Thursday, August 28, 2014

Maryland Weekly Fishing Report Overview | August 28, 2014


By: Keith Lockwood

Ready or not here comes Labor Day Weekend and signs that summer is waning continue to pop up. School buses can be seen on the roads in many areas and nature is giving signs to those who notice and contemplate. Traditionally this is a big weekend and a bit of the last hurrah for the summer season so families will be trying to pack a little bit more of summer in. Be sure to make fishing part of your vacation plans. Tristen Pattisall of Bel Air got to go to Ocean City recently and made fishing part of his trip and is obviously happy with this nice flounder.

Photo Courtesy of Tristen Pattisall
The edges of the Susquehanna Flats are offering some good light tackle fishing for Striped Bass to those who can be out there before the crack of dawn. Casting a variety of topwater lures has been providing good action but once the sun clears the horizon the action quickly tapers off. The Striped Bass are averaging from about 16" to 24" with about a 50% throwback ratio.
Farther down the bay there is early morning action at the mouths of many of the tidal rivers and around the Baltimore complex. White Perch are also part of the action and the larger perch are beginning to be more active as water temperatures begin to dip this week. Deep shoreline structure with good current flows are two key ingredients to finding large White Perch and also Striped Bass. Various jigs will work for both fish and drifting peeler crab baits near deep structure is also a good tactic.
Trolling a mix of small spoons and bucktails behind planers or inline weights has been a good option in the upper bay this week along channel edges and tends to account for a better grade of Striped Bass. There are quite a few of the 2011 year class Striped Bass in the upper bay and at this point in time they are falling into the 16" to 17-1/2" size range. Chumming is still a viable option in the upper bay at traditional locations with channel edges such as Swan Point, Love Point, the Triple Buoys and Podickory Point. Cow-Nosed Rays have been pesky intruders to chum slicks this summer and a lot of the smaller Striped Bass tend to move into the slicks but there are some nicer fish to be had. Early morning tides and fresh baits on the bottom at the back of the chum slick tend to offer better chances for larger Striped Bass.
There continues to be quite a bit of fishing action around the Bay Bridge this week; boats have been anchoring up at the end of the Sewer Pipe and just north at the Rock Piles. Most are live lining Spot but a few are chumming with menhaden or Razor Clams and fishing either cut spot, menhaden or live Spot. Drifting live Spot or fresh cut baits back to the bridge piers has also been a successful tactic as has jigging with soft plastics.
Spot are becoming ever more difficult to find and good places to catch Spot are almost more coveted than places to catch Striped Bass lately. Spot are beginning to respond to cooling water temperatures and will begin to school up shortly and start migrating down the bay.
In the middle bay region Striped Bass tend to be the big draw in the general area from the Bay Bridge south to the Taylor's Island area. Most of the live lining action continues to take place along channel edges at Hackett's Bar, the Gum Thickets, Bloody Point, The Hill, inside Eastern Bay, Thomas Point, the Old Gas Buoy (83) and the Clay Banks. Generally speaking the action remains good but it can take some scouting to find fish holding along the edges. A few captains have been providing further enticement when they locate fish with Razor Clams or chum to hold the fish under the boat. Bluefish are often a big part of the scene and can make short work of live Spot baits. Most of the Bluefish are in the 14" to 18" size range so they can make for some good eating on the grill or in a smoker. Cheyenne Ellis puts it to it as she fights a Striped Bass that took a live Spot near the Hill.

Photo Courtesy of Cheyenne Ellis
Schools of bait fish are more common in the bay and tidal rivers as summer starts to wind down and a mix of Striped Bass, Bluefish and Spanish Mackerel have been harassing them in areas where the current sweeps the bait along channel edges. Most of the bait being seen are Bay Anchovies but small Menhaden and Silversides are also being seen. Casting to breaking fish is always fun and metal jigs have been popular; be wary of shiny snaps and swivels and even black ones get bit off by Bluefish at times. There have been good reports of schools of Striped Bass off of Taylor's Island but the action can occur most anywhere out in the bay.
Trolling a mixed spread of small spoons, bucktails and surge tubes behind planers and inline weights has been an effective way to fish for a mix of Bluefish, Striped Bass and Spanish Mackerel throughout most of the middle bay region. The shipping channel edges in the bay where current flow is good has been one of the more productive places to troll lately. Spoons have been one of the more popular lures to troll. Drones come with all kinds of reflective strips, Clarks come in silver and gold, Pet and Tony spoons are usually in Silver. Most are allowed to trail fairly far behind the stern and the number of hits one gets from fish will tell you if your lures are at the right depth. Sean Zlotorzynski and his dad were happy with these two Spanish Mackerel they caught recently while trolling Clark Spoons.

Photo Courtesy of Sean Zlotorzynski
Shallow water fishing for Striped Bass and White Perch continues to be a fun early morning or evening affair as long as the tide is moving and just about everyone would agree that a flood tide is best. Water temperatures are slowly dropping so this type of fishing will only get better as we approach the month of September. Topwater lures are always the most fun and entertaining way to fish for Striped Bass and it also is a great way to avoid submerged rocks and grass. Obviously there are miles of shoreline to explore and looking at charts is a great way to start. Keep an eye out for prominent points and submerged rocks, etc where the current flows by. Our friends the puppy drum did not show up this year for the most part; it would seem they have moved off to some other area now that they are approaching 30" The Speckled Trout have been dearly missed also this year; winter cold shock in Virginia waters seems to be the reasoning there.
There is a lot going on in the lower bay region this week and there is a wide variety of fishing opportunities to choose from. Trolling has been very good for a mix of Bluefish, Spanish Mackerel and Striped Bass around the shipping channel edges from Cove Point to Point Lookout. Most everyone is trolling small spoons behind planers or inline weights. There has been some talk of larger Bluefish out at the Middle Grounds and large Red Drum continue to entertain catch and release fishermen in the area above the Target Ship.
Schools of croaker and Spot are being reported to be packed in around the mouth of the Patuxent River and fishing for a mix of croaker, Spot and small Bluefish has been good in the Tangier Sound area. Some very nice flounder are being caught along the hard bottomed shoals of the channels in the Tangier and Pocomoke Sounds this week and a few Speckled Trout are being caught from Hooper's Island south. Fishing for a mix of croakers, Spot and Blue Catfish has also been good in the lower Potomac River around the Cobb Island area.
Freshwater fishermen in the western region of the state have been enjoying some good fishing for Smallmouth Bass in the early mornings at Deep Creek Lake on a variety of topwater lures. Largemouth Bass are being found near grass or under floating docks. Water temperatures are beginning to show signs of dropping and after the Labor Day weekend boat traffic should begin to decrease. In the upper Potomac River Smallmouth Bass are being caught near water breaks, ledges and boulders on tubes, crankbaits and jigs.
Largemouth Bass are entertaining fishermen throughout many of Maryland's ponds, lakes and tidal rivers this week. The bass are still holding to a typical summer pattern of night feeding in the shallows near grass and spatterdock so early morning and late evening is still the drill. Topwater lures offer the best chance for exciting strikes and fishing the grass with frogs, chatterbaits, buzzbaits and poppers are all good choices. When the bass start looking for shade; whacky rigged worms flipped under docks, near brush cover or dropped through thick grass is a good choice.
Catfish continue to offer a lot of fishing opportunities this week. Channel Catfish can be found in many of our tidal rivers and a few select reservoirs such as Piney Run. Flathead Catfish can be caught in the lower Susquehanna River near the Conowingo Dam. Blue Catfish are very abundant in the tidal Potomac and fishermen can load up on medium sized catfish which make for very good eating. This fisherman is happy with this nice Blue Catfish he caught near Great Falls on the Potomac.

Photo Courtesy of Daniel
Ocean City surf water temperatures are beginning to slide downward but are still in the 70's. There is a summer mix of Kingfish, Spot, croaker, small Bluefish and flounder in the surf with early mornings offering the best action. Inshore sharks are offering some fun catch and release action in the evenings.
Flounder fishing in the inlet and back bay areas continues to be good during the day with the usual number of throwbacks. Croakers, Spot and small Bluefish are also part of the mix. At night a larger grade of Bluefish is being caught at the inlet.
Outside the inlet at the inshore wreck and reef sites there is a very nice grade of flounder being caught with some being of doormat size. A few Black Sea Bass are also being caught. Out at the 30 Fathom Line and beyond to the canyons a mix of Yellowfin Tuna, Dolphin are being caught along with White and Blue Marlin.


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