Friday, July 1, 2022

Fishing Report

The lower Potomac River is once again one of the better locations to fish for striped bass. The steep channel edge between Piney Point and St. Georges Island continues to offer good fishing for striped bass. Most anglers are live-lining spot with very good results, while others are chumming. A fair portion of the striped bass being caught are undersized so anglers are urged to be careful when releasing them since they hold the future of striped bass fishing this fall and next year. Please visit the DNR website for responsible catch-and-release procedures and for tips on using circle hooks.

The lower Patuxent River and edges of the shipping channel are also offering good live-lining action for striped bass, when fish can be located on depth finders. Trolling can be a good option when striped bass are spread out along channel edges. Most anglers are using umbrella rigs pulled behind inline weights to get them down to the depths where the fish are holding. Trolling small Drone spoons behind inline weights and bucktails behind umbrella rigs is another tactic. Bluefish are steadily moving into the region and in the coming weeks will become more of the fishing mix.

Jigging along channel edges where fish can be suspended is always an option. Casting topwater lures, paddletails, and jerkbaits along shoreline structure and the shallower grass flats of the Eastern Shore and the Tangier Sound area is a fun and productive way to fish for a mix of speckled trout and striped bass. Speckled trout fishing has been a bit off lately due to cooler weather, but with hot weather in the forecast the success is expected to increase.

The cobia season has gotten off to a relatively slow start in Maryland waters, but a few fish are being caught at the Middle Grounds and Target Ship areas. Most anglers are setting up chum slicks and drifting live eels back in the slick. Large red drum are in the eastern side of the Bay around Tangier Sound and continue to provide some exciting catch-and-release action. 

Fishing for blue catfish in the lower Potomac, Patuxent, and Nanticoke rivers is very good this week. Based on observations in other tidal rivers, it is a good bet many of the blue catfish may have moved downriver. The channel edges are among the better places to fish, and cut fish and other baits will entice them to a hookup. 

Fishing for white perch is good and a fun experience for young and older anglers. They can be found near docks and piers in the tidal rivers and creeks of the lower Bay. They can also be found on oyster bottom in the lower Patuxent River and Eastern Shore areas from Hoopers Island south through Tangier Sound. Bottom rigs baited with grass shrimp or pieces of bloodworm work well in deeper waters and casting small jigs and spinners are a fun way to catch them in the morning and evening hours along shoreline structure.

Recreational crabbing continues to move along at a rather slow pace but it is definitely worth the effort to go out and catch your own. Current market price is about $165 for a half bushel for large crabs if you can find them. Most knowledgeable crabbers in a good area can usually come up with a healthy half bushel per outing. Be sure to check the new Maryland blue crab fishing regulations that will be effective July 1.

Friday, June 24, 2022

Fishing Report

One of the best places to fish for striped bass is the lower Potomac River. There are a couple of channel edge locations that are producing good fishing but the steep channel edge from St. Georges Island to Piney Point has been an excellent place for live-lining spot. It can be fairly quick to catch a daily limit so many anglers are motoring up to places like the St. Marys and Wicomico rivers, using cut spot to catch blue catfish to round out the day. 

Trolling along the main channel edges in the lower Potomac can pay dividends. Trolling with umbrella rigs behind heavy inline weight can work well with bucktails dressed with sassy shads as trailers. Single Drone spoons behind inline weights offer another viable option.

Good striped bass fishing has been found in the lower Patuxent River around the Solomons Bridge piers and also the channel edges. Live-lining spot close to the bridge pier bases has been productive. Trolling with weighted umbrella rigs down deep along the 35-foot channel edge is also another good option. Jigging with soft plastics can also work when fish can be spotted suspended off the edges of the channels. 

Spot are readily available in the lower Patuxent River over shell bottom, along with white perch and a few small croakers. Spot can also be found in Tangier Sound and up towards Hooper Island. White perch can be found in the tidal rivers and creeks near structure such as docks, piers, and rocks. Casting small spinnerbaits, roadrunners, and spinners is a fun way to catch them on light tackle in the morning and evening hours.

A mix of striped bass and speckled trout are being caught in the lower Bay in the morning and evening hours by casting paddletails and topwater lures. The lower sections of the tidal rivers are excellent places to cast white, pearl and pink paddletails. Topwater lures work well over grass. The largest speckled trout are coming from the eastern side of the Bay.

The 2022 cobia season got off to a reasonable start and a number of them were caught in Maryland waters near the Target Ship and the Middle Grounds. Most anglers are chumming and fishing with live eels in the back of their chum slick. Chum attracts cownose rays and small sharks which can be pesky at times. Some of the best cobia fishing is still in Virginia waters.

Large red drum are still being caught and released in the Tangier Sound area and near the Target Ship. A popular tactic is slowly motoring over likely-looking areas and watching depth finders for signs of red drum, then dropping a soft crab bait down to the drum, Trolling large spoons is another good way to fish for them as is jigging with large soft plastic jigs when a school can be spotted. Troubled water, slicks, and cloudy water often are signs of a school of large red drum in the area. 

Fishing for blue catfish  has been very good farther up the Nanticoke River above Sharpsburg and up the Patuxent and Potomac rivers. Baits of fresh cut spot, menhaden, or gizzard shad work well, and even clam snouts and chicken meat will work. Snakeheads are being found in the shallow grassy areas of the upper tidal waters of the Wicomico, Nanticoke, Patuxent, and Potomac rivers. The snakeheads are beginning to spawn in the shallow grass so weedless paddletails, buzzbaits, and frogs can be good choices to fish over grass. 

Recreational crabbing continues at a rather slow pace but there are blue crabs out there to catch. The best catches are coming from the lower bay region and catches tend to decline as one goes up the bay. About the best one can hope for is a half bushel per outing, with catches declining as you go north.

Thursday, June 16, 2022

Fishing Report

If you’re looking for striped bass it is pretty hard to top the action in the lower Potomac River right now. The steep channel edge between St. Georges Island and Piney Point is the place to be. Many are trolling umbrella rigs behind heavy inline weights with bucktails dressed with sassy shads as trailers. The striped bass are suspended at about 35 feet along the channel edge. The channel edge is also a great place for live-lining spot. 

Anglers are reporting a high percentage of sub-legal striped bass being caught this week, whether they are trolling, jigging, or casting along the shorelines. Anglers are urged to practice responsible catch and release methods when releasing undersized fish and to always use non-offset circle hooks when fishing for striped bass with bait. 

The lower Patuxent River is another great place to look for striped bass by trolling with umbrella rigs, jigging, or live-lining spot along the channel edges. Anglers are also enjoying some striped bass action along the edges of the shipping channel by trolling along the 35-foot edge. Cove Point, the HS Buoy, and other steep edges are good places to look. 

Spot can be readily found in the lower and middle sections of the Patuxent River this week as well as in Cornfield Harbor, Tangier Sound, and near the mouth of the Honga River. Most are suitable for live-lining, and it will take a couple of months for them to achieve pan frying size. White perch are holding in the many tidal rivers and creeks of the lower Bay and can be caught on pieces of bloodworm, peeler crab, and grass shrimp, or by casting small plastic jigs, spinnerbaits, roadrunner type lures, and spinners along the shorelines of the rivers and creeks. 

Cobia season is now open and these fish have been in our waters for a couple of weeks. Anglers will be anchored up and tending chum slicks and fishing cut baits, live spot or live eels in the back of their chum slicks. Cownose rays will be a significant problem but hopefully some cobia will be caught. The daily limit is two cobia per boat if two or more anglers are aboard, or one per person per day. Minimum length for cobia is 40 inches. 

Large red drum are being caught and released In Tangier Sound, the Middle Grounds, and the Target Ship areas this week. Trolling large spoons behind inline weights is a popular way to fish for them, along with jigging or fishing with soft crab baits when schools can be spotted on depth finders. 

Casting paddletails and poppers along the shorelines of the Bay and tidal rivers is a good and fun way to fish with light tackle during the morning and evening hours. Speckled trout are mixing in with striped bass on the eastern side of the Bay along marsh edges and tidal creeks. Drifting soft crab baits on an ebbing tide is a fun and productive way to fish for speckled trout and red drum in the marsh creeks of the Eastern Shore. 

Fishing for blue catfish in the tidal Potomac, Patuxent, and Nanticoke rivers is as good as it ever gets. Fresh cut bait of menhaden, gizzard shad, white perch, or bluegills will certainly draw their attention, and setting up a chum slick will have them lined up behind your boat. There are also many shoreline spots to fish for blue catfish and a forked stick to hold your rod. A comfortable chair and some snacks and drinks round out the experience. 

Northern snakeheads are providing a lot of fishing action in the backwaters of Dorchester County and in the tidal Potomac, Patuxent, Nanticoke, and Wicomico rivers. They seem to be moving around a lot – perhaps they are looking for a mate or that perfect spawning area. They are aggressively attacking white paddletails or buzzbaits and frogs over grass. 

Recreational crabbing is starting to pick up a little speed, and crab fortunes are becoming more bountiful this week. Crabbers are able to catch up to a full bushel per outing, although ore commonly about a half-bushel in the lower Bay. As is typical this time of the year, some of the better catches are coming from the Eastern Shore tidal rivers, with the western shore a close second. In the middle Bay catches range from a few dozen crabs to a half bushel per outing. 

Crabbers reported a lot of recently shed large crabs a week or so ago and now those crabs are filling out to become a nice heavy crab measuring 6 inches or better. Due to the high price of razor clams, many are using chicken necks on trotlines and some are having good luck with menhaden baits in their collapsible crab traps. 

Thursday, December 5, 2019

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Fishing Report

The lower Potomac River is once again one of the better locations to fish for striped bass. The steep channel edge between Piney Point and S...