Fishing in the very upper limits of the bay has been centering on casting Rapala and Rat-L-Traps type lures for school sized striped bass in the channel areas approaching the mouth of the Susquehanna River and deeper areas off the flats near the Elk River. Any water over the depth of 6-feet seems to be the key for finding striped bass. There are plenty of largemouth bass in the grass on the flats and channel catfish are also attacking various lures.
White perch can still be found in some of the deeper areas in the channels in bottom rigs baited with bloodworms. There are also plenty of channel catfish down there as well. The shallow water fishery of casting lures towards shoreline structure is now coming into its own during the early morning and evening hours. All waters of the bay and its tributaries have been open since June 1st so fishermen can enjoy themselves casting and jigging. The lower Chester River and Baltimore Harbor are two locations in particular that offer good shoreline structure opportunities. Dave Sohns got a bit of a surprise when this 30” channel catfish struck a Rat-L-Trap he was retrieving near Fort Carroll.
Boats have begun chumming and chunking at traditional locations in the upper bay such as Swan Point, Love Point and Podickory Point. Most fishermen seem to find a combination of chumming and chunking paying off when there is a good tide running. Baits that are allowed to lie on the bottom often are catching the largest striped bass. Trolling a mix of spoons and medium sized bucktails has been producing some striped bass for fishermen but most are describing it as a very slow pick.
There has been some good fishing for striped bass around the piers of the Bay Bridge this week as fishermen jig to suspended fish near the piers and cast surface lures in the early morning or evening hours.
White perch are holding on several of the shoal areas in the upper bay such as Snake Reef, Belvidere Shoals and Tea Kettle Shoals. Bottom rigs baited with bloodworms or small jigs have been the baits of choice. Recreation crabbers keep trying to find that first good catch of crabs in the tidal creeks of the upper bay but except for the Kent Island area most are coming up empty.
Middle Bay Region
Most fishermen are finding good fishing this week for striped bass throughout the middle bay region. Most boats have been trolling medium sized bucktails, Storm Shads or sassy shads behind umbrella rigs and to a lesser extent spoons with good success. The channel edges in about 30’ of water have been good places to troll along the western side of the shipping channel from Breezy Point to the Gas Docks. Thomas Point to the Bloody Point area has also been a good place to troll as well. The catch is a mix of sizes generally from about 25” to 15” in length and the fish are stocky. They’ve been gorging themselves on May worms for the last couple of weeks and now that the May worm spawning is about over they’re looking for other things to eat.
Several fishermen reported finding bait on the western side of the bay all by their lonesome with no striped bass is sight; others have reported the classic diving birds and busting fish. There continue to be a lot of striped bass holding outside of the Gas Docks and this has been a popular gathering place for fishermen for the last couple of weeks. Trolling and jigging are the most popular methods employed; but fishermen are beginning to talk about live lining spot. Fishermen found them in a many of the region’s tidal rivers and creeks this past weekend and had to give live lining a try. Most were rewarded with immediate action when they could find fish on their depth recorders. Live spot continue to be a valuable commodity this week as most fishermen reported it took a couple of hours to put together a couple of dozen spot in a live well.
Chumming for striped bass has become an option for many fishermen not wanting to troll this week. Boats have anchoring up anywhere promising marks can be found on depth recorders. Some locations have been producing at times and other times not; the fish move around a lot and tidal currents always have a big influence at places like Hackett’s, Thomas Point and the northern outside edge of the Hill.
Croakers continue to become more common this week as water temperatures climb into the upper 60’s. Fishing could be better though; perhaps depressed salinities due to freshwater runoff are part of the answer. We certainly have been getting a lot of rain lately. Croakers are being caught though in the Choptank River and shoals near the channel areas such as the Sharps Island Flats. Black Drum have been hard to find this week at the Stone Rock but that can change from day to day and a few are still being caught. These three friends are certainly enjoying this bruiser of a big black drum they caught on Stone Rock recently.
Recreational crabbers have been enjoying good crabbing in most of the region’s tidal creeks and rivers this week. Most of the crabs being caught are medium sized but have generally been very heavy. There will most likely be a big shed this weekend into early next week as a full moon approaches so although they’ll be light for a while after shedding; a few inches will added to their size.
Lower Bay/Tangier Sound Region:
Fishing for striped bass in the lower bay regions has hardly skipped a beat as fishermen have been finding plenty of school sized striped bass as soon as the spawning fish left last month. The fishing has been very good along both sides of the shipping channel this week. The waters outside the Gas Docks have been a Mecca for fishermen looking for striped bass whether they are trolling of jigging lately. A few fishermen have also started to live line spot there this week as well. Most fishermen are trolling medium sized bucktails and sassy shads behind umbrella rigs and some are trolling the lures in tandem or trolling spoons. Bluefish are slowly moving into the region but have not become much a problem yet with soft plastic shads but they will soon. On the eastern side of the shipping channel locations such as the Buoy 72 area and the Middle Grounds have also been holding striped bass; fishermen have been either trolling or chumming there for their fish. Joseph Brusak caught his striped bass while fishing for croakers in Fishing Bay.
Perhaps some of the most exciting news this week is the large infusion of croakers into the Tangier Sound and lower bay regions. Fishermen have been enjoying excellent fishing this week in many locations and limits of big croakers are common. The mouth of the Honga and Nanticoke Rivers has been excellent this week as well as most of Tangier and Pocomoke Sounds. Locations in the Potomac River such as the Piney Point and St. Clements area have also been good but the Wicomico has slacked off possibly due to excessive freshwater runoff. The Patuxent River has also been offering very good croaker fishing this week as well as some spot.
Fishermen in the Tangier Sound area up to Hooper’s Island have been enjoying a wealth of speckled trout this week. Many are being caught by fishermen fishing for croakers with peeler crab and are real bonus to any fishing trip. Flounder fishing continues to improve with many coming from the hard bottomed shoal edges along channels in the Tangier/Pocomoke Sound area. The tidal rivers and creeks in the region have been providing good crabbing for recreational crabbers this week; most of the crabs are medium sized but heavy.
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