Home Drifting Easy - Fishing Tips Fishing In May- What to Expect
Fishing In May- What to Expect
  "I'll be down the month of May. What kind of fishing will be
going on?"

May is the month that fishing begins in earnest. Stripers are
one of Ocean City's and Indian River's more popular species that anglers
target in May. Flounder start biting the middle of April and are usually
biting good by mid-May as long as the weather cooperates. Bluefish show up
in the surf, along with stripers, sharks, and blowfish. Blues also run in
the inlets and bays. Tautog bite from the shore where there are rocks or
underwater structure.

"Tell me more about stripers."

Stripers can be caught from the Inlets, in deep channels in the
bay, offshore within three miles, and from the surf. For anglers in boats,
anglers drift the deepest channels and the inlets with live eels. Stripers
run large so the hooks to use are large as well. Anglers rig up with an eel
rig made out of a long leadered hook (30 to 40 inches) with a #4/0 to #7/0
Octopus or circle style hook. The sharper the hook the better!

"How do you make an eel rig?"

Take a 10-inch piece of 30 to 40 pound test monofilament or
Fluorocarbon leader and tie a barrel swivel to one end. Slip on an egg
sinker in the one to three ounce range and tie a barrel swivel to the other
end of the leader. The egg sinker slides free between the two swivels.
Now, tie a 30 to 40-inch leadered hook to the barrel swivel and you have a
basic eel rig!

You can also make a striper
rig by using a fish finder rig. Feed your line through the guides on your
rod. Then slip a fish finder rig with a bank or bass cast type sinker
attached to the clip onto your line. Tie on a barrel or snap swivel to the
end of your line and attach a long leadered hook. (Either one of these rig
can also be used for drifting for flounder- Just go down on your hook size a

"How do you hook a live eel?"

Put the hook through the lower jaw and out the eye socket for the best
results. (If you're squeamish about the eye socket, you can put the hook
thru both lips like a minnow.)

"So where do we drift for stripers?"

Either the Ocean City or Indian River Inlets, the area just outside the
inlets on the ocean side, around the Rt. 50 Bridge and pilings, around the
Rt. 90 Bridge and pilings, and the main east channel between the Ocean City
Inlet and 9th Street Pier on the bayside. Some are also caught in the
Thorofare which is a deep slough on the west side of the bay.

"How about lures?"

Anglers fishing from the shore actually use lures more than live eels when
fishing for stripers. Popular lures are Storm, Tsunami, and Calcutta brand
of Swimming Shads. Got-cha Plugs are also very popular, especially from the
Route 50 Bridge at night. The ever-popular bucktail jig with a plastic worm
is an old standby that never loses its fish appeal.

Though a slab of bunker is the most popular bait for stripers in the surf,
anglers also cast MirrOlures, spoons, and Rebel Windcheaters.

"I love to catch (and eat) flounder!"

May is always the month that anglers get serious about flounder fishing in
our area. Anglers drift the bay behind Assateague and Ocean City with live
minnows or frozen shiners. Most tip this bait with a strip of squid. The
best area to fish in May is the main channel of the east span close to the
Route 90 Bridge. The reason this area is good in May is that the sun warms
the water on the high outgoing tide. The water temperature of this area can
be 10 degrees warmer than areas closer to the Route 50 Bridge.

The Thorofare, which is located on the west side of the bay offshore of
Captain's Hill, is another popular flounder fishing hole in May. The bay
behind Assateague also holds warmer water in the early months. Drifting
between buoys #8 through #13 in the bay behind Assateague can be a hot
"local's secret!"

Once the water warms up to 50 degrees, the flounder bite all over the bay,
including the main channel close to the Route 50 Bridge. Anglers then catch
flounder from the Route 50 Bridge itself, the Ninth Street Pier, and the
Oceanic Pier.

"What's the best rig for flounder?"

The most popular flounder rig is a "fluke killer" made out of a long
leadered (30 inch or so) wide gap hook in the #1 to #2/0 range. The long
leadered hook is used plain or is "dressed" with a bucktail skirt, plastic
squid, and/or spinner blades. The silver, white or chartruse spinner blades
are most popular though sometimes pink is hot in the spring.

When it comes to bucktail skirts you can never go wrong with white or
chartreuse. I like the ones with a bit of mylar in them.

The flounder do not always cooperate, but even when they do not bite as well
as we'd like, the snapper bluefish that work in and out of the bays in May
can be lots of fun. (And not bad to eat either!) Early in the morning and
towards dusk (or at either change of tide) we often see sea gulls diving and
bluefish splashing. One can simply use a flounder rig to cast out, and reel
in slow along the bottom. Or, if the bluefish are breaking, one can throw
one-quarter ounce spec rigs, bucktail jigs with plastic worms, lead heads
with any kind of soft body attached or Got-cha Plugs. The Swimming Shads
will work for sure, but it gets expensive when the lures come back without a

For anglers without boats, blues bite from the Indian River and Ocean City
Inlets, the Route 50 Bridge, Oceanic Pier, Ninth Street Pier, and from the
bulkhead along Third though Forth Streets on the bayside.

"Surf's up!"

"One week either side of Mother's Day, the blue's blitz the beach," is an
old saying that sometimes rings true. Even if they don't blitz, we usually
have a pretty good run during the month of May. Anglers cast off the beach
with finger mullet on a "finger mullet rig" for the best results. A finger
mullet rig is a special rig that is used to thread a whole finger mullet on
the hook. Anglers cast these, or other pre-made bluefish rigs with either
pyramid or hurricane type sinkers. (Cut the mullet in chunks if you're not
using a "finger mullet rig.")

Many anglers, especially the surf fishermen fishing on Assateague Island,
target stripers in the surf. A heavy-duty top and bottom rig with two
Octopus or Circle hooks in the #4/0 to #6/0 range baited with slabs of fresh
or filleted bunker is popular. Other anglers set up a single rig on either a
three-way swivel and sinker snap or a fish finder rig. Some use hooks as
large as a #10/0 Circle hook and bait up with a whole bunker head for bait.
Big sharks are also caught this way!

"Tautog are here!"

Spring tautog fishing from the Ocean City or Indian River Inlets, the
bulkhead along Second through Forth streets on the bay side, the end of
Fifth Street and Sixth Street, near the draw of the Route 50 Bridge, and the
end of the Oceanic Pier are all "hot" tautog catching spots. Sometimes
anglers catch them at Ninth Street Pier. Anglers with boats can catch them
by throwing bait towards the rocks at the South Jetty.

"What do we use for bait?"

Basic tautog bait is live or frozen sand fleas (also called sand crabs or
mole crabs) or live green crabs. Green crabs are sectioned and hooked on
size #2/0 Octopus hooks and weighted down with flat, cushion or torpedo
shaped sinkers in the one to three ounce range. You fish right in the
structure and yes, you will get hung up often! But the rewards can be
generous and the fight-- awesome!

May is one of the best months of the year to slip offshore on a party boat
for sea bass and tautog. The May run of sea bass is always the best! You
could also book a charter boat (more expensive but less elbows!) or take out
your own boat and fish over a wreck or obstruction. Offshore bait? Squid or
clam for sea bass. Green crab or sand fleas for tautog.

Another year of fishing. I'm ready. are you?

Good fishing..