Fishing Charts

"I have a 22 foot boat and want to fish in the bay and also in the ocean. I know nothing about this
area, and need to buy some charts. What am I looking for? What about these "Ocean City Reef
Foundation" charts I'm hearing about?"

First of all, if you have a boat docked anywhere in Ocean City, you should have a bay chart. Even
if you do not plan to fish in the bay, you need to know where the buoy markers are and where all
those nasty sand bars are!

The best chart you can buy of our bay in Ocean City is a Capt Sea Gull chart called Small Boat/Kayak Inshore fishing chart, double sided, laminated, 12 x 18 inchesOcean City, DE to Chincoteague Inlet, VA - Details Chart CHI340 It is only12.99 and shows the backs bay from as far South as the
Verrazano Bridge, which is the bridge that crosses from Rt. 611 over to Assateague; to as far North
as the Fenwick Ditch. (The Fenwick Ditch is where Rt. 54 crosses over the bay one block past 146th
Street next to Harpoon Hannas Restaurant.)
It shows all the major channels and buoys; and all those underwater shoals and sand bars. It also
has important information on it such as street names, boat ramps, and piers.

"Can we get to the Indian River Inlet from here?"

Well, this is a very much-asked question, and unless you have a very small boat, a canoe or a
kayak, you cannot make this voyage. Some of the charts show an inland waterway that has never
really happened except on paper. The bay behind South Bethany, called "Little Bay" runs into a
"ditch" that is called the Assawoman Canal. And that's what it is! -- a big ditch. I talked to some
people that made it through in a small Boston whaler last year, but they tore their prop up on crab
pots and underwater branches! So if you want to go to the Indian River bay by water, you need to go
out the Ocean City Inlet, hug the beach and go into the Indian River Inlet by ocean.

"How about offshore charts? How do I know which ones to buy?"

Most offshore anglers will tell you. "More charts are never enough!" It never hurts to have more
than one. And if you go offshore at all, it is very important to have at least one chart!

The "Cape May, NJ to Cape Hatteras, NC" by Captain Seagull's Nautical Charts is a little more
expensive, around $20 or so. It is a laminated, offshore canyon chart extending from Cape May to
Cape Hatteras. It shows lumps, wrecks, and canyons for the offshore anglers. What people like about
this chart is that the popular GPS coordinates are written right on the front of the chart for easy
reading. The lumps and wrecks are more brightly colored so you can find them places like the Parking
Lot, Poor Man's Canyon, the Hot Dog, Hambone, quickly. What people don't like about the chart is
that some of the coordinates end in minutes, and some in seconds, which can irritate the boat owner
that is trying to punch them in his GPS. The fathom lines are not as easy to read on this chart as
they are on the Fishing Rod Enterprise chart. (This chart has one typo on one of the coordinates at
the Jackspot. It is pretty obvious, but you want to watch out for it. It says 39 degrees where
everything around it says 38 degrees. They say they printed thousands of charts and when those are
sold out, it will be corrected.)

If you are doing this, you may want to have two different charts and cross-reference. The whole
thing about charts is, one chart will have some numbers you need and another will have other numbers
you really want!

"We don't plan to venture very far offshore. We plan to do mostly wreck and bottom fishing. Maybe a
little trolling close inshore."

The "Offshore Coastal Delaware, Maryland, Virginia" laminated chart by Captain Seagull's Nautical
Charts is a little more expensive (around $20 or so) It is a coastal offshore chart extending from
Cape Henlopen, DE to Chincoteague Inlet, VA on one side; Chincoteague Inlet to Great Machipongo
Inlet, VA on the other side. It has GPS coordinates for popular areas right on the chart for easy
reading. That's what people like about this chart. (Again- some of the coordinates are written in
minutes and others in seconds.) On one side of the chart it shows offshore from Rehoboth Bay, De to
Chincoteague Bay, VA. On the other side of the chart it shows offshore from Chincoteague Inlet to
Great Machipongo Inlet, VA. The chart goes out to approx. 30 miles. It also has a shot of
Chincoteague Bay and Ocean City Inlet. Excellent chart for the boater who wants to go offshore but
who does not plan to venture more than 30 miles offshore.

"If I have these charts, I don't need the charts from the Artificial Reef Foundation do I?"

If you want to do serious offshore bottom fishing, you need these charts. These charts are sold in
many of the local tackle stores or you can go online, print a form, and send in your $25. This $25
will give you hundreds of GPS numbers where artificial reef materials have been dumped. And this is
where the sea bass, flounder, tautog, and sea trout are!

To explain this better, take for instance, the "African Queen Wreck." When you buy your offshore
chart, you will get a GPS coordinates for this wreck. When you buy your charts from the Ocean City
Reef Foundation, you will get the coordinates for the African Queen wreck plus 40 other separate GPS
numbers for that area which is called the "African Queen Reef." The Bass Grounds has 15 separate GPS
numbers. The Great Eastern Reef, where we like to fish for sea bass and flounder has 27 GPS numbers.
That little square on your offshore chart can be a very big place when you're looking for some slabs
of concrete or coils of cable! Believe me, I know, we left our Ocean City reef charts home one day
and had to circle around for an hour and a half before we found our "honey hole!"

You can buy these charts at many tackle stores or go online and get your form at Or you can e-mail Marta, who is now taking care of membership and
doing a great job at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

It is important, even with all the GPS's in the world, to know where you are when you can't see
land. Charts and compasses are still a must. And good charts mean more fish.

Good fishing.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 11 November 2014 12:00