Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Maryland Weekly Fishing Report Overview | September 10, 2013


By: Keith Lockwood

Labor Day has passed us by and here we are talking about the end of summer and the approach of fall. It will be a welcomed transition for fishermen as water temperatures cool, all types of fish will become more active as they feel the urge to feed. The coming month will be an exciting time for Chesapeake Bay fishermen as fish such as Striped Bass school up and chase baitfish. Freshwater fishermen will see most fish become more active during the day and the October stocking of trout in trout management waters is just around the corner. Ocean fishermen will be treated to migrating populations of fish along the coast and an influx of cold water fish such as Sea Bass and Tautog.
Congratulations to all our qualifiers for the Maryland Fishing Challenge and the Diamond Jim awards event this coming Saturday September 7th at Sandy Point State Park. It should be an exciting morning and a lot of anticipation for those that are selected for the drawings. The new 2013/2014 Fishing Challenge began just after midnight this past Labor Day so good luck to this year's participants and good luck to everyone in the next fishing year.
The recent influx of Striped Bass into the lower Susquehanna River and the channels around the Susquehanna Flats area continue to provide some fun topwater action for fishermen. Water temperatures in the lower Susquehanna are in the upper 60's this week. Most fishermen are using topwater lures in the early morning and evening hours to enjoy the fun of surface strikes. Swim shads and crankbaits are also effective for the Striped Bass that are running from 16" to about 20" in length. In the river there is also some Walleye, Largemouth Bass and Smallmouth Bass action as well. Ryan Moran got an invite to go fishing on the lower Susquehanna with friends and holds up his first legal sized Striped Bass for the camera.

Courtesy of Don Goff

Upper bay fishermen continue to find Striped Bass at the Love Point, Swan Point and Podickory Point areas. Most fishermen are live lining Spot but many are chumming with equally good results. Most fishermen are slowly motoring around the areas until they spot fish with their depth finders and then set up on them. Bluefish are a part of the mix now and they are making short work of live spot and monofilament leaders. Trolling small spoons behind inline weights has also been an effective way to catch a mix of Bluefish and Striped Bass along channel edges as well as jigging over suspended fish. Breaking fish composed of a mix of Bluefish and Striped Bass are becoming a more common sight in the upper bay this week. A large portion of the Striped Bass tend to be in the 16" size range but there are larger fish often mixed in on top or below the surface action.
Fishermen are finding good fishing for White Perch in many areas of the upper bay such as shoal areas out in the bay and channel edges in the tidal rivers. Most fishermen are using bottom rigs baited with bloodworms but jigging can also be effective. There is good fishing for White Perch around piers, docks and similar structure in the tidal rivers for light tackle fishermen casting a variety of small lures such as spinners, spinnerbaits and jigs or shad darts. Shad darts tipped with a grass shrimp can be a deadly combination for White Perch.
The area around the Bay Bridge continues to be a good place to fish this week as fishermen find Striped Bass holding near the bases of the bridge piers. Fishermen can be seen holding their boats in position up current of the bridge piers and drifting live Spot back to the pier bases where the fish are holding. Others are jigging soft plastics or metal jigs while some fishermen are setting up chum slicks up current and drifting baits back towards the piers. These two friends where having fun fishing above the Bay Bridge recently and happily show off a trio of fish they caught.

Courtesy of Bob Messoria

In the middle bay region the area known as the Hill is still a popular destination for fishermen to live line Spot but the fishery is showing signs of changing with Striped Bass fishing becoming less reliable and a hungry horde of Bluefish chewing up baits. Fishermen have been reporting for a couple of weeks now that Striped Bass are proving to be harder to find and hold underneath the boat and the Bluefish showing an insatiable appetite for live Spot baits. More and more schools of breaking fish are being seen in other areas of the middle bay; a sign that we are beginning to see a fall pattern of fishing. The bait is usually Bay Anchovies and the predators are a mix of Striped Bass, Bluefish and Spanish Mackerel. Soon enough it will be more common for fishermen to be jigging under and casting to breaking fish. For the present though, a lot of fishermen continue to live line Spot at the Hill and other channel edges where they can spot fish suspended over the bottom on their depth finders. One exciting thing that is occurring by those that venture to other locations besides the Hill is that fishermen are catching Red Drum while live lining Spot.
Fishing for a mix of White Perch, Spot and Croaker has been good in the middle bay region and fishermen are finding large White Perch holding near deep structure in the lower sections of the region's tidal rivers. Jigging with small spoons and jigs has been effective as is bait. Large Spot are being found in the tidal rivers along with some medium sized croaker. Shore bound fishermen have been finding good fishing opportunities for Spot and White Perch from various fishing piers and bulkhead areas such as the Kent Narrows.
Recreational crabbers continue to give it their all to try and put some steamed crabs on the table. It has been a lot of work to come up with a half bushel or more in most areas of the bay. There is no denying this has not been a stellar year for crabs but recreational crabbers continue to catch just enough to satisfy a hankering for crabs. Jason Davisson needs to use two hands to hang on to this big Wye River beauty.

Courtesy of Jason Davisson

Lower bay region are reporting that their Striped Bass fortunes are improving with more and more schools of Striped Bass chasing bait and better live lining action outside of the Gas Docks. A good portion of the Striped Bass being reported around Cove and Cedar Point are undersized but there are plenty of legal sized ones also. Bluefish are going to be part of the mix no matter what type of fishing you do in the lower bay. They are mixing it up with Striped Bass and Spanish Mackerel whenever they encounter schools of bait. Trolling has been a good way to target this mix of fish this week and many fishermen are also putting some larger spoons in their trolling spread for some catch release fishing for large red drum. The large Red Drum have been showing up at locations such as the Mud Leads, Buoy 72A and the area between Cove and Cedar Points.
Light tackle fishermen have really been enjoying themselves throughout the lower bay with a mix of Striped Bass, Red Drum and Bluefish recently. Most fishermen are casting soft plastic swim shads and jigs in the shallower areas near channels and points during the morning and evening hours. The areas north and south of Tangier Sound on the eastern side of the bay have also been producing some beautiful Speckled Trout for fishermen.
Freshwater fishermen in western Maryland are seeing cooler nights beginning to have an effect on rivers, lakes and streams in the region. Smallmouth Bass fishing has been very good in the upper Potomac River for fish in the 16" size range with a few whoppers once and a while. Tubes, swim shads and soft plastic jigs have been favorites with fishermen who are casting to rock ledges and grass edges. Deep Creek Lake fishermen may begin to see boat traffic subside now that Labor Day has passed and the lake may begin to settle down. There is good fishing for Largemouth Bass in coves and near shaded structure around the lake. Soft plastic worms and craws are a common bait to be used. Fishermen are also finding Smallmouth Bass in the 14" to 17" size range on similar offerings in slightly deeper areas. Walleye and trout are still holding deep near the dam face and John Sweeney shows us that sometimes you can catch the big ones like this big Northern Pike.

Courtesy of John Sweeney

Largemouth Bass are still holding to a typical summer pattern but the fishing hours in the mornings are extending longer and evenings start sooner as water temperatures begin to cool. Most fishermen are targeting shallow grass with topwater lures and deep shaded structure with soft plastics. Bluegills continue to offer action in lakes and ponds and as summer wanes and as cricket populations reach their peak; they are often used for bait. Channel Catfish are active this month and are often a relaxing diversion for bank fishermen as well as those anchoring up over a favorite fishing hole in a small boat.
Ocean City area fishermen continue to see a mix of summer species in the surf and back bay areas this week. Kingfish, Spot, small Bluefish and a few Croaker are being caught in the surf along with some inshore sharks and sting rays. In and around the inlet area fishermen are catching some nice flounder on live Spot and Gulp baits during the day. At night Bluefish, sea trout and Striped Bass command the attention of fishermen drifting live Spot or casting swim shads and Got-Cha lures.
In the back bay areas flounder fishing has been good and as expected the larger flounder are being caught on large baits. Fishermen using the traditional squid or minnow baits are encountering a high percentage of sub-legal flounder. Red Drum and small Black Drum can also be part of the mix in the back bay areas along with Croakers, Spot, small Bluefish and blowfish.
The boats heading out to the wreck sites are finding fair fishing for Sea Bass. Most fishermen have been targeting large flounder and have been catching some really nice ones such as this doormat being held by a happy fisherman.

Courtesy of Steve Doctor

The boats venturing out to the offshore canyons and trolling have been returning with a mix of Dolphin, Yellowfin Tuna, Bigeye Tuna and a few small Mako sharks. There continues to be a lot of White Marlin releases at the Wilmington and Norfolk Canyons. The deep drop boats have been returning to port with catches of Golden and Blueline Tilefish.


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