Thursday, August 29, 2013

Maryland Weekly Fishing Report Overview | August 28, 2013


By: Keith Lockwood

Subtle signs like a faint scent on a wafting wind are telling those who observe closely that summer is beginning to wane ever so slowly. Water temperatures are beginning to fall slightly and all fish whether they are freshwater or saltwater, will begin to become more active in the upcoming weeks.
Plans are coming together for the Maryland Fishing Challenge award ceremony on September 7th at Sandy Point State Park and a good crowd is expected. Under Amour has once again provided T-shirts for all registered anglers who show up at the ceremony for the drawing of the big prizes. Among some of the top prizes are a boat, motor and trailer donated by Bass Pro Shops/ Tracker Marine and a world destination fishing adventure to the Bahamas by the World Fishing Network so make sure you have a 2" trailer hitch and a good suit case ready. There will be other large prizes also, including tackle packages from Bill's Outdoor Center and Bass Pro Shops; Heat Gear from Under Armour and fishing gear from many tackle shops on September 7th.
Fishermen in the lower Susquehanna River and surrounding areas in the upper most areas of the bay are enjoying fishing for Striped Bass that have recently moved into the area. The throwback ratio is about 50/50 but there is plenty of good fun for fishermen casting topwater lures. Fishermen also report that Largemouth Bass and Channel Catfish can be part of the mix and even Smallmouth Bass and Walleye in the river. Don Goff holds up a lower Susquehanna Striped Bass for the camera that was caught on a topwater lure.

Courtesy of Don Goff

Small Striped Bass are showing up all over the upper bay region inside some of the tidal rivers, the bay proper and inside Baltimore Harbor at times. Often enough there are larger legal sized fish following with them or underneath the surface action. Fishermen working the shorelines in the early morning and evening hours are picking up a mix of White Perch and Striped Bass. Chumming and live lining at traditional locations such as Love Point, Podickory Point and Swan Point continues to be good. Trolling small spoons behind inline weights has also been productive for Striped Bass along channel edges with the occasional Bluefish or Red Drum being part of the mix. The area around the Bay Bridge continues to be a productive place to fish for fishermen looking to catch Striped Bass. The bridge piers and the sewer pipe have been holding a nice grade of Striped Bass for a while now and fishermen are drifting live Spot or jigging to suspended fish holding near these structures. Now and then the waters near the bridge about a quarter of the way from shore burst with breaking fish which are a mix of Striped Bass and bluefish which provide some fun casting action. Most of the Striped Bass on top tend to be less than 18" but fishermen are finding larger fish underneath.
Below the Bay Bridge fishermen continue to find good fishing for Striped Bass at the Hill, the outside edge of Hackett's and channel drop-offs in the general area at a depth of about 25' to 30'. A lot of fishermen have been saying that "you've got to be right on top of them" lately. It is not uncommon at places like the Hill to be only 50 yards from a boat that is bailing fish and come up empty. Water temperatures have dropped to about 77-degrees now and it might not be to long before the fish holding at the Hill start to feel an urge to wander. Venturous fishermen who have been live lining Spot at likely looking drop-off edges off Tilghman Island, the mouth of the Choptank and off of James Island have been catching some nice Red Drum that fit within the slot size of 18" to 27". It is very likely that some Red Drum can be found at other edges such as Cedar Point or on the eastern shore and lower Potomac so if you're feeling a little adventurous give it a try.
Schools of bait consisting of Bay Anchovies and small menhaden are "what's for dinner" and mixed schools of Striped Bass, Bluefish and Spanish Mackerel are feeding on them whenever the situation presents itself. Fishermen are always watching for bird action to mark where bait is being pushed to the surface, but slicks can also be a sign that there are fish underneath so a good depth finder is always an asset. Casting metal is one of the more common lures to use when Bluefish are around and remember to only use black swivels to keep from being bitten off. Trolling small spoons behind inline weights is an effective way to put some Bluefish and Spanish Mackerel in the boat and most captains tweak the throttle up a bit when they are serious about targeting Spanish Mackerel. Most of the trolling action tends to be along the shipping channel edges where swift currents push the schools of bait fish along.
Bottom fishing in the middle bay region has been steady this week for a mix of Croaker, large Spot and White Perch in many of the traditional locations in the tidal rivers and bay areas. Fishermen are using bottom rigs baited with blood worms, shrimp or peeler crab in the channels. Other fishermen are casting small spinners and jigs in the early morning and evening hours along shorelines with structure and others are poking around docks and piers with jigs or bait for White Perch. Fishermen at several of the fishing piers in the middle bay region such as Matapeake and the Bill Burton Pier have been catching a nice mix of Croaker, Spot, White Perch and a few Striped Bass and Bluefish. Christopher Jones holds up a nice White Perch/Croaker mixed double before adding these two to the fish box.

Courtesy of Travis Franklin

Fishermen in the lower bay region are seeing more and larger Bluefish moving into the region as each day passes. Fishermen are finding a lot of Bluefish at traditional locations such as Buoys 72 and 72A, the Target Ship, the Middle Grounds and the lower Potomac River; chumming has been very popular at these locations. Trolling small spoons and hoses have also been a popular way to put some Bluefish in the boat and there is also a bonus of Spanish Mackerel. So far this season Spanish Mackerel are not as prevalent as fishermen would like, but perhaps they will become more abundant in the next week or so.
There are some Striped Bass being caught in the lower bay region; some by live lining along traditional channel edges, by jigging over suspended fish or by casting to structure in the early morning and evening hours. There is also the added bonus of Red Drum, Bluefish and Speckled Trout in these areas as well. Early morning and evening shallow water fishing with light tackle along the bay and tidal river shorelines continues to be a real plus in the lower bay region, especially on the eastern shore side of the bay.
Bottom fishing in the tidal rivers, sounds and the bay has been very good this week from boats and from shore. Fishermen are catching a mix of Croaker, Spot, Speckled Trout, Bluefish and a few species such as Kingfish that are not always common in the lower bay. Fishermen have been very happy about the large size of some of the Spot that are coming out of the Patuxent River and Tangier Sound area. On the lower Potomac medium sized Blue Catfish are a big part of the bottom fishing mix.
Recreational crabbers continue to find just enough crabs to keep them coming back for more. A half bushel is usually the norm for those using a trotline or a string of collapsible crab traps. Recreational crabbers are reporting better catches in the upper bay this week with a mix of sizes. There tends to be a lot of "just legal" sized crabs in all three regions of the bay and an anticipated additional molt in the next few weeks would bring those crabs up to a decent size. Cassidy McMullen got to go crabbing on the Chester River with her dad and holds up a whopper for the camera.

Courtesy of John McMullen

Freshwater fishermen in the western region of the state are finding fish such as Bluegills, trout and Smallmouth Bass in some of the deeper waters of Deep Creek Lake as these fish and others seek out cooler waters. It will not be long before cooler evenings will cause water temperatures to begin to drop and with Labor Day just around the corner; perhaps boat traffic will begin to subside. Fishermen are finding fun fishing in the upper Potomac River for Smallmouth Bass in the 10" to 14" size range near edges and grass. Tubes and similar soft plastics are a favorite and once in a while there is a whopper smallmouth out there to liven things up.
Fishing for Largemouth Bass tends to dominate the summer scene for most freshwater fishermen. They offer some fun topwater fishing in the early morning and late evening hours near grass and shallow shoreline structure. They can be found in tidal rivers, lakes and small ponds throughout Maryland and always offer some exciting fishing. Twelve year old Colton Lambert of Huntingtown, Calvert County was spending an evening with his brother and dad casting soft plastics into a local pond recently, just passing the time together. He tells the story that his line just came to a stop and he was sure he was snagged until something took off and began peeling line off his reel. Eventually he managed to slide the fish up on the shallow bank and as he puts it" my dad started getting all excited". He had good reason; Colton had just caught a 26", 11lb, 6oz Largemouth Bass which was destined to become the new Maryland Freshwater Division state record.

Courtesy of Colton Lambert

Ocean City area fishermen are seeing surf temperatures in the low 70's this week and the fishing for a mix of Kingfish, Spot and small Bluefish continues. Black Tip Sharks and Sting Rays are providing some evening action for fishermen using heavy tackle and large menhaden baits. Around the inlet fishermen are catching a mix of Bluefish, Sea Trout and a few Striped Bass at night and Flounder, Croaker, Triggerfish and a few Tautog during the day. In the back bay areas; Flounder fishing has been good with some real doormats being caught on large baits such as live Spot. There are also some nice Red Drum being caught on live Spot. Additionally there is a mix of Croaker, Spot, small Sea Bass and blowfish in the bays.
Outside of the inlet fishermen are catching Triggerfish on some of the inshore wreck sites along with Flounder. The wreck and reef sites farther offshore are offering good Flounder fishing and fair to good Sea Bass fishing. The traditional fishing locations along the 30-Fathom line which some fishermen call "the pork products" have been holding some Yellowfin Tuna, White Marlin and Dolphin action for fishermen. A good portion of the Ocean City charter fleet has been fishing the Norfolk Canyon this week and catching a mix of White and Blue Marlin, Yellowfin Tuna, Bigeye Tuna, Wahoo and Dolphin. The deep drop gang has been catching Golden Tilefish.


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