The Susquehanna River and areas near its mouth and that of the Elk River are settling into what seems to be a summer pattern of fishing. There is a little action for striped bass below the Conowingo Dam when there is an evening water release but the fishing for striped bass is slow in between. Casting crankbaits, Storms or drifting live eels have been producing a few striped bass for local fishermen during the releases. Officials at the dam have been pretty stingy with water this past month and it is doubtful much will change in the future as summer settles in. Most fishermen are enjoying good fishing for channel catfish, white perch and largemouth bass. In fact the largemouth bass fishing out on the flats in the thick grass has been very good. Josh Smith was casting soft plastics into the grass recently on the flats when he caught and released this whopper largemouth bass that tipped the scales at over 7-pounds.
Farther down the bay fishermen are poking around shoreline structure casting surface lures, plastic jigs and a variety of crankbaits for striped bass in the early morning and evening hours. Most are catching fish in the 15” to 22” size range. Out in the channel areas outside of Baltimore Harbor jigging plastic jigs over marked fish or bottom bouncing bucktails have been productive.
Fishermen have been chumming in the Love Point and Triple Buoys area for striped bass with fair to good success this week. They do mention that it often pays to mark fish before setting up and a good current is essential. Fresh bait and chum is a real asset and baits close to the bottom have been catching the largest fish.
Trolling a mix of Storm shads and bucktails dressed with sassy shads behind umbrella rigs has been a popular way to catch striped bass this week in the upper bay. The areas around the Triple Buoys, Love Point, the Mud Flats, Dumping Grounds and Podickory Point have all been popular locations this week.
The bridge piers and rock piles of the Bay Bridge are always a good place to look for some striped bass action and this week is no different. Jigging near the piers or rock piles is producing a mix of striped bass and white perch. In the early morning and late evening hours casting Storm shads, jerkbaits and surface poppers about 1/3 of the way out from shore has been paying off for some fishermen; especially below the Sewer Pipe on a falling tide.
Good fishing for white perch can be found on many of the shoal areas out in the bay and the tidal creeks. Small jigs or shad darts tipped with grass shrimp or a piece of bloodworm or bottom rigs can put a mess of fat white perch in an ice chest. Spot and croakers are showing up with more regularity this week near the mouths of the Magothy and Chester Rivers. Recreational crabbing continues to be rather slow but traditionally picks up later in July.
Middle Bay Region
In between dodging thunderstorms fishermen have been enjoying good fishing this week throughout most of the region. Trolling for striped bass is very popular this week and the area on the western side of the shipping channel off Parkers creek and the Gas Docks have been prime locations. The fish tend to be holding on the 30’ to 40’ edge and umbrella rigs festooned with spoons or sassy shads and having Storms or bucktails dressed with a sassy shad have been the most popular offering. For those wishing to use lighter tackle and fewer lines out behind the boat 5-1/2” red and white diving Rapala’s or similar type plugs can offer some relief from heavy tackle and umbrella rigs. Planers can also offer an alternative to heavy weights to get bucktails and Storms down deeper. Bluefish are being reported in the lower bay so don’t be surprised if one or two of your soft plastics come up short.
Live lining spot has shifted to high gear this week as fishermen are now finding spot in many of the regions tidal rivers. Fishermen still have to work at catching their baits but the whole process has become a lot easier than a week ago. Mixing some nightcrawlers with bloodworm juice on the bait board helps stretch out the bloodworms and a good live well helps. A lot of fishermen have been working on their engineering degree coming up with all kinds of designs; which like anything makes the whole process a lot more fun, when you can show off your handy work to your buddies. The Gas Docks is probably the number one location right now for live lining out on the 35’ edge; the False Channel may again come into its own soon and of course most anywhere striped bass are hrolding is a candidate location for your own secret spot.
Some fishermen are chumming for their striped bass this week and when they can find fish holding and a good current they have been doing well. The outside edge of Hackett’s Bar and the northeast edge of the Hill can be good at times but everyone is looking for marks on their depth recorders before committing to chum.
Croaker fishing is improving in the region with the best fishing out in the bay proper. Eastern Bay and the lower Choptank River have not been up to their usual productivity lately in the croaker department and depressed salinities due to rain runoff may be the answer. There seems to be plenty of spot and white perch in the lower Choptank and the other tidal rivers in the region. Recreational crabbers are reporting fair catches this week with the best catches out in the lower reaches of the tidal rivers and deep. Brent Douglas was fishing off of the Brick House Bar near Matapeake when he got into some good croaker fishing.
Lower Bay/Tangier Sound Region:
Striped bass fishermen have been focusing their attention on two separate types of fishing and locations for striped bass this week. Live lining spot outside of the Gas Docks seems to be the number one game in town on the western side of the bay. Chumming at the Middle Grounds for striped bass is what is attracting the attention of fishermen from the Crisfield and western shore ports.
It has become a lot easier this week to put together a collection of live spot in one’s live well to drop to hungry striped bass. The Patuxent River is a popular place this week to load up on baits and the 35’ channel edge out in front of the Gas Docks is the location to drop them to the bottom. The Gas Docks are a striped bass magnet due to the structure of the pier and the way the current flows around Cove Point. Boats that are trolling have also been working the Gas Docks/Cove Point area and coming up with some good catches. Umbrella rigs with sassy shads or spoons are commonly used and bucktails and sassy shads or if you’re really brave Storm shads as trailers. Bluefish are in the lower bay so any soft plastic out there is in peril. Austin Blair holds up a nice striped bass he caught outside of the Gas Docks on a live spot.
The shipping channel edge out in from of Parkers Creeks continues to be a go to place this week for trollers and live liners. One would suspect that chumming might work well there also. Most fishermen with chumming on their mind have been fishing the Middle Grounds. There are good numbers of striped bass and bluefish there and the fishing has been good.
Fishing for croakers continues to be good in many areas of the lower bay this week and in some areas fishermen are also catching a mix of small bluefish, flounder, spot and speckled trout at the same time. Fishermen in the lower Potomac are finding croakers as far up as the Route 301 Bridge with some of the best action around St. Clements Island. The Patuxent River is offering good croaker fishing as are spots like Cornfield Harbor. On the eastern side of the bay all of the tidal rivers, Tangier Sound and Pocomoke sound are offering good croaker fishing with the added bonus of speckled trout and flounder. Those making the effort to go croaker fishing in the evening are being rewarded with excellent catches of big croakers at shoal areas near the deep channels such as Buoys 72 and 72A.
Flounder fishing has been very good along the hard bottomed channel edges of Tangier Sound and surrounding areas this week. Recreational crabbers report that the runoff has pushed crabs into the lower sections of the tidal rivers and into deeper water.
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