Thursday, June 10, 2021

Fishing Report

 

Most of the best fishing action in the lower Bay is taking place in the shallower waters along the eastern and western shores. Casting paddletails and soft plastic jigs in white, pink, and pearl color combinations is a very popular way to fish for a mix of striped bass and speckled trout. Often the speckled trout are taking center stage since most are longer than 20 inches with a daily creel limit four fisher per day, while catching a striped bass above the 19-inch minimum can be tough at times. The morning and evening hours usually offer the best fishing opportunities.

Some are trolling along the channel edges in the lower Potomac River and the Bay shipping channels with fair results. Most are trolling deep with umbrella rigs and closer to the surface with tandem rigged bucktails and swimshads. Spot and small white perch can be live-lined and anglers are searching channel edges looking for suspended fish to set up on. 

Large red drum are being caught and released near the Target Ship and Mud Leads on soft crab baits, jigging with large soft plastic jigs, or by trolling large silver spoons. There are a lot of cownose rays in the neighborhood so make sure you have locked in on the drum with your depth finder before dropping soft crab baits over the side. 

White perch can be found in the tidal rivers and creeks. Casting small lures during the early morning and evening hours along shoreline structure is great fun with light tackle. They can also be found in deeper waters in the lower sections of the region’s tidal rivers, usually on hard bottom. In the lower Patuxent and Potomac, spot and croaker can also be in the mix when fishing with bloodworms or peeler crab on a bottom rig. 

Fishing for blue catfish could hardly be better in the tidal Potomac, Patuxent, and Nanticoke rivers. They offer plenty of action and make great table fare. Fresh-cut gizzard shad, white perch, or menhaden make excellent baits, as are nightcrawlers, clam snouts, and chicken liver. 

The recreational crabbing season is slowly picking up momentum this week, and each week tends to be a little better than the previous. In the middle Bay, trotliners are generally catching a few dozen to a half-bushel of heavy crabs. The best catch is in shallow water with razor clams, and those crabbing on the Eastern Shore are doing better than the western side of the Bay. Lower Bay catches are up a notch from the middle Bay, with catches of a half-bushel fairly common, and some have gone home with a full bushel of crabs.

Northern snakeheads are busy protecting the fry balls this week so they tend to stay put in thick grass. Since they are so protective, casting chatterbaits or perhaps a soft plastic lizard near their brood may get a strike. 

Fishing for crappie remains good this week and targeting sunken brush, fallen treetops, bridge piers, or marina docks are great places to look for them. Fishing a small minnow or marabou jig under a slip bobber is a good way to fish for them in the tidal Potomac River near the Wilson Bridge and nearby marinas. The bridge piers at Loch Raven and Liberty reservoirs and small lakes such as Wye Mills are just a few of the other good places to fish for crappie.

Thursday, June 3, 2021

Fishing Report

Rolling, jigging, chumming, live lining, and shallow water casting — these are all methods being used this week to fish for striped bass in the middle Bay. Those trolling are working the shipping channel edges and the channels leading out of the major tidal rivers. The 40-foot shipping channel edges are a popular draw and umbrella rigs with heavy inline weights are being used to get down to the fish. Shallower depths in the water column are being covered by single or tandem rigged bucktails in white or chartreuse. The outside edge of Hacketts, Bloody Point, Thomas Point, the Buoy 83 edge, and the False Channel are traditional locations to troll this week. 

Those light-tackle jigging are cruising the same channel edges as above and anywhere striped bass can be found suspended off the bottom. Skirted plastic jigs in the 6-inch or larger category are favorites. Working the channels in the lower end of the region’s tidal rivers is also producing some striped bass in 15 feet to 20 feet of water. All of the tidal rivers are open to striped bass fishing now, so many are exploring areas that were previously off limits.

Casting paddletails in white, pink, and other color combinations is the best way to target the speckled trout. Striped bass will be part of the mix or one can cast topwater lures for some surface excitement. 

White perch are providing a lot of fun fishing this week in the tidal rivers and creeks of the middle bay. They can be found near shoreline structure, oyster bottom, and dock and bridge piers. Casting beetle spins, small spinnerbaits, and spinners are a fun way to fish for them along the shorelines of the rivers and bay in the morning and evening hours. Any other time, dropping a simple bottom rig baited with grass shrimp or pieces of bloodworm near dock piers or any kind of bottom structure is a great idea. 

Northern snakeheads are spawning in most of the region’s tidal rivers and creeks this week and holding tight in shallow grass areas. To catch their attention it will take something like a noisy threatening chatterbait pulled right through where they are protecting their brood.

Speckled trout is the biggest fishing topic in the lower bay right now. The fish moved up into the area a week ago and have been dominating the interest of light-tackle anglers. The shallows of Tangier Soundup to Hoopers Island are the most popular places to fish for them, but they can also be found in the lower Potomac River and the western side of the bay. Casting white and pink paddletails, grubs, and various soft plastic jigs has been the most popular way to fish for them in grassy shallows. Casting Zara Spooks over grass and in stump fields offers plenty of speckled trout and striped bass action in the morning and evening hours. Many of the striped bass being caught are reported to be a bit shy of 19 inches, but are still a lot of fun on light tackle.

Those wishing to troll for their striped bass are doing so along the shipping channel edges on both sides of the bay and the lower Potomac. The edges at Cove Point, Point No Point, Buoy 72, and the lower Potomac between St. Georges Island and Piney Point are popular locations. Most anglers are pulling umbrella rigs deep with white or chartreuse bucktails or tandem rigged bucktails higher in the water column. Those looking for some light tackle jigging action are checking channel edges for suspended fish, Cedar Point, or the reef at Point No Point with their depth finders. Soft plastic jigs in the 6-inch size range are the most popular option. 

Live lining is a viable option in the lower bay, and spot are available in the mouth of the Patuxent and lower Potomac rivers. The channel edges in front of Cove Point, Cedar Point, and the steep channel edge in the lower Potomac from St. Georges Island to Piney Point are popular places to live-line spot. A few boats have also been anchoring up and chumming in these locations and report spotty results with striped bass but plenty of blue catfish on cut menhaden baits. 

A mix of spot, white perch, and small croakers are being caught on hard bottom in the lower Patuxent River, Cornfield Harbor on the lower Potomac, and Tangier Sound at the Sands. Flounder are being caught along the channel edges in Tangier Sound along with speckled trout on soft plastic jigs. A few large red drum are being caught and released by those using soft crab baits near the Mud Leads, black drum can also be in the mix as well. 

There have been reports of some blue crabs being caught in the mouth of the Magothy River by those using trotlines. In the middle bay, crabs are being found shallow in many of the tidal creeks and rivers, where water temperatures are in 60s. Recreational crabbers report being able to catch a couple dozen in the middle bay region and up to a half bushel in the lower Eastern Shore region. Most of the larger crabs are those that held over the winter. Recreational crabbers report sooks are chewing up baits. Some are forking over the money for razor clams, which have hit an all-time high of $80 to $100 a bushel.

Crappie and bluegill sunfish are in their post-spawn behavioral stage and will provide plenty of good fishing. The crappie can be found holding near marina docks, sunken wood, fallen treetops, and bridge piers. A small live minnow under a slip bobber is an excellent way to target them. Bluegills always provide plenty of fun summer fishing, whether one is fishing with a simple bait and bobber rig or is casting small poppers or flies.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

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Fishing Report

  Most of the best fishing action in the lower Bay is taking place in the shallower waters along the eastern and western shores. Casting pad...