Last year we were contacted by Jon Bell and Richie Owens about fishing in Delaware. They wanted to know where they could find a guide to take them fishing for a unique journey. The boys are on a mission to catch a fish in every state. This idea came up one night while having a pint in a local pub (that is English for a beer at the bar). The boys are from England, and they plan on taking a few years to complete this adventure. When they told me what they wanted to do in emails over the winter, I was intrigued and said it would be my pleasure to take them fishing in Delaware. So last August 2013 they made their way to Lewes, DE in some ridiculous summer traffic and we took them surf fishing. You can read about that adventure here. When our adventure last year had ended, we said our goodbyes and I told them when you are ready to fish Maryland let me know it is just a hop, skip, and a jump away. Well, several weeks ago they contacted us and said we are coming down to knock Maryland off the list, state number seventeen.
When the boys were headed down I tried to make arrangements for them to stay totally forgetting it was race weekend in Dover. After some calls they found a spot in Rehoboth to crash for the night. In the off season finding a room in our area is usually no big deal, unless there are special events. I met Scott Jost at the Indian River Inlet and we piled into the truck and headed to Ocean City to meet the boys at the Oceanic fishing pier. The one that is inside of the Ocean City Inlet, just below the route 50 bridge. I took them there since it is only seven dollars per person to fish the pier without a Maryland fishing license. We had all the gear with us and picked up a box of squid from the shop and paid our pier fees. Since it doesn’t matter what these boys catch, but just the fact they need a fish per state and it allows them to explore the area, the pier was perfect. Especially since we didn’t need an out of state license. Within minutes the boys were hitting small bluefish and scup, now state number seventeen was completed. Our neighbor hit a nice lady fish with a squid strip on a speck rig. Now the plan originally was catch some fish, go get some crabcakes, then head to a beach in Delaware and relax with a day of surf fishing. When they had caught a bakers dozen of fish I said, “Do you boys want to hit the surf in Delaware or just hang here and fish the rest of the day?” They looked at each other and almost in unison said, “How far is Virginia from here?” Since we knocked out Maryland so fast they had the time to hit another state. I told them we were roughly an hour from Virginia. At this point everyone is looking at me, so I said … “Let me make a phone call and I will go ask Teddy and Rich in the Oceanic pier shop if they knew of a closer place in Virginia than Chincoteague.” I figured we would need licenses and all that jazz. The guys in the shop said Chincoteague is the closest most likely, but I knew a few spots at the bridge before the island, we would just need Virginia fishing licenses. Not far from where I viewed the Antares rocket last year in January at the Wallops flight facility.
So we loaded up in one vehicle, said goodbye to Teddy and Rich, hit Hoopers crab house, and away we were to Virginia. While at Hooper’s we watched boats stack up on the route 50 bridge, flounder pounding as the fish move out of the bay to the ocean. Before we left I contacted Capt. Steve’s Bait and Tackle and they informed us that you could fish the two piers in the town of Chincoteague, VA for free with just a FIN number for Virginia. That was a bonus and certainly motivated us to make the trip. So far the fishing cost was around five dollars for a box of squid, half of which we still had, and twenty eight dollars for four people to fish the Oceanic pier. Now we just had to get to Virginia and the fishing would be free, bonus! If you ever want to fish Maryland and have a great time check out the Oceanic Pier in Ocean City Maryland, Rich and Teddy are cool people and the rates are not too bad. Seven dollars a day for one day (24 hours), three day passes are eighteen dollars, a weekly pass is thirty dollars, thirty five dollars will get you an any day pass good for seven days for the year, and if you want a full year they start in April at two hundred dollars and you can take twenty five dollars off the rate for every month after April. I see more fishing at that pier in my future, it was a fun place,and some decent fishing. Not to mention I know a guy that told me a few tips for fishing there, just ask Teddy in the shop.
We hit Virginia in no time, and fortunately it was the same route I take to Wallops. We crossed the bridges into Chincoteague, there are a lot of oyster farms in the waterways there, good to see that industry thriving. In fact there were oysters growing on everything in the water that had structure. We drove into town, dropped by Capt. Steve’s Bait and Tackle, and met Connie and Jimmy. We can’t walk into a bait shop without checking out their selections, and wouldn’t you know they had the new PENN long cast reels in stock that just came out, now I know what I want for Christmas (Mom, I know you are reading this). We checked out the reels and started talking fishing like we always do, and the boys were getting anxious to go fishing. We said our thank yous and goodbyes and hit the road to the pier in town at the Robert Reed park on the Chincoteague channel. It is a new park located where the old draw bridge used to cross the channel. The pier is practically brand new and very clean, and the bonus was no one was there. The boys geared up and we went fishing. There were a lot of Jellyfish on the surface and needle fish everywhere. We used top and bottom rigs, owner hooks, with squid. Within minutes they were pulling in small sea bass one after the other. Virginia, state number eighteen had been knocked off the list within minutes of our arrival. I looked at the boys and said if you keep this up we could have all the states to Florida knocked out by five on Monday. They all laughed, I was serious, hey why not, we were on a roll. After a couple hours of fishing we packed up, gave the rest of the bait to the guys that were fishing next to us, and headed home to Delaware.
It was a pleasure taking Jon Bell and Richie Owens fishing and helping them knock out three states from their list for Fish the Fifty. This trip was the first time they knocked out two states in one day. They have a lot more to go and I am sure it will be quite an adventure. Hopefully we will see them again in the future for some fun fishing with no pressure to catch. They headed back to New York, and Scott and I headed to the Indian River Inlet. I fished the inlet earlier that morning and that evening. It was a fun trip I plan on taking a few more times. You can fish three states in one day for very little money. The largest expense is gas and driving time. The next time you are looking for a fishing adventure try this trip and go for the trifecta. We will have some guided trips set up like this for next year and possibly this fall. The Black Pearl Designated driver service buses are perfect for these trips with a group of people, especially the new JEEP (The Barnacle) which will be ready to roll in a week or so onto a beach near you.