The water releases from the Conowingo Dam have been more consistent in the last few days and hopefully will continue this week. Fishermen have been reporting the best fishing for striped bass at the dam hole region during these releases in the evening hours. Most fishermen are casting topwater lures, swimming shad type lures and crankbaits with good success.
Water temperatures in the upper bay region are now dipping into the low 70’s and the fisheries in the upper bay continue to reflect that change. A mix of small bluefish and striped bass are chasing schools of bait throughout the region. Often the action is in the open waters of the bay near deep structure such as lumps and knolls, steep channel edges or anywhere where strong currents sweep or concentrate the bait. Most often the schools of bait are comprised of bay anchovies or small menhaden. Fishermen are finding the smaller fish usually on the surface and the larger striped bass deep below the surface action. Vertical jigging with metal jigs has been the most popular way of fishing. A number of fishermen are using small dropper flies above their jigs to imitate the small size of the bay anchovies and report good success.
Trolling is certainly an option being used by a number of fishermen and most agree that spoons, bucktails and surge tube lures is the way to go. There are still too many snapping bluefish teeth in the upper bay region to be pulling umbrella rigs festooned with sassy shads. It will be a few weeks before the bluefish depart and then fishing for striped bass can become more focused.
There still seems to be plenty of spot both large and small in the shallower waters of the bay and several tidal rivers. Fishermen began to venture out onto the bay early this week after the winds calmed down and found plenty of spot for live lining plus a number of larger ones for the frying pan. These fishermen also reported that despite their best efforts to live line small spot for striped bass at a number of traditional locations small bluefish made short work of their live baits. Fishermen are also live lining menhaden; certainly a time honored method along the coast for many a year. Steve Cieliesz sent in this inspiring report and a picture of him and his buddies enjoying themselves fishing together. The great fishing before our tropical burst hasn’t stopped. Monday evening was great. The Blues are getting bigger, and the Rock Fish are more prevalent. We caught 10 keeper sized Rock, in less then 2 hours. We kept only a few sizeable meals, but Love Point is really HOT! Live-lining Menhaden @ Love Point…..love that spot!
Yeah the Raven’s lost, but Monday night we were all winners!
Fishing for white perch continues to improve as cooling water temperatures will further urge them to begin to school up. Fishing for channel catfish in the uppermost limits of the upper bay region also continues to provide excellent fishing opportunities. Recreational crabbers are reporting very good crabbing in the Elk River and fair crabbing in most of the regions tidal rivers.
Mid Bay Region:
The fishing action in the middle bay region begins at the Bay Bridge and continues south to the lower bay region. Fishermen are finding a mix of bluefish and striped bass pushing bait to the surface in a number of areas where currents tend to push or congregate bait. The primary source of bait is presently bay anchovies and bluefish and striped bass are making the most of the opportunity to fatten up. Fishermen are casting topwater lures and jigs with and without dropper flies to the surface fish and vertical jigging beneath the surface melee for a chance at larger striped bass below. Matt Mittenthal jigged up this nice 32” striped bass off Tilghman Point in Eastern Bay.
There are still plenty of spot around in the middle bay region both small and large and even a few croakers now and then. Fishermen had no trouble early this week catching enough spot that served as fodder for the bluefish in the region. Most fishermen reported high loses to bluefish but a number of striped bass were caught. The area outside of the Gum Thickets south past Poplar Island and the False Channel continue to be good places to live line spot for striped bass this week.
Trolling in the region is a good way to catch a mess of bluefish this week and spoons and green surge tube lures are at the top of the list for what to troll behind the boat. Bucktails have been a good choice when trolling for striped bass and can take a number of hits from the jaws of the bluefish.
The light tackle shallow water fishery is in full swing and fishermen are now enjoying some quiet time drifting along the shallower areas of the bay and lower tidal river areas casting topwater plugs or fly fishing for striped bass. Shoreline based anglers are also able to fish from various points, bulk headed areas and piers and can expect good fishing during the early morning or evening hours.
Fishing for white perch has been good in a number of areas near the mouths or lower sections of the regions tidal rivers. Small beetle spins and jigs have been a good choice in the shallower areas and bait of small jigs on a dropper rig has been working in the deeper areas. Recreational crabbers report good catches of fat crabs and plenty of elbow room to set collapsible crab traps or trotlines.
Lower Bay/Tangier Sound Region:
There is a lot of fishing action to be had in these two regions this week. A mix of bluefish and striped bass has been keeping fishermen busy throughout the region. Fishermen have been finding breaking fish chasing bait on the surface or deep and are enjoying fine light tackle fishing by casting to the surface fish or jigging to those holding deep. Locations near steep channel edges or deep points where currents are strong continue to provide “go to” places to look for action. Trolling is a productive method to quickly fill up a fish box with bluefish when trolling spoons or surge tube lures. Striped bass are also being caught by trolling spoons and bucktails; but bluefish have been dominating the region for some time now. Eric Denham caught these two while fishing near Point Lookout this past weekend.There are still plenty of small and large spot in the tidal rivers and fishermen are finding plenty of bait for live lining. The large number of bluefish continue to raise havoc with spot baits; chewing up a large number for every striped bass caught. The large spot are acquiring that bronze color that most fishermen equate as a signal that the spot are getting ready to depart south.
The boats fishing out of the Crisfield area report that they are still catching a mix of large spot, bluefish, a few croaker, flounder and small sea trout on their trips to lower Tangier Sound. The flounder fishing has been good in most areas of Tangier Sound and the lower bay where hard bottom and a good current set the stage for flounder to congregate.
Cooler water temperatures have done much to create some exciting fishing opportunities in the shallower waters along the edges of the bay. Fishermen are finding good fishing along the various points and edges on the western shore of the bay and all kinds of fishing along the marshes with their cuts and channels along the eastern shore. Fishermen can expect to find a variety of fish species in the numerous waterways on the eastern shore including speckled sea trout, striped bass, flounder, bluefish and large white perch. The white mullet pattern of the Berkley Gulps has been a real favorite with light tackle fishermen working the deeper edges of the various creeks.
Recreational crabbers report there are plenty of heavy crabs in the regions tidal creeks and rivers and very little competition from other crabbers. In the lower part of the tidal rivers the sook count is high so baits are getting chewed up but everyone adds that it doesn’t take long to catch a bushel of big jimmies.
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