Maryland Weekly Fishing Report Overview | September 12, 2012
This past Saturday the awards ceremony was held for the Maryland Fishing Challenge and the Diamond Jim event at Sandy Point State Park. John Veil of Annapolis won the boat, motor and trailer combo donated by Bass Pro and John Schultz of Pennsylvania won the fishing trip to Bimini donated by the World Fishing Network.
Photo Courtesy of Karin Dodge
Bill's Outdoor Center at Deep Creek Lake returned as a premiere sponsor with thousands of dollars in tackle and fishing gear for the prize drawings. AllTackle, Angler's Sports Center, Clyde's Sport Shop, Fishbone's Bait and Tackle, Herb's Tackle Shop, Marty's Sporting Goods and Tochterman's Fishing Tackle also donated gift cards and youth tackle packages. All contestants received commemorative shirts, courtesy of Under Armour.
Nine lucky anglers caught specially tagged rockfish this summer in the Diamond Jim component of the 2012 Fishing Challenge. After all corresponding envelopes were opened – and no authentic Diamond Jim was discovered – the anglers split the contest's cash prize of $25,000 ─ taking home $2,778 each. The youth component of the Maryland Fishing Challenge celebrated 19 lucky anglers who advanced from DNR-sponsored fishing rodeos this summer. These individuals were awarded fishing gear and trips from the event's generous sponsors. It was a beautiful day to enjoy the ceremonies and some eats at the Seafood Festival and most fishing folks had left before the big storm hit later on that day.
Fishermen in the upper bay tidal rivers such as the Elk and Susquehanna are finding good white perch fishing in the river channel areas as well as good fishing for channel catfish. Fishermen continue to find a few striped bass near the Conowingo Dam Pool by casting swim shads into the pool in the mornings and evenings. Small striped bass are reported to be chasing bait in the Baltimore Harbor area and white perch are being found on the reefs and shoal areas such as Man O War Shoals and 9' Knoll. Bottom rigs with peeler crab or bloodworms have been the baits of choice.
Fishermen have been trolling near the channel edges of Love Point and Magothy River with limited success for striped bass and bluefish. Live lining spot, chunking or chumming near the channel edges has been described as a slow pick by fishermen. There tends to be more opportunity for action near the Bay Bridge Piers as fishermen are reporting catching some nice striped bass by live lining spot, chunking and jigging. Bluefish begin to be more common at the bridge and chunking fresh spot or trolling with small spoons behind planers or inline weights is the best way to target them.
The middle bay region continues to produce good opportunities for a mix of bluefish, striped bass and Spanish mackerel by trolling along the channel edges on the east and west sides of the shipping channel. Small spoons behind planers and inline weights along with medium sized red surge tube lures are the best ways to target them. Live lining spot continues to offer good opportunities at traditional locations such as the Winter Gooses, Diamonds, False Channel area as well as steep channel edges in about 30' of water. The fish are starting to move as water temperatures begin to dip so a good depth finder is very helpful when checking out edges for fish; Thomas Point, the Hill and the edges of the Sharps Island Flats are just a few locations worth checking out. As the mix of bluefish, Spanish mackerel and striped bass chase bait throughout the region; casting to surface fish or jigging underneath offer light tackle fun.
The larger white perch are beginning to move to deeper areas of the tidal rivers such as oyster bottom and knolls in depths over 35' of water. They offer a great opportunity for fishermen to target these filleting size perch for the freezer. White perch tend to hold better in the freezer than striped bass and offer some good eating later on in the winter. Peeler crab on a bottom rig is the most popular bait. There is also good fishing for white perch in the shallower waters of the tidal rivers for those light tackle fishermen casting spinners and jigs.
Photo Courtesy of Keith Lockwood
In the lower bay region bluefish and Spanish mackerel and striped bass are chasing bait which is usually bay anchovies up the Potomac River and along the edges of the shipping channel and similar channel edges. Most fishermen are trolling a mix of small spoons and red surgical tube lures behind planers and inline weights with good success. A few boats are chumming and finding their chum slicks soon become thick with bluefish. Some of the bluefish in areas such as the Middle Grounds are approaching 5lbs in weight. A few large red drum are also being encountered by fishermen trolling; often above the Target Ship and the east side of the shipping channel.
There is good fishing for a mix of white perch, spot and a few croakers in the region's tidal rivers. There is very good fishing in the lower Patuxent, Potomac and Nanticoke Rivers as well as Tangier and Pocomoke Sounds. On the east side of the bay there is also very good fishing for speckled trout and at times flounder. The speckled trout are being targeted along the shorelines and flounder along channel edges.
Freshwater fishermen in the western region are finding the fishing for smallmouth bass is improving as water temperatures begin to dip slightly as nights begin to cool. The upper Potomac and Deep Creek Lake are two of the more popular areas to fish for smallmouth bass.
Largemouth bass fishermen are beginning to see their typical early morning action in the shallower grass beds move more into the mid morning hours. This trend will continue as the daylight hours become shorter and water temperatures cool. Grass continues to be the number one target for bass fishermen and casting topwater lures such as poppers and frogs over shallow grass is a favorite choice. Spinnerbaits and chatterbaits along the edges of the grass is also a good choice. Craws and grub jigs near sunken wood, rocks and channel edges are also a good choice. Chulo Leonardo caught and released this nice largemouth bass at Hutchin's Pond recently.
Photo Courtesy of Chulo Leonardo
Fisheries biologists are beginning to work up stocking schedules for the traditional fall stocking of trout in many put and take areas. The stocking is anticipated to begin during the second week of October and the stockings will be posted on the Fisheries Service trout fishing website as they occur.
Fishermen in the Ocean City area are watching water temperatures begin a downward trend in the surf and back bay areas. Surf fishermen are catching a nice mix of kingfish, spot and small bluefish with the occasional flounder and croaker. A few large red drum are being caught and released by fishermen everyday and the annual run along the beaches is expected in the next two weeks.
Flounder are moving towards the inlet from the back bay areas and the channels leading to the inlet are great ambush points for fishermen. Those fishermen looking for that big doormat are using live spot or large Gulp baits on jigs to entice the big guys. Flounder are one of those fish species that large baits draw large fish. Around the rocks and bulkheads at the inlet fishermen have been catching sheepshead and triggerfish during the day and small bluefish and striped bass at night.
The boats headed out to the wreck and reef sites are finding excellent fishing for flounder and fair to good fishing for sea bass. The trolling fleet headed out to the 30-fathom line and beyond to the canyon areas are finding white and blue marlin and a mix of dolphin with the occasional yellowfin tuna or wahoo. Donna Williams is all smiles with her first catch and release white marlin.
Photo Courtesy of Donna Williams
As for the fishing, it need not be good. There need only be the chance that it may be good. - Roderick Haig-Brown