Some of the best striped bass fishing to be found in the lower Bay is along the deeper shorelines that have structure. Docks, piers, rock jetties, and seawalls are all good places to cast a mix of paddletails and soft plastic jigs for a mix of striped bass and speckled trout. The best striped bass fishing is on the western side of the Bay, and the speckled trout tend to be more plentiful on the eastern side. An early start before dawn is best and the action tends to shut down by mid-morning. A good tide is always important and the late evening hours also offer some success.
Small bluefish are spread throughout the lower Bay this week and Spanish mackerel are becoming more common. The bluefish are in the 14-inch to 16-inch size range and are chasing bay anchovies, which often presents the opportunity to cast into breaking fish. Casting a small metal or plastic jig, letting it sink a bit and then speed-reeling is the best way to target the Spanish mackerel.
Trolling small Drone and Clark spoons behind inline weights or No. 2 and No. 3 planers is the best way to target the bluefish and Spanish mackerel. A slower trolling speed of about 5 knots will allow the bluefish to catch up to lures, while 7-9 knots is the best speed to target Spanish mackerel.
Catch-and-release fishing for large red drum is good for those who take the time to target them. They can be targeted by looking for slicks or cloudy water conditions, or by picking them up on a depth finder. The area around Buoy 72A and the Target Ship are good places to look for them. Red drum have a large and thick air bladder, so they often show up on a depth finder like submarines. Casting and jigging into likely looking waters are a favorite way to fish with heavy spinning outfits. Others choose to drop a large piece of soft crab on a circle hook into the mass of fish. Trolling large silver or gold spoons behind heavy inline weights is another way to target red drum and a good way to cover a lot of water during the search.
Fishing for spot has been excellent at the mouth of the Patuxent River and in Tangier Sound. Most anglers have no problem catching a good mess of them, they tend to be medium in size but are very tasty. Fishing for white perch is good this week in the tidal rivers, most are using bottom rigs baited with grass shrimp or pieces of bloodworm near deep-water piers or oyster bottom out in the rivers.
Fishing for a mix of channel and blue catfish in the tidal rivers offers some fun and productive outdoor experience. The channel catfish can be found in every river and creek within the region; blue catfish concentrations are at their greatest in the Potomac, Patuxent, and Nanticoke rivers. The edges of the channels tend to be the best place to fish for them during the summer months.
Recreational crabbing continues to be worth the effort. In many areas the 10-foot edge seems to be the sweet spot for trotlines and collapsible traps. Both razor clams and chicken necks are working well. You will have to work for your crabs but most who stick it out can catch a full bushel of large crabs per outing in the middle and lower Bay. Upper Bay crabbers are averaging a half-bushel per outing. Be advised that female crabs, light crabs, and small crabs – all of which are thrown back – are reported to be hogging up trotline baits.
Northern snakehead fishing is best during the morning and evening hours, and anglers are catching plenty of them this week in the tidal Potomac and Patuxent. Casting buzzbaits or frogs over grass is an exciting way to fish for them; casting white paddletails probably accounts for more snakeheads than any other lure. If rigged weedless it can be worked through thin grass and spatterdock fields.