Fishing in the upper the bay is beginning to switch to smaller school sized striped bass and white perch. The perch are being caught on bottom rigs baited with bloodworms or by jigging with small spoons or jigs near shoal areas in the bay and the lower sections of tidal rivers.
School sized striped bass are being caught near some of the channel edges and shoals of the upper bay. Jigging with soft plastics has also been a good option for catching striped bass at the Bay Bridge rock piles and piers.
Fishermen are either trolling or chumming out in the main portions of the upper bay for their striped bass this week. The boats that are trolling are using a mix of large parachutes and bucktails for large post spawn striped bass and are working the main channels. They are also mixing in medium sized bucktails and spoons into their trolling spread looking for striped bass under 28-inches in size. Chumming has become a good option this week and fishermen are reporting catching large and medium sized striped bass. Chunking is also an option that some fishermen have been using with good success this week. Chumming has been good at many of the traditional locations such as the Love Point area, Podickory Point and Swan Point.
Recreational crabbers have been out exploring for the season’s first crabs in many of the upper bay region’s tidal rivers and creeks this week. Those using trotlines did not do well and those that tried collapsible crab traps only caught a few.
Middle Bay Region
There are still large striped bass to be caught this week in the middle bay region; mostly by trolling but some are being caught by jigging near schools of bait and also by chumming. Boats are trolling this week along the edges of the shipping channel and two areas have been standouts. The first area is below Thomas Point Light and Bloody Point Light south to Buoy 83; generally in about 30’ to 40’ of water. The second area is the shipping channel edge on the western side of the bay from Breezy Point south to the Gas Docks with the 30’ to 40’ edge producing the most fish. The trolling, jigging and chumming action is also occurring in other portions of the middle bay and the action is usually focused around finding bait. There have been numerous reports this week of surface breaking fish, bait and diving birds; especially in the area from the Gas Docks to Parker’s Creek in the early morning and evening hours. There are a lot of striped bass less than 28” in the region so fishermen are scaling down some of their lures from the traditional large lures used for the trophy fish. Rich Watts and Kenny Boyd hold up a nice fish they caught while trolling the channel edge below Thomas Point Light.
Croakers are slowly entering the region and the first catches were made this week at the southern end of Hooper’s Island and the mouth of the Honga River. Shrimp and bloodworms seem to be the bait of choice presently but now that we are seeing the first shed of crabs; peelers will certainly be a good option for bait. Shoreline and small boat fishermen are starting to see good fishing for white perch in the lower sections of the region’s tidal rivers and creeks near structure such as docks, sunken wood and oyster bars. Grass shrimp are easy to find and make good bait when fishing with a bottom rig or they can be used to dress a small jig. Channel catfish and white perch are being caught at the Choptank Fishing Pier this week mostly on bottom rigs baited with bloodworms.
Recreational crabbers are out and taking advantage of the nice weather when they can find it. Crabbing around the Kent Island area and the western shore tidal rivers has been slow; most crabbers are reporting collapsible traps out fishing trot lines and a dozen or two good crabs tends to be the norm. Recreational crabbers in the Tred Avon River and Dorchester area are doing a little better but mention they are now seeing light crabs and many are undersized.
Lower Bay/Tangier Sound Region:
There have been some exciting changes to the fishing scene in the lower bay this week as fishermen are finding more striped bass in the less than 28’ size range and summer migrants such as flounder, croaker, speckled trout and bluefish moving into the region.
The trolling action for large striped bass continues this week and fish are being caught; the fishing doesn’t rival the action of a couple of weeks ago but it is still worth the time. Most fishermen are now putting smaller sized lures in their trolling spreads and catching good numbers of striped bass that are less than 28” in length. The larger striped bass are still holding to the edges of the shipping channel and that is where most boats are trolling for them. Both sides of the shipping channel have been good from Hooper’s Island Light south and from outside the Gas Docks down to Point Lookout. Craig Walrath holds up a nice one he caught while trolling near Buoy 70.
The area outside of the Gas Docks in about 25’ of water has been a very popular spot this week to find the medium sized striped bass. Bait is being seen in this general area lately and at times surface fish and diving birds are being encountered by fishermen. The light tackle jigging is a welcomed diversion for many fishermen who have been trolling heavy gear for the last month. Casting towards structure such as the rocks at Cedar Point has also been offering some good fishing for striped bass lately.
Shoreline fishermen have been enjoying good fishing for croakers and striped bass at the Naval Air Station and from the Point Lookout area. The first bluefish will begin to show up in earnest shortly and the evidence that some are here already is shown in chopped off sassy shads. Now that many fishermen are tired of trolling, their thoughts have been drifting to live lining spot for striped bass. A few spot have showed up in the shallow waters of the Tangier Sound area and the lower Potomac but fishermen will have to wait a while longer for stronger populations of spot to move into the region. Flounder are beginning to show up in the region with more regularity now and this fisherman holds a nice one caught off the beach at the mouth of St. Jerome’s Creek.
Croaker fishing has improved this week in the Tangier Sound area of the bay and fishermen have been catching them from prominent Points such as Roaring Point and traditional fishing areas like the Terrapin Sands and Puppy Hole from boats. Flounder are also showing up along channel edges in the sound and the first speckled trout are being caught in the shallow water along the marsh areas.
Recreational crabbers are reporting fair to good catches of crabs this week but do note a lot of small crabs and also since the recent shed a lot of light crabs are showing up on trotlines and in collapsible traps.
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