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.