Maryland Weekly Fishing Report Overview | November 16, 2011

As another week clicks off on the calendar, we find ourselves only a week away from Thanksgiving. It is time to start bundling up when going fishing and the time for wearing sneakers and Crocs is over; now is not the time to get your feet wet. Colder water temperatures is just what trout, smallmouth bass and walleye prefer so freshwater fishermen are enjoying good fishing this week. The large striped bass that spent the summer months in New England waters are making their way along the Maryland coast and fishermen in the Ocean City area are catching them. Every November Chesapeake Bay fishermen anxiously wait to see if some of the migrating striped bass will make a right turn into the bay and head up our way. It would seem that they have done so this year and fishermen in the lower and middle bay regions are enjoying the action. Russ Waters is all smiles with this 42lb striped bass he caught near the Gooses while fishing with his friends this past weekend.

Photo Courtesy of Russ Waters

The water temperature in the upper bay is holding just above the 50-degree mark this week. Fishermen are finding white perch holding deep at the mouths of the regions tidal rivers and deep oyster bars in the bay. Bottom rigs baited with bloodworms or jigging with metal and a dropper fly can be a very effective way to stock up on some large white perch and a good depth finder will put you on the perch holding close to the bottom.

Chumming and chunking with menhaden or razor clams in the upper bay region has been a good option for striped bass at traditional locations such as Love Point, Podickory Point and wherever fish can be found holding close to the bottom with depth finders. Baits allowed to drift to the bottom are also being picked up by channel catfish. Although many of the striped bass being encountered in the upper bay are less than 18" in size, fishermen are still finding larger fish in their chum slicks. Trolling close to the bottom along channel edges and rock piles with umbrella rigs trailing bucktails is a good way to find striped bass; as is jigging under breaking fish.

Fishermen continue to fish around the bridge piers of the Bay Bridge looking for striped bass by trolling or jigging and coming up with a few fish but most fishermen have moved on to explore other locations. Chumming at Hackett's Bar, Tolley's Point, Thomas Point and similar locations with sharp channel edges has been a good option this week with menhaden or razor clams. Trolling has been described as a "pick" at channel edges near Thomas Point, Poplar Island, the False Channel and the western edge of the shipping channel below Breezy Point. Most fishermen are trolling umbrella rigs with swim shads or bucktails close to the bottom. Larger offerings are now part of most fishermen's trolling spreads as the larger fall migrant striped bass are moving into the middle bay region. The area from the False Channel to the Gooses has been producing some large fish this week; especially on a falling tide.

Fishermen are still finding breaking fish and diving birds throughout the region that are often small fish with larger ones underneath at times. Deep jigging is one of the more productive fishing methods this week on fish that are holding over deep structure. Striped bass and white perch often are holding in the same deep areas such as the mouth of Eastern Bay where this combo was caught while jigging with a dropper lure and a metal jig.

Photo Courtesy of Rich Watts

Lower bay region fishermen are all a buzz this week over the large fall migrant striped bass that have begun to move into the region. Trolling large parachutes and bucktails dressed with sassy shads is the traditional presentation and a trolling pattern running across the shipping channel, Tangier Sound and the lower Potomac River. Fishermen are finding plenty of resident striped bass throughout the lower bay region along structure such as sharp channel edges and points. Chumming is still a good option in the lower Potomac and the Middle Grounds with some fair sized bluefish still holding at the Middle Grounds. Breaking fish are being found but jigging over deep suspended fish that are spotted on depth finders is becoming a more common and viable option.

Fishing for white perch and striped bass has been particularly good in the lower Patuxent River lately; fishermen are either fishing with bloodworms on a bottom rig or jigging with metal and a dropper fly. The fish are holding deep and can be spotted on depth finders. Other tidal rivers in the region such as the Nanticoke and Pocomoke also are providing good fishing for white perch in the same manner.

Freshwater anglers are finding good trout fishing opportunities in the western and central regions of the state in the trout management areas and Put and Take areas as well. Smallmouth bass and walleye fishing in Deep Creek Lake and the upper Potomac River continues to be the focus of fishermen there; tubes, crankbaits and jigs have been favorite lures to use. Crappie are schooled up near the bridge piers at Deep Creek Lake and Loch Raven Reservoir. Fishermen have also been enjoying good fishing for smallmouth bass in Liberty and Prettyboy Reservoirs and the lower Susquehanna River.

Largemouth bass are beginning to hold along drop-off edges of channels now and fishermen are targeting them with crankbaits, jigs and grubs. Deep structure such as sunken wood and rocks are also good places to fish for largemouth bass at this time. Fishermen are reporting that on sunny afternoons largemouth bass can still be found cruising around the edges of the few remaining grass beds; especially those in a little deeper water.

Crappie are schooling up near deep structure and fishermen are finding them near bridge and dock piers in the tidal Potomac River. Marinas with deeper water in their lagoons are an excellent place to find crappie schooled up. Small tubes are a good choice and of course small minnows are hard to beat. The tidal Potomac has a lot of blue catfish and fishermen have been enjoying catching some rather large ones from boats and from shore. Will O'Brien was fishing with his dad from shore when he caught and released this 63lb beast.

Photo Courtesy of Sean O'Brien

The long wait is over for fishermen in the Ocean City area waiting for the fall migration of large striped bass moving along the Maryland coast. Now is the time to get on the beach or out in a boat; the fish are here! Surf casters have been catching them on cut menhaden all this week. Of course there are some other hungry mouths out there in the form of dogfish and skates so bring plenty of fresh bait.

Trolling off the beaches with umbrella rigs and deep diving Stretch lures around the Fenwick and Gull Shoals has produced some big fish this week. A few boats even got into some jigging action as the big fish blew up under bait. Drifting with live eels is also a good option when fish can be spotted with a good depth finder.

Fishermen in and around the Ocean City Inlet are catching tautog at the jetties, the bulkhead between 2nd and 4th Streets and the ends of 5th and 6th Streets on sand fleas and pieces of green crab. The south jetty continues to be the treasure trove of tautog if you can get over there by boat. In the evenings striped bass are being caught by fishermen casting swim shads or drifting live eels.

Sea bass fishing on the wreck sites has been good this week; most catches are in the double digits. Tautog fishing on the inshore wreck and reef sites has also been good. Bluefin tuna are moving through the region and can certainly offer some exciting fishing when encountered. They are known to be in close to shore feeding on menhaden right along with the striped bass and a little farther out they will run down large bluefish like an F-16 going after a bi-plane.

"The chief difference between big-game fishing and weightlifting is that weightlifters never clutter up their walls with stuffed barbells. - Ed Zern


Keith Lockwood has been writing the Fishing Report since 2003 and has had a long career as a fisheries research biologist since 1973. Over the course of his career he has studied estuarine fishery populations, ocean species, and over a decade long study of bioaccumulation of chemicals in aquatic species in New Jersey. Upon moving to Oxford on the eastern shore of Maryland; research endeavors focused on a variety of catch and release studies as well as other fisheries related research at the Cooperative Oxford Laboratory. Education and outreach to the fishing public has always been an important component to the mission of these studies. Keith is an avid outdoorsman enjoying hunting, fishing, bird dogs, family and life on the eastern shore of Maryland.