The Maryland Fishing Challenge continues through this month and until September 1st. Fishermen are encouraged to register any fish they catch that meets the minimum size criteria at a Citation Center to be in the drawing for a number of prizes which include a new 4x4 Tundra pickup truck, a boat, motor and trailer outfit and thousands of dollars in prizes.
On July 31, 2008, 21 specially tagged striped bass will be released at locations throughout the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. One of the 21 will be Diamond Jim, a fish worth $25,000 cash courtesy of Boater’s World and a $5,000 diamond from Smyth Jewelers, if caught by midnight on August 31. The other tagged striped bass, Diamond Jim imposters, will each be worth $500 in Boater’s World gift certificates.
Designed to promote recreational fishing in Maryland, recognize angler efforts and inspire environmental stewardship, the 2008 Maryland Fishing Challenge began Saturday, April 12 and runs through Labor Day, September 1. Any angler who catches a citation-qualifying fish will be eligible to win one of the official sponsor grand prizes. To date, over 1,100 anglers have qualified to win grand prizes, including a 2008 Toyota Tundra 4x4 pickup truck from Central Atlantic Toyota, a boat and trailer package from Bass Pro Shops and $5,000 in gear from Bill’s Outdoor Center.
Let there be no doubt that we are at just about the peak of the summer season and some would say perhaps on the downward side from a calendar stand point. Fishermen though tend to thing more on water conditions rather than the calendar, where water temperature tends to rule the day. Most freshwater and estuarine fish are definitely on a daily schedule to beat the mid-day heat and bright sun; not a whole lot different from the fishermen that pursue them. Most predator fish such as largemouth bass and striped bass are actively feeding during the low light early morning and evening hours and hunkered down somewhere where it cool and dark during the heat of the day.
More than a few fishermen and charter boat captains have relayed to me when I make my phone calls to gather fishing information that there are few fishermen out on the water and that they often have plenty of room to fish with no one in sight. This is often true this time of the year, interest tends to swing to other activities, some fishermen tend to talk themselves out of going out thinking that it’s too hot or the fish aren’t biting. For those that do go out to their favorite fishing hole or explore new ones it can be a wonderful time for quiet reflection and some good fishing such as this fishermen is experiencing on the North Branch of the Potomac River.
Fishermen in the upper bay region are experiencing good fishing for striped bass and small bluefish from the Pooles Island area south to the Bay Bridge. Most are employing a mix of chumming, live lining spot or white perch, trolling and jigging or casting to breaking fish. Middle bay region fishermen basically have the same striped bass menu but tend to rely more on live lining spot for their striped bass catches as are fishermen in the lower bay region. Bluefish are very much a part of this equation, especially in the middle and lower bay regions and fishermen are going through a number of spot that are being cut just behind the head by hungry bluefish. Fortunately obtaining a good supply of lively spot in the shallow waters of the bay and its tidal rivers is not a problem. Ken Breidenbach holds up a nice striped bass he caught and released at the Gum Thickets area.
Fishermen have been enjoying some good to excellent bottom fishing opportunities this past week starting with channel catfish, white perch and a sprinkling of large croakers in the upper bay. Middle and lower bay region fishermen are catching a mix of croaker, spot, white perch and a few flounder and sea trout. Bluefish can be found throughout the bay with the smaller ones being shallow and in the upper bay and the larger bluefish in the Middle Grounds area of the lower bay region. Spanish mackerel still seem to be stuck in the Target Ship/Middle Grounds area and have hesitated to move farther north. Recreational crabbers are experiencing fair to good crabbing in the upper bay, good to excellent in the middle and lower bay tidal rivers and creeks. Bob Thomas sent in this picture of some crabs he caught recently at the Kent Narrows area; with attention to one particularly large one.
Freshwater anglers in the western region of the state are finding good fishing as water levels remain good in most trout streams and rivers and crowds are non-existent. Trout fishermen have something to look forward to as West Virginia prepares for a stocking of large rainbow trout to the North Branch of the Potomac River. Fishermen in the upper Potomac are enjoying good fishing for channel catfish and smallmouth bass such as this nice one being held by Mark Hoekzema.
Fishermen in the other regions of the state are seeing largemouth bass and other freshwater species holding to a typical summer pattern of behavior with early morning and late evening activity. Both fishermen and fish a like tend to look for cool shade during the heat of the day. Tom Waibel was fishing a small Harford County pond with his dad when he caught and released this beautiful 23” largemouth bass.
The back bay areas of Ocean City continue to offer good flounder fishing; the throwback ratio remains high but an increasing number of large flounder are being caught. Surf fishermen are catching a mix of small summer species at the beaches during the early morning and evening hours and catch and release shark fishermen continue to catch a mix of inshore sharks at night. The White Marlin Open continues through till this coming Friday the 8th and boats are bringing in white and blue marlin, bluefin and yellowfin tuna along with a mix of wahoo and dolphin from the offshore waters. The boats headed out to the wreck sites are treating their customers to a mix of sea bass, flounder and at times even a stray dolphin; as this happy captain and crew are happy to pose with.
Quote of the Week:
“The thing about fishing”, the Old Man said, “is not how many fish you catch or what kind of fish. I, for one, think that making a hardheaded profession out of fishing is a waste of time, because a fish is only a fish and when you make a lot of work out of him you lose the whole point of him”.
Click here for information concerning harmful algae blooms
Click here to view recent bay satellite images at mddnr.chesapeakebay.net/NASAimagery/EyesInTheSky.cfm.
A Couple of Closing Notes...
Don't hesitate to e-mail your recent
fishing/crabbing photos and trip information. Send your photos via E-mail by the
following Monday in order to be included in the next update. The file should be
in .jpg format with the longest side sized at 600 pixels. Please try to keep the file
size small, under one megabyte. The photo should clearly depict the angler(s), fish, and ethical
handling practices. For information on ethical angling practices please
reference the Catch and Release information located at URL:
Include the following information:
Weight/length of catch
If anyone in your picture is under 18
years of age, we must have a
signed by that person and a parent/guardian before we can post your picture. By sending any photos or art to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources you are giving DNR permission to use the image(s) online and in print. You are also giving DNR permission to distribute the photo for non-commercial purposes to other media, print, digital and television for their use. You are not giving up your copyright, but are allowing the photo(s) to be used for educational and news purposes.
Send your photos and information to
Until next week,
MD DNR Fisheries Service
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