Fishermen continue to report good catch and release fishing for hickory shad at Deer Creek and in the Susquehanna River up to the Conowingo Dam. Fishermen are also starting to catch and release American shad in earnest below the dam; especially during water releases. The river also seems to be full of small white perch and good numbers of channel catfish. Fishermen continue to fish in the catch and release areas of the lower river and flats looking for pre-spawn striped bass. The numbers of striped bass in the catch and release areas is beginning to thin out as the fish continue to spawn in the Elk River. Fishermen did report good topwater action in the shallower areas during the weekend at times; live herring, cut herring, soft plastic jigs, large crankbaits and topwater lures have all been good options this past weekend. Herb Floyd sent in this nice picture of Jim Sargent holding up a nice striped bass before releasing it and a bit of a story. "We caught a total of 6 Rock throughout the day casting spoons including one estimated at 20 lbs.; late in the day on an outgoing tide, Jim snagged a live herring casting a swimming plug. We decided to live line the herring on circle hook. We had one rock run off with the herring but failed to hook him. A second rock shortly picked up the now dead herring and ran off about 30 feet of line before Jim set the hook."
Fishermen that were trolling for striped bass to keep below the Brewerton Channel did better this past weekend in regard to finding good fishing. The word blitz was never mentioned but fishermen were able to put some decent catches together closer to their home ports and not run their gas tanks dry from running south to areas below the Bay Bridge. The shipping channel edges and the Dumping Grounds offered the best reports and fishermen described the action as a comfortable pick. The best fishing seemed to occur very early in the morning and towards evening before the cold front moved in. Planner boards and flat lines trailing a distance behind the stern tended to offer the most action. Umbrella rigs in chartreuse and white were the order of the day with tandem rigs a close second. Parachutes and bucktails dressed with sassy shads have been the most popular “fish getters” but a number of anglers reported good luck with spoons in regards to catching fish and others bad luck with the mechanics of trolling with them. As anyone who’s ever trolled spoons in a multi-line set up will tell you; “when you cross lines with a spoon in the mix you really get a big twisted up mess”. Mike Davis holds up a nice fish caught near the Dumping Grounds.
Shoreline fishermen were out in force over the weekend due in part to the beautiful weather. Reports of large striped bass from Sandy Point State Park and Matapeake Fishing Pier were scant this week but a few were caught and one fisherman told of seeing a croaker caught on a bloodworm rig. White perch continue to move closer to the bay and can now be found at the mouth of many of the tidal rivers in the region.
Mid Bay Region:
Most fishermen that went out trolling for large striped bass this past weekend reported good fishing in a number of locations. Most also agreed that the fishing was better than what they experienced on opening day in regards to crowds and availability of fish. The eastern side of the shipping channel from the Gum Thickets south to Bloody Point and to Buoy 83 accounted for a lot of the reported action in the middle bay region over the weekend and late last week. The area around Buoy 83 really stood out as a real producer for fishermen; especially early in the morning before it attracted too much attention. Thomas Point and the steep channel edge from Breezy Point south to Cove Point on the western side of the bay was an excellent place to troll lately. Breezy Point really stood out as a hot spot for fishermen and produced a lot of fish. Other locations of note were the False Channel area at the mouth of the Choptank and around the CR Buoy. Boat traffic tended to scatter fish that were traveling close to the surface; especially at the better locations that drew boats but most captains and fishermen are reporting a good pick. The best action for surface traveling striped bass has been early in the morning, towards the evening hours and any place one can get off by themselves where there is little boat traffic. John Maher holds up a nice fish caught on a white umbrella rig off Breezy Point.
Fishermen can expect to see more big striped bass moving through the mid-bay region as the last of the Choptank River post-spawn fish continue to pour out of the Choptank and the first of the upper bay spawning fish begin to move through the region. The upper bay spawning population of striped bass will most likely keep supplying fish to the region till the end of the season on May 13th.
Fishermen have been talking about croakers lately in the shallower waters of the region; especially along places such as the James Island Flats, the mouth of the Choptank and the Sharps Island area. There were even a couple of reports of a few croakers being caught at the Choptank Fishing Pier while fishermen were fishing for white perch. Water temperatures in the middle bay region are in the low 60’s and the warmer shallow areas will often tend to hold more croakers; especially in the evening hours.
Lower Bay/Tangier Sound Region:
Fishermen are reporting good fishing for large striped bass throughout the lower bay region and particular the steep shipping channel edge from Cove Point south to Point No Point. The areas around Hooper’s Island Light and Buoy 72 have also been standouts. Perhaps the best reports over the weekend came from the mouth of the Potomac due to a large concentration of striped bass moving down the river from the spawning areas farther up the river. The region from St. Clements Island south to the St. Georges Island area reported excellent fishing and accounted for a number of really big post-spawn fish. Post-spawn striped will continue to move out of the Nanticoke and Patuxent Rivers also; although the largest percentage of these fish has most likely moved through the lower bay region by now. Ken Zborowski Jr. picked up this nice fish while trolling with his dad on the eastern side of the lower bay recently.
There certainly are other fishing opportunities in the lower bay region at the moment and croakers are at the top of the list for many fishermen. The croaker fishing in the lower Potomac River around the Bushwood/Wicomico River area has been attracting the attention of bottom fishermen for a good week now and some anglers are reporting catching limits of 25 large croakers. Most fishermen are reporting more modest catches but those longing for fresh croaker fillets have not been disappointed. The croakers are off course spread down the Potomac and above Point Lookout on the bay side. The mouth of the Honga River, the Nanticoke and Tangier Sound area also report good croaker fishing with white perch thrown into the mix in the lower river areas. The NOAA Buoy at Point Lookout is currently showing a water temperature of 61-degrees; so more croakers will certainly be moving into the region as water temperatures steadily climb.