Fishermen in the very upper reaches of the Chesapeake who like to fish the lower Susquehanna River have seen some substantial water releases through the dam earlier this week. The fishing there for striped bass, largemouth bass, white perch and channel catfish has remained rather static this week. Water temperatures are in the upper 70’s and it often takes cool water coming through he dam to spur striped bass into thinking about feeding. Live eels or small white perch are two bait options and casting Storm type swimming shads or crankbaits near the dam pool may get you a striped bass strike during the early morning and late evening hours if there is a water release. Fishing for white perch and channel catfish remains good in the channel areas this week and the grass flats are holding plenty of largemouth bass.
Chumming and trolling for striped bass below Rock Hall continues to be a major focus of fishermen in the upper bay region this week. Striped bass can be enticed into a chum line wherever you can find them and the Mud Flats and the Love Point area tend to be two of the more productive locations this week. As the waters in the upper bay become warmer quite often some of the more productive chumming occurs earlier in the morning and of course dependent on a good tide. This time of the year baits allowed to rest close to the bottom will often get the most action and the larger fish.
The boats that are trolling are catching fish along channel edges and structure such as rock piles or the Sewer pipe. Bottom bouncing a bucktail behind a 10-ounce weight is a tried and true method of working bottom hugging striped bass this time of the year. At times fishermen are finding striped bass stacked up over structure or bait and vertical jigging can offer a lot of fun and excitement on light to medium tackle. Sharp edges and points along channel edges are always worth scanning with a depth finder. The bridge piers and rock piles at the Bay Bridge are always good places to fish especially in the early morning and evening hours when striped bass may be found close to the surface.
Croakers are moving into the upper bay and fishermen are catching them with more frequency this week. Reduced rain fall will do much to encourage more croakers to move into the region. James Smallwood was fishing near Love Point this week and caught an 18” croaker on a bottom rig baited with bloodworms. White perch can be found this week on most of the lumps and reefs in the upper bay and often fishermen will find small fish on one spot and larger on another so don’t be hesitant to move if you’re into small fish. Recreational crabbing in the upper bay is still very slow but soon crabbers will start to see crabs in the Elk River near the mouth of the C&D Canal.
Middle Bay Region
Summer species are becoming more established this week in the middle bay and few make their presence with such authority as bluefish. They are mixing it up now with striped bass wherever bait can be found whether it is a school of bait or a bait on the end of a fishing line. Soft plastic sassy shads are now in peril as are tasty live spot that are meant for striped bass. Most of the bluefish are in the 14” to 18” size range but they pack plenty of sharp teeth and an attitude to go with them. Fresh fillets in the broiler or smoker make for some very fine eating.
Striped bass are still being found this week by trolling and jigging along the western edge of the shipping channel from Thomas Point south to the Gas Docks. The eastern side of the bay also has fish and the edge off Poplar Island south to the Clay Banks has been a good place to troll this week. Ballast stone piles and similar structure are also great places to troll umbrella rigs.
Live lining is a very popular and productive way to catch striped bass now that spot are easier to obtain. The western edge of the shipping channel below Breezy Point is a good place to check out the 35’ edge as is the edges near Thomas Point Light. Fishermen are checking out the False Channel and Diamonds on a regular basis and are finding a few striped bass and a lot of bluefish this week.
At times particularly in the early morning and evenings fishermen are finding birds, bait and a mix of striped bass and bluefish throughout the region. Vertical jigging has been very successful for the deeper fish and when they are busting on top casting jigs and spoons are a good bet. Now that bluefish are here, it is a good idea to remove any teasers above the main lure since there are too many sharp teeth in the water.
The spot have moved into the tidal river areas and most fishermen report that they have no problem catching a good mess of bait in short order. The croakers have also become more established in the middle bay region and fishing has been better this week in the Choptank River near Buoys 10 and 12. There have reports of good flounder fishing on the James Island and Taylor’s Island Flats and even a few speckled trout have been caught this far up the bay.
Recreational crabbers are finding nice heavy crabs this week. The last shed has fattened out nicely now and the number of light crabs has diminished. Crabbers are reporting that to be successful one must try different depths if they aren’t catching and a good current is always important. Chicken necks and razor clams seem to be on equal ground this week and 10’ deep is a good place to start crabbing.
Lower Bay/Tangier Sound Region:
There are a lot of fishing options this week in the lower bay region. Chumming for a mix of striped bass and bluefish is very productive this week at the Middle Grounds, the mouth of the Potomac and at times near Buoy 72 and the rock piles north of Point Lookout. The bluefish at the Middle Grounds have been a bit larger than what is being seen in other areas of the bay this week and many are in the 3lb to 5lb size range.
Trolling has been good in many parts of the lower bay recently and most fishermen are now trolling bucktails and spoons. Outside of the Gas Docks has been one of the better places to troll and also above the Target Ship where anglers are also encountering large red drum from time to time. Most of these red drum are “bull size”; being 40” or better in length and of course must be released.
The croaker fishing remain good in the lower Potomac and other locations such as the shoals at Buoy 72 and 72A, the Patuxent River and the mouth of the Honga River and the other tidal rivers on the eastern shore. The large croaker are starting to slip into the summer pattern now of sitting out the day in the deeper channels and coming up onto the shoals at sunset. Flounder are being caught in the Cornfield Harbor area and on the east side of Point Lookout.
Tangier Sound fishermen are finding very good fishing for croakers near Tangier and Fox Islands this week and also boating a mix of large spot, flounder and small bluefish. The mouth of the Nanticoke has been a productive spot for shoreline fishermen wanting to catch some croakers. The numerous cuts and sloughs along the Somerset County marshes has been offering good shallow water fishing for a mix of striped bass, speckled trout, flounder, large croakers and small bluefish during the low light hours of the mornings and evenings.
Recreational crabbers are finding good crabbing in most of the regions tidal rivers and creeks; the crabs are full and most crabbers are reporting a bushel of crabs per outing when using trot lines or collapsible traps.
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