Jim Thompson, MD DNR Fisheries Biologist - The best upper bay action continues to be between Rock Hall and the Bay Bridge. There is a lot of bait in the water right now and fish can usually be seen breaking in the evenings. Breaking fish are ranging from 12” up to 20”, anglers can sometimes jig lures below the school of breaking fish and pick up a better grade, sometimes up to 30 inches. When fishing schools of breaking fish, try to approach slow, and position your boat to where the fish are heading, not where they are when you locate them. Idle or shut off the engine to prevent from spooking the fish and you should be able to stay on a school much longer this way.
Chumming has been best around Love Point and the triple buoys on small to medium grades of fish. Focus your efforts along channel edges or irregular bottom features. Pay close attention to where these features are and anchor up current of the structure, letting the tide carry the chum to the fish and ultimately luring them to your boat! When putting bait in the water behind a chum slick, be sure to try various weights. Sometimes no weight at all is the ticket, at other times the fish will prefer the bait near the bottom. Some anglers report picking up a slightly better grade of fish by trolling or drifting edges, points, and rips with live perch or spot. Action can still be found casting or jigging lures around the Bay Bridge Pilings. Upper Bay anglers wishing to bottom fish will have to settle for white perch and catfish on the oyster bars or deer holes off Pooles Island.
The Conowingo Dam continues to release water only when necessary but there are still plenty of bass to be caught in the grasses. You’ll feel more comfortable and have the best chance of success when fishing in the early morning and evening hours working along the grass edges and points.
Crabbing continues to be slow but patient crabbers are picking up enough for dinner, try to target incoming tides for the best action.
Mid Bay Region:
Live lining in the Middle Bay has been successful too as anglers are picking up quality fish drifting spot over shoals, drop-offs, and through rips. Light tackle and fly fishing anglers are having a blast casting to breaking fish in the morning and evening hours. The croaker fishing continues to be excellent in deep water during the day and over hard bottomed shoals in the evening. Most anglers are finding nice spot and perch mixed in too. A few Middle Bay anglers specifically targeting flounder are catching some here and there off sandy points and bars on live mummichogs and squid. Eastern Bay has seen some good action on the shoal between bodkin island and Claiborne Point.
Crabbing is doing well in many areas, especially in Eastern Bay and the Choptank River. The action is hit or miss so if you’re not catching crabs in one area, try another. Kevin Rosemary filled a basket but he had to work hard to do it. I’m sure the effort was worth it though!
Recreational crabbings is good in most tidal creeks and tributaries.
Lower Bay/Tangier Sound Region:
Live lining spot and trolling seems to be the best way to catch higher quality fish. Drifting spot or trolling along channel edges off Calvert Cliffs is a safe bet. Anglers are picking up nice rockfish jigging the Middle Grounds, channel edges, and the rocks off Point Lookout. There are plenty of breaking rockfish and blues around to entertain everyone.
Bottom fishing in the Lower Bay is excellent right now. Croaker can be found in most locations mixed with white perch and spot. Flounder are becoming more abundant too, especially for anglers targeting them with strips of squid, mummichogs, or small live spot drifted along channel edges and points. The channel edges and dropoffs out of Crisfield have been particularly productive.
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