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Vol 37 | Num 8 | Jun 20, 2012

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Driftin' Easy

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“Finally, the flounder fishing has picked up! What should I use and where can I fish from the shore in Ocean City, MD?”

If you are fishing from the shore, you need to be in the deeper channels. That being said, you can forget the piers in North Ocean City such as 125th Street, the Isle of Wight off 62nd Street and the pier behind Convention Hall at 41st Street. You need to be in relatively deep running water, so you need to be fishing between the 9th Street Pier and the Inlet.

The Ninth Street Pier is a public pier on the bayside. It’s not very big but quite popular with the locals, so you want to go early and get a fishing spot. The best place on the pier is at the very end. Cast diagonally off the left hand corner to reach the best flounder haunts. Use either a high/low flounder rig (a top-and-bottom rig) or a single, long leadered rig with about a 2 oz. bank sinker. Bait up with live minnows hooked through the lips or frozen shiners hooked through the eyes. You can dress up this bait with a strip of squid. Cast out as far as you can, let it sit for a few minutes and slowly bump it back towards you with your rod tip down.

Flounder are site feeders, so a slightly moving target works well if you are sitting on the shore. It’s not necessary to move your rig. You can leave it out there until you feel a bite, but I just think a little motion helps attract flounder. If you are fishing in an area with a lot of snags keep your rig still.

Lately, 4-inch Gulp! Alive Swimming Mullets have become very popular. To use these, open the package carefully so as not to cut the Zip Lock seal. Slide the Swimming Mullet all the way on the hook just like you are putting a grub on a jig head. Then, add a live minnow, frozen shiner or strip of squid to the hook as well. We call these combination baits, and boy can they be deadly! When you use Gulp! Swimming Mullets it is even more important to keep your bait moving a bit. (Hint: At the end of the day, be sure to take them off your hook and put it back in the package with the Zip Lock sealed. Gulp! baits will turn hard as a rock on your hook when not in the water or in the secret juice in the package. Plus, your bait will get reenergized in the juice so you can use it again.

Another good place to try flounder fishing is at the bulkhead between 2nd and 4th Streets. This is a really good place to go, but a very hard place to fish. Be sure to carry extra rigs and sinkers because there are lots of snags. The best time to fish here is at either dead low or dead high tide. There is a ledge a few yards out that drops from 15 feet to 40 feet, and if you cast out in the current and the tide brings your rig back into that ledge, you’ve lost a rig! At slack tide, cast out with a 2 to 5 oz. bank sinker that will hold the bottom. If you can keep your sinker and rig out in the channel, you can catch some fish. No worries about moving your baits out in the channel. There’s enough movement in the water to do that for you! (Hint: When reeling in to check your bait, keep your rod tip up and reel in fast.)

When the tide runs too hard to hold your sinker in the channel, flip your rig out just a tiny bit from the bulkhead and fish straight down. Don’t move your rig around too much or you will get hung up. When the tide gets running hard, the flounder will come close to the bulkhead to feed where it is still 10-15 feet deep.
There’s not much room there, but some anglers go to the end of 6th Street as well. Fish the same way as you would from the Bulkhead at 2nd through 4th Streets.

The Route 50 Bridge is a famous flounder fishing area also. You can walk on both sides of the bridge and fish either the east or the west channels. There are also some smaller channels in the middle of the bridge to fish when the tide gets cranking. The Bridge can be noisy and you have to watch out for bikes coming back and forth, but it’s still one of my favorite places to fish for flounder. You can cast and retrieve the single or high/low flounder rigs with a 1 ½ to 3 oz. bank sinker just like you would from 9th Street Pier. Some anglers like to use a spreader rig and a bobber on the Bridge to drift out their baits. Watch out for boats if you do that. There are some snags on the Bridge too, though not as bad as the Bulkhead area, so be sure to carry extra tackle.

The Oceanic Pier, at the very end of Philadelphia Ave is another good place to fish for flounder from the shore. It’s a free fishing zone as well because the pier has a Pier License so you don’t need to purchase a fishing license for yourself. This saves you $15. Cast out into the main channel, and slowly bring your rig back towards you. Anglers casting at the end of the pier do best.

The Inlet Wall is a good place to fish for flounder from the shore, but again, there sure can be snags. Fish the slacking tides (dead low or dead high) and fish like you would from the bulkhead at 2nd thru 4th Streets. Remember, keep your rod tip up and reel in fast when checking your bait.

The Ocean Pier, a pay pier located near the amusement rides on the boardwalk, also sees some flounder action. Fish during the high tide, cast out and use a slow retrieve.

Homer Gudelsky Park is a neat place to fish for flounder. Traveling west over the Rt. 50 Bridge, make a left on Golf Course Road next to Royal Farms. Make a left at Old Bridge Road and take it to the end. There’s not much parking here, so go early or get dropped off. There’s a beach and rocks here. Cast out as far as you can into the channel. Either fish close to the rocks, or walk north on the beach and cast near the entrance to the Ocean City Fishing Center. Like everywhere else from shore, there’s some snags here too, so be sure to carry extra tackle. If you have a cast net, this is a good place to use it. If you can capture some small live spot or bunker use them for bait. Wow! I caught one of the largest flounder ever from the park on a cast netted live bait.!

Good fishing….

Sue Foster is an outdoor writer and owner of Oyster Bay Tackle in Ocean City, MD and Fenwick Tackle in Fenwick, DE.

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