Thursday, February 11, 2021

Blue Catfish

If anyone has any doubts about the exploding populations of blue catfish in rivers such as the Patuxent, this picture of blue catfish brought to the surface by an electro-fishing survey is an eye opener. 

Thursday, December 10, 2020

Fishing Report

The 2020 recreational striped bass season closes Dec. 10 for the Maryland portion of the Chesapeake Bay. Anglers will still be able to fish in the bay but will have to practice catch and release. In the tidal Potomac River, anglers will be able to catch and keep two striped bass at a minimum of 20 inches until Dec. 31. 

Those looking for a little winter outdoor fun and some good eating can recreationally catch their own oysters. If you have a boat and a set of tongs you’re good to go. Drifting in the shallows with clear water one can often spot individual oysters and collect them with a miniature set of tongs called nippers. 

Trolling has been popular but it takes heavy tackle to deal with the even heavier inline weights needed to get umbrella rigs and tandem rigged parachutes down to where the fish are holding. Chartreuse is the color of choice for most teasers and trailers on umbrella rigs or tandem-rigged bucktails. 

The western side of the shipping channel is also providing some trolling opportunities. The channel edge near Thomas Point and the edge from Chesapeake Beach south past Parkers Creek has been getting the attention of those trolling umbrella rigs and bucktails. 

When the surrounding waters become a bit frigid, the Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant warm-water discharge always gets the attention of fish nosing into the warm water,  This can hold particularly true for species such as speckled sea trout and puppy drum that most likely wish they’d left Maryland waters and headed south earlier with their buddies. That said, anglers are also attracted to this site and will continue to be through the winter months. Drifting in the current and jigging with soft plastics or metal close to the bottom is how to fish this area, and it must be done with the welfare of other anglers in boats in mind at all times. The number of boats and engine noise as well as depth finders pinging away can all have detrimental effects on fishing success. 

There has also been plenty of action on the west side of the lower bay. The mouth of the Patuxent, the area from Point No Point to Point Lookout and Smith Point has been a great place to jig or troll for striped bass suspended off the bottom in some of the deeper channel edges ranging from 30 feet to 40 feet deep. Those fishing the lower Potomac can keep two 20-inch striped bass until December 31. 

White perch are now holding in 40 feet of water or more as they seek out slightly warmer water to hunker down for the winter months. It may take a couple of ounces of metal weights to hold a bottom rig to catch them with pieces of bloodworm. Fishing for blue catfish is very good this time of the year and they can be found in the tidal waters of the Potomac, Patuxent, and Nanticoke rivers. 

Thursday, December 3, 2020

Fishing Report

Trolling has been good in the lower Potomac River near Smith Point and the channel edge near St. Georges Island and Piney Point, and that should continue. The same holds for the lower Patuxent River. In both cases the striped bass are holding about 10 feet off the bottom in 40 feet of water. Umbrella rigs rigged with chartreuse sassy shad teasers and bucktails dressed with sassy shads and pulled behind heavy inline weights has been the ticket to catching striped bass. 

The eastern side of the bay is also offering good fishing for striped bass from Hoopers Island south past Buoy 72A. Many reported breaking fish and diving seagulls in the area and enjoyed fun jigging and trolling opportunities. Those jigging are using medium-sized soft plastic or metal jigs underneath the surface action to target larger fish. The cuts through Hoopers Island are also offering fun jigging on a falling tide. Those trolling are pulling umbrella rigs or tandem-rigged bucktails dressed with sassy shads. 

White perch are being found in about 40 feet of water at the mouths of the Patuxent and Nanticoke rivers along with the Point Lookout area. That is a long way down so it may take plenty of weight to get a two-hook bottom rig baited with pieces of bloodworm down there and hold bottom. Those looking to stock their freezers with mild tasting fish fillets will find plenty of blue catfish in the tidal Potomac in the Fort Washington area, the Benedict area of the Patuxent, and the Sharptown area of the Nanticoke. 


Friday, November 20, 2020

Fishing Report

Trolling is always a popular way to fish this time of the year, especially if the boat has a warm cabin to get out of the wind. Trolling is also a good way to cover a lot of water when the fish are spread out, which is the case this week. It takes heavy inline weights to get umbrella rigs down to where the fish are holding. White sassy shads on the umbrella arms and white bucktail trailers have been favored combinations lately. 

Some are lucky enough to happen upon breaking fish, which are often sub-legal striped bass, but jigging underneath them can often produce larger fish, If not, it is all good fun on light tackle. White paddle tails are the top choice for lure selection; combinations of pearl and hints of chartreuse are good choices also. One should keep an eye out for slicks and sitting seagulls which can indicate action below the surface. 

White perch are holding deep over oyster bottom in the lower sections of the region’s tidal rivers. The best way to target them is to locate a school with a depth finder, and either anchor or drift over the suspended perch, which will be holding close to the bottom. Using pieces of bloodworm on a bottom rig is the best way to target them. 

Striped bass are being found throughout the lower bay but a few standouts include the lower Potomac River, the mouth of the Patuxent, and the eastern side of the shipping channel from Buoy 72A south past the Target Ship. 

In the lower Potomac, the steep channel edge from St. George Island past Piney Point has been a very productive location for the past week. Many are trolling white umbrella rigs with heavy inline weights to get down to where the fish are suspended off the bottom. There are additional trolling opportunities in the mouth of the Patuxent River and along the eastern side of the shipping channel. 

Fishing for blue catfish could hardly be any better in the tidal portions of the Potomac and Nanticoke rivers this week. If one is looking to stock up on tasty fillets that freeze well, it is hard to beat blue catfish. Most any kind of cut bait, clam snouts, or chicken liver are good baits to use on a simple bottom rig. 

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Fishing Report

The lower Potomac River channel edges, from the general area of Piney Point to St. George Island and down to Point Lookout, is one of the best places to fish this week for striped bass that exceed 20 inches in length. Trolling those channel edges has been one of the most popular ways to fish this week. It can be a tough way to fish at times, with stout tackle inline weights as heavy as 14 ounces and umbrella rigs, but it does catch fish. The striped bass tend to be suspended at about 25 feet to 30 feet along the channel edges. Another trolling option is to pull single or tandem rigged bucktails dressed with twister tails or sassy shads and single paddle tails, with a light amount of weight on light to medium tackle in shallower waters.

When good marks are found on a depth finder or one finds breaking fish, light tackle jigging can be a fun alternative to trolling. Soft plastics have been the most popular way to jig lately; these days you do not hear too much about metal jigs, which were the standard for many years. The color combinations are white and variations of pearl and sparkles. Many are also having very good luck casting paddle tails near shoreline structure in the morning and evening hours.

There are other trolling and jigging options at the mouth of the Patuxent River, the edges of the shipping channel near Cove Point, and the eastern side of the shipping channel. Diving seagulls and breaking fish can be spotted now and then and always an exciting scene to come upon. The Target Ship and Tangier Sound have been a recent scene of this exciting action. The surface fish are usually undersized striped bass but not always and jigging or trolling deep under the surface action.

The lower Patuxent River, Tangier Sound and the mouth of the Nanticoke River are excellent places to fish for white perch this week. The perch are holding deep over hard bottom such as oyster beds. Bottom rigs baited with pieces of bloodworms tend to be the best way to reach them.

Friday, November 6, 2020

Fishing Report

The Bay Bridge can be a great place to jig for striped bass holding near the bridge piers. The best action tends to be in the morning and evening hours on a moving tide. Jigs should be cast slightly up-current of the bridge piers and working past while jigging. The piers and the rock piles are also holding large white perch, and they can also be caught while jigging with small jigs on dropper rigs or by fishing with pieces of bloodworm on a bottom rig.  

A few of the most productive locations to troll along the shipping channel edges include the edge in front of the Gum Thickets south to Bloody Point, and then from Buoy 84A to Buoy 84. The outside edge of Hacketts, Thomas Point, and the shipping channel edge in front of Chesapeake Beach south to Parkers Creek are also good locations. Most anglers are pulling umbrella rigs with sassy shads or spoons on the umbrella arms with a spoon or bucktail as a trailer. All are being pulled behind heavy inline weights to get them down to about 25 feet. 

The shallow water striped bass fishery has been in full swing this week during the morning and evening hours. Topwater lures always provide plenty of fun surface explosions; jerkbaits and paddle tails are good choices also when waters are slightly deeper. The rocks around Poplar Island, Eastern Bay, and the shorelines of the lower Severn, Choptank, and West rivers are all great places to cast lures. 

The white perch have moved to the lower sections of the tidal rivers and tend to be holding over oyster bottom. Fishing with bottom rigs baited with pieces of bloodworm is the best way to catch them. Channel catfish can be found in the middle sections of the tidal rivers and can provide plenty of fun fishing. Cut bait, nightcrawlers, clam snouts, and chicken liver all work well as bait. 

The lower Potomac River tends to be the hot ticket right now. Anglers trolling near Piney Point down past St. George Island are catching some very nice striped bass over 20 inches in length. Umbrella rigs with enough inline weight to get them down to 25 feet are popular, rigged with spoons or sassy shads and using a bucktail or spoon as a trailer. Tandem rigged bucktails behind a planer are working well also. There is also some good trolling action for striped bass at Cornfield Harbor, the mouth of the Patuxent River and across the bay near the Target Ship and the channel edge between Buoys 72A and 72. 

Fishing for blue catfish in the tidal Potomac, Patuxent, and Nanticoke rivers has been excellent lately and will continue through the month. This is a great time to stock up one’s freezer with nice fillets. Fresh cut bait is by far the best choice for bait, but in a pinch clam snouts can work well. 

Fishing for white perch is good in the lower sections of the region’s tidal rivers. The perch tend to be deep and the best way to get to them is a bottom rig baited with pieces of bloodworm. 

Those heading out for one more chance for some fresh blue crabs are doing well in many of the tidal rivers. Water temperatures in the tidal rivers are running about 55 degrees. The crabs tend to be found in about 12 feet to 15 feet of water and most crabbers are reporting close to a full bushel or more per outing. Chicken necks work well as the standard bait but razor clams are held in high esteem by the most serious crabbers. 

Blue Catfish

If anyone has any doubts about the exploding populations of blue catfish in rivers such as the Patuxent, this picture of blue catfish brough...