The main stem of the Potomac River and the Maryland section of the Chesapeake Bay are now open to striped bass fishing.
Spanish mackerel, bluefish, speckled trout, red drum, white perch, and spot were all providing good action in the lower bay prior to the passing of the remnants of Hurricane Laura. Anglers will find out this week if those schools of fish were broken up by the storm. If you are searching for mackerel, troll 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 area from Point Lookout to Cove Point. 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 near breaking fish or slicks is resulting in limit catches for some anglers, with a daily creel limit of 15 fish per day.
Anglers are encountering breaking fish along the edges of the shipping channel; these fish are mostly a mix of Spanish mackerel and bluefish feeding on bay anchovies. Small striped bass can also be mixed in at times. Anglers are also finding large red drum deep underneath the surface activity, and jigging with large soft plastics or spoons will produce catch-and-release action with these bruisers.
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 also work well. Flounder are being found on the shoal edges near channels in the Tangier and Pocomoke sounds this week. Popular baits include live minnows and Gulp 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 had been slowing down prior to the storm 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 bottom fish from shore. The blue catfish are plentiful and offer good eating. Any kind of fresh oily cut bait works well, with gizzard shad and menhaden being common choices.
Recreational crabbers are enjoying some of the best crabs of the season and this will hopefully get better if salinities do not drop too much from rain. The crabs have ventured up the tidal rivers and into the upper bay in greater numbers. Prior to the storm, most crabbers in the upper bay were 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. There will be a major shed coming up soon and catches of large crabs tend to pick up in September and early October.