Coastal Fishing Reports

Coastal Mid-Atlantic Fishing Report, July 19 Update:

Coastal fishing is in its prime for the summer season and anglers up and down the Delmarva coast are enjoying good fishing. Many boats are enjoying successful trips to the offshore grounds, which makes the long run out there much more worth the time and effort. Tuna catches are getting better by the week and one of the more impressive hauls of the week came from the Boss Hogg which returned to dock with 10 yellowfin tuna, a bull mahi, and a white marlin release while fishing between the Washington and Spencer Canyons. Billfish release have also been on the rise with white marlin and blue marlin making appearances at the canyons.

head boat fishing
The summertime inshore bite is in full swing! Photos courtesy of Capt. Monty Hawkins, Morning Star Fishing.

Capt. Monty reports that some sea bass are chewing for the folks on the Morning Star, and one day to the next most anglers are doing “well to hot.” He’s also found some mahi inshore, but they were “micro-mahi” not large enough for the dinner plate, plus a flounder here and there. The offshore action is continuing to ramp up as we move into the latter half of summer. Inshore flounder waters are still producing flatties throughout the coastal bays this week. Sea Hawk Sports Center says that a good push of flounder are being caught in and around Chincoteague. The fish have been aggressively taking Sea Hawk flounder rigs and Fish In OC’s deadly doubles. Chartreuses and pink have been the hot baits with Gulp! shrimp and silversides or bull minnows adding the extra enticement to get them to bite. They report that most fish have been fairly shallow at the top of ledges. Anglers fishing in the back bay of Ocean City are also enjoying good summer flounder action. The minimum size for flounder right now is 17.5 inches, but there are a fair amount of fish over that mark.

Striped bass fishing is closed for Maryland waters of the Chesapeake Bay until August 1st, but coastal fishing is still open. Stripers have been plentiful at the Route 50 Bridge and one boat caught three keepers that hit live spot. The coastal slot is 28 to 31 inches, and it is good to know that there are some fish around that fall within that slot. Regardless of keeper status or not, they are fun to catch, and an icon for our fishery.

Coastal Mid-Atlantic Fishing Report, July 12 Update:

Oceanic action is ramping up as we move into the heart of summer. Virginia Beach Sport Fishing let us know that offshore action out of Virginia Beach is improving and boats heading north out of VB are returning with tuna while boats venturing south have found an excellent billfish bite. White marlin, sailfish, yellowfin tuna, wahoo, and dolphin have all provided action to anglers as of late. Scott Lenox from Fish In OC let us know that white marlin are also being caught out of OC and one of the best reports came from a boat that had six releases during one trip this week. Another boat fishing the canyons out of OC reported a successful blue marlin release along with a nice bull mahi, and a different crew put a stud 101-pound yellowfin tuna on the scale. At the inshore grounds, Captain Cook on First Light Charters reports some nice flounder coming over the gunwales at the Old Grounds and inshore wrecks off the Delaware coast, as well as some stripers and blues at night. He also mentioned seeing some mahi showing up at the bass pots already. Sea bass are biting along the inshore wrecks and from Chincoteague south this week we also heard about sheepshead being caught by anglers dropping crab baits. Ocean’s East Bait and Tackle says that the flounder fishing has also been great in the Virginia Beach area and the inshore wreck sites have been very productive

big bull red drum in the surf of assateague
More big redfish than expected for mid-summer are still hanging out around the beaches of Assateague. Photo courtesy of Dave Moore, of Shark Whisperers.

John Unkart has been hitting the Assateague beach hard and reports an excellent panfish bite for kingfish and spot, with no problem cranking up dinner before the sun even breaks the horizon several days in a row this week. Fishbites bloodworm flavor on small doodlebug rigs is getting the job done. Dave Moore of Shark Whisperers confirms the panfish action and adds that a few very big reds are still turning up in the surf as well as blacktip and sand tiger sharks. A beach angler on the Virginia side of Assateague reported an excellent bite for red drum. The interesting thing they mentioned was that their bites seemed to happen every hour or so like clockwork with fish hitting at four, five and six o’clock in the afternoon without much action in between. All fish were caught on hi-lo rigs baited with chunks of either spot or croaker. Up at the OC inlet, rockfish and bluefish are still offering a good bite for those throwing lures. At the jetties, sheepshead, tautog, and the occasional triggerfish have been enticed into the net by peeler crab and sand fleas. We are now in peak tourist/vacation season, so be ready for boat traffic and other anglers, but don’t let that deter you from casting a line.

Coastal Mid-Atlantic Fishing Report, July 5 Update:

Fishing along the coast was great this week with plenty of fish being caught, offshore, inshore, and at the beaches. The bite in the blue waters of the Atlantic picked up a lot and there were several successful reports from boats targeting tuna and billfish. Fish In OC gave us the details for a few successful trips including a private boat that had a blue marlin release and a big yellowfin, the Spring Mix II which had two yellowfin and a few mahi from the canyons, and the RoShamBo which had three yellowfins and a white marlin release.

angler caught a sheepshead in the ocean
Tyler tied into his first sheepshead while catching spadefish and tog off Blackfish Banks.

The seaside inlets on the Eastern Shore of Maryland and Virginia, along with the nearshore wrecks off the barrier islands, have been the home of good flounder fishing. The inshore bite has been best for anglers using double rigs tipped with live minnows, squid, and Gulp! baits. Deepwater flounder fishing has required one-to-two-ounce bucktails paired with a popular flounder bait to be jigged over structure. Sea Hawk Sports Center recommends bringing along small hooks with clam baits because more spadefish and triggerfish are showing up in these areas offshore. You might also want to grab some crab or sand fleas because sheepshead are in attendance inshore as well. You wouldn’t want to miss the opportunity to take home some of these delicious fish.

Fishing at the Ocean City inlet was good this week for a variety of species including striped bass, bluefish, tautog, flounder, croaker, spot, and kingfish. The stripers and bluefish are still being caught along the rock jetties and Route 50 Bridge. Jigs paired with soft plastics, Roy rigs, and Gotcha plugs are all working well for these fish and if you want to target blues, metal lures may be the way to go because their teeth can easily tear up a lure. Also make sure to use heavy leader because blues in the four-to-eight-pound range have been common. There have even been some slot red drum caught at the south jetty this week.

The beaches have offered surf fishing anglers plenty of kingfish and stingrays. Legendary angler and Coastal Correspondent John Unkart reported an excellent kingfish bite on Assateague late this week, tipping his doodlebug rigs with Fishbites bloodworms, picking up some spot as well. If you are looking to hit the beaches, get there early because we are in prime tourist/vacation season.

September 1, 2023
Coastal Mid-Atlantic Fishing Report September 29 Update: The arrival of Fall has not brought the good fishing weather anglers were hoping for. It’s been tough to get through the inlet lately, which means oceanic intel is in short supply. We likely… Read more...
August 4, 2023
Coastal Fishing Report, August 25 Update: The Atlantic has continued to offer good fishing as we approach the end of summer, and offshore fishing was much better this week when conditions allowed boats to get to the canyons. Fish In OC checked in… Read more...
July 7, 2023
Coastal Fishing Report, July 28 Update: Coastal fishing is offering plenty of great fishing right now. Tuna seem to be picking up the pace a bit, and a reader who hit the Washington this week said he went three for four. Another had six on the line… Read more...