Assateague Island Surf fishing
One of the advantages of Chincoteague's location is the easy access to surf fishing in nearby Assateague Island. Surf fishing is relatively inexpensive, peaceful, requires little in specialized tackle and no boat is needed. Anglers can reach the surf on foot from Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, or drive on designated areas with a 4 wheel drive vehicle. A permit is required for oversand vehicles.
Basic surf rods and spinning or bait casting reels are typical for surf fishing. Common setups use 17 – 20 lb test monofilament line.
Most anglers use just a few basic rigs for bait fishing. A hi-lo rig catches smaller fish, while the finder rig is used for larger catches. The hi-lo rig is a leader with a weight snap at the bottom and two dropper loops about 16” apart. The fish finder consists of a 7/0 – 8/0 circle hook (or larger) tied to 20”-30” of leader which in turn is tied to a 3-way swivel, which has a weight and the main line attached. A variation uses the same size hook tied to the end of a 12-20+” leader with a weight slide above the swivel end of the leader. The second fish finder rig casts farther and easier and the fish can pick up the bait and go further before noticing the weight. Using circle hooks help prevent deeply hooked fish and don't require setting the hook.
Local tackle shops will have a variety of baits for surf fishing. General baits for a variety of fish will include squid, bloodworms and clams. Fresh or frozen bunker, cut into chunks and heads are a good bait of choice for drum, bluefish and striped bass.
Fishing begins in March but most anglers concentrate on fishing from Mid April-thru late fall. Species vary from week to week. Local fish may include red and black drum, flounder, striped bass, trout, croaker, spot, kingfish, bluefish, small sharks and others.
Submitted by: cin