There continues to be a mix of small bluefish and striped bass spread throughout the upper bay region from the general area of Pooles Island south to the Bay Bridge. Fishermen are find a few striped bass all the way up to the Conowingo Dam and snapper bluefish far up some the regions tidal creeks; but most of the action is in the bay. The bluefish are ranging in size from 14” to 20” or more and the striped bass are anywhere from 14” to over 30”. Breaking fish are being found often in the early morning and evening hours chasing bay anchovies on top. Casting metal to them is accounting for good catches of bluefish and the best striped bass have been coming from underneath by fishermen jigging.
The chumming fleets continue to focus most of their attention in the Love Point area with the Triple Buoys and Swan Point also getting some attention. Captains are reporting a lot of throwbacks with a few nice fish coming out of the slicks but more often the bigger fish are being caught on baits left on the bottom. Early morning has been offering the best chance at larger fish and a strong tide is essential.
Mick Csernica was fishing in the Love Point area and after coming up empty decided to break out an umbrella rig and try trolling. His efforts were rewarded with this nice 36” striped bass caught on a white sassy shad behind an umbrella rig.
Fishing for a mix of spot, white perch and small croaker continues to be a good option for fishermen this week on many of the knolls and shoal areas as well as the lower sections of the Magothy and Chester Rivers. Bloodworms are the bait of choice and anglers are reporting that they often have to check different knolls before they find a productive one with larger fish. The tide is always of great importance as well as a good drift. There are plenty of channel catfish waiting for fishermen in the tidal rivers from the lower Susquehanna and Elk south to the Chester. A variety of baits will work but fresh cut baits of spot or menhaden seem to be at the top of the list. Recreational crabbers are catching crabs; results will vary but the best crabbing has been from Baltimore Harbor south. It has been difficult to find out what is going on at the mouth of the C&D Canal where it enters the Elk River. Crabbers have been tight lipped; but this area is usually good this time of the year so if one is feeling adventurous it may be worth a try; just be careful of those fast moving tug boats that throw big wakes.
Over the past month there have been several sightings of sharks reported in the upper bay. The sighting of bull sharks is not uncommon in the upper waters of bays and tidal rivers this time of the year but has become less common due to their demise. Bull sharks can tolerate low salinities and will move up the bay in late summer. Their numbers have been depleted over the years and they serve a valuable function in the ecology of the near shore waters of the Atlantic and its tributaries. They eat cow-nosed rays and most will agree we could do with a few less cow-nosed rays in the bay so let the bull sharks do their thing and leave them alone.
Middle Bay Region
Although this weeks report is almost a repeat of last weeks there is nothing boring about the fishing action that continues to entertain fishermen in the middle bay region. Perhaps top on the list are the Spanish mackerel due to the fact that the intensity of the fishery varies from year to year and usually only lasts a month or so. So far this has been a very good season for Spanish as fishermen catch them from the mouth of Eastern Bay south. They are mixing it up with bluefish and striped bass in chasing bay anchovies throughout the region. Often they will give away their presence by surface splashing and diving gulls getting in on the action. Spanish are real speedsters so if you’re casting to them with small metal a fast retrieve is a good idea. Trolling is one of the most productive options for fishermen to put some Spanish in the fish box. Small Clark spoons or Drones are the most popular choices behind a #1 or #2 planer or an inline weight. Most fishermen kick the trolling speed up to 6 or 7 knots and troll the shipping channel edges or similar channels such as the mouth of Eastern Bay or the Choptank River.
Bluefish and striped bass will also hit spoons meant for Spanish mackerel and often putting a couple of larger spoons will set one up for some exciting catch and release action with the large red drum that are in the region.
Frank Bright of Shadyside was fishing with his friends near the mouth of the Choptank River when he caught and released this beautiful red drum.
There are plenty of striped bass in the region this week and fishermen are finding them in a variety of situations. They are mixing it up with Spanish mackerel and bluefish when feeding on bay anchovies near the surface. They are also holding near channel and shoal edges and fishermen continue to live line spot above Poplar Island and the western shipping channel edge. The bluefish are cutting up a majority of the live spot but sometimes fishermen are able to get to a striped bass now and then. In the early morning hour’s striped bass can also be found in the shallows along shorelines and can be caught by casting a variety of lures.
The bottom fishing opportunities in the middle bay region continue to be very good. The spot are getting larger and many are big enough to fillet and fry. Croakers are still a good bet along channel edges with some of the best action coming in the evening hours. Flounder are being caught on many of the hard bottomed shoal areas where a good current sweeps across. Strip baits of squid or fish bellies from spot or bluefish as well as minnows and silversides are all good choices for bait. There are plenty of white perch to entertain fishermen in the lower sections of the regions tidal rivers and recreational crabbers are finding nice heavy crabs as we continue to see a waxing moon this week.
Lower Bay/Tangier Sound Region:
Spanish mackerel seem to be at the top of fishermen’s list this week; perhaps due to their relative novelty and fine table fare. Trolling has been one of the more productive ways to catch them by using small Drone or Clark spoons behind inline weights or planers. The mouth of the Potomac River, the Middle Grounds and both sides of the shipping channel have all been good places to troll for them. It has not been uncommon for fishermen to return to the dock with a dozen or more Spanish and a mix of bluefish and striped bass. The large red drum are still in the region and at times they are being caught and released on the small spoons but more often fishermen are placing one or two large spoons or bucktails dressed with sassy shads in their spread for some heavy weight action.
Bluefish can be found throughout the entire region; the smaller ones are up the tidal rivers and the larger ones out in the bay with the Middle Grounds accounting for the largest. They are being caught by trolling, casting to breaking fish, vertical jigging, chumming and as an incidental catch by bottom fishermen. It should be mentioned to be fair that they are also being caught by fishermen that are still live lining spot for their striped bass along the channel edges.
Striped bass are being caught in a number of locations within the region; such as bouncing bucktails in the channel at the lower Hooper’s Island Bridge, Cedar Point, the stone piles above Point Lookout and the western shipping channel edge from Cove Point to Breezy Point. Often they can be found under breaking fish, holding to deep structure or along the shorelines at dawn.
Fishing for croakers remains good in the Tangier Sound and Pocomoke Sound areas and fishermen continue to also find a mixed bag of large spot and flounder. The tidal rivers on both sides of the bay are holding medium sized croakers, large spot and flounder are holding on shoal areas near the mouths of the tidal rivers. Recreational crabbers are catching some nice heavy crabs this week as a full moon approaches this Friday.
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