Friday, August 9, 2013

Maryland Weekly Fishing Report Overview | August 07, 2013


By: Keith Lockwood

Although it was a great fun being away on vacation and having all kinds of adventures, it sure was comforting when the big old bird I was strapped into began to descend over Maryland and I could look down at familiar rivers and bay shores. It was even more comforting once I reached the Eastern Shore but not before watching several boats fishing at the Bay Bridge in the evening hours. It is good to be back home again and what a delight to experience some of the beautiful weather you have been enjoying recently.
Fishermen in the very upper reaches of the Chesapeake and surrounding tidal rivers are enjoying a typical summer mix of White Perch, Channel Catfish, Largemouth Bass, and a Striped Bass now and then. In the lower Susquehanna, Smallmouth Bass and Flathead Catfish are also entertaining fishermen. Most of the White Perch fishing is occurring along shoreline structure on light tackle in the early mornings and evenings on a moving tide. The Largemouth Bass are near thick grass on the flats and tidal rivers; catfish are in deeper water as are the Striped Bass. Some of the best Striped Bass fishing is at day break and late evening on the lower Susquehanna at the Conowingo Dam pool; fishermen are casting swim shads and crankbaits.
There are plenty of opportunities for White Perch in most areas of the upper bay and its tidal rivers and creeks by casting small lures in the early morning and late evening hours along shoreline structure or fishing bait such as bloodworms in deeper areas of the tidal rivers or bay. Hard bottomed areas such as shoals and channels tend to hold the best White Perch fishing opportunities.
Striped Bass fishing tends to pick up near the Rock Hall area south to the Bay Bridge. The steep channel edge at Podickory Point, Love Point, the Sewer Pipe at the northeast side of the Bay Bridge and the Bay Bridge piers are all good places to find Striped Bass holding. Most fishermen are live lining Spot with good success but some fishermen are catching their fish by chumming, jigging or trolling. Finding suspended fish over structure such as channel edges and a moving current are important key factors to good success.
In the middle bay region the 30' to 35' channel edges at the "Hill" which is at the mouth of Eastern Bay continues to be the hottest show in town when it comes to Striped Bass. It seems that without fail a lively spot dropped down to those depths and location will get you a Striped Bass. The Spot are easy to catch in shallower waters in most areas and the Striped Bass continue to be stacked up at the Hill and similar channel edges in the area. Many fishermen intimidated by the fleet of boats anchored up at the Hill have been finding good luck at channel edges at Thomas Point, inside of Bloody Point and wherever they can find fish holding with their depth finders. Bluefish have not shown up to any degree this season so this is a "happy time" for live liners. Jimmy Whippie is all smiles with the two Striped Bass he was able to catch while live lining Spot at the Hill.

Photo Courtesy of Jimmy Whippie

Water temperatures in the bay in general are holding under 80-degrees so the shallow water fishery and other fishing in general is in pretty good shape. Temperatures in the mid 80's definitely put stress on fish such as Striped Bass. Shallow water light tackle fishing is an early morning and late evening affair this time of year and there is a wide mix of species available in the mid and lower bay regions. Striped Bass, White Perch, Red Drum and Speckled Trout are all being caught. Some days are better than others but if you can find a high ebb tide at daybreak or dusk; chances are you might be in line for some good fishing opportunities. Topwater lures, swim shads such as the Gulp mullet and spinnerbaits are usually good choices.
In the lower bay area fishermen are finding Striped Bass along channel edges in the lower Potomac around St. George's Island and the mouth of the St. Mary's River as well as the Patuxent River channel edges. There has been some Striped Bass action out in front of St. Jerome's Creek and the Gas Docks at times. There has been some catches of 3/4lb Bluefish out at the Middle Grounds and lower Potomac by boats that are chumming but not much to talk about. A few large Red Drum are being caught and released by boats trolling spoons and there have been no reports of Spanish Mackerel to our knowledge.
Bottom fishing for a mix of Croakers, Speckled Trout, Red Drum and large Spot has been good in the major tidal rivers of the middle and lower bay regions. The croakers continue to be of medium size and legal sized Red Drum are a welcomed addition to any fisherman's ice chest. Peeler crab and shrimp tend to be the most popular baits when sending a bottom rig down. Some enterprising fishermen are also drifting peeler or soft crab baits with a light weight in some of the fast current channels leading out of the eastern shore marsh areas and catching some impressive sized Speckled Trout and legal sized Red Drum.
Recreational crabbing continues to improve ever so slightly each week. Some folks are doing pretty well at times with trotlines and collapsible traps in the middle and lower bay areas and other days not so good. When you can put close to a bushel of large heavy crabs together, that of course is a good day. After several sheds the crabs are getting large and hopefully they will be heavy. The upper bay tidal rivers are being described as fair at best with a dozen or less good crabs per outing. Matthew Bishop got to go crabbing with his parents and brother on the West River and managed a nice catch of crabs.

Photo Courtesy of Matthew Bishop

Freshwater fishermen have been quick to enjoy the cooler weather that has been with us for a while now and although most fishing is an early morning late evening venture; cooler temperatures make it more inviting. Water temperatures have cooled a bit but fishermen will still find species such as Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth Bass in a summer mode of behavior. From the western region to the eastern region, fish are orienting to cool water or shade. Largemouth Bass are hunkered under dense grass beds or sunken structure, old docks or as is the case at a lake like Deep Creek Lake, floating docks and pontoon boats. Most every pond, lake, reservoir or river has some kind of structure that offers refuge for Largemouth Bass and also a place to look for small bait fish. Fishermen who target these areas can often find good fishing opportunity for a nice Largemouth Bass.
John Mullican was kind enough to send us this report on Smallmouth Bass fishing on the upper Potomac River. After flowing above normal for much of the year, the Potomac River has now dropped to more typical summer levels. Dense beds of water stargrass and wild celery provide great cover for fish, but make navigation and fishing difficult. In the shoreline areas of slower flowing sections like Seneca, dense beds of hydrilla have developed. Bass fishing, however, has remained good. This time of year the best action is usually very early or late in the day or on overcast days. Topwater lures have been very productive, but floating fragments of vegetation frequently foul lures in some areas. When the bass won't come to the surface a wacky-rigged stick worm will get plenty of bites. Set the hook quickly at the first sign a bass has picked up the worm to prevent hooking them too deep. Summer bass like current so look for them around cover or submersed ledges and boulders with plenty of flow.

Photo Courtesy of John Mullican

Most of the excitement this week in Ocean City is of course the White Marlin Open and so far over 100 White Marlin have been caught and released and 6 weighed by boats in the tournament.
There is of course plenty of other fishing going on in the Ocean City area such as the good surf fishing for a summer mix of Kingfish, Spot, small Bluefish and Flounder. For those wishing a little more pull there are inshore sharks and sting rays in the evening hours.
In and around the inlet/Route 50 Bridge area fishermen are catching Flounder, small Bluefish and Croakers during the day and small Bluefish, sea trout and Striped Bass at night. A few Sheepshead and Triggerfish are also being found near the jetty rocks by fishermen using sand fleas for bait. In the back bay areas Flounder are being caught in the channel areas along with a mix of small Black Drum, Red Drum, Croaker and Spot. Larger baits such as Gulp baits and live Spot are catching most of the larger Flounder.
Offshore at the wreck sites, Sea Bass fishing is being described as fair and flounder and triggerfish can also be part of the daily catch. Farther offshore, deep drop fishermen are catching Tilefish. The boats out trolling are finding Bluefin and Yellowfin Tuna at some of the 30-Fathon hot spots such as the Hot Dog and Jack Spot and a mix of Yellowfin Tuna, Bluefin Tuna, Bigeye Tuna, Wahoo and Dolphin in the canyon regions. There seems to be a lot of small Yellowfin Tuna around at present and many fail to meet the minimum size and have to be released. There is of course the chance of larger tuna such as this 225lb Bigeye Tuna this group of friends from the Oxford Fisheries Lab encountered on a 50lb class outfit. It was a long battle that they all took turns to finally wear this fish down and bring it to gaff.

Photo Courtesy of Eric Daniels


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