Thursday, October 26, 2023

Fishing Report

Cooler water temperatures have shifted many of the lower Bay fisheries into a fall pattern. Striped bass are moving freely throughout the lower Bay and tidal rivers, and in many cases they are holding along steep channel edges as they wait for schools of baitfish to be flushed out of the tidal rivers. The numbers of spot are diminishing quickly, the bluefish are gone for the most part.

The lower Potomac River from the Route 301 Bridge south and along the steep edges from St. Clements Island to Piney Point are great places to jig or troll for striped bass. Anglers also report breaking fish, which is always exciting. Ebbing tide currents can pick up a lot of speed along these steep channel edges, which will often sweep small bait fish along. The striped bass can easily navigate these currents and set up to ambush bait. 

Soft plastic and metal jigs heavy enough to reach the striped bass present a fun and exciting way to fish for striped bass. Trolling is another option, but heavy tackle must be used to be able to control heavy inline weights and umbrella rigs that must descend to the depths where the striped bass are holding.

Many areas along the lower Potomac, Bay shores, and Tangier and Pocomoke sounds offer fun fishing in shallower waters for a mix of striped bass, speckled trout, and slot size puppy drum. Casting paddletails, swimbaits, jerkbaits, and other favorite lures is a fun way to fish in these areas during low light conditions.

Anglers who are bottom fishing with bait are still catching a few spot and a mix of sea trout, kingfish, and black sea bass. Some anglers who are jigging near reef sites are also catching black sea bass. Those that fish for them with Gulp baits or strips of squid or spot are catching a few keeper-size flounder near Point Lookout, the mouth of the Patuxent River, and Tangier and Pocomoke sounds.

Friday, September 29, 2023

Fishing Report

Trolling for bluefish has been good at the mouth of the Potomac River and channel edges of the Bay, and in Tangier and Pocomoke sounds. Trolling small spoons behind planers and inline weights has been popular. Anglers are also mixing various sizes of surgical tube lures in their trolling spreads. 

Anglers working the shorelines of the tidal rivers, Bay shores, and sounds are catching a mix of striped bass, speckled trout, bluefish, and puppy drum. For casting, soft plastic jigs, paddletails, twitchbaits, and topwater lures are good choices. The morning and evening usually offer the best fishing, but with recent cloudy conditions the action can last through the day.

Large red drum are being encountered this week near Point Lookout, near the Target Ship and Middle Grounds, and in Tangier and Pocomoke sounds. Locating slicks or paying careful attention to depth finders can reveal their presence, and jigging with large soft plastics is a great way to enjoy exciting catch-and-release action. 

Fishing for spot at the mouth of the Patuxent River remains good, but anglers could see this fishery come to an end in the next week or so. The spot are as big as they’re going to get, so anyone desiring some tasty fish should not wait much longer. White perch will hold to their typical summer habitat until the end of October unless water temperatures drop rapidly. 

Recreational crabbers were doing well before the winds of Ophelia drove them off the water. In most tidal rivers throughout the Bay, the best quality crabs are coming from waters 12 feet to 16 feet deep. Many recreational crabbers are deploying net rings or collapsible crab traps as well as a trotline to explore different depths to find the best concentrations of quality crabs.

Friday, July 21, 2023

Fishing Report

As a reminder to lower Bay anglers, striped bass fishing is closed everywhere this to protect the species from water temperatures. The Potomac River is closed until August 20, Virginia waters are closed until October 4 and all Maryland waters are closed to targeting striped bass through July 31. Lower Bay anglers are fortunate that they have several other species to fish for this week.

Bluefish and Spanish mackerel can be found in good numbers this week making life miserable for schools of bay anchovies. The action tends to be best when a strong tide is running, and the baitfish are being swept along the edges of channels throughout the region. Diving seagulls will often lead the way to breaking fish. Casting small heavy and flashy jigs or Got-Cha type lures into the fray, allowing them to sink, and then speed reeling is a great way to catch Spanish mackerel. Slower retrieves will get you bluefish. It pays to look for slicks that are telltale signs that some baitfish were being chomped nearby, and jigging deep often will provide results.

Trolling is a popular option and a great way to cover a lot of water when in search of Spanish mackerel and bluefish. Small Drone spoons in gold or with chartreuse coloring added are an excellent choice for Spanish mackerel. Small gold Clark spoons are another good choice. Both are usually pulled behind No. 1 planers at about 6 to 7 knots. Bluefish will hit at slower speeds. Putting out a couple of lines with inline weights to fish closer to the surface is always a good addition to any trolling spread.

Fishing for a mix of spot and white perch with a few small croakers tossed in has been exceptionally good lately. The spot are getting larger and there are a lot of them to be found in the lower Bay . Pieces of bloodworm or the artificial version are the baits of choice. The mouth of the Patuxent River and Tangier Sound are two of the best places to get in on the action.

There are plenty of white perch to be found in the tidal rivers and creeks as well as Tangier Sound. Pieces of bloodworm, small minnows, peeler crab, and grass shrimp are just a few of the bait choices that will serve you well. Shoal areas in the rivers and sounds are good places to look for white perch. The shorelines always hold good numbers of white perch around docks, rocks, bridge piers, and prominent points. Fishing with bait or small lures is a wonderful way to fish for them. 

Speckled trout are being found along the marsh edges of the Eastern Shore in stump fields and over grass beds along with the occasional slot size red drum. Large red drum are being encountered near the Middle Grounds and the Target Ship, anglers are jigging at them when troubled water can be spotted or by drifting soft crab baits to them and trolling large silver spoons. Cobia fishing tends to be slow this week, but it only takes one legal-sized fish to make your day. Smith Point has been one of the better places to set up a chum slick.

Recreational crabbers are doing well this week in all regions of the Bay. In most areas crabbers are finding the best success in waters less than 12 feet on a good moving tide. In some areas small crabs have been chewing up baits but in many locations crabbers are finding a bounty of 7-inch and 8-inch crabs that are full of meat. Many are reporting culling crabs under 6 inches and tossing them back into the water in favor of the larger crabs. Nettles have been pesky lately and if you are pulling a trotline, net rings, or collapsible crab traps into the wind, the stinging nematocysts can really be bothersome. 

Fishing Report

Cooler water temperatures have shifted many of the lower Bay fisheries into a fall pattern. Striped bass are moving freely throughout the lo...