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Maryland Weekly Fishing Report Overview | November 17, 2010

Chesapeake Bay

Earlier this week fishermen finally got a break from the windy weather that has been so dominant lately. Striped bass and white perch cooperated from the northern most limits of the bay at the base of the Conowingo Dam south to the Virginia Line. The winds have returned today but hopefully will subside soon. Water temperatures in the bay are hovering around the 54-degree mark and school sized striped bass, white perch and bait are starting to go deep. This is not to say breaking fish will not be encountered in the lower sections of the tidal rivers and the bay but vertical jigging and trolling deep are definitely paying big dividends for fishermen.

Fishermen are finding striped bass in all regions by casting swim shads and crankbaits and a host of other lures from shore and small boats around various types of shoreline structure. Old piers, breakwaters and channel edges are all good places to cover when looking for striped bass. Bottom rigs baited with bloodworms can also be deployed from prominent points and fishing piers by shore based fishermen in all regions of the bay.

Photo Courtesy James Houck. Click to Enlarge.

Fishermen in boats are finding striped bass by trolling a variety of bucktails and parachutes dressed with sassy shads as well as spoons. Those trolling in the tidal rivers have been focusing mostly on medium sized striped bass up to 30" in size. Out in the bay proper, fishermen are adding larger lures into their trolling spreads and picking away at some of the large fall migrant striped bass that have been moving into Maryland waters. The edges of the shipping channel from the Bay Bridge south have been the place to look for the big fish and some of the old traditional steep edges continue to be standouts. The sharp edge near the Bloody Point Light, the western edge of the shipping channel from Thomas Point south through Breezy Point to Cove Point and the areas around Buoys 80, 78 and 72 are all great places to troll. Captains report many of the big fish are coming from the flat lines at depths of 25' to 40' deep. James Houck holds up a nice one for us to see.

Light tackle jigging or vertical jigging is always popular this time of the year because it works so well when striped bass and bait are found deep. Depth finders are as important to fishermen this time of the year as a good bird dog is to bird hunters. Metal jigs or soft plastic jigs, fast action fishing rods and braided line on a conventional or spinning reel are the tools of the trade. Some fishermen will have a top shot of mono or fluorocarbon added to their braid but when fishing deep it doesn't seem to make much difference. The lower sections of many of the bays tidal rivers provided action this past weekend; mostly near channel edges and deep water lumps or reefs. Good reports came in this past Sunday from the mouth of the Chester, Choptank, West, Nanticoke, Patuxent and Potomac Rivers.

White perch are schooling up in the lower sections of many tidal rivers over oyster reefs or similar structure. Jigging with small metal jigs with a dropper fly is a very popular and effective way to catch a mess of fat white perch this time of the year. Many of the reefs and shoals are holding white perch in the upper bay, the rock piles at the Bay Bridge are a very good place to try as is Hackett's Bar and similar type bars and reefs throughout the bay.

Freshwater

Photo Courtesy John Mullican. Click to Enlarge.

Cool weather and cold nights continue to lower water temperatures in the state's freshwater lakes and ponds. Many of the larger lakes in the western region have or will soon experience the annual fall turnover of deep and surface waters. Fishermen are reporting good fishing for a mix of large yellow perch, walleye and largemouth bass on the outside edges of the thick wild celery grass beds in Deep Creek Lake. Slow trolling with Rapalas or drifting live minnows are a good way to catch them. Good smallmouth bass fishing is being reported on some of the rocky points on the lake. Trout streams and rivers in the western and central regions have been running low and clear but today's rains may help the situation.

Fishing for largemouth bass has been good in all areas of the state; cooling water temperatures have the bass on the prowl for baitfish and crawfish that are moving towards deeper cover as grass beds diminish and shallow areas cool down. Fish the transition zones near drop offs with drop shot rigged Senkos, tubes, jigs and crankbaits; slow and close to the bottom. Smallmouth bass fishing in reservoirs such as Prettyboy has been excellent also and crawfish imitations are the bait of choice. John Mullican sent in this beautiful picture of a Monocacy smallmouth bass.

Photo Courtesy Fisheries Archive. Click to Enlarge.

Oceanside

Ocean City area fishermen will be focusing on the good tautog fishing at the inlet area this week and the top of ebb tide is the time to be there. More and more striped bass are being caught at night; casting bucktails, swim shads and swimming plugs have been effective. Drifting live eels and spot are an excellent choice also. Surf fishermen are seeing the fishing for striped bass improving as the fall migration moves through the area. Surf conditions have been rough at times so check conditions before you make the drive. This old picture was found recently in an old file cabinet here at the Fisheries Service and I thought it was worth sharing. Fishermen are vigilant and hopeful as ever but check out those vintage vehicles. This picture shows the beach at either Assateague or Ocean City, probably in the late fifties.

The boats that are venturing outside the Ocean City Inlet are finding excellent fishing for striped bass and large bluefish around the shoal areas off the beaches such as Fenwick, Isle of Wight and Gull Shoals. Most boats are trolling a mix of parachutes, bucktails, spoons and Stretch crankbaits.

Sea bass fishing has been good with most fishermen being able to put double digit or limit catches together. Tautog fishing has also been very good on most of the inshore wreck and reef sites.

What I'm trying to do is tell you how nice it was in the fall, in late October and early November, when the big blues ran close to shore to fed off minnows and the sand fleas. Looking back, I can't think of any real big fish we caught or any lives we saved, or anything poetic or fancy. I do remember an infection I caught- that is the feeling of wonderful contentment a man can have on a lonesome beach that is chilling itself up for winter, sort of practice-swinging to get ready for the bitter cold that's coming.
-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.


Latest Angler's Log Reports


Don Cosden
Fisheries Biologist
Total Reports:
9
Sent in on: October 30, 2014 Permalink

Dodging the Wind

Type: Chesapeake
Region: Mid Bay
Location: Edge of Shipping Channel
Tags: striped bass, perch

Fishing for me lately has largely meant dodging the wind. Several trips in October were spent in West and Rhode River catching perch and an occasional striper on a lee shore. On Sat. (25th) the forecast looked good so we ventured out in search of breaking fish to cast to. Unfortunately the forecast was a little inaccurate. 15 knots can whip up some mighty rough and wet conditions in a small skiff so we stayed in shallow. After several hours we had only one small rockfish. Finally the wind subsided a little we started to search the edges of the shipping channel. Plenty of fish on the depth sounder and birds searching but nothing on top so I started to jig a ½ oz silver buddy at the 30’ contour. I was just about to give it up and Wham! Something grabbed my bait and took off. This fish made several long runs that were so fast I thought I was on to a big bluefish or maybe even a cobia. My wife finally got the net on it and we snapped and quick picture and released it. This fish looked like a prime spawner and we prefer to eat the smaller ones anyway. I later heard that fish were breaking everywhere early Sunday morning.

 PHOTOS 

Brenner Bookhamer
Youth Angler
Baltimore, MD
Total Reports:
1
Sent in on: October 30, 2014 Permalink

Only One to Catch a Fish

Type: Chesapeake
Region: upper Bay
Location: Mouth of Patapsco River
Tags: striped bass

I went fishing with my mommy and daddy and was the only one to catch a fish! It was really exciting and I had a lot of fun! I caught this 19" rockfish at the mouth of Patapsco River trolling on 10/27/14.

 PHOTOS 

Connor Shank
Youth Angler
Damascus, MD
Total Reports:
2
Sent in on: October 30, 2014 Permalink

First Cast Was All it Took

Type: Chesapeake
Region: Upper Bay
Location: Chesapeake Bay Bridge
Tags: striped bass

My dad and I went out on the bay and on my fist cast I caught this 26" striper. That was the one and only catch of the day!

 PHOTOS