Ocean City, Maryland is known as “The White Marlin Capital of the World.” Its location, not far from the warm Gulf Stream ocean current in the Atlantic Ocean, attracts many different species of fish. With such an extensive area to work with, fishing enthusiasts can increase their chances of catching their preferred species by paying attention to the different fishing seasons.
Mackerel, bluefish and sharks are active species in Ocean City in the spring months. Mackerel are particularly active in March when they migrate up the Atlantic coast in large numbers. By mid-April, the mackerel move out and the bluefish move in, right on their tails. The bluefish hang around through the fall, growing larger with each passing month.
Summer is one of the most popular fishing seasons in Ocean City, due to the warmer water temperatures, which attract all kinds of fish, including sharks, bigeye and yellow fin tuna, sea bass, flounder, wahoo and marlin. June marks the start of the white marlin season, whereas July is the strongest summer month for sharks. You will often spot species like hammerheads, mako, tiger sharks and blue sharks hunting for bluefish around sandbars and near underwater canyons.
During the fall fishing season in Ocean City, many of the same fish from the spring and summer months are still active. Expect to see common species, like marlin, sea bass and bluefish as well as the addition of species like sea trout and Atlantic croaker. You can find these fish in areas close to shore, which include the bay areas, jetties and shipwrecks near the coast.
Winter is one of the weaker seasons for many of the traditional catches in Ocean City. As the water cools, the fish begin to move south. The benefit of this tradition of southern migration is that it also brings some fish from the north. Striped bass is one of the species that moves through the coastal waters of Ocean City in the winter and is a frequent catch during this season. Cool weather means tautog fishing gets hot up and down the Mid-Atlantic coast, With inshore waters cooling down, some of the tautog that hung around structure deep in the ocean during the summer move closer to land. Tautog like it near jetties and inlet structure, try near the jetties at Ocean City inlet or the bulkhead in southern OC (try around fourth street)
No matter what time of year you go fishing in Ocean City, there are some fish that are active year round. You can catch tautog all year long in the waters close to shore and bay areas such as Isle of Wight Bay, even though the peak season for tautog is in the late fall. One of the main variables that influence the fishing in Ocean City is the water temperature, and the general rule is that the fish are going to be less active when the water is cold and more active when the water warms up again.