Friday, July 12, 2013

Maryland Weekly Fishing Report Overview | July 11, 2013


By: Keith Lockwood

Now that we have all made it through the Fourth of July Holiday most folks are settling into what might be called the middle of summer. It is time for family vacations, spending more time with the kids or relatives and folks always seem to be on the move headed for some vacation destination. Wherever you are headed try to make fishing or crabbing part of your family vacation.
The fishing scene in the lower Susquehanna is reported to have drifted into a summer pattern of fishing crankbaits and soft plastics for Smallmouth and Largemouth Bass with good White Perch and Channel Catfish fishing also available. Fishing for Striped Bass is described as a daybreak proposition of casting swim shads and crankbaits near the dam pool and to a lesser degree late in the day during power generation water releases.
There is plenty of White Perch fishing action in the upper bay and the tidal rivers for fishermen using bottom rigs out in the bay on traditional knolls and reefs. Poking around wharfs and piers is also a good bet with simple bottom rigs baited with grass shrimp or bloodworms. Casting spinners, Beetle-Spins and small tubes and curly tail jigs around shoreline structure in the early morning and evening hours is also a good way to catch perch. Fishing for Channel Catfish is good down to approximately the Hart-Miller Island area. Larry Anderson was fishing in the upper bay for White Perch with light tackle and a bottom rig baited with bloodworms when he got quite a surprise on the end of his line. Somehow he managed to wrestle this large Black Drum to the boat and released it back into the bay.

Photo Courtesy of Larry Anderson

Below Rock Hall the Striped Bass action in the upper bay begins to pick up and boats continue to chum at traditional locations such as Swan Point, Love Point and near Sandy Point Light and Podickory Point with good success. The best action is being reported early in the morning on a good flowing tide and fresh menhaden baits allowed to settle to the bottom are accounting for some of the larger fish. Fishermen are also live lining Spot with excellent results along steep channel edges in about 30' of water wherever the current is running well. Trolling has been a viable option with umbrella rigs and spoons along channel edges as well as jigging over suspended fish.
The area immediately around the Bay Bridge piers and the sewer pipe on the northeast side of the bridge has been holding good numbers of Striped Bass this week. Fishermen are trolling slowly along the edges of the sewer pipe and live lining Spot near the bridge piers as well as jigging over suspended fish that are located with depth finders.
The area below the Bay Bridge and south to the general area of the False Channel remains the most popular area to enjoy excellent fishing for Striped Bass. The area known as the Hill; which is just north of Poplar Island remains the ground zero area for the best opportunity to catch Striped Bass. Most fishermen are live lining Spot on the 30'+ channel edges with excellent results. Most fishermen are relating that it takes longer to catch Spot for bait than it takes to hook up with a nice Striped Bass. Those fishermen looking for a little more elbow room are finding Striped Bass holding along other channel edges such as Thomas Point, the Clay Banks and the False Channel at the mouth of the Choptank River. Trolling has also been productive with trolling spreads of umbrella rigs trailed by medium sized parachutes, swim shads or bucktails. Medium sized spoons have also been popular when trolled in pairs or single behind inline weights. There are plenty of fish suspended along channel edges so light tackle jigging is also a popular option for fishermen.
Bottom fishing for a mix of large Spot, White Perch and croakers continues to offer plenty of good fishing time along channel edges and shoals near deeper waters in areas such as Eastern Bay, Hackett's Bar, Tolley's Point and the lower sections of the regions tidal rivers. Fishermen are reporting that a lot of the croakers tend to be in the 8" or smaller but there is plenty of action. The summer months are also a favorite time for fishermen to fish the shallower areas in the tidal rivers and creeks during the early morning and evening hours while casting a variety of light tackle lures. Poppers and swim shads are a favorite for those fishermen seeking Striped Bass, Speckled Trout and puppy drum. Those seeking White Perch are using spinners, spinnerbaits and small jigs around shoreline structure. A late flooding or early ebbing high tide usually offers the best fishing opportunities. Marcial Amigo was casting a Beetle-Spin off the rocks at Thomas Point and catching White Perch recently; he sent in this picture of a nice one headed for the dinner table.

Photo Courtesy of Marcial Amigo

Many fishermen in the lower bay have been making the trek up to the Poplar Island area to catch their Striped Bass by live lining Spot. Locals do report though that there are a number of other Striped Bass fishing opportunities in the region if one takes the time to look. The lower Patuxent River is offering good Striped Bass fishing along channel edges; fishermen are either jigging or live lining Spot. Areas such as Cedar Point offer good Striped Bass fishing for light tackle fishermen casting a variety of lures. Fishermen on the lower Potomac River report breaking fish in the St, George's Island area and good trolling, jigging and live lining opportunities for Striped Bass.
Fishing opportunities for a mix of large Spot, Speckled Trout, puppy drum, White Perch and croakers remains very good this week in the tidal rivers and bay areas of the lower bay region this week. Some of the best fishing has been in the tidal rivers on the eastern side of the bay and the lower Potomac and Patuxent Rivers. Bottom rigs baited with peeler crab has been the most popular bait.
Shore bound anglers can get in on the good fishing for a mix of croakers, White Perch, large Spot and perhaps some Speckled Trout, puppy drum or Channel or Blue Catfish depending on what region of the bay you are fishing. The Bill Burton Fishing Pier has been offering good fishing in the evening hours and fishermen have been taking small Spot that they catch at the shallower end of the pier and walking down to the deeper end and catching Striped Bass by live lining them. Other areas such as Kent Narrows, the old 450 Bridge at the Severn River, Matapeake and Romacoke Fishing Piers, Point Lookout, the fishing pier under the Route 4 Bridge in Solomons and prominent points on the lower eastern shore all offer good fishing opportunities.
Recreational crabbers continue to report fair crabbing prospects in the middle and lower bay regions of Maryland and also report that there is not much going on in the upper bay at all in regard to crabs. Most of the crabs being taken are reported to be what would normally be called number 2's with a fair portion of them being light.
Freshwater fishermen are enjoying the summer months in the western region of the state fly fishing for trout in many of the trout management areas and enjoying the cool shade and cool waters of the mountain streams and rivers. Fishermen at Deep Creek Lake report there are Smallmouth and Largemouth Bass hanging around the floating docks and some quiet fishing can be found in some of the shallower coves for Bluegills, Largemouth Bass and Chain Pickerel. Fishing for Smallmouth Bass has been good in the upper Potomac River and there are plenty of bass in the 14" size range to provide some action. Sometimes fishermen like Corey Duggan get lucky and are rewarded with a whopper sized Smallmouth Bass like this beauty Corey is holding.

Photo Courtesy of Corey Duggan

Largemouth Bass are often the focus of freshwater fishermen in the central, southern and eastern regions during the summer months and the early morning and late evening hours offer the best opportunity to catch the bass in a feeding mood. Largemouth Bass have to deal with the heat and bright sunshine like everyone else and will be found lounging in the cool shade of docks, thick grass or cool deep waters during day light hours. Low light conditions of dawn and dusk will often find them prowling shallow cover looking for a summer time treat in the form of frogs, tadpoles, crawfish, small snakes, small baitfish or even any mouse that is bold enough to take a swim. Fishing the outside edges of spatterdock fields in tidal rivers as the tide recedes can often place bass and lure within proximity of each other.
Quiet summer evenings and Bluegills just seem to go together like beer and steamed crabs, they were made for each other. Bluegills and a favorite local pond have opened the door to many aspiring fly fishermen casting a light weight rod, a floating line and rubber-legged poppers. Like any topwater action there is just something that pulls at the senses of a fisherman when a fish strikes on the surface.
Fishermen in the Ocean City area are watching water temperatures finally hit 70-degrees along the beaches and the traditional summer mix of surf species are here to entertain and provide some tasty eating. Kingfish, croakers, large Spot, some small Bluefish and the occasional flounder and sea trout are being caught in the surf by fishermen using small strip baits, bloodworms and Fishbites. There are inshore sharks in the evenings and plenty of sting rays for some extra heavy pull. Around the inlet area fishermen are catching flounder, Triggerfish and a few Tautog during the day. At night Bluefish, a few Striped Bass and the occasional large seatrout or Weakfish along with puppy drum and Black Drum are being caught. Donald Byler was fishing at the inlet at night when he caught this huge seatrout.

Photo Courtesy of Donald Byler

In the back bay areas flounder fishing has been good when wind and clear water conditions prevail. There are a lot of croakers and small sea bass in the mix also for fishermen using squid baits and some legal sized puppy drum are also being caught.
Offshore fishing for sea bass has been good at the wreck sites and flounder have also become a more common addition. Along the 30-Fathon Line hot spots such as the Hot Dog and the Jack Spot; fishermen are finding some Yellowfin Tuna and Bluefin Tuna. In the canyon areas the first White Marlin of the season are being caught along with some impressive Bigeye Tuna and a mix of Yellowfin Tuna and dolphin.


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