This upcoming Monday, is, THE BIG ONE. Before the sun begins to peak it’s rays above the horizon, before the rooster crows or the hound howls, and most likely, even before your first cup of coffee, anglers will have set out from Harbour Island, Ocean City on an adventure. An adventure for treasure. For these adventurers, like it has been for many years, the treasure they seek lies beneath the sea. But it is not gold or relics of old, it’s the creatures that live within it. The White Marlin. Known to be a rare and solitary species, it has been coveted by watermen since the Atlantic was the Atlantic. In the ol’ days this beautiful creature was known as Skilligalee (say that word out loud and you’ll want one too). People have always sought after this sailfish, for it’s meat, for the story, the adventure, and now they will come to Ocean City, MD for the riches that it could bring. Last year’s lone Skilligalee brought it’s capturer over $1,400,000.
OCMD is historically a fishing town. Back then, men would simply drag boats to the water’s edge and navigate through the surf. Imagine these salty fellas yelling ‘SKILLIGALEE!’ over pounding wind and rain. In 1933 a hurricane tore a hole in the land creating a passable inlet, thus bettering life and fishing chances in Ocean City, MD.
For those that are not going to enter the tournament and want to enjoy the town fishing, there are quite a few options for you as well. An island, by definition, is surrounded by water and thats where you’ll find fish. The bulkhead at 2nd thru 4th Street is a free fishing zone, you can fish without a license here. You still need to be part of a registry (call 855-855-3906). Keeper flounder can be found there with a slacking tide. Anglers can also find sea bass, rock, spot, croaker, bluefish, tautog, and puppy drum. If the tides moving hard, cast straight down, its deep enough and you won’t get hung up. The OC Pier is another spot you can fish without a MD license. Kingfish and croaker have been running hot there these past couple weeks. The Route 50 bridge coming into Ocean City is also a hotspot for anglers. You’ll need a MD License for that, which are reasonably priced. So remember, you don’t need a big fancy boat to hook a nice fish in Ocean City, MD.
Speaking of big fancy boats… there are a few ways to enjoy Ocean City’s White Marlin Open. Known as ‘The World’s Largest Billfish Tournament’ and celebrating it’s 40th Anniversary this event is sure not to disappoint. One way to get into the action is simply entering the tournament. You’ll need a boat. A big boat. Think JAWS big. And then think, ‘We’re gonna need a bigger boat.’ For those that do enter, good luck! Another way to enjoy the tournament is to head down to the inlet and Harrison’s Harbor Watch Restaurant to watch the parade of big fancy boats heading out to sea. Harbor Watch has the best view in town and the seafarer knowledge to go with it. By far, the most popular way to take the action in is to head down to the Harbour Island Marina on 14th Street and the Bay. There you can watch the big fancy boats come in, witness the sea creatures being weighed and check out the vendors. There’s always a festival atmosphere going on down there and usually the town provides a shuttle from the convention center to the harbour. So, from August 5th through the 9th it’s ‘Skilligalee Week’ here in Ocean City, MD. Enjoy.