Fantastic fishing awaits you in Ocean City, Maryland, the White Marlin Capital of the World. Get hooked and make fishing a family affair to remember. You will find the waters around Ocean City teeming with fish. Ocean City is world-famous for recreational fishing. There are hundreds of square miles of water to enjoy, from the sparkling waters of the bays, canals and nearby rivers, to miles and miles of wide-open sea.
The Gulf Stream is a short distance offshore and easily reached by boat to fish for bigeye and yellowfin tuna, mako and dolphin, plus trophy fish such as white marlin, blue marlin and the occasional sailfish. The larger fish feed in and around the canyons of the Gulf Stream and haunt the relics of sunken ships and artificial reefs.
Headboats and chartered craft go out every day as early as 5 a.m. in search of fish, and return in the early afternoon with flags billowing from the rigging announcing their catches of the day. Smaller charter fishing boats take bookings well in advance, so it is important to call and reserve a boat to avoid missing out on some great fishing. Headboats mostly operate on a first-come, first-served basis, but you can call ahead of time to make a reservation to ensure your place.
Great catches have also been pulled from the piers and other fishing areas throughout Ocean City including the Route 50 bridge. Surf fishing off both Assateague and Ocean City beaches yields fine catches of bluefish, sea trout, kingfish and more. No license is required to fish in the saltwater bays and inlets in and around Ocean City or in the ocean.
Public fishing piers can be found at the following locations: Inlet Park in downtown Ocean City at the Inlet; Third St. Pier, bayside; Ninth St. Pier (lighted), bayside and Northside Park, 125 th St., bayside.
Public boat ramps provide access to area waters for those who have their own boats. Public boat ramps can be found at Assateague Island Park, Rt. 611 at Assateague Island Bridge; Gum Point Rd off Rt. 589 and the Ocean City Commercial Harbor on Sunset Ave. in West Ocean City. Please note the parking of boat trailers is prohibited in the Little Salisbury area of Ocean City (87 th St., Bering Rd.), and boat trailers are not permitted to be parked on public streets or in municipal parking lots. Please check with your hotel/motel or condo regarding boat trailer parking prior to bringing your boat to Ocean City. Most marinas have space available to park trailers and boats for a small fee. Boat rentals also are available at local marinas.
Several fishing tournaments are held throughout the season and everyone is invited to sign up for the competition and cash prizes.
White Marlin Open
One of the highlights of the summer is the White Marlin Open, the premiere fishing tournament of the year in Ocean City. Long known as the “World’s Largest Billfish Tournament,” this year’s event, scheduled for August 7-11, marks the White Marlin Open’s 33rd year of exciting fishing action.
The White Marlin Open generates terrific competition, excitement and great angling achievements. Not only is the tournament the world’s largest in number of boats and anglers, thousands of dollars are offered in prize money to the lucky angler who reels in the biggest billfish. The Open awards prize money for white marlin, blue marlin, tuna, wahoo, dolphin and shark. Of the six species of gamefish, three Maryland State Records have been landed while fishing the White Marlin Open.
The White Marlin Open is an event that can be fun and exciting for the spectators as well as the anglers. Early risers can view some 400 of the world’s most beautiful fishing machines race out of the Inlet each morning in search of a fish worth its weight in gold. Weigh-ins are held each evening of the tournament, from 4 to 9 p.m., at Harbour Island Marina, 14th Street and the bay, and are open to the public free of charge. It’s a great place to bring the whole family to watch the beautiful boats, view the day’s catch and join in on the excitement.
Parking tips: There is no parking available at Harbour Island. The Presbyterian Church on 14th Street, just a block away, offers parking for a small donation. Parking also is available at the Convention Center. Park for free there and then catch a bus to the weigh-ins. For more information about the White Marlin Open, write: White Marlin Open, PO Box 737, Ocean City, MD 21843, or call 410-289-9229. You can also visit their web site at www.whitemarlinopen.com.
Source: Ocean City Convention and Visitors Bureau and Department of Tourism