Fishing has always been big in Ocean City. In its simplest form, it is the ultimate way to do something without really doing anything.
There are also some pretty skilled anglers in O.C., like those joining next week's annual White Marlin Open (Aug. 6-10), who go far offshore to catch marlins and sharks.
But if you're just a casual visitor looking for a good way to relax in the afternoon, here are some tips covering the basics of bayside fishing in Ocean City.
Get a fishing license. The first tip is to get a fishing license. You can order a license online through the DNR's website, www.dnr.state.md.us, or get one immediately at Bahia Marina on 22nd Street. For state residents, the license is just $15 for a year, but the fines for not having one begin at $75.
Try a charter fishing trip. If you have a boat, lucky you, but there are plenty of rentals and charters available in Ocean City for those who don't. Many charters provide everything you might need to fish, and you get the added bonus of professional help from your boat's captain, as well as an enjoyable a trip on the water. If you want to fish from a boat, Capt. Nick Clemente of the Get Sum said the cheapest and most popular option was flounder fishing. Clemente's boat offers charters that include flounder fishing, crabbing and clamming, to get a better bay experience. If you're interested in using a charter, you can check some options out through the Ocean City Fishing Center online at www.ocfishing.com.
Or fish from a bridge. The far cheaper alternative is fishing from land. Mike Vitak, owner of Pines Point Provisions, offered some advice on good fishing spots and gear to use. Vitak said most people catch flounder in the area, but you can also catch tautog, blue fish and red drum. For gear to catch flounder, he suggested using a top and bottom rig - where you can attach two hooks - with a two-inch sinker. For bait, he suggested using either squid, minnows or spot. Vitak's top places for fishing in the area are off the Route 50 bridge, the 2nd Street bulkhead and the 9th Street fishing pier, all bayside.
Bring the right equipment. Vitak said the most important thing to bring with you on a fishing trip is a knife. It can be easy to snag your line on something on the bottom, or on rocks nearby, so you may need the knife to cut a line. It is also important to bring extra rigs, hooks and sinkers with you, in case you lose a line. You should also make sure you bring a cooler with ice to keep your catch in, and a tape measure so you can make sure your catch is within regulation (look up the size and creel limits before you go online at the DNR's Website).
Chill, let the fish come to you.Finally, the most important thing to do is relax. Even if you never catch a thing, spending time with friends and beautiful views of the bay is never a waste.