A successful sea bass fishing trip out of OCMD

May 22, 2021

On May 15, I along with my friend Doug Elliott, traveled down to Ocean City for a 10-hour sea bass trip on the Angler out of the dock at the end of Talbot Street. We left Lewes around 4:30 a.m. and, after a quick stop at Wawa for coffee, tastypies and ice, we arrived at the Angler Restaurant to check in by 5:30 a.m. Everyone on the trip must have been anxious because we were all on board early, so the boat got underway at 5:50.

I am not sure exactly where we were after a two-hour run to the east-southeast, but it certainly wasn’t a secret spot. As I expected, anything that could float and had enough fuel to run out and back was on the water. Since head boats aren’t exactly the fastest thing afloat, we were among the last to arrive.

Captain Chris still put us right on top of some nice fish, and on the first drop I hooked up with a good-sized sea bass. I was using a Diawa slow jig on my Tsunami slow jig rod and Tsunami Forged reel. This was my first experience with slow jigging and I must admit it worked very well. Just as the name implies, you slowly raise the jig up from the bottom and let it flutter back down while keeping control of the line. Do not let the line go slack or you will miss the hits that usually come on the drop. I did have a couple of strikes as soon as I engaged the reel when I felt bottom.

Doug was using my very old Penn Jigmaster reel on my Shakespeare Sturdy Stick rod. The reel was filled with braided line that was as old as the rod and reel. He had a top-bottom rig baited with clam and squid. He was catching sea bass right along with everyone else. At one point, he had a double header of quality keepers.

Now don’t get me wrong, catching fish with a jig is lots of fun, but since the jig did not cull out the small fish as I had hoped, around noon time I started using a top-bottom rig with clam and squid. Guess what, that did not cull out the dinks either.

The gentleman fishing to my left would drop down with his rig baited exactly like mine. I would drop down next to him. He would catch a keeper. I would catch a dink. It was just like fishing next to my son Roger.

Captain Chris would keep a sharp eye on what the customers were catching. As soon as the rest of the folks caught up to me and started catching shorts, he would move the boat. At one point toward the end of the day, he ran five miles to another area and we had some more good action in an unpopulated spot.

Doug and I had two coolers on the boat. A small one that fit under our seat along the rail and a larger one that we kept at the stern. As the small one filled up, we took it to the stern and emptied it into the large one.  As the time to depart drew closer, it became apparent that we were going to be a few fish short of our 30-fish limit. The gentleman to my left took pity on me and put a few keepers in my cooler, so we and the boat limited out.

A couple of the mates set up cleaning tables on the way in so we left the boat with a bag of filets each. All of the mates were very professional and helped when needed without being asked.

I have fished on a lot of head boats over the years, and the Angler out of Ocean City is one of the best.

Fishing report

Flounder have started to make a showing in area waters. They have been caught out of the Lewes-Rehoboth Canal, from the fishing pier at Cape Henlopen State Park and from Indian River Bay.

Large rockfish have been taken out of Indian River Inlet. The best of this action has been at night from the South Jetty with large swimshads the best lures. You may fish the entire incoming tide and only catch one fish, but it just may be the fish of a lifetime.

Over the weekend, the inlet produced two 28-inch trout. One on Saturday and one on Sunday night. They were caught on swimshads.

Several kingfish were caught from the beach at Three Rs Road. The one report I had said Fish Bites were the bait of choice. I suspect bloodworms would also work.

Shard continue to please Inlet fishermen.


  • Eric Burnley is a Delaware native who has fished and hunted the state from an early age. Since 1978 he has written countless articles about hunting and fishing in Delaware and elsewhere along the Atlantic Coast. He has been the regional editor for several publications and was the founding editor of the Mid-Atlantic Fisherman magazine. Eric is the author of three books: Surf Fishing the Atlantic Coast, The Ultimate Guide to Striped Bass Fishing and Fishing Saltwater Baits. He and his wife Barbara live near Milton, Delaware. Eric can be reached at

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