Home Drifting Easy - Fishing Tips 2013 Season... What was the year like?
2013 Season... What was the year like?

2013 Fishing Season... What was the year like? What are anglers saying?

It’s the last Coastal Fisherman of the season! What was this year like? What are anglers saying?

Like always, I’ve had customers say it was the worst year they’ve ever had, while others say it was great!

It was a slow start and a chilly spring. I know our business was pretty quiet this spring and so were others. We were happy to have a 16-inch flounder size and figured we’d really mug up on keeper flounder this summer. We even spent time worrying what would happen if we over-caught our quota by the middle of the summer. Well, we didn’t have to worry about that!
Once flounder started biting in the bay, we had a pretty fair year of catching them, but nothing like we expected. We had some really good days fishing in the bay, some so-so days, and some terrible days. Averaging it all out, I’d say it was an OK bay flounder season but nothing spectacular. With a 16-inch size limit, we should have been limiting out every day!

Some people thought that a certain percentage of flounder stayed offshore because of the cold spring and never came into the bay. That’s making sense now, because suddenly flounder catches have been fantastic offshore on artificial reef sites. The further offshore, the larger the fish. Ocean-going party boats have been really happy about that because offshore sea bass fishing got slow towards the end of the summer, and the croaker run has not been what we’d like to see.

Speaking of croaker, usually we have a nice run of them in the bay towards the end of July that lasts into the mid-to-third week of August. This didn’t happen this year. Occasionally anglers would get into some croaker, but they were running really small. We had some action out at Russell’s Reef towards the end of the season, so maybe they’ll turn on yet. I think it’s too late to turn on in the bay though… but maybe.

A lot of the local anglers living around the Route 54 Bridge had a surprise summer of catching big croaker and puppy drum right out their back door! Anglers were weighing in puppy drum all summer from those areas up there. Last week, we started seeing some of these puppy drum catches around the pilings of the Rt. 50 Bridge. My prediction is that it will be a good fall for catching puppy drum along with a mix of black drum from the Rt. 50 Bridge, Inlet, Oceanic Pier, Ocean Pier, and from the surf. Last fall, we had a really good drum run in the surf in October and November.

Speaking of the surf, we had one of the best years I ever remember in history of kingfish catches. (That’s Northern and Southern Whiting!) We’ve been in business since 1980 and I have never sold so many bloodworms and Fishbite bloodworms in a single summer. Anglers that had never caught a fish in the surf could easily catch kingfish and Norfolk spot. Bluefish were almost non-existent and the only things big in the surf were sharks and skates. If anglers were happy catching small pan fish, they were happy, happy, happy!

Our striper run in the surf this year was not what it was in the past. Usually we have a good run in May. It was only fair, probably because of the weather. Hopefully we’ll have a good run this fall. Anglers last week had some surprise catches of early stripers from the surf in Fenwick Island and Inlet fishermen said they saw schools of small stripers breaking the surface in the inlet. That’s a good sign.

We did have an excellent black drum run on Assateague this spring! Anglers were using orange Fishbites and sand fleas. Hopefully we’ll see some more of them this fall.

Bluefish started biting in the surf the first week of September. They were also chomping at Gotcha Plugs tossed from the Route 50 Bridge. Let’s hope they stick around and give anglers some action in the surf and from the piers. The summer itself was slow on bluefish from the Rt. 50 Bridge at night. Usually, we can’t keep Gotcha Plugs on the shelf, and besides a few weeks in the early summer, the bluefish action was quiet. The Gotcha Plugs were getting dusty along with the big swimming shad lures for stripers. Night action was mostly small to medium-sized sea trout (weakfish) and shad with a few schoolie stripers mixed in. We sold a lot of Spec Rigs!!!
Speaking of trout, they seem to be coming back. We had a lot of reports from the Oceanic Pier all summer long that the trout were biting. Towards the end of the summer, some good-sized ones were being caught. Since anglers can only keep one, it’s more of a “sport” than a fish fry. Delaware anglers saw quite a few as well. I caught half dozen small ones from the Ocean Pier last week and an angler called me up to say he caught some in the surf.

Spot! We had some big spot in the bay and surf this year. Eating-sized spot! Many anglers were disappointed that the spot were not small enough for flounder fishing. With fall coming up, they’ll be just fine for striper fishing!

A lot of youngsters were happy with the spot, small croakers and other panfish such as ocean perch and small flounder that were caught from the Northside Park at 125th Street. Many a child caught their first fish up there. Crabbing was decent in that area also until about mid-August when it slowed down. Usually crabbing picks back up in mid-September until October when the crabs start migrating.

Speaking of Northside Park, it’s a free fishing zone so anglers fishing there with their children did not have to buy a fishing license. So is the 2nd through 4th Street Bulkhead along with the Oceanic Pier and the Ocean Pier. Ocean City is blessed to have these four areas where anglers do not have to buy a license. As long as the two pay piers are manned, they are free zones. (You do have to pay to get on the piers.) A lot of vacationers that want to “try” fishing frequent these areas.

As anticipated, we had a tremendous flow of vacationers from New Jersey and New York this year that were here for the first time. Many of the beaches up north were still damaged by Hurricane Sandy and many anglers and vacationers came to Ocean City, MD for the first time. I’d like to thank the Town Of Ocean City for promoting our area. They did a great job and we stayed busy all summer once the weather straightened out.

Speaking of thanking people, I’d like to thank Larry Jock for putting out the best fishing newspaper ever. I’d like to thank all my readers and all my customers for patronizing our stores. I’d especially like to thank all my employees who worked especially hard this busy season.
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 20:12