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earlyworm

Assateague Surf Fishing

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I went to Assateague to go surf fishing for the first time in the early fall last year with a few friends and had a good time. I usually fish for stripers on the beaches up in Ocean County, NJ but recently lost my family's house there during the storm. Long story short I won't be doing much if any fishin up there this year and am looking to get some info on AI.

 

I'd really like to target stripers and drum there, but really don't know much about the timing of the runs. The extent of my knowledge of fishing for reds is a fishfinder rig and a chunk of fresh bunker or spot. I'm used to fishing both bait and lures but haven't been able to find much info on throwing lures in the surf at AI, any input on that would be really helpful. Also, any early season action on stripers would be great, because I'm itchin to get out of the house. Anyways, I have a beach buggy permit and would be fishing the MD portion unless fishing the VA part is worth the extra $$. I'd be willing to meet up and take a trip with someone if they wanted. I appreciate your help in advance.

 

Thanks and have a good one,

Joe

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Oh right I forgot about that, the 24 hr permit is the one that's more expensive...you have any input on which side tends to be better? I've heard the VA side might be better for redfish in the fall? And any info on early stripers/drum in the surf? I'm trying to get out surf fishing a little earlier in the season than I usually do, maybe make a couple trips in April, early May...

 

Thanks,

Joe

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AI is all one Island, both sides about the same, beach is pretty narrow on the VA side and is more prone to wash over at high tide. Gotta figure if your fishing for early season stripers, the VA side should be productive first, they got to swim past there to make it to the MD side. Page back through the fishing reports for the past couple years, you'll pick up a lot of good info.

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Maryland seems to be the northern range for the big reds but I don't know that one side of Assateague is better than the other. Although the further south the better your chances would seem to make sense. This was the first year I fished the VA and MD side equally during red drum season and the only big reds I caught were on the MD side for what's it's worth. Mid-September to mid-October is peak for the bulls. Chunks of everything work... This past year was exceptionally good for puppy reds pretty much anywhere along Delmarva.

 

Peak for the spring run is mid-April to just before Memorial day typically. Can start mid-March though if water temps agree. I've stuck with crab, clam, and fleas in the spring lately. Haven't caught a spring fish on chunks/heads in at least two years. You won't see many lure tossers on Assateague like you do in Jersey, but some give it a go.

 

Note about the VA side buggy access.... its pretty much closed up in the spring for buggy use because of nesting plovers. Starting March 15th, they close all but about 1.5 miles of beach for driving. By mid June it can sometimes be almost completely closed because of bird nestlings running around. Vehicle limit is only 18 during that time too so get there early if you plan to drive on to fish. Re-opens completely just before red drum season starts, September 1st.

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Like castnet said the nesting plover controls all. Last spring the AIVA beach was closed down early, maybe the warm march, I've been there in May and you can drive to the hook almost to the end of the month without closures.



If your there when the fish are, it really doesnt make a difference where you are IMHO.


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I've been coming down to AI VA since I was a kid.  Recently got hooked on surf fishing for more than just your usual summer mixed bag and have been down the last 3 years in early May in addition to my regular vacation with the family.  Last year we managed to get that trip in the first week of Sept. which was great b/c you had access all the way to the hook.



 



This year, not so lucky, daughter will be in Kindergarten and wife doesn't want her missing the first week of school, so we are going the last week of Aug. 



 



Question is; is the re-opening of the OSV area a solid Sept. 1 or is it subjective if the sand chickens have done there thing and left?



 



Really hoping its the latter, but if not, is anthing in the OSV open prior too that date?



 



Thanks,



 



 



Brady


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It's pretty much standard that every year from March 15th - September 1st the beach is closed south of the coast guard station. The overwash area (from the OSV entrance south to the coast guard station) will usually re-open once the birds are done around mid-August but it's not guaranteed.

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Thanks everyone, this is great info, really appreciate it. I knew those plovers are a huge issue in NC but didn't realize they compromise so much beach access in MD too. Wonder what plover nuggets taste like... ;) Castnet, interesting about not getting em on bunker the last couple years, hopefully it'll change this year with the catch reduction.

 

Anyways, one last question...I can get fresh clams for bait up in NJ, but do any of the shops carry them down here? I just find the frozen ones don't work as well and don't stay on the hooks too great either. And do you all find yourselves fishing the structure differently for stripers than you do reds? It seems like a lot of guys fishing for the drum are set up on shallower points than the troughs and cuts I'm used to fishing for stripers. Could be my imagination though...

 

Hope to see some of you out there in April, have a good one,

 

Joe

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Joe, the local b&t' s have bay clams at times mostly in the spring.You won't find surf clams here.Sorry to hear about your families house.My family lives in Ocean County and I take several trips a year up there.I always bring back a hundred or two clams , keep em in bags tied to a piling at the marina.I'm heading that way tommorow to try to get my first bass or blackie of the year on the sod banks.

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The Delaware shops carry surf clams for the black drum fishermen in the DE Bay. Bill's Sport Shop in Lewes always has salted and sometimes but not always fresh. Call a few days ahead and they can order a bushel for you.

 

Seawatch is a clam processor in Milford. You can call ahead and make arrangements to buy surf clams there. They are human/food consumption grade so they are more expensive. However, some say it's worth it since you'll be getting fresher clams. And if you've used them in Jersey you know bait clams can sometimes be a bit "funky".

 

I'd call Martin's Seafood in Ocean City. Don't know about the present but I know surf clam boats used to run out of OC so Martin's might be able to fix you up or point you in the right direction.

 

Even if you have to go a little out of your way if it's clams you want the surfs work way better than chowders.

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I didn't have much luck with anything other than peelers last May. Not sure if it is any better in April with clams, but they weren't hitting in May. I have some videos on Youtube of how to prep and rig peelers for bait on a circle hook. I'm sure there are other videos as well but i could use the views and likes:) I'm just not sure if I'm allowed to advertise myself in the forums here.

 

At any rate I would go with some fresh peelers in the spring on AI on the VA end. Never fished the MD end due to always renting a house CI. Either way, good luck and PM if you wanna see the videos on peelers.

 

J

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Md808, hope your family's place fared better than most, and good luck on the sod banks. Never personally fished that area bc i wouldn't know where to go but I've heard it's awesome in the early season. Great idea with bringing clams back to the marina, bet they're good bait for most of the bottom species in the bay too.

 

Plug, thanks for the info, gonna give those places a try. My backup plan was to try and use some of the cherrystones sold at the local seafood places, but the bellies would be so small I imagine I'd need a lot of them.

 

Donkey, gonna send a pm your way, thanks for the input on the peelers.

 

Thanks again everyone,

Joe

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