Mid Atlantic Saltwater Fishing
Saltwater Fishing of the Mid-Atlantic
This page has information on saltwater fishing along the mid Atlantic coast of the USA. This includes surf, bay, inshore and offshore fishing from New York to North Carolina.
Inshore anglers in the Mid Atlantic region catch species such as striped bass, seatrout, bluefish, tautog, sea bass, porgy, spot, croaker, kingfish, black drum, red drum and cobia.
Offshore fishing of the region features trips to catch tuna, marlin, swordfish, mahi mahi, sharks, grouper, tilefish and other fish.
Mid-Atlantic Inshore Saltwater Fish
Striped bass have several regional names. Known as striped bass, stripers, linesides, rockfish and other names, this fish is highly sought after as a recreational fish, as a commercial species and is even grown in aquaculture operations. Striped bass are very hardy fish, and even take to life in freshwater where they are often stocked throughout the USA. Rigs and baits for striped bass vary with their location and what the fish are feeding on. In some areas cut baits are used, including clams, fish, crabs, shrimp, squid, bloodworms or other baits. Anglers also troll, jig, cast artificial lures and fly fish for striped bass.
Atlantic Croaker or "hardhead" are popular saltwater fish common along the Atlantic coast. The fish get their names because of the "croaking" noise the make when removed from the water. Croakers are hard fighters and prolific feeders. They are caught on a variety of baits and lures and even go after flies in shallow water areas. Croakers are easily accessible, being caught on piers, jetties, small boats, charter boats and head boats.
Bluefish are an exciting gamefish. They are found all along the USA east coast, sometimes in large schools. The fish are voracious feeders and are known for their sharp teeth and ability to demolish even the strongest tackle. In some areas cut baits are used, including squid, fish, bloodworms or other baits. Anglers also troll, jig, cast artificial lures and fly fish for bluefish. The fish have dark, oily meat but are excellent smoked.
Sea Bass fishing is popular along the Atlantic coast. Anglers fish year round for this exceptionally delicious fish, although the fish migrate to deeper water in winter. Peak fishing is usually May and early June and again in the fall. In the spring, wrecks, reefs and rough bottom in depths of 50 - 80 feet usually hold the most fish. Bigger fish can sometimes be enticed by using larger baits. Favorite rigs for bigger fish include single hook rigs with a whole squid for bait, large bucktail jigs with squid strips and large metal jigs. The larger baits catch less total fish but with a much higher average weight. Black sea bass are excellent table fare. The meat is firm, white and delicious and is served fried, grilled, baked or broiled.
Spot occur along the Atlantic coast in estuarine and coastal waters from the Gulf of Maine to Florida, although they are most abundant from Chesapeake Bay south to South Carolina. Spot are fun to catch and a great fish for anglers of all ages. Spot are caught along inlets, fishing piers and in inshore bays. Anglers use standard 2 hook rigs, using small hooks and small pieces of bait. Popular baits include bloodworms, shrimp, clam and synthetic bloodworm type baits.
Summer flounder are found around inlets, jetties and dropoffs. Flounder are not born with both eyes on one side. During growth, the "bottom" eye migrates to the upward-facing side of its body. This allows the flounder to lie on one side, burying in the sand where it can ambush its prey. Flounder feed on a variety of small fish and crustaceans
Tautog live along the Atlantic coast of North America from Nova Scotia to South Carolina. Tautog live in structure such as rocky bottoms, wreckages and reefs. Tautog are a challenge to catch and thrilling to fish for. Tackle and techniques are simple and no prior experience is needed to catch these tasty fish. They vary in size from about 12 inches to perhaps 12 lbs or more. They are very tough fighters and excellent table fare.
Red drum or redfish can be caught in a myriad of ways. Probably the most widely utilized technique for catching red drum along the Atlantic coast is to anchor along a channel edge or shoal and bottom fish with cut peeler crab bait or other baits including, squid, cut spot, live spot and even chicken breast soaked in peeler crab oil. Surf fishing is a another way to catch red drum. Along the Atlantic beaches and barrier islands, anglers use a fish finder or other rig and fish with baits such as whole spot, spot fillets or heads, mullet, bluefish fillets, crabs, shrimp or other baits. Further South, anglers fish flats and grass beds with live baits such as shrimp or cast artificial lures or saltwater flies to red drum.
Weakfish are beautiful fish. The name "weakfish" comes from the fish's fragile mouth, which tears easily when hooked. Typically, weakfish have a dark olive back, iridescent blue and copper sides and a silvery white belly. Other identifying features are yellow fins, large canine teeth in the upper jaw and dark spots on the upper part of the body, sometimes forming diagonal lines. Most adult weakfish range from 12 to 18 inches but can grow up to to 3 feet long and weigh 4-18 pounds. Weakfish are members of the drum family, which includes spot, red drum, back drum and Atlantic croaker. This family of fish make a drumming or croaking sound by vibrating its swim bladder using special muscles.
Mid Atlantic Saltwater Fishing Links
- Mid Atlantic Fishing
Fishing reports, GPS coordinates, charter boats, surf fishing, pier fishing, flounder fishing, shark fishing, tuna fishing, fishing tackle and more.
Mid Atlantic Offshore Fishing
Offshore Fishing From New Jersey to the North Carolina Border
The waters off the mid-Atlantic coast offer a variety of opportunities for offshore fishermen. Spring weather is usually very windy and boats don't often get to fish in the ocean much in the early season. When a calm day presents itself, inshore anglers go to sea in search of cod, pollock, tautog or sea bass that orient to local shipwrecks and artificial reefs.
By June, monster bluefish arrive and are often present in enormous numbers along the 20 fathom line. This fishing varies and bluefish may appear from 10-30 nautical miles off the coast.
Days behind the bluefish are several species of sharks, the most sought after being the mako. Sandbar, tiger, thresher, blue, blacktip, bull, hammerhead and other sharks also begin to appear about this time. Local anglers attract sharks by chumming with ground fish, then using wire leaders baited with whatever bait can be attained. Fresh baits like bluefish, trout, mackerel, bonita, or false albacore are preferred.
By mid-June, tuna often appear off the coast. Bluefin tuna prefer cooler water and usually arrive first. In the early season, bluefin are caught among the vicious bluefish by trolling. By July, some anglers switch tactics and fish for tuna with cut butterfish or fish with metal jigs around inshore lumps.
About the same time, yellowfin and mahi mahi begin to appear and many anglers troll for them as far out as Baltimore, Washington, Poorman's and Norfolk Canyons. Some canyon fishing trips can exceed 70 nautical miles.
In the Mid-Atlantic, deep sea corals provide important habitat for saltwater fish and other sea life. Deep sea coral species help create complex communities that exist in areas where rocky outcrops or other hard substrates provide anchoring surfaces.