Maryland Weekly Fishing Report Overview | July 09, 2014
More than a few folks that enjoy swimming this summer in the Chesapeake Bay have noticed that the summer scourge of the Chesapeake, the stinging Sea Nettle seem to be absent. Salinities are depressed due to rainfall and mid-bay salinities right now are 6.6 PPT for example. The NOAA forecast for the possibility of Sea Nettle encounters in the mid-bay area is only 4.7% and 37% at Point Lookout.
Round two of the Diamond Jim component of the Maryland Fishing Challenge is underway and there have been several recent tag returns from the Hill area off of Poplar Island. The winning Diamond Jim Striped Bass for July is worth a cool $20,000, so good luck to everyone dunking Spot at the Hill and fishing in other locations around the bay. Mark Anders who is a member of the Maryland Youth Fishing Club got to catch and release this Diamond Jim Striped Bass that was tagged by a fisheries biologist on June 26th for the July round of Diamond Jim.
Photo Courtesy of Mark Anders
If you might be one who is looking to put some fine eating fish in your freezer; there is an abundance of 3 lb to 6 lb Blue Catfish in the lower Potomac River around the mouth of the Wicomico River that are eating up everything in their path and would not hesitate to chow on a baited bottom rig. There are no creel limits on Blue Catfish and the small to medium sized cats make for some fine eating and freeze well.
The recent hot temperatures have fishermen and fish holding to a summer pattern of early morning and late evening fishing in most areas of Maryland to include freshwater and Chesapeake Bay waters for many species. In the lower Susquehanna River there is some Striped Bass action at the dam pool early in the morning and catfish, White Perch and some Walleye action in the lower river. The dam is generally on a mid-day power generation schedule so river flows are higher later on in the day.
The best Striped Bass action in the upper bay continues to focus around chumming at Love Point, the Triple Buoys and Podickory Point. There are also other locations worth checking with depth finders for fish such as the mouth of the Chester River, Swan Point and the area called the Muds. Chumming has been very successful when a good tide is running and the 2011 year class Striped Bass that are unfortunately just short of 18" are dominating chum slicks. Often larger Striped Bass can be caught in the early morning hours by allowing the freshest baits possible to fall to the bottom in the back of the chum slick. The larger fish do not like the summer heat and often hold close to the bottom and tend to be less energetic. Live lining Spot at channel edges such as Podickory Point and Love Point is also a good option. Some upper bay fishermen live line White Perch for Striped Bass with good results. Zeljko Koretic holds up a pair of Striped Bass he caught near Hart-Miller Island while live lining White Perch.
Photo Courtesy of Zeljko Koretic
The Bay Bridge has been an excellent place to live line Spot lately and some beautiful Striped Bass are being caught near the bases of the bridge piers. Jigging in the early morning and late evening hours has also been productive around the Bay Bridge Piers, rock piles and farther out from the bridge wherever breaking or suspended fish can be found. The 35' outside edge of Hackett's Bar continues to be a good place to live line Spot and to chum for Striped Bass. The inside of Hackett's Bar towards Whitehall Bay is a very good place to catch Spot. Most of the Spot are around 6" in size with a few larger ones and some croaker in the 9" to 10" size range as well as White Perch.
At the moment the focus is on the Hill when it comes to Striped Bass in the middle bay region and live lining Spot is the way to catch them. Catching the Spot will often take a lot more time to accomplish then to catch a limit of Striped Bass at the Hill. Many are a little hesitant to pull up tight to the fleet and often a little motoring around while watching a depth finder will reveal fish holding on nearby channel edges south of the Hill and in the mouth of Eastern Bay; most of the fish are holding at about 30' of water. Bluefish have arrived in the middle bay region and their numbers will surely increase over the next couple of weeks causing live Spot baits to come up as just the head and bit behind the hook or if Bluefish are hooked to have mono leaders cut off. Others will see them as a welcomed addition to their catch and look forward to placing them on the grill or in a smoker.
Trolling remains a good option for a mix of Striped Bass and Bluefish in the middle bay region and the western side of the shipping channel in about 23' of water out in front of Chesapeake Beach tends to be one of the better places to fish. Most are now trolling with spoons and bucktails in tandem or behind umbrella rigs. Jigging is a good option when fish can be found holding near structure or under bait. The surface action is often Striped Bass just a bit short of 18" but often larger fish can be found underneath by jigging. Rachel is all smiles with this beautiful Red Drum she caught on a jig and released in Eastern Bay while waiting for the St. Michaels fireworks to begin.
Photo Courtesy of Shawn Kimbro
Shallow water fishing for Striped Bass in the lower sections of the regions tidal rivers and also bay shorelines remains good in the early morning and late evening hours. A flood tide is important and often the morning action is over as soon as the sun breaks the horizon.
There are plenty of White Perch to be caught in the tidal rivers and creeks by using bait or by casting small jigs and spinners. They make a great introduction fish for youngsters and make fine eating. Croaker fishing in the middle bay region has been fair this season so far; there are croakers to be caught but unfortunately few exceed 10" in length. Channel edges near the mouths of the major tidal rivers and the edges of shoal areas in the bay are the places to look for croakers and the evening is the best time to fish for them.
Lower bay fishing prospects for Striped Bass are fair to good near the mouth of the Patuxent and Potomac Rivers and out in front of Cove Point. Live lining Spot is very popular now and usually the best place to scout for Striped Bass is along the 30' to 40' channel edges. Trolling is a good option for a mix of Striped Bass and Bluefish with spoons and bucktails being the most popular lures being used. Chumming in the lower Potomac for a mix of Striped Bass and Bluefish is another option. Bluefish are becoming a larger part of what is being seen when it comes to chasing bait on the surface with Striped Bass often holding deeper.
Shallow water fishing for Striped Bass and a mix of Bluefish, Red Drum and Speckled Sea Trout continues to provide fun fishing along the eastern shore marshes and creeks as well as prominent points on the western side of the bay. It is mostly a very early morning and late evening type of fishing with topwater lures or soft plastics such as Gulp Mullet baits. Drifting peeler crab baits is also a popular way to catch the Red Drum and Speckled Trout.
Croaker fishing has been good in the lower Potomac and Patuxent Rivers and the Tangier Sound area. The croakers continue to be on the small side but there tends to be plenty of them. There is also a mix of Spot, White Perch and Kingfish.
Recreational crabbing has not been an easy endeavor for most crabbers in the middle and lower bay regions. Most are reporting that it is tough to come up with a 1/2 bushel for an outing when using trotlines or collapsible traps. Upper bay crabbers find it hard to come up with a dozen crabs per outing. Some of the better crabbing has been reported to be in around 6' to 10' of water. Coastal bay crabbers are not doing much better and report a lot of females and small crabs chewing up baits.
Deep Creek Lake is in full summer vacation mode now so often the best and safest fishing is during the early morning hours. There are Smallmouth Bass down near the dam that can be caught on soft plastics and small crankbaits. Largemouth Bass can be found near shoreline grass and shallow structure. As the sun rises higher in the sky, Largemouth Bass can be found seeking shade under floating docks. Skipping whacky rigged plastic worms under the docks is the best way to target them.
The upper Potomac River has been seeing a lot of grass develop now that water temperatures are in the low 80's. The river may show some staining and increased volume this week due to recent thunderstorms but overall the river is fishing good for Smallmouth Bass. There is an early topwater bite near current breaks and grass edges. Ryan Blaylock shows us that the Walleye are also biting and holds up a pair of big ones to prove it.
Photo Courtesy of Michael Peters
The many ponds, lakes, reservoirs and tidal rivers that dot the Maryland landscape are offering good fishing for Largemouth Bass in the early morning and evening hours as the bass move into shallower areas to feed. Most anglers are enjoying the excitement of fishing with topwater lures near or over grass. Spinnerbaits, soft plastics and small crankbaits are good choices in deeper waters near structure such as sunken wood, bridge piers or channel edges.
Ocean City area fishing has been providing a lot of fun time for vacationers as the summer season settles in with warmer water temperatures. A mix of Kingfish, croaker and small Bluefish are being caught in the surf this week on small baits and inshore sharks and sting rays on larger baits. Flounder fishing has been good in the channels converging at the inlet and those in the back bay areas along with a mix of croaker and small Black Sea Bass.
Outside of the inlet there are spadefish and triggerfish being caught on some of the near shore shoal areas and wrecks. Black Sea bass and a sprinkling of Tautog, ling and flounder are being found on the wreck and reef sites a little farther offshore.
At the canyon regions there is a mix of Wahoo, Dolphin and a few Yellowfin Tuna being caught. Bigeye Tuna continue to be caught mostly in the Washington Canyon area and White and Blue Marlin releases are becoming more common.
"I fish all the time when I'm at home; so when I get a chance to go on vacation, I make sure I get in plenty of fishing." - Thomas McGuane