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Posted on August 8, 2014 | Permalink

White Perch and Spot Fishing with the kids

Type: Tidal
Region: Southern
Location: Lower Severn River

With summer swim team meets ending and school starting soon, I've been trying to get in some good fishing sessions in the lower Severn River with the kids, targeting mainly white perch and spot. I've been fishing the area between Jonas Green Park, Chase Creek, and the lower part of Round Bay. We have been fishing a combination of shore, dock, and boat with my son Ethan and daughter Hallie, including a boat trip with a neighbor - Professor Howard Ernst from the Naval Academy. Spinners and grass shrimp worked well for perch, and bloodworms have been best for spot. Spot have been running large, but most of the perch have been small or medium. Other species encountered at the Chase Creek dock, and Round Bay are pumpkinseed, pickerel, and a few small croaker. In late August-October, we often see a run of small bluefish at Jonas Green Park, and the best bait for the blues has been cut spot fished on a standard top-bottom rig.

Ethan is graduating from spincast to spinning rod, which has been fun to watch. I also notice that the kids sometimes have more fun just catching the grass shrimp for bait, using a simple long-handled dip net with fine mesh. Here is a picture of Ethan with a white perch caught on grass shrimp bait in Chase Creek, a tributary of the Severn River, in Arnold, MD. Note the proper fishing clothing (Yankees shirt!) and the orange Shakespeare spinning rod, which is replacing the old spincast rod laying on the dock.

Tags: White Perch, Spot, Pumpkinseed, Chain Pickerel, Croaker, Bluefish

Posted on August 7, 2014 | Permalink

Tuesday Night at the White Marlin Open

Type: Ocean
Region: Eastern
Location: Ocean City

I enjoy getting down the Ocean City White Marlin occasionally for the change in scenery and there is always interesting people watching at the weigh-in! Crowds have been gathering here for years to catch a glimpse of prize-winning White Marlin, Blue Marlin, Bigeye Tuna and other species.

I worked Tuesday night, August 5th. One or two DNR biologists are on site each evening to make sure that marlin and sharks are tagged and the associated cards are filled out with boat name, Highly Migratory Species (HMS) permit holder name, HMS permit number, fish length and fish weight. We also tag Bluefin Tuna, but bluefin are very rare in August at the Open.

Tuesday night turned out to be a relatively slow night at the weigh-in scale. Out of 288 boats registered, only 66 fished on Tuesday, while the rest "Layed-in" at the dock. I speculated that some boats stayed in due to Tropical Storm Bertha passing offshore. However, the word on the dock was that sea conditions were not too bad (5-6 feet max), and fishable, especially for the larger boats.

The one White Marlin landed was on the boat BAR South (Boat #15). The fish was landed by an angler from Baltimore. Lower jaw fork length was 67.5 in, weight 67 lbs. The fish did not meet the minimum weight category to qualify for the White Marlin category in the tournament leaderboard. The fish was dissected by graduate students Kate Fingles and Samantha Lucas, working in Dr. Ann Barse's lab at Dept. of Biological Sciences, Salisbury University. Dr. Barse is studying natural parasites found in White Marlin, usually in the gill area. The fish was then filleted and steaked, and the meat was donated to local homeless shelters.

In addition to the White Marlin, there was one large Wahoo, 5-6 Dolphin, and 1 or 2 Bigeye Tuna. No sharks or Blue Marlin.

I would expect more much more activity at the weigh-in on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. (August 6-8).

Tags: White Marlin Open, White Marlin, Blue Marlin, Bigeye Tuna, Bluefin Tuna, Wahoo

Posted on September 24, 2013 | Permalink

Be a Bay Backer with the Girls Scouts

Type: All
Location: Bass Pro Shops

On Saturday, September 22, I attended an outreach event for the “Be a Bay Backer Fund” at Bass Pro Shops, Arundel Mills. The “Be a Bay Backer Fund” was started as an aquarium exhibit and kiosk with the opening of the Bass Pro Shops store in Arundel Mills in about 2001. This was intended as a fundraiser for Bay Restoration with the Conservation Fund and the Chesapeake Challenge. Two of the original partners in the fund were Chesapeake Bay Foundation and National Fish and Wildlife Federation. I attended the event as a representative for DNR and MARI with MARI Partner, Tony Friedrich, Executive Director of CCA. Girl Scout Troop 205 (Howard County/Columbia) collected donations for the “Be a Bay Backer” Restoration Fund. The scouts presented the donation to Tony Frederick of the CCA. All the girls in the scout troop received a Bronze Award for this fundraising effort.


Posted on September 11, 2013 | Permalink

Reef Ball Deployment

Type: Tidal
Region: Choptank River
Location: Bill Burton Pier

On September 10th MARI Partners DNR-Fisheries Service, Chesapeake Bay Foundation and MSSA-Dorchester Chapter deployed 105 additional reef balls (with oyster spat) at the artificial reef site adjacent to the Bill Burton Fishing Pier (old Rt. 50 Bridge) on the Cambridge/Dorchester side of the river.

Partner banners are shown in the photo onboard the Patricia Campbell during yesterday's deployment. This brings the total to 245 Reef Balls deployed with 60 Reef Balls and spat on shell ready for an October 5th deployment.

Tags: MARI, Reef Ball

Posted on June 28, 2011 | Permalink

North East Kids Fishing Contest

Type: Tidal
Region: Northern
Location: North East

The Northern Bay Chapter of MSSA hosted another Kids Fishing Tournament on Saturday, June 25 at Northeast Community Park. The event was open for all kids sixteen and under; parents were invited to join the fun, but the prizes were reserved for kids. Thirteen kids signed up and fished the contest from 9 to 11 am.

The species of fish caught during the contest included white perch, pumpkinseed sunfish, bluegills, bullheads, and channel catfish. Most kids were using worms, corn, minnows, or chicken liver for bait. For the second year in a row, Bradley McDowell (age 13), caught the largest fish, with a 21 inch channel catfish, caught on a chicken liver. Other notable catches were Ross Adkins with a 17 inch channel catfish, Mason Newton with a 12 inch largemouth bass, Madalyn Wilkinson with a white perch, Mason Wilkinson with a bluegill, and Hayleanna Burkins with perch and sunfish. The brother and sister team of Sean and Juliet Munis checked in a pair of pumpkinseed sunfish.

The top prize winners from each of the three youth divisions (longest fish in inches) won fishing rods and reel combos and fishing tool kits from the MSSA-Northern Bay chapter.

Ross Adkins (age 13) won the raffle at the end of the event and was selected by MD DNR Fisheries Biologist Erik Zlokovitz to represent Northern Bay Chapter of MSSA at the Grand Finale of the Maryland Fishing Challenge and Diamond Jim Contest at Sandy Point State Park in September. Nine youth anglers signed up for the new MD DNR Youth Fishing Club.

Photo 1 - Ross Adkins -Fishing Challenge Winner (selected by random draw)
Photo 2 - Largest fish, 21 inch catfish caught by Bradley McDowell
Photo 3 - Background shot – kids and parents fishing
Photo 4 -Juliet Munis with a sunfish
Photo 5 - 3 kids who won the MSSA prizes for biggest fish in the 3 youth divisions

Tags: Junior Anglers, Maryland Fishing Challenge

Posted on November 17, 2010 | Permalink

Tangier Sound Artificial Reef

Type: Chesapeake
Region: Southern
Location: Lower Tangier Sound Artificial Reef Site

Staff from MDDNR-Fisheries Service and USFWS had a great field day yesterday (11/16) on the Lower Tangier Sound Artificial Reef site, with Capt. Curtis Johns on the Karen Ray II. This trip was part of an ongoing effort in cooperation with the Maryland Charter Boat Association and MARI to document fish life and fishing success rates on the Artificial Reef sites built during the Woodrow Wilson Reef project. Capt Curtis planned and coordinated deployments of WW Bridge Material at the reef site during the summer of 2007.

This is a well planned reef site with a hard edge and drop-off that runs from 50-60 feet of water up to 25 feet. As we motored over the site on Tuesday morning there were strong markings of striped bass on Curtis’ color video fishfinder. We had good action for stripers in the 18-27 inch class on the reef with metal jigs and live spot.

We also caught 2 nice tog up to 18 inches, and lost a few more, right on the concrete reef structure. Two sea bass were mixed in with the tog. A dive boat captain also reported large concentrations of tautog on a barge further south in Bay waters.

DNR staff and MARI volunteers will return to this site for one more Artificial Reef survey trip on December 7.

Tags: Tautog, Artificial Reefs

Posted on October 12, 2010 | Permalink


Dominion-gooses Reef site trip

Type: Chesapeake
Region: Eastern
Location: Dominion-gooses Reef site

The first Artificial Reef angling survey trip to the Dominion-Gooses Reef site on October 7 was hampered by strong west winds, but we still managed to catch a few fish.

This year, MARI and the DNR Artificial Reef program are coordinating the volunteer Reef Angling survey trips with the Governor’s Veteran’s Service Program, and the Maryland Charter Boat Association (MCBA). The survey trip was conducted on board the charterboat Canvasback, out of Happy Harbor, Deale, with Capt. Brian Keehn, president of the MCBA. On the trip was one veteran of the Afghanistan War - SFC Moxley, and he had a good time on the Bay. Also on the trip was Clint Waters and a group from the Dorchester MSSA, Mike Mangold of FWS, Tim Ryan and his daughter, from DNR Fisheries – Inland Division, and Erik Zlokovitz, DNR Artificial Reef Coordinator.

Most boats on the water reported slow fishing due to the storms and heavy rains that hit the area through Tuesday, 10/5. The wind conditions really hurt us at the Gooses site because it is very exposed, in mid-Bay, approximately half-way between Parker’s Creek and the Little Choptank River mouth. The wind speed started out at WSW 15-20 kts and was blowing WNW 25+ by noon.

We did 2 drifts over the older WW bridge material at the south end of the Gooses Reef site with top bottom rigs and jigs. This is the same location where we caught large numbers of small sea bass last fall. On Thursday, we had no bites, the drift was probably too fast, and sea conditions were tough. We considered anchoring, but this was too risky. Dropping an anchor in those sea conditions may result in a broken pulpit.

The Gooses Reef (GR) data buoy deployed with the DNR “Eyes on the Bay” Program, MARI, is in good shape, with some marine growth on the lower hull. Concrete that we deployed during the summer with Weeks Marine showed up well on the fishfinder and has not sunk into the bottom.

To get out of the wind we did a few drifts in the Plum Point/Breezy Point area. We fished shell piles and some of the concrete cubes deployed by John Foster back in the 80’s and 90’s. No bites. Last stop was the deep edge of the Stone Rock in 40-60 feet of water and the CR Buoy area (some folks have indicated that the Stone Rock was actually a drop site for ballast stone during the wooden sailing ship era). We tried jigging and trolling, and caught 3 small blues and one keeper rock on the troll with surge hose rigs and bucktails/shads on umbrellas. The westerly winds steadily increased to 25+ knots and we ended the trip around 1pm.


Posted on July 13, 2010 | Permalink


Type: Freshwater
Region: Northern
Location: North East Town Park

The Northeast Kids Fishing Derby went well on Saturday, July 10th, despite the heavy downpours and some early lightning. The event was organized by Ken Simmers of the Northern Bay Chapter of MSSA, and it took place at North East Town Park. We actually had about 20 tough kids show up out of the original 35+ who signed up. The contest winner was Bradley McDowell, age 13. He caught the largest fish by length, and the heaviest combined catch with a 23 inch carp, 20 inch carp, and a 15 inch channel catfish (photos attached).

The species of fish caught during the contest included white perch, pumpkinseed sunfish, carp, bullheads, and channel catfish. Most kids were using worms, corn, minnows, or chicken liver for bait. Bradley’s winning carp took a corn bait, and his channel catfish was caught on a chicken liver.

I observed 3 or 4 bass boats working the shoreline and casting lures along the rip-rap around the Park, but I did not see them catch any bass. MSSA Club members and DNR biologists have informed me that this area gets a lot of boat traffic during the summer months (speed boats and bass boats). Apparently, a lot of these boats are run by PA residents.

There was some good discussion of Bay issues at the event with the MSSA members. I was asked about the northernmost (freshest) spot to potentially raise oysters and build oyster reefs in the Bay. According to a DNR shellfish biologist, you really need a salinity of about 5ppt, and historically, the northernmost large oyster Bar was around Poole’s Island. The salt wedge can move far up the Bay and bring marine fishes with it, but it would not be enough to maintain the proper salinity for oysters. One of the club members noted that he caught spot at NE Town Park during dry summers, and he also claimed that an 8 foot hammerhead shark was caught off Aberdeen, many years ago.

The top prize winners won fishing rods and reel combos from the MSSA-Northern Bay chapter. I raffled off 6 Diamond Jim Fishing Challenge t-shirts and I will raffle off 6 more shirts at the Down’s Park Fishing Derby on Saturday (7/17).

Tags: Junior Anglers, Diamond Jim, Maryland Fishing Challenge

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