Maryland Weekly Fishing Report Overview | August 01, 2012
The weatherman promises us stable weather conditions this week with light winds; let us hope it is true and we all find good fishing opportunities this week. Although freshwater fishing remains in a classic summer pattern, there are exciting changes occurring in the Chesapeake Bay and coastal fisheries. More and more bluefish are moving up the bay along with the vanguard of the Spanish mackerel that have been holding in Virginia waters. Offshore species such as yellowfin tuna and marlin have arrived just in time for the Ocean City White Marlin Open next week.
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Fishermen continue to pick away at striped bass at the Conowingo Dam pool and are also catching some impressive flathead catfish. Farther down the Susquehanna fishermen are catching channel catfish and white perch; the Elk River is also providing similar action. Fishermen are reporting small striped bass chasing bait from Poole's Island south and also in the tidal rivers; most of these fish are in the 15" range but occasionally fishermen can find striped bass over 18" by jigging underneath the surface fish.
The action tends to pick up in the Rock Hall area down to the Bay Bridge with locations such as Love Point, Podickory Point, the sewer pipe and Bay Bridge piers being good locations to have on your upper bay check list. Trolling the channel edges and watching the depth finder for good marks is a good tactic and others are marking fish and setting up chum slicks. The early morning hours tend to hold the most promise for the larger striped bass when it comes to chumming; captains report a high throwback ratio in their chum slicks along with good numbers of bluefish. There are good numbers of spot in the shallower waters and live lining them at the bridge piers of the Bay Bridge or steep channel edges are a good way to catch a nice grade of striped bass. Jim Small was casting to breaking fish in the Love Point area when he caught this nice striped bass.
Photo Courtesy of Jim Small
Below the Bay Bridge the Hill has been one of the most consistent locations in the mid-bay area to live line spot; a few other locations worth checking out are Thomas Point, the Diamonds and the western edge of the shipping channel below Breezy Point. There are plenty of spot to be found in the shallower areas of the regions tidal rivers. Trolling has been a productive way to catch striped bass this week and plenty of medium sized bluefish. Most are trolling bucktails, spoons and surgical tube lures. Breaking fish are being seen over much of the region chasing bay anchovies and often they are striped bass in the neighborhood of 15" mixed in with bluefish and just this week Spanish mackerel began to be part of the mix. A better grade of striped bass can often be found by jigging underneath the surface melee.
Fishing for white perch in the middle bay region continues to be very good and fishing the shallows in the early morning or late evening hours will put most fishermen into a mix of white perch, striped bass, small red drum and the occasional speckled trout. Croaker fishing generally remains an evening game as darkness falls and croakers move from the deep channels to shoal areas with catches often being described as fair at best.
Lower bay region fishermen are finding increasing numbers of bluefish in the region and Spanish mackerel this week. Bluefish are very common now and can tend to overwhelm anyone trying to live line spot of chum in the region. Bluefish are being caught at the Mud Leads, Middle Grounds, the mouth of the Potomac and up past Calvert Cliffs. Live lining spot outside of the Gas Docks continues to be a hot ticket depending on the tide.
Large red drum are being caught and released near the Target Ship, the Mud Leads and Buoy 72; medium sized spoons have been one of the favorite offerings for the drum and also bluefish and striped bass. Trolling along the edges of the shipping channel and the lower Potomac River channel has been productive for a mix of bluefish and striped bass.
Bottom fishing for a mix of croakers, spot, bluefish, and speckled trout has been very good in the lower Potomac River, the Patuxent and the Tangier Sound areas. The best fishing for croaker tends to be in the evening and the first hours of darkness depending on the tide along shoal edges leading to the channels. Flounder are also being caught on these same shoal/channel edges.
Recreational crabbing remains steady in the Chesapeake Bay with catches improving significantly in the upper bay tidal rivers. Middle and lower bay region crabbers report good crabbing with many throwbacks consisting of undersized and female crabs.
Freshwater fishermen throughout Maryland are finding most fish holding to a summer pattern of basically hunkering down during the day as fish try to find the coolest water available. Trout fishing remains good in the western region streams and rivers in the early morning and evening hours despite skinny water conditions. Trout are holding deep near the dam face at Deep Creek Lake and fishermen are finding them by slow trolling baits at about 25' to 30' depths. The upper Potomac River is running low and water temperatures are relatively warm this week. Fishermen are finding smallmouth bass in some of the deeper areas and there are always plenty of channel catfish for entertainment.
Freshwater fishermen throughout Maryland are finding most fish holding to a summer pattern of basically hunkering down during the day as fish try to find the coolest water available. Trout fishing remains good in the western region streams and rivers in the early morning and evening hours despite skinny water conditions. Trout are holding deep near the dam face at Deep Creek Lake and fishermen are finding them by slow trolling baits at about 25' to 30' depths. The upper Potomac River is running low and water temperatures are relatively warm this week. Fishermen are finding smallmouth bass in some of the deeper areas and there are always plenty of channel catfish for entertainment. Mike Leiter was fishing above Dam #4 when he caught and released this smallmouth bass.
Photo Courtesy of Mike Leiter
Ocean City fishermen are finding that the best surf fishing opportunities are often in the early morning hours before the sun rises high in the sky. Surf water temperatures are holding around 78-degrees. A summer mix of kingfish, spot, croaker, small bluefish and flounder are being caught in the surf. In and around the inlet fishermen are catching bluefish and striped bass at night and a mix of flounder, croaker, small sea bass and bluefish during the day. Fishing close to the jetties can also put you in touch with triggerfish and sheepshead which are being caught on sand fleas.
Flounder fishing is good when clear water conditions prevail in the back bay areas and fishermen are catching some impressive flounder by using live spot for bait. A mix of croakers, small bluefish and small sea bass have been chewing up squid baits.
Offshore fishermen continue to do well chunking yellowfin tuna at locations such as the Hot Dog, Jack Spot and Lumpy Bottom. The tuna are beginning to show signs of being leader shy and many fishermen are trading break offs for more bites when switching to 25lb and 30lb fluorocarbon leaders. Dave Beach hugs a nice 50lb yellowfin he caught at the Hot Dog while chunking.
Photo Courtesy of Dave Beach
Farther offshore in the Canyon areas fishermen are catching and releasing white and blue marlin while trolling; along with a mix of yellowfin tuna, dolphin and wahoo. Deep drop fishermen are finding a mix of snowy grouper and tilefish. The boats going out to the inshore wreck sites have been treating their customers to good fishing for sea bass and flounder with triggerfish becoming a more common addition to the mix.
"The finest gift you can give to any fisherman is to put a fish back, and who knows if the fish that you caught isn't someone else's gift to you? " Lee Wulff