If you’re looking to fill at least one of your Ocean City vacation days with fishing, the hard part is going to be deciding what you want to catch and where. Ocean City may be known as the “White Marlin Capital of the World,” but surf fishermen and those who ply the nearby coastal bays know it’s home to more than just marlin.
For deep-sea, inshore and offshore fishing, several marinas in Ocean City offer charter fleets. About 90 boats – all with U.S. Coast Guard-licensed captains – can be found there. Most boats carry a maximum of six passengers and offer half-day excursions for about $400 and up, full-day trips for about $1,000 and overnight trips for $2,000 to $3,000.
The major marinas in Ocean City are: Bahia Marina (2107 Herring Way, 410-289-7438 or 800-575-DOCK (3625)), offering 25 to 50 foot vessels; Fisherman’s Marina (12806 Sunset Avenue, West Ocean City, 410-213-2478); Ocean City Fishing Center (12940 Inlet Isle Lane, 410-213-1121 or 800-322-3065); Sunset Marina (12911 Sunset Avenue, West Ocean City, 410-213-9600 or 877-514-FISH (3474)); andTalbot Street Pier (311 Talbot Street, 410-289-3500 for schedules or 800-659-7703 for reservations).
Don’t forget to bring a box lunch on your trip, as well as a hat, sunglasses and sunblock. Rubber-soled shoes are a must, and bring a light jacket if rain’s in the forecast. Tip your mate for a job well done. The going rate is 15 percent.
If you’d rather keep your feet on shore, surf fishing on Ocean City’s 10 miles of beach can net you flounder, bluefish, sea trout and kingfish. Surf fishing is allowed on the beach in Ocean City, but only between 9am and 6pm and you must stay at least 50 yards away from swimmers or people on the beach. Surf fishing is permitted on Assateague Island except on guarded beaches and in surfing zones.
The bays are teeming with tautog, flounder, bluefush, sea trout, croaker, and of course, blue crab. For a small fee, you can fish from the Oceanic Pier (southern end of Philadelphia Avenue near the inlet). This is a great place to catch flounder, bluefish, trout and crab.
Good free public fishing spots include the Ocean City Inlet, the Route 50 Bridge, the bay bulkhead between Second and Fourth Streets, the Ninth Street Pier, the public bay bulkhead behind the Ocean City Convention Center on 40th Street and the Isle of Wight, 62nd St. (first left after crossing Route 90 Bridge westbound).
Public boat launches include Gum Point Road off Route 589, West Ocean City; Ocean City Commercial Harbor, Sunset Ave., West Ocean City; and Assateague Island Park, Route 611. For a map of public ramps in Worcester County, go to http://mddnr.chesapeakebay.net/fish/Cntyramps/WO.html. Boat trailer parking is available at the 100th Street Municipal Parking Lot for a fee. Small boats can be rented at a number of Ocean City businesses. A fishing license is required for Atlantic Ocean and coastal bays, unless you’re fishing off a boat for hire or a private vessel with a consolidated license. Call 410-656-9526 or visit http://dnr.maryland.gov/service/fishing_license.asp for more information on fishing licenses. For general fishing information please visit www.ococean.com/things-to-do/fishing.