By: Keith Lockwood
Labor Day Weekend is upon us. Enjoy all that a traditional three day weekend has to offer and be careful if your fun includes fishing and boating activities.
The channel edges leading up to the Susquehanna Flats have recently been offering some early morning fishing for striped bass on topwater lures. Water temperatures are around 85° so the action does not last long after the sun cracks the eastern horizon. There has also been some striped bass action near the shorelines of Pooles Island. Breaking fish made up of striped bass of various sizes with a few small bluefish tossed in have been making it a tough life for the schools of bay anchovies in the region. The action tends to be spread out over a wide area from the Craighill Channel on the west side of the bay to Love Point and north to Swan Point. Chumming and live lining spot continues to be popular and trolling is another good option with spoons behind inline weights and planers.
The Bay Bridge Piers will always be a place to check for striped bass holding near the deeper bridge piers and white perch at the shallower ones. The reports from early this week tell of the bite being off for striped bass but will most likely improve. Spot are being caught at the shallower ends of the bridge also.
Below the Bay Bridge there is quite a bit of live lining for striped bass activity from Dolly's south to Chesapeake Beach on the western side of the bay. Most boats are anchoring up on the 30' channel edge. A few boats are also having success traditional chumming and some are live lining spot in their chum slicks. Small bluefish have been pesky destroyers of spot; always managing to take the portion behind the hook.
Breaking fish are being spotted throughout the middle bay region and usually the deadly trio of Spanish mackerel, bluefish and striped bass are the culprits. At times the striped bass will be undersized but other times of good size. Casting to the surface action or jigging underneath has been very popular with light tackle. Trolling is also popular and a great way to cover a lot of water. Most are trolling spoons and surge tube lures (hoses) behind inline weights and planers. The mouth of Eastern Bay, below Breezy Point, the False Channel and the Little Choptank have been providing some of the better action. Marco Santini holds up a nice Spanish mackerel he caught off of Poplar Island.
Photo courtesy David Jones
The lower bay region is providing a lot of exciting fishing variety this week. A mix of Spanish mackerel, bluefish and striped bass are mixing it up with schools of bay anchovies throughout the region with some of the most consistent action occurring from the Middle Grounds to off Hooper's Island and near Cedar and Cove Points on the western side of the bay. Casting to breaking fish is always popular as is jigging with light tackle. Trolling has also been very productive with spoons behind inline weights and planers. Large red drum are in the region so it has been beneficial to have a couple of large spoons out in the spread for some exciting catch and release action. Julie Tomasik enjoyed a morning of casting topwater lures in the lower Patuxent and holds up a nice striped bass she caught.
Photo courtesy of Julie Tomasi
Recreational crabbing continues to be good in most areas. The tidal rivers in the upper bay can be variable at times but the Magothy and Chester have been fairly consistent. In the middle bay area the Miles and Wye seem to have come back to life and the Dorchester area has been providing excellent crabbing. The lower bay tidal rivers and creeks are some of the best places to crab in Maryland waters this week. All areas are seeing more small crabs, recent sheds and sooks are becoming more common.
At Deep Creek Lake the best fishing for a mix of largemouth and smallmouth bass continues to be early morning and late evening. Topwater lures offer some of the best fishing opportunities near grass. Fallen treetops and floating docks have been good places to target during brighter daylight with whacky rigged stick worms and soft plastics.
The upper Potomac has been flowing steady but grass has been breaking up causing fouled lines. Targeting large boulders and submerged ledges with tubes is a good tactic with light line and long casts. The smallmouth bass tend to be spooky due to clear water and summer river flows.
Largemouth bass fishing continues to be popular during the mornings and evenings along shorelines near grass, lily pads and spatterdock fields. Topwater lures such as frogs offer some of the best fun over grass. Soft plastics and spinnerbaits are effective around edges and crankbaits and grubs are effective near sunken wood. Fishing for largemouth bass in the tidal rivers has been good. The tidal Potomac River has shown extensive grass growth this year and most are targeting the grass with a variety of soft plastics. The tidal rivers and creeks of the Eastern Shore provide excellent fishing for largemouth bass and usually lots of elbow room. A falling tide is often one of the better times to fish along the outside edges of grass and spatterdock fields. At a high tide topwater lures such as frogs can provide a lot of exciting action back in shallow grass and northern snakeheads can be part of the mix. Angelina Watts holds up a northern snakehead she caught in a Dorchester County tidal creek.
Photo by Ryan Jones
The Ocean City area continues to provide plenty of summer fishing opportunities this week as the traditional tourist season begins to wind down with the upcoming Labor Day Weekend. Surf fishing for a mix of kingfish, croakers, small bluefish and flounder has been good in the morning and evening hours.
At the inlet and Route 50 Bridge area bluefish continue to move through the area as well as flounder and striped bass. Near the jetties and bridge piers triggerfish, sheepshead and a few legal-sized tautog are being caught on sand fleas. There is good flounder fishing in the back bay channels with a mix of small bluefish and croakers. White Gulp baits are accounting for some of the large flounder being caught.
Outside the inlet there is some good flounder and croaker fishing on the shoal areas as well as cobia. The wreck and reef sites farther offshore are providing excellent flounder fishing with a few sea bass to round out a mix.
Out at the canyon regions; there has been very good fishing for larger yellowfin tuna, mostly by those using green stick tactics. Traditional trolling is accounting for a mix of white and blue marlin, yellowfin tuna, bigeye tuna, dolphin and wahoo. The occasional sailfish has been known to show up in a trolling spread lately also.
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources Fisheries Service has an exhibit set up in the Mosner Miller Building at the Maryland State Fair. The exhibit includes information on invasive species, surveys, DNR at work, and public fishing access. The exhibit will be running through Labor Day, September 5. Hours are 2PM-8PM on weekdays and 10AM-8PM on weekends. General state fair information is online at www.marylandstatefair.com/state-fair.