Thursday, August 27, 2020

Fishing Report

Spanish mackerel, bluefish, speckled trout, red drum, white perch, and spot are all offering fun fishing. The main stem of the Potomac River is now open to striped bass fishing but the Maryland tributaries are off-limits through Aug. 31.

Spanish mackerel are being caught along the edges of the shipping channel from the Virginia line north to the middle bay, the shipping channel edge from Buoy 72 south to Buoy 68, and the Point Lookout to Cove Point area. Trolling #1 and #2 Drone and Clark spoons in gold behind #1 or #2 planers or heavy inline weights at about 7 knots works well. Trolling blind or near breaking fish or slicks are resulting in limit catches for some anglers, with a daily creel limit of 15 fish per day. Some thought should be given to how many Spanish mackerel go into the fish box since they don’t freeze well and need to be eaten fresh.

Anglers are encountering breaking fish along the edges of the shipping channel and they are mostly a mix of Spanish mackerel and bluefish feeding on bay anchovies. Small striped bass can also be mixed in at times. Casting into the breaking fish with metal jigs and allowing them to sink to an appropriate depth and then speed reeling is another fun way to catch the Spanish mackerel. Slower retrievals will produce bluefish. Anglers are also finding large red drum deep underneath the surface action, and jigging with large soft plastics or spoons is a fun way to get in on some heavy duty catch-and-release action.

Bottom fishing for a mix of spot, white perch, and a speckled trout now and then has been excellent in the lower Patuxent River. The Cornfield Harbor area, Tangier Sound, and lower Hoopers Island are all great places to get in on the action. Pieces of bloodworm are the most popular bait but peeler crab can work well also. Flounder are being found on the shoal edges near channels in the Tangier and Pocomoke sounds this week. Gulp baits and live minnows are popular baits.

Speckled trout are spread throughout the region with much of the best action found on the eastern side of the bay. Casting soft plastics in pearl and sparkle flash near prominent points, marsh edges, and creek mouths is producing good catches. Drifting peeler crab baits near structure and creek mouths is also a great way to fish for speckled trout. Small red drum will be part of the mix, with most measuring under the minimum 18-inch length.

Cobia fishing within the region is slowing down and only a few are being caught in Maryland waters. The best catches of cobia are coming from Virginia waters closer to the mouth of the bay. Sight casting with live eels has been the most successful way to fish for them, but chumming is another alternative.

Blue catfish in the tidal Potomac River or the Nanticoke River offer good fishing for those wishing to anchor up or fish from shore. The blue catfish are plentiful and offer good eating. Most any kind of fresh cut bait works well and many have good luck using clam snouts for bait.

Recreational crabbers are enjoying some of the best crabs of the season and it will get better as September approaches. The crabs have ventured up the tidal rivers and into the upper bay in greater numbers. Most crabbers in the upper bay region are able to catch a half- bushel or more per outing. In the middle and lower bay, catches of a bushel per outing are common.

Razor clams remain the bait of choice whether trotlining or crabbing with collapsible traps. Some of the best crab catches are coming from deep water in the tidal rivers. The shallower areas have a lot of small crabs which will chew up baits and sooks are beginning to be on the move. There will be a major shed coming up in a few weeks, and catches of large crabs will be something to look forward to in September, once they fatten up.

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Fishing Report

Spot are of excellent size more plentiful in both the Patuxent and Potomac than we have perhaps ever seen before. The spot are also in the bay off Second Beach between Drum Point and Little Cove Point Run about 25 feet of water. These fish can schooled up most anywhere from Cove Point to Cedar Point on the Chinese Muds.  

The Potomac has spot everywhere and especially at Ragged Point in 18 to 25 feet.

Spot love bloodworms; use a double hook bottom rig and catch them two at the time.

Tiny croaker are everywhere sized around 4 to 6 inches. These croaker are the future fishery that will fill coolers next year in the 10 to 14 inch range. In 2022 they will be 12 to 17 inches.
White perch can be caught by bottom fishermen on the oyster bars of the Potomac and Patuxent. The creeks are chock full of perch ready to take tiny spinner baits on moving tides.

The Spanish mackerel feed on small spot and they can be found breaking and jumping in the bay near the mouth of the Patuxent and both south and north of Cedar Point. Cedar Point Hollow was hot as was 72A and Point No Point this week. There are an equal number of bluefish mixed with the mackerel schools. These fish are always feeding and move fast; if they are not where you are, go find them.

The two days of heavy rain over the weekend may change the fish patterns, and we will have to adjust to their new normal.
Big reds are in the bay but are scattered about. Trollers are using bigger spoons when trolling for mackerel as they will occasionally attract a bull red from 30 to 70 pounds. Don't set those drags too tight! Sight casters for reds and cobia will start to connect by the weekend and the water will clear from the rain, and the winds are predicted to be fairly calm. As a bonus the temperatures will top out at about 83 degrees.

Snakeheads have spawned and their tiny offspring form bait balls that are guarded by the parents. All this takes place in the headwaters of the creeks in shallow water. The fish will rarely feed at this time, so they ignore lures.

Bass and bluegill be very active the next few days as the water clears from the big rains.

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Fishing Report


Once the storm passed through the region last week and the floodwaters began to dissipate, fishing in the lower bay region began to come back in a big way. Perhaps one of the most exciting reports is the surge of Spanish mackerel that entered the region over the weekend. Trolling a mix of various spoons behind planers and heavy inline weights has been the ticket for good catches of Spanish mackerel and ¾ pound bluefish. The eastern side of the shipping channel from the general area of Buoy 72B past 72A and south to Buoy 70 has been a real hot spot in the past few days.

A mix of Spanish mackerel, bluefish, and small striped bass are chasing schools of bay anchovies in the same general region near the Middle Grounds. Casting into the surface action has been accounting for some fun fishing for the bluefish and Spanish mackerel. Lying beneath, large red drum have been the real prize. They far exceed the upper end of the legal slot size but offer exciting catch-and-release action for those jigging deep with large plastics or metal spoons.

Fishing for striped bass in the lower Potomac River continues to be closed until Aug. 20 in the mainstem of the river. The Maryland tributaries are open at this time but will close on Aug. 16 until Aug. 31, as will Maryland’s portion of the Chesapeake. 

Striped bass are being caught in the lower bay this week, mostly around the shipping channel edges and at times they are being caught early in the morning in the shallower areas mixed in with speckled trout. 

Cobia are being caught around the Target Ship and Mud Leads and below the Middle Grounds. Sight casting on calm days remains one of the most productive ways to catch them when pitching live eels or large soft plastics to them. Chumming is another option but cow-nosed rays and bluefish are being attracted to chum slicks so drifting a live eel back in a chum slick is courting disaster. Most are settling for chunk baits of menhaden and having a live eel ready in case a cobia comes up behind the boat.

At the mouth of the Patuxent, it seems the river bottom must be paved with spot and white perch at times. Most of the spot tend to be small but can be fried with the head and guts removed; one just has to take their time picking through them. With patience and a small flexible fillet knife, some can be filleted along with the white perch. Small croakers, most undersized, have also been part of the mix when bottom fishing. Tangier and Pocomoke sounds are also stacked with spot, white perch, and small croakers. Pieces of bloodworm, peeler crab, or wild shrimp all make good baits. 

Increasing numbers of flounder are also being caught in the Tangier and Pocomoke sounds this week. The edges of channels and drop offs along flats are good places to drift baits. Strip baits from the spot make a good bait on a bucktail, jighead, or bottom rig. It is hard to beat a white or pink Gulp bait for the largest flounder. 

Recreational crabbing is hitting new heights for crabbers this week. Catches are still a bit sparse in the upper bay but catches of a full bushel of good crabs in the middle and lower bay regions are common. Some of the largest crabs are coming from oyster bars in 12 to 15 feet of water. The shallower areas also hold good crabs but tend to harbor a lot of small crabs that are chewing up baits.

Friday, August 7, 2020

Fishing Report

Anglers are catching a few striped bass in the lower bay but most are fishing for other abundant species. The Potomac River mainstem remains closed to all targeting of striped bass until Aug. 20, and all Maryland waters will close to the targeting of striped bass from Aug. 16 through Aug. 31.

Cobia are being found at the Middle Grounds, the Target Ship, and the Mud Leads this week. They might not be as plentiful as they are in Virginia waters but there is enough action to make fishing for them a worthwhile endeavor. Slow trolling live eels, green hose lures or sight casting with live eels has been the most productive way to fish for cobia. Chumming is reported to not be very productive as small bluefish and cownose rays tend to dominate chum slicks.

Speckled trout fishing has been a wonderful boost to the fishing opportunities in the lower bay this week. Despite the recent rains, the eastern side of the bay should still have good water clarity so anglers can expect good to excellent fishing in the shallower areas of Tangier Sound, and to some extent in the Point Lookout area. Soft plastic paddle tails and similar soft plastics in pink, white, or pearl sparkle combinations are among the most popular lures to use. When fishing over shallow grass, the jig heads being used are very light.

The Spanish mackerel are often caught by casting into breaking fish with soft plastics or metal and then speed reeling. Other times it is just the luck of the draw whether a bluefish or Spanish mackerel gets to the lure first.

Fishing for white perch is great on the tidal rivers and creeks. White perch are holding over oyster bars and near shallower structure in the tidal creeks. Docks, piers, fallen trees, and bridge piers are all good places to find plenty of white perch. Small croakers can also be part of the mix in the deeper waters, along with some eating-sized spot.

Recreational crabbing is improving, as the crabs have been moving up the tidal rivers. In the lower parts of the tidal rivers some of the largest crabs are coming from oyster bar edges in about 15 feet of water. Catching a full bushel per outing with a trotline or collapsible crab traps is certainly achievable right now. Razor clams remain the most favored bait but chicken necks are working just fine. Doublers will be a more common site this week during the full moon.

Fishing for northern snakeheads is best in the morning and evening hours. They will be holding near grass wherever they can find it. Frogs and buzzbaits are good choices to fish in the grass. White paddle tails and similar baits work well along grass edges and sunken wood. The creeks feeding into the tidal Potomac River, the Nanticoke River, and the backwaters of lower Dorchester County are popular places to fish for them. As populations of northern snakeheads expand throughout the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, anglers are finding new areas to find good fishing success.

Blue catfish are also rapidly expanding their range in the Chesapeake Bay watershed and are now spread from the tidal Potomac to the Susquehanna River. The Elk, Chester, Choptank, Nanticoke, and Patuxent rivers all hold increasing populations of blue catfish.

We will be closed Saturday, September 19, 2020.

We will be closed Saturday, September 19, 2020. We will be open Wednesday, September 23, 2020.  Sorry for any inconvenience .