Fishing for striped bass in the upper bay is centered on the region from Hart-Miller Island/Rock Hall south to the Bay Bridge with the most reliable fishing within sight of the bridge. There has been some evening action reported around Hart-Miller Island at dusk by fishermen live lining spot and small white perch or by those drifting peeler crab baits. The chumming action in the upper bay has focused mostly around Love Point, the Triple Buoys, the channel edge from Sandy Point Light to Baltimore Light and to some extent at Man-O-War Shoals. Fishermen have been moving around between these locations following the movements of the striped bass. A number of fishermen are having good luck by trolling with umbrella rigs trailed by a Storm lure or chumming or live lining spot. Some are chumming the traditional way with cut menhaden for baits but a growing number of fishermen are dropping just a bit of chum to attract striped bass and sending a live spot over the side with good results. Others are just marking fish near structure such as the sharp channel edge near Podickory Point or the Bay Bridge piers and live lining spot. Jim Thompson took Briana Langford and Mary Andrews out to the Bay Bridge for an introduction to striped bass fishing and sent in this picture and a short report. We were drifting perch and spot along the pilings and caught 4 nice fish, lost a couple others and had 1 fish that was just an inch too small; great fishing on the last hour of the incoming tide.
Fishermen are finding their spot in the shallows near Podickory Point, the mouth of the Chester and south of the bridge at Hackett’s. White perch are spread throughout the region and they can be caught on some of the shoal areas such as Belvedere Shoal or in the numerous tidal creeks in the region. Fishermen are also catching a mix of catfish and small striped bass when bait fishing in the tidal rivers and creeks either from shore or from small boats. Casting and jigging over structure in the mouth of the Chester River can be good at times for fishermen in the evenings. Fishing for channel catfish has been particularly good in the Elk River area and the mouth of the Susquehanna River. There is very little water coming through the Conowingo Dam these days; even during afternoon power generation. Recreational crabbing has slowed down in the Patapsco where it held hope last week, crabbers in other tidal rivers such as the Gunpowder and Magothy reported poor results from their efforts over the weekend.
Mid Bay Region:
Fishermen looking for striped bass action in the middle bay region have been either live lining spot of trolling for the most part. A few boats are chumming but live lining spot has taken center stage this week. The spot can be found on most any hard bottom from Hackett’s Bar to Eastern Bay to the Choptank. Striped bass are being found near bottom structure such as steep channel edges at Bloody Point, Thomas Point, the Hill, False Channel, and the western edge of the shipping channel from Breezy Point to the Gas Docks. Most fishermen are reporting good results with their live lining activities and coming back to the dock with a nice grade of fish.
There are plenty of small striped bass in the region chasing bait in the early morning or evening hours and light tackle fishermen are finding larger striped bass underneath by jigging. The boats that are trolling have also been getting into these fish and have been reporting multiple knock downs when they find them. The mouth of Eastern Bay and south of Tilghman Island have been good places to keep an eye on the horizon lately for breaking fish. A few small bluefish are showing up now and then during these surface melees but the bluefish have not shown themselves as they did last year yet. No Spanish mackerel yet, but Virginia fishermen are catching them in the lower bay so now would be a good time to pick up those small Drones and Clark spoons at your local tackle shop before you find yourself staring at an empty space on the rack.
The croaker fishing has been very good in most areas of the middle bay. Fishermen are finding croakers and spot in good numbers in Eastern Bay and the action just gets better the farther south one goes. Fishermen are finding the croakers deep during the day in channels and on the shoals in the late evening hours. The croakers have tended to run the full range of sizes from sub-legal to 18”. Everyone is of course looking for the really large ones and I wish you luck because they are some fine eating when they’re that large. Flounder continue to become more numerous and those that are targeting them on shoals and flats near channels are finding some good ones or should we say in the Chesapeake a good one. Kevin Rosemary sent in this picture of a flounder he caught this past weekend in the mouth of the Choptank River. He apologized for not having his camera on the boat so he did the next best thing; this is a shot of his dinner; flounder stuffed with crab meat.
Shore bound fishermen have been catching a mix of white perch, striped bass, croakers and spot from just about anywhere there is decent access to water. Fishermen at the Matapeake and Romancoke Piers report poor fishing but fishermen at the Kent Narrows and south along the shores of the bay and tidal rivers report relatively good fishing. Recreational crabbers have probably seen the most crowded conditions of the summer this past weekend and most still managed to get enough crabs to be a hero back at home for those waiting for a July 4th crab feast. Due to the warm water the crabs have been shedding so take a good look before you fill your basket with light crabs.
Lower Bay/Tangier Sound Region:
Water temperatures in the region are at or about 80-degrees now and fishing has settled into summer mode. The fishing for striped bass has been scattered and fishermen are employing four basic techniques; live lining, trolling, casting or jigging and chumming. The live lining of spot is by far the most productive and popular at the moment and is taking place along steep channel edges for the most part. The western side of the shipping channel edge from the Calvert Cliffs Power Plant south to Point Lookout has been very popular; with just outside of the Gas Docks being Ground Zero. Trolling in the lower Potomac from Ragged Point south to Smith Point, the lower Patuxent and along the edges of the shipping channel has been quite good. There are enough bluefish in the region to cause fishermen to pay a price for their success when using sassy shads but most seem to feel it’s worth the cost. Most of the chumming has been taking place at the Southwest Middle Grounds and near Buoy 72 this week. Fishermen report a mix of bluefish and striped bass in the chum slicks.
Light tackle fishermen have been finding breaking fish here and there throughout the region but spots such as Cedar Point and Cove Point tend to produce dependable action more often than not. The shallows on the eastern side of the bay have been holding striped bass and a mix of speckled trout, bluefish and even a few red drum during the early morning or evening hours. Casting lures or drifting peeler crab baits has been the way to catch them.
Bottom fishing for croaker continues to be good to excellent in many areas of the region. Croaker are being caught during the day in the deeper channels of the Potomac, Patuxent, Honga, the bay, and Tangier and Pocomoke Sounds. There is also a mix of spot, small sea trout, small bluefish and flounder as part of that fishing. Captains and fishermen have been reporting excellent fishing for croakers in the shallower shoal areas alongside the channels in the evenings. Flounder fishing has been good at locations such as Cornfield Harbor and along channel edges in Tangier Sound and most areas throughout the region. Recreational crabbers continue to do well crabbing in the tidal rivers and creeks.
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