out. It’s just the way it is down there!

Kids just LOVE to catch sand sharks! You can catch them from the Ocean Pier or you can always catch them casting from the beach. Surf fishing is fun for the family because there are no snags, there’s plenty room for the kids to run around if they get bored with fishing and it’s easy to do as long as the ocean is not too rough! (If the waves are too big, go to the bayside.)

Get yourself an 8 to 10-foot rod and reel combo, a medium-sized, high/low bluefish rig and a box of squid and the kids are ready to catch a sand shark! You don’t need to get some huge hook and a chunk of raw fish to catch these smaller sand sharks! Put on a three to four-ounce pyramid sinker and cast out just beyond the crest of the wave. Go early in the morning, or better yet for sharks, go to the beach at 5:30 PM when the lifeguards go off duty and fish until dark or even after dark. Sand sharks, also called dogfish, do not have sharp teeth. Their skin is like sand paper and they are very strong for their size. Little kids love to pet them before you release them. Be sure to check out the sharks and make sure they are sand sharks and not another variety with teeth that are usually larger and you want to treat with respect!

Be sure to use a sand spike on the beach. At our tackle shop, we see so many vacationers come back in with their reels not working because they get full of sand. The sand doesn’t come from just falling in the dry sand, it also comes from submerging the reel in the wash where there’s a lot of sand being churned up by the waves. Whenever you get a fish, put the rod in the sand spike, and then deal with the fish. Vacationers get excited, the reel goes into the ocean, and problems arise!

“We don’t care about catching a sand shark!”

Then get yourself some bloodworms or artificial Fishbite bloodworms and buy a pre-made kingfish rig made with size #6 or #8 hooks and a 2 to 3 oz. pyramid sinker and cast in close. Anglers can even use a bay rod on a calm day. An eight or nine foot rod is perfect. Fish in close and you will catch spot, kingfish and croaker. Small, young children are just tickled to death to catch spot in the surf and fishing for them keeps them very active. The parents may have to cast out for the young kids. Tell them to hold the rod or simply put it in the sand spike and wait for the bite. Some people put a set of rod bells on the end of the rod and wait for the bell to ring! Sounds silly but it works!

“My older boy wants to catch a bigger shark!”

Well, get a longer surf rod, a single-leadered bluefish or shark rig made with a Styrofoam surf float to keep the bait off the bottom and cast out as far as you can with a chunk of mackerel, bunker or whole calamari squid. You can also use a chunk of fresh spot you caught on one of the smaller rods. You may also catch a big ray and these get HUGE! Be very careful if you get a bigger shark close to the beach. Bigger sharks have teeth! Be sure to carry pliers with you, and not a little short pair!

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, 22 April 2014 19:59