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Ocean City Fishing Charters

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Ocean City occupies an ideal spot on the barrier islands sheltering mainland Maryland from the Atlantic. Within easy driving distance of Washington, D.C. and its airport, it’s an awesome destination for the fishing adventure of a lifetime.

From tournaments famous the world over to legendary locations for bluefish and sharks, Ocean City’s fishing charters are the envy of anglers everywhere.

And if you’re a striped bass fanatic, there’s probably no better place to test your skill in the world!

Fishing in Ocean City

Ocean City’s fishing charters are some of the best in the mid-Atlantic, and the area’s captains know how to make the most of the waters Ocean City has been blessed with. From short inshore trips for flounder to legendary day trips to the Jackspot for King Mackerel, you can be sure that you’ll find the fishing adventure of a lifetime, whatever you choose!

Isle of Wight Bay

Known for its shallow, green-gray water, Isle of Wight Bay is an ideal habitat for flounder, and the area’s captains are available for charter fishing trips that are as short as just a few hours.

And whether you choose to hit the water for the morning or book an all-day adventure, they know the hotspots to get you on monster flatfish.

Bass Grounds

8.4 nautical miles from Ocean City, you’ll find the Bass Grounds, an artificial reef that provides habitat for huge schools of baitfish.

And of course, where there’s prey, you’ll find the predators!

The Bass Grounds are famous for bluefish, producing legions of 12- to 16-pound blues. You can also find Hammerheads, Bulls, and Blacktips cruising this reef, and an experienced captain will know just where to look if that’s the adventure you’re after.

As experienced charter captains know, the Bass Grounds is also the ideal retreat from offshore when the wind picks up over Baltimore Canyon.

Little and Great Gull Banks

Little and Great Gull Banks rise from 50 to 60 feet of water to about half that, providing an ideal environment for baitfish that feed large populations of bluefish and striped bass.

A fantastic destination for short trips or day-long excursions, these bars are within easy reach of the inlet, requiring just a few minutes of travel.

The Jackspot

A natural reef that’s been augmented with sunken boxcars, the Jackspot is one of the most famous fishing spots on the east coast.

Breaking the relatively uniform depth of the seafloor 19.4 nautical miles from Ocean City, King Mackerel, monster blues, Wahoo, Mako, and several varieties of tuna draw anglers and charter captains year after year.

Only about an hour’s run from the inlet, the Jackspot offers unrivaled fishing that’s well within reach of a short trip.

Baltimore Canyon

A deep cleft in the seafloor roughly 60 nautical miles from the Ocean City inlet, Baltimore Canyon is a premier hotspot for pelagic species like tuna, blue marlin, albacore, and mahi-mahi.

Mako and hammerhead are common in the Canyon as well, and charter captains will be more than happy to help you find them.

Promising heart-pounding excitement, you’ll find plenty of charter captains ready for all-day or overnight excursions from Ocean City.

Fishing Techniques

Over Baltimore Canyon, you’ll find captains trolling Green Machines on 100- to 120-pound test for albacore and tuna, and night fishing with bright lights to attract bait fish is also common.

Big circle hooks and bait are typical for tuna, as well, and a variety of trolling lures are common for species like wahoo, mahi-mahi, and blue marlin.

Cut baits like bunker and spot-on spinning gear are essential for blues, as is tough leader material like heavy fluorocarbon or mono. Striped bass are partial to spot, menhaden, and mullet but are fished in much the same way.

And of course, expect relatively light spinning gear for flounder, with a variety of double-rigs and jigs.

Rules & regulations

Most fishing charters provide licenses, but if yours doesn’t, every angler over the age of 16 will need one. If you want to venture out on your own, you’ll need to purchase a valid license. Regulations on bag and size limits apply, and your captain will keep you informed on these.

Ocean City Fishing Seasons

  • January

    The New Year in Ocean City can be cool and windy, but the striped bass don’t mind! If you can find a charter captain who’s willing to brave the weather, you can pretty much have locations like Little and Great Gull Banks to yourself.


    Cold water and wind cut down on the fishing, and even the striped bass and mako can be tough to find. It’s not an ideal time of the year to be on the water; wait for the warmer months ahead!


    The water temperature rises a few notches in March, especially inshore. Female flounder start to move into Isle of Wight Bay, and inshore fishing really begins to pick up. When the weather cooperates, the Mako bite is pretty good over the Canyon or on the Jackspot.
  • April

    Early spring is a great time to visit Ocean City.  Inshore, the water’s really warm enough to give the flounder enough energy for aggressive feeding. Offshore, the blues and mako are hunting the reefs for an easy meal.  And in Ocean City itself, the summer crowds have yet to materialize.


    With plenty of sun to warm the water, fishing is good all around. Inshore, flounder season is approaching its peak. Offshore, the bite from blues, sharks, sea bass, and striped bass is really heating up. 


    June marks the peak of bluefish season, and every charter captain is headed to the Bass Grounds, the Jackspot, or the Banks to chase them. You should be, too! Reds and black drum are biting well inshore, and the flounder haven’t even begun to feed. The pelagic species are hitting their stride, as well, and it’s a great time to look for bluefin tuna, mahi-mahi, or hammerheads. And for fans of Mako, June marks the opening of the Mako Mania Shark Tournament, which includes prizes for blues and thresher sharks.
  • July

    July means offshore fishing is as hot as the noon sun. Sharks, marlins, wahoos, and mahi-mahi are at their prime, but the blue bite has dropped off a bit. Inshore, Isle of Wight Bay is at its peak for flounder. And as every local can tell you, July means the Ocean City Tuna Tournament is in full swing. Expect plenty of charter captains willing to take you offshore to join the fun.


    With uniformly warm water and lots to eat, August is a fantastic month for flounder in Isle of Wight Bay. Offshore, blackfin tuna, mahi-mahi, and wahoos are peaking, and Baltimore Canyon and Jackspot are busy. Of course, white marlin fishing is at its yearly height, too, and as every local knows, that means nothing less than the largest billfish tournament in the world: the Ocean City White Marlin Open!


    The water hasn’t begun to cool in earnest, and the flounder bite is still superb. Joined by reds inshore, it’s a great time to book a charter close to shore. Offshore, mahi-mahi and marlins are still going strong, but the peak for the pelagic species has come and gone.
  • October

    Cooling water starts to send flounder back out to sea, but the blues really pick up over the Banks and the Bass Grounds. Black sea bass are at their best in October, making this a great time to hit Ocean City. The mako and bluefin tuna are enjoying a last hunting foray, too, and heading offshore can lead to unbeatable excitement.


    The sea bass are still at their prime as the water--and the weather--cools down. It’s getting tough to find nice days for pleasant fishing offshore, and the charter business is slowly grinding to a halt.


    Striped bass are at their peak in the frigid weather December brings, and brave captains and their crews will be headed to the Bass Grounds and Little and Great Gull Banks to find them.

Top Targeted Species in Ocean City

  • Flounder
  • Striped Bass (Rockfish)
  • Mahi-Mahi
  • Tuna
  • Albacore
  • Blue Marlin
  • White Marlin
  • Bluefish
  • Mako
  • Hammerhead
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