Maryland Weekly Fishing Report Overview | December 12, 2012

As the 2012 striped bass season approaches the December 15th closure fishermen have been enjoying an upsurge in success for large fall migrant striped bass and fish less than 28" all in deep water and recently in foggy wet conditions. Rich Watts sent in this picture of the kayak fleet this past weekend out at the center span of the Bay Bridge. As one looks at this picture and thinks of the fog, cold water and of course very deep water the mariner's verse of "the sea is so great and my boat so small" definitely comes to mind.


Photo by Rich Watts

Traditionally the weekly fishing reports take a break at the closure of the Chesapeake Bay striped bass season and there will be a pause until the New Year begins. In the meantime get in your last licks of fishing for the 2012 fishing season; there is good striped bass fishing in the Atlantic Ocean and will still be open through December and there are still plenty of freshwater and tidal fishing opportunities. Try to keep your fingers warm and may your boots be warm and not leak.

Fishermen in the upper bay have been enjoying good fishing for striped bass in the lower Susquehanna and at the mouths of the Elk, Sassafras and Chester Rivers as well as the Baltimore Harbor area. Most fishermen are finding the striped bass holding deep along steep channel edges and lumps with depth finders. Jigging with metal or soft plastics is perhaps the most popular method but trolling deep with Rat-L-Traps, umbrella rigs and swim shads can also be effective. There are a lot of striped bass being reported in the 10" to 17" size range but larger fish can be found. At the Bay Bridge fishermen continue to jig in very deep water around the rock piles and bridge piers but are mostly catching striped bass less than 18" as well as white perch and recently small puppy drum. Water temperatures on the bottom are holding around 65-degrees as compared to 47-degrees on the surface. Ted Kolobow holds up a small red drum that should be thinking about heading south instead of hanging out at the Bay Bridge.


Photo by Rich Watts

Middle bay region fishermen are reporting that good concentrations of striped bass larger than 18" are hard to find in many traditional areas. Striped bass are holding deep, often in 50' of water or more along channel edges and holes. Jigging is popular but a lot of fishermen are now trolling deep with a mix of bucktails, swim shads and umbrella rigs. Heavy inline weights are being used and although it is little fun dragging an umbrella rig with inline weights and a striped bass to the stern of the boat, this is often what is needed to put fish in the boat now. Most fishermen are trolling the steep channel edges around Bloody Point and the western shipping channel edge south of Breezy Point with a spread of medium sized lures and the big stuff for the large fall migrant striped bass. The success rate for the larger fish picked up last week and more than a few charter and private boats reported limiting out on big fish. Most of the large striped bass are in the 32" to 36" size range with a few whoppers in the 40" to 50" category.

For the last week the lower bay region fishing community has been a buzz with fish stories of successful trips for large fall migrant striped bass out along the shipping channel edges and similar channels in the Tangier Sound area and the lower Potomac. The success rate for boats out trolling the channel edges increased dramatically early last week and continues this week. Captains are finding good fishing near traditional locations such as Cove Point, Point-No-Point, Buoys 72, 77, the HI Buoy and up the Potomac River near St. Clement's and St. George's Islands. Large parachutes, bucktails and swim shads in tandem or behind umbrella rigs with inline weights to get them down to depths of 50' are being employed. Striped bass less than 28" can be found in most areas and trolling spreads usually have a few medium sized lures to cover all the bases. Dylan Oversmith was fishing with his parents and sister when he caught this nice striped bass near the HS Buoy while trolling.


Photo courtesy of Gloria Oversmith

Fishermen in all regions of the bay have been finding white perch holding deep in the lower sections of the tidal rivers as well as out in the bay. Most fishermen are using 2 hook bottom rigs baited with pieces of bloodworm. Often the depths fished can be as deep as 70' which is where the warmer water is and the reason white perch are holding there.

Freshwater fishermen in the western region of the state are enjoying good fishing for a mix of walleyes and smallmouth bass in the upper Potomac River and Deep Creek Lake. Trout fishing has been good in the trout management waters with plenty of elbow room for anglers.

Largemouth bass fishermen are finding their fishing tougher as water temperatures drop and largemouth bass slip into their winter mode of behavior of hunkering down in deep water near structure. Deep jigging with grub type jigs or blade lures is usually the standard practice for enticing largemouth to pick up a lure. The pick ups are usually subtle; often the lure just hangs up; nearly everyone agrees that braided line helps in the sensitivity department and line drag in current. Crappie are a big draw this time of the year as they school up near deep structure in reservoirs and lakes or marina docks in tidal waters. Chain pickerel are very active in numerous lakes, ponds and tidal waters throughout the state. Carp, channel catfish can offer good fishing opportunities this time of the year and the comfort of bank fishing. Blue catfish are a big draw in the Fort Washington area of the tidal Potomac and can offer some exciting fishing. Robert Bruce sent in an angler's log and a picture of this big blue catfish.


Photo courtesy of Robert Bruce

Ocean City fishermen have been focusing their attention on the striped bass that are migrating down the coast this week. Surf fishermen are picking away at them with cut menhaden baits and of course dogfish, skates and a few sting rays are also part of the mix. Striped bass are also being caught at the inlet on swim shads and live eels but the best fishing opportunities for striped bass lay outside the inlet and within 3-miles of the beaches. Boats are trolling along the shoal areas with umbrella rigs with large bucktails and parachutes as trailers or Stretch plugs. Fishermen are also drifting live eels close to the bottom with very good success.

"'All the wisdom in the world is centered in the diamondback', the Old Man said. 'Well, even today, as poor as everyone is, with the depression and all, a terrapin stew costs you ten dollars a quart. In a hotel it'll cost you three-fifty a plate if you can get it at all. This means that I couldn't buy it, even if I could eat it. And I can't eat it, because it's too rich, for one thing and another reason is that you have to make it with a decent sherry wine. And if you could buy it the doctors say it would be bad for my blood pressure or something. So between scarcity, poverty, Prohibition and gout, I am not a candidate for any terrapin stew. It shows you the futility of living too long.' " - Robert Ruark, The Old Man and The Boy

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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.



Latest Angler's Log Reports


Wayne Young
Recreational Angler
Annadale, VA
Total Reports:
16
Sent in on: December 18, 2014 Permalink

Calvert Cliff Speckled Trout

Type: Chesapeake
Region: Mid-Bay
Location: Breezy Pt south to Calvert Cliffs
Tags: spotted seatrout, speckled trout, striped bass

Monday, 12-15-14

20' Walkaround

Nature blessed the last day of striper season with a flat calm, making a nice day for me and my two guests. I planned to try deep trolling in 50-65 feet of water through some holes on the west side of the channel. We marked a few fish at 55-60 foot depths, but were unable to work the deep holes because several watermen were set up there. It appeared that they had crab pots set deep right in the holes and were standing by to retrieve them. Trolling east of the pots in 70 feet, we marked a few more fish deep, but no takers.

There was a fleet over behind Summer Gooses, but after moving over that way for a look see we found they were watermen, maybe mechanical oyster dredge rigs. I picked up gear in time to try the Calvert Cliffs power plant warm water discharge an hour before the predicted ebb. We marked many baitfish and eventually my Dragonfly downvision marked a school of fish on the bottom to no more than 3' off the bottom about 600-700 yards east of the discharge in about 20-25' of water. By this time, we had an 18" speckled trout on a 7" yellow hot-rodded Hogy bait, and a 15" speckled trout and a 17-1/2" striper (released) on a purple 6" BKD (blue and sliver BKD covered in red garlic dye) with a hot-rodded 1-1/2 oz jig head. A light southerly breeze had picked up creating a rip on the south side of the stream, and the fish we caught were generally over on that side of the stream. The school we marked was probably specs given fishing results. Several other boats were fishing the discharge stream with no luck.

Thanks again to Shawn Kembro's light tackle fishing tips (new book is great!) and also Walleye Pete Dahlberg for teaching me how to fish the discharge stream. Shawn's and Pete's tips made the difference today. I was using my left-handed baitcaster with braid and a short shock leader, thinking down the line technique wise. The left-handed baitcaster feels natural to this righthander after years of using spinning reels.

 PHOTOS 

Caz Kenny
Recreational Angler
NA
Total Reports:
6
Sent in on: December 18, 2014 Permalink

Bite Out of Control on the Gunpowder

Type: Freshwater
Region: Central
Location: Gunpowder
Tags: largemouth bass, yellow perch, crappie, bluegill

So the bite is incredibly out of control on the Gunpowder...I took two friends out today and we absolutely hammered the fish...we caught easily over 300 fish between us...bass...crappie...yellow perch...bluegill...the fish are smoking our baits...small jigs under a float are the ticket...every single place we fished held fish...the fish are healthy and fat...the water temp is a measly 38 degrees...and they are biting like piranhas...this has been an exceptional year for all places I've had the opportunity to fish...I love fishing in Maryland!

 PHOTOS 

David Carrodine
Recreational Angler
Annapolis, MD
Total Reports:
1
Sent in on: December 18, 2014 Permalink

My Big Catch

Type: Chesapeake
Region: Mid Bay
Location: Gum Thicket
Tags: striped bass

42" rockfish caught on 4 arm umbrella rig, trolling east side of the shipping channel - Gum Thickets- in 80 feet of water. Rainy days are better! Caught around 1:30 pm on Sat Dec 6.

 PHOTOS