Maryland Weekly Fishing Report Overview | September 11, 2013
The 2012/2013 Maryland Fishing Challenge came to a conclusion this past Saturday with the awards ceremony and prize drawings at Sandy Point State Park. The weather smiled on the finale and hundreds of fishermen with their families showed up for the stage events and some Maryland seafood afterwards at the Seafood Festival. Everyone who attended received a nice Under Armour Fishing Challenge T-shirt and some walked away with big prizes. Perhaps the biggest prize of all was that someone finally caught that elusive character we all know as Diamond Jim. Blair Wheeler of Herndon, Virginia caught the winning fish while fishing on a charter boat out of Deale. She not only won a check for $25,000 but also a pair of one carat diamond earrings and $6,000 worth of gift cards donated by Maryland tackle shops. To read the entire story check out the following link: Virginia Woman Wins $25,000 for Striped Bass Catch
Photos by Karin Dodge
Fishermen looking for Striped Bass action this week in the lower Susquehanna River area have been seeing flows from the Conowingo Dam as low as 5,000 C.F.S. in the early morning hours so fishing has not been so good in the mornings. Flow conditions are much better in the evenings during generation periods and with increased flows water temperatures will drop several degrees. Most fishermen are using topwater lures to enjoy the explosive strikes from Striped Bass and even some Smallmouth and Largemouth Bass.
Breaking fish are becoming more common in the upper bay this week as small Striped Bass and a few larger cousins stock up on the Bay Anchovies that are near the mouths of the tidal rivers in the region. There are also some bluefish mixed in and even if the throwback ratio might be high on the Striped Bass they sure are a lot of fun and most fishermen are able to find a pair of Striped Bass over 18". Fishermen that are trolling spoons behind planers and inline weights have been finding Striped Bass up to 30" in the region from Rock Hall south to the Bay Bridge. Live lining Spot has also been a good option for fishermen at traditional locations such as Love and Podickory Points.
Fishing at the Bay Bridge piers and rock piles continues to be popular and while crossing the westbound span at dawn this past Saturday on my way to the Maryland Fishing Challenge awards ceremony; there were plenty of boats bellied up to the piers between numbers 15 and 20 jigging and drifting live spot. Those brave kayakers were out and I watched a pair making the paddle from Sandy Point out to the rock piles. It caused me to remember that old mariners prayer verse that goes something like "oh the sea is so great and my boat so small".
While we were talking to fishermen at the Maryland Fishing Challenge exhibit a very excited fishermen came up to tell us of a big Black Drum he had just caught near the Bay Bridge while bottom fishing. We urged him to head on over to the nearest award center which was Angler's and register his fish for the 2013/2014 Fishing Challenge. Below is a picture of Adam Tammaro of Middle River with his 48" Black Drum.
Courtesy of Adam Tammaro
Bottom fishing for a mix of White Perch, Croaker and Spot has been good around the Bay Bridge and Hackett's Bar and south to Eastern Bay and most every tidal river in the middle bay region. In the upper bay and middle regions of some tidal rivers you may even wind up with Channel Catfish in the mix. Most fishermen are using bloodworms, shrimp, peeler crab and even small pieces of cut Spot on a two hook bottom rig.
The action at the Hill off Poplar Island has begun to lose some of its luster and predictability this week as the Striped Bass begin to roam other parts of the bay foraging on schools of Bay Anchovies and small Menhaden. Water temperatures are at the high 70's this week and cooler nights and daytime temperatures will start water temperatures on a steady decline. Breaking fish are becoming more common and jigging, casting and trolling will become the most common ways to fish. A lot of fishermen are switching to trolling this week and pulling small Drone spoons behind planers and inline weights for a mix of Striped Bass, Bluefish as well as a few Spanish Mackerel and Red Drum. Legal sized Red Drum continue to show up throughout the middle and lower bay regions this week to fishermen shallow water casting, trolling, drifting soft or peeler crab baits or live lining Spot. Those fishermen trolling large spoons have been enjoying some exciting catch and release action for large Red Drum at channel edges off Taylor's Island, Cedar Point, Buoy 72a and similar channel edges.
Fishermen in the lower bay region are talking about reliable Striped Bass action out in front of the Gas Docks this week on the 30' channel edge. Live lining Spot has been getting some good results for fishermen looking for Striped Bass and of course Bluefish are also collecting their due. The lower Potomac has also been holding some Striped Bass as well as the lower Patuxent River. Most fishermen are live lining Spot, trolling spoons behind planers or jigging over suspended fish holding near channel edges or under bait. There are also reports of very good chumming for Bluefish at the mouth of the Potomac River.
Bottom fishing for a mix of large Spot, medium sized Croakers and White Perch continue to entertain fishermen throughout the region. Many fishermen are remarking about the size of the Spot and most would agree that now is the time to think about packing some of those tasty fillets in the freezer. Shallow water anglers continue to enjoy some wonderful Speckled Trout action on the eastern shore along the shores of the islands; Red Drum and a mix of Striped Bass and Bluefish also round out the mix. Gulp shrimp and mullet soft plastics have been one of the favorite lures to use.
Recreational crabbers continue to find fair crabbing in most tidal rivers throughout the bay. Many are starting to report that the size and weight of the crabs is improving which most would expect this time of the year. Generally most crabbers are reporting about a half bushel per outing but some times experienced crabbers are able to round out a full bushel. Jim Livingston shows off a full bushel of crabs that he described as "his best bushel of the summer".
Courtesy of Jim Livingston
Freshwater fishermen are starting to see Largemouth Bass and other species such as Bluegills spending more time in shallower waters near grass as cooler water temperatures have the fish in a more active feeding mood. The cooler nights are starting to have an effect on lowering water temperatures and daytime temperatures are expected to be considerably lower next week. Topwater lures are always a favorite for fishermen due to the exciting nature of surface strikes; plastic frogs and buzzbaits have been very popular. Many fishermen are also working stickbaits in and around thick grass later on in the mornings as fish retreat to the thick grass for shade and having very good results.
Fishermen at Deep Creek Lake are reporting their fishery there is in a bit of a transition period as lake water temperatures begin to slowly decline. Fishing in general has been slow except for Largemouth Bass and Chain Pickerel in the cove areas. Most fish tend to be deep where they are still seeking out cooler water temperatures. On the upper Potomac River fishermen are enjoying catching Smallmouth Bass in the 12"-14" size range with a lunker tossed in every now and then. Most fishermen are targeting rock ledges, grass edges, and eddies with tubes and swim shads.
Fishermen will begin to poke around their favorite fishing holes more frequently as temperatures become more moderate this month. Whether it is a local pond or a destination there is all kinds of fishing action from Bluegills to trout fishing. Trout fishing in western Maryland is good and there are plenty of trout to be found in many of the trout management waters. If sitting along a quiet river bank or small boat in a tidal river fits your fancy; Channel Catfish are becoming more active.
Ocean City area fishermen continue to report good fishing in the surf for a nice mix of Kingfish, large Spot, small Bluefish and Sea Trout as well as Croaker. The early morning hours tend to offer the best opportunities. Inshore sharks and sting rays offer some entertaining and heavy duty action in the evenings. In and around the inlet fishermen are finding a mix of flounder, small Bluefish and large Croakers during the day. Fishermen are also finding a few Tautog and Sheepshead around the jetties by using sand fleas. Jeff Kellner took this pretty picture of a nice 23" Sheepshead he caught at the inlet this past weekend.
Courtesy of Jeff Kellner
During the evening hours at the inlet and Route 50 Bridge area fishermen are drifting live Spot for Striped Bass and large flounder with good results. A few Red Drum and large Sea Trout are also being caught. In the back bay areas flounder fishing continues to be the big focus and the larger flounder are being caught on live Spot and Gulp baits. Some nice Red Drum are also being caught on live Spot and soft crab baits.
At the wreck and reef sites off of Ocean City large flounder are being caught. Black Sea Bass seem to have taken a vacation lately and captains are hoping for a storm event to mix the waters up a bit and bring some cooler water into the near shore wreck and reef sites. Farther offshore from the 30-fathom line out to the canyons fishermen are finding a mix of big game species. Bigeye tuna continue to add some real juice to the fishing scene and many boats have been doing overnight trips lately to get in on that "pink in the sky bite" that Bigeye Tuna are famous for. Fishermen are catching Yellowfin Tuna from sub-legal size up to some 75lb. bruisers; Skipjack Tuna, Dolphin round out the mix and Longfin Albacore are becoming more common. White and Blue Marlin are being caught and released and the deep drop gang is bringing in Tilefish.
"Tragedy and comedy in fishing are practically synonymous. It depends on who is looking and who is doing. To the former most incidents are funny, though to the latter they may be supremely tragical." - Zane Grey