Maryland Weekly Fishing Report Overview | August 22, 2012
It took a lot of patience and of course sweat, but it seems that the back of the drought and heat has finally been broken and cooler temperatures are beginning to appear. We all know there will be a couple of swings back to hot temperatures in the near future but we can all hang on to the hope that cooler and more comfortable temperatures are ahead for fishermen and fish alike. Water temperatures have cooled slightly and the NOAA Buoy at the Gooses actually shows a warmer temperature at the bottom of the bay at 81-degrees and a cooler 80-degrees at the surface. Both saltwater and freshwater fish will begin to slowly drift out of a summer pattern of behavior in the month of September.
As we approach the last week of August with Labor Day in sight; the 2011/2012 Maryland Fishing Challenge is coming to an end on September 3rd. A wonderful awards event is planned for September 8th with some fabulous prizes and contestants in attendance will get a free Under Armour T-shirt. So check the minimum sizes listed in the Fishing Guide or Fishing Challenge website and hopefully you can catch a qualifying fish to be entered in this year's event.
Upper bay fishermen are finding a mix of white perch and channel catfish in most of the tidal rivers in the upper part of the bay, The Susquehanna also holds the promise of striped bass near the Conowingo Dam. Farther down the bay fishermen are finding white perch and a few spot on some of the reefs and knolls out in the bay such as Man O War Shoal and the 7" and 9" knolls on bloodworms and bottom rigs this week. A little farther down the bay, in the Rock Hall to Bay Bridge area, fishermen are finding schools of small striped bass and bluefish chasing bait over a wide area. Often fishermen are finding a larger grade of striped bass by jigging under the breaking fish or finding the larger fish holding to structure. Live lining spot and chumming is a good option in the areas around the bridge piers and Love Point but small striped bass and toothy bluefish are a big part of the action. Joe Hurley sent in this picture of a striped bass he caught recently in the upper bay.
Photo Courtesy of Joe Hurley
In the middle bay region fishermen are finding good striped bass fishing around the mouth of the Choptank River this week at the Diamonds and False Channel. The northwest edge of the Hill off Poplar Island and similar steep channel edges such as Thomas Point are also holding striped bass. Live lining spot is the most popular and effective method of catching striped bass this time of the year but hungry bluefish are extracting a heavy toll on baits. Many fishermen are finding that if striped bass and bluefish are under the boat using fresh chunks of cut up spot work just as well for both species. It is often a game of who can get to it first and the aggressive bluefish often win out. For those who are uninitiated to smoked bluefish it makes a great snack as is or mixed with cream cheese and chives to make a wonderful cracker spread.
Fishermen in the middle bay region are also finding a mix of striped bass, bluefish and Spanish mackerel chasing bait throughout the region. Bay anchovies tend to be what is on the dinner table, so small spoons and metal jigs have been good choices for lures when casting to breaking fish or jigging. Trolling small spoons such as Clarks or Drones is very effective for the bluefish and Spanish mackerel with inline weights of planers. Nick Marcinowski holds up a pair of Spanish he caught while trolling spoons with friends recently.
Photo Courtesy of Nick Marcinowski
White perch fishing has been very good this week along the shorelines of the tidal rivers in the middle bay and lower bay regions and providing plenty of light tackle fun. Casting small spinnerbait type lures or spinners is an effective way to catch a mess of white perch. Fishing off of docks with bait such as grass shrimp or bloodworms is a wonderful way to introduce young anglers to fishing. Often a deep water dock or pier will provide the action kids need to keep them interested.
Fishermen in the lower bay region are finding some of the better fishing for striped bass in the lower Potomac River this week around Piney Point out to the mouth of the river. Live lining spot and chumming have been two of the most popular methods of fishing. Fishermen are also finding a mix of striped bass, bluefish and Spanish mackerel chasing bait throughout the region. Trolling small spoons behind inline weights and planers has been a very effective way to catch them. Casting small spoons and metal jigs to breaking fish or underneath them has also been providing a lot of action for area fishermen.
Fishermen are also finding good fishing for a mix of croakers, spot, speckled trout and white perch while bottom fishing in the lower tidal rivers and the Tangier Sound area. Flounder fishing has been good on the edges of the channels in the Tangier Sound area and also the Cornfield Harbor area near Point Lookout.
Recreational crabbers continue to enjoy good crabbing opportunities this week in most of the tidal rivers in the upper, middle and lower bay regions. The larger male crabs have moved far up the tidal rivers to areas often thought of as more freshwater habitats because of low freshwater flows and saltwater intrusion.
Fishermen in the western region of the state are beginning to see cooler water temperatures cause more activity in fish species such as smallmouth bass, trout and largemouth bass. Smallmouth bass fishing in the upper Potomac River and Deep Creek Lake has improved recently with fish taking topwater lures during early morning and late evening hours and deeper presentations during the day.
Freshwater fishing in the other regions of the state is also improving with cooler water temperatures for a wide range of species from channel catfish to bluegills. Largemouth bass are often at the top of the list for many freshwater fishermen and although the fish are still in a summer mode of behavior there has been a slight increase in activity. The mantra continues to be topwater lures over or near shallow grass during the early morning and late evening hours and deeper presentations of crankbaits and soft plastics during the day around structure or under thick grass. Jim Gronaw holds up a really nice largemouth bass for a picture before releasing it back into a central region farm pond.
Photo Courtesy of Jim Gronaw
This week coastal fishermen in the Ocean City area continue to find a nice summer mix of small species in the surf, made up of kingfish, spot, trout small bluefish and the welcomed addition of croaker. In and around the inlet fishermen are catching bluefish and a few striped bass at night and sheepshead around the rocks during the day. A mix of flounder, small sea bass and croaker are being caught from the inlet to the back bay areas with most of the croaker action occurring close to the inlet in deeper water.
Offshore at the wreck sites fishermen are catching limits of flounder and picking away at sea bass. Even farther offshore the boats trolling the canyons are finding some yellowfin tuna, good numbers of gaffer sized dolphin, multiple releases on white marlin and a few blue marlin and wahoo. Brothers Daniel and Andrew Podlesny teamed up on this nice wahoo they caught while trolling a Clark spoon near the Jackspot; dad, Rick Podlesny helped by gaffing the fish; a real nice family fishing experience to remember.
Photo Courtesy of Rick Podlesny
Angling is extremely time consuming. That is sort of the whole point - Thomas McGuane