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Maryland Weekly Fishing Report Overview | September 1, 2010

We all knew it was coming and here it is; today is the 1st of September and the promise of a post Labor Day atmosphere at the resort areas and cooler temperatures hangs in the air. Many fishermen are ready for the cooler temperatures of September and October and the wonderful fishing that occurs during those months.

September for me personally also means hearing elk bugling in the Rocky Mountains so I will be taking a vacation soon. Joe Evans will be filling in for the fishing report in my absence and I'm sure you will all enjoy his writing style.

Maryland Fishing Challenge Featuring Diamond Jim

The Fishing Challenge for the 2009/2010 season is coming to an end with the grand celebration occurring on September 11th at Sandy Point State Park. There is still time to catch an award sized fish so check the website to see what size fish qualify and where to check them in. For those who always wait till the last minute; if there is not enough time, just bring your copy of your entry form to the festivities. Bill Heisterhage of Easton was out fishing with his fishing buddy George Fink out at the mouth of the Miles River last week and caught a Diamond Jim striped bass. Bill's fish was tagged at the mouth of Eastern Bay for the August round of Diamond Jim so Bill's fish could be worth $25,000. In keeping with the fan fare of the big event on September 11th; Bill will not get to learn if he has won the $25,000 check until he steps up onto the stage. We'll all keep out fingers crossed for Bill; who couldn't use $25,000 these days.

Chesapeake Bay

Upper bay region fishermen continue to fish for a mix of striped bass, small bluefish, white perch and a few Spanish mackerel are also being caught. Most of the Spanish mackerel are being caught by fishermen trolling small spoons such as Clark and Drone spoons. Gold seems to be a number one choice when deciding which color to use; Clark spoons of course come in gold and Drone spoons can be all gold or the black with gold has been a real hot item lately. All are being trolled behind #1 or #2 planers and inline weights. The Spanish mackerel, bluefish and striped bass have been working on schools of bay anchovies in the region. Casting to breaking fish is also an often exciting option when and where the action can be spotted. Most often the striped bass on top are less than 18" in length but often there are some larger ones underneath.

Photo Courtesy Dan Smith, click to enlarge.

Chumming and chunking is still a good option at traditional locations such as the Swan Point, Love Point and Podickory Point areas. Fishermen report the best action is occurring early in the morning on a fast moving tide with baits close to the bottom. Fishermen are also live lining spot either in their chum slicks or on channel edges and structure such as the Bay Bridge piers. Dan Smith was fishing a fresh chunk of spot near the bottom while fishing for striped bass at Podickory Point when he hooked into this big black drum.

White perch are providing a lot of good fishing at most hard-bottomed points and shoals in the lower sections of the tidal rivers and out in the bay. Small dropper flies above jigs, beetle spin type lures and bottom rigs baited with bloodworms or grass shrimp will all do the trick. Fishing for channel catfish in the channel areas near the Susquehanna and Elk Rivers has also been very good.

Fishermen's attention in the middle bay region has been mostly focused on the good fishing for a mix of striped bass, bluefish and Spanish mackerel. They can be often found breaking water as they chase bay anchovies out in the bay. Casting to breaking fish or trolling small spoons behind planers have been the most popular methods of fishing for the mix. Those fishermen targeting striped bass have been live lining spot at traditional channel edges such as the Hill, the Diamonds and the False Channel.

White perch fishing on hard-bottomed points and shoals remains good this week as well as shoreline structure in the lower sections of the tidal rivers. Croaker fishing at night continues to be good at locations such as the Gooses and the mouth of Eastern Bay.

The lower Bay region offers a wide range of fishing opportunities this week over a lot of territory. A mix of striped bass, bluefish and Spanish mackerel are spread throughout the region. Most fishermen are trolling small spoons out in the bay for the trio but those targeting striped bass have been live lining spot at channel edges such as out in front of the Gas Docks. The largest concentration of bluefish is in the Middle Grounds area and they can be caught by chumming or trolling spoons and surge tube lures. Large red drum continue to be found behind Buoy 72 and north of the Target Ship and are being caught and released by fishermen trolling spoons. Chumming for a mix of bluefish and striped bass has also been productive in the mouth of the Potomac River. Several cobia have been caught recently in the region so keep an eye out for them also; they make for some fine eating.

Fishermen in the Tangier Sound area are catching a mix of spot and croaker while bottom fishing with a few flounder and bluefish tossed in. The flounder fishing this season has been rather lack luster as compared to last year but the best catches have been coming from the Pocomoke and Tangier Sound areas. There has been quite a bit of shallow water fishing for speckled trout in the last couple of weeks along the eastern side of the bay's tidal marshes. Information is tough to dig out since the fishermen who target them are tighter than an oyster at low tide. Gulp swimming mullet lures are usually the hot ticket but drifting peeler crab baits in deep current flowing from the tidal marshes can also pay off.

Recreational crabbing continues to be very good in all three regions of the bay. Water temperatures are down close to 80-degrees in most areas and the crabs are beginning to feel the urge to feed heavily. The month of September usually holds the best opportunity for catching the fattest crabs of the season and for also offering a little more elbow room out on the water.

Photo Courtesy Newell Fields, click to enlarge.

Freshwater

Freshwater fishermen are beginning to see water temperatures slowly drop to more acceptable levels for fish and the fish are responding by becoming more active. Trout fishing in the western region's streams and creeks is good and large trout continue to be caught near the dam at Deep Creek Lake. Smallmouth bass fishing in Deep Creek Lake and the upper Potomac River can also be good. Be sure to check out the Angler's Log for "Old Rag and Summer" which talks about smallmouth bass fishing on the upper Potomac recently.

Largemouth bass fishermen are reporting that the bass are beginning to move outside of the thick grass areas more and more as water temperatures cool. Fishing the grass and its edges continues to be a good place to focus on. Whacky rigged worms such as Senkos fished through the grass or casting spinnerbaits and crankbaits around the outside edges are all good tactics. Newell Fields found this nice largemouth bass while fishing a Senko under some lily pads in a Cecil County pond.

Ocean Side

Flounder fishing in the back bay areas of Ocean City has generally been good this week but cloudy water can change that in a heartbeat. A lot of fishermen have been going to large baits and targeting just the big doormat size flounder by using live spot and large Gulp baits. There are also a lot of small sea bass and sea robins inside the inlet that can chew up small strip baits in a hurry. Bluefish continue to pour through the inlet on evening flood tides; Got-Cha lures are the number one choice for casting to the blues. Triggerfish, sheepshead and tautog are being caught during the day at the inlet on sand fleas. Surf fishermen are catching a mix of kingfish, croaker, spot, small bluefish and flounder in the surf. Towards evening, fishermen using stout tackle and large baits are catching and releasing a variety of large sharks with duskies being the most common this week.

Out beyond the beaches fishermen are catching croakers and out at the wreck sites sea bass, triggerfish, tautog and flounder are coming over the rail. Perhaps the biggest story coming out of the Ocean City scene this week are the epic catch and release catches reported by the sport fish boat fleet on Monday. Boats reported releases of white marlin in the 20's and 30's and one boat boasted of 57 releases in one day of fishing. The whites apparently were working on a large mass of bait and were concentrated around that area of bait. Bailer dolphin are being found out at the lobster pot buoys and gaffer sized dolphin and a mix of small yellowfin tuna and an occasional wahoo are being

"All the wisdom of the world is centered in the diamond-back", the old man said. "If you ain't too busy, I will proceed to elucidate".

"Well, even today as poor as everybody is, with depression and all, a terrapin stew costs ten dollars a quart. In a hotel it'll cost you three-fifty a plate if you can get it at all. This means that I couldn't buy it even if I could eat it. And I can't eat it, because it's to rich, for one thing, and another reason is that you have to make it with a decent sherry wine. With this goldanged Prohibition, you can't get any decent sherry wine. And if you could buy it, the doctors say it would be bad for my blood pressure or something. So between scarcity, poverty, Prohibition and the gout, I am not a candidate for terrapin stew. It shows you the futility of living too long".

-- Robert Ruark, The Old Man and the Boy

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Keith Lockwood has been writing the Fishing Report since 2003 and has had a long career as a fisheries research biologist since 1973. Over the course of his career he has studied estuarine fishery populations, ocean species, and over a decade long study of bioaccumulation of chemicals in aquatic species in New Jersey. Upon moving to Oxford on the eastern shore of Maryland; research endeavors focused on a variety of catch and release studies as well as other fisheries related research at the Cooperative Oxford Laboratory. Education and outreach to the fishing public has always been an important component to the mission of these studies. Keith is an avid outdoorsman enjoying hunting, fishing, bird dogs, family and life on the eastern shore of Maryland.