Fishermen in the lower Susquehanna River and immediately below the Conowingo dam continue to see scant water releases from the dam in the pm. A few anglers have been having some success casting lures into the dam pool for striped bass. Most fishermen in the very upper reaches of the bay and the Elk River have been catching channel catfish and white perch. The striped bass action begins to pick up at the Pooles Island area where fishermen have been casting, live lining or chumming. Stephen Blair and Dennis Cain are all smiles with this pair of big striped bass they caught while chumming near Pooles Island.
Fishermen in the Patapsco River area have been finding good numbers of white perch in a number of areas and are catching them on small jigs and spoons or bottom rigs baited with bloodworms, grass shrimp or artificially flavored baits. Small bluefish have moved into the area around the harbor and the Frances Scott Key Bridge and have been chewing up any soft plastic baits that happen to come by their way. Fishermen have been encountering breaking fish in the general area and out into the bay towards locations such as Man-O-War Shoals. The breaking fish are made up mostly of small bluefish and sub-legal striped bass but fishermen are finding larger striped underneath by vertical jigging at times.
Fishermen in the upper bay have lost their ability to check on weather and water conditions for a while at the mouth of the Patapsco. Some idiot decided to use the $16,000 NOAA Buoy that relayed instant weather and water conditions to us via the internet for target practice. Doug Wilson monitors and takes care of the buoy and reported that it went off line on July 24th at 7:24 pm when the fatal shots were fired. The buoy has been removed for extensive repairs and it is not known at this time if and when it might be able to be fixed.
Fishermen have been finding white perch fishing at many of the shoal areas in the upper bay quite good this past week and an increasing number of croakers are showing up also. The area around Pooles Island, Hart-Miller Island, the 7’ Knoll, the Snake Reef and down to Podickory Point have all been good places to check; grass shrimp, bloodworms and similar baits have been good choices to use.
The striped bass in the region seem to be constantly on the move and fishermen are reporting that they have to move with them to fish successfully. The heat of the summer is here and high water temperatures tend to squash most fish activity during the heat of the day. Fishermen who are live lining, chumming or trolling for their striped bass report the best fishing is early in the morning or late in the evening. Tide of course is important but this time of the year warm water temperatures tend to have a greater effect on fish activity. Fishermen continue to try different locations for chumming and live lining and they range from Pooles Island south to the Bay Bridge. Swan Point, Love Point, Podickory Point and the Bay Bridge Piers tend to be some of the more popular locations. The sharp channel edge from Sandy Point to the Baltimore Light has been one of the more popular places to troll with small umbrella rigs. Small bluefish have been a problem so many fishermen are switching to spoons, diving plugs and hoses.
Crabbing has generally been fair in the upper bay tidal creeks and rivers with the Elk being one of the better places to find some nice crabs. Shoreline fishermen are doing better in some of the deeper locations due to warm water and are catching a mix of small bluefish, white perch, small to medium sized croakers and channel catfish.
Mid Bay Region:
Striped bass are being found deep where the waters are cooler from the Bay Bridge south to the Gas Docks. This also means that they are not necessarily where they were this time last year. Case in point is the False Channel, so far this year it’s just not a “Go to” place for live lining striped bass. Fishermen have been doing much better at locations such as the 35” channel edge outside the Gas Docks, the western channel edge in general from the power plant all the way up to Thomas Point and of course the Bay Bridge. On the eastern side of the bay the area around the Gum Thickets, the Hill and the mouth of Eastern Bay has been producing some good live lining action for striped bass. The False Channel has mostly been a disappointment for those who expect the fortunes of last year. Mike Heminger caught this nice fish while live lining a spot near the Gum Thickets recently.
A number of fishermen are trolling along channel edges for a mix of small bluefish and medium sized striped bass. Most fishermen have switched to spoons or red surge tube lures to avoid losing vital ends of their sassy shad or Storm shad lures. Fishermen so far have only seen a trickle of Spanish mackerel in the region. Those fishermen lucky enough to find breaking fish have been casting to the surface fish or jigging to those deeper underneath the surface melee. As is usually the case, the larger fish tend to be deep and the smaller stuff on top. The light tackle shallow water fishery for striped bass has slowed down due to warm water temperatures and fishermen are now finding mostly white perch in the shallows and are catching them on beetle spins or spinners. Fishermen inside the Choptank River are finding mostly small striped bass out on the deeper shoal areas such as Robbins Reef and are catching them in the early morning or evening hours by jigging with a 1 in 20 keeper size ratio.
Croaker, spot and white perch are spread throughout the region. The largest croakers tend to be holding deep during most of the day and moving up onto shoal areas in the evening. Shoals near deep water such as the Sharps Island Flats or even channel edges are a good place to anchor up for some night time croaker fishing with cooler air temperatures and no hot sun. There have been a large number of small (micro) sized croakers showing up in the region in the past couple of weeks; good news for the future of croaker fishing and good news for the bait salesman. I’m sure more than few fishermen have been tempted to use them for live lining but remember that the minimum size to have a croaker in your possession is 9”.
Shoreline fishermen have been spending these warm summer evenings fishing for a mix of white perch and croakers at access points throughout the region; be they deep water shorelines, docks or piers. Most are content to soak a few bloodworms or peeler crab baits and watch the sun set while catching a few fish as the last of the day slips away. Many of the local spots usually have a group of regulars so there certainly is the social aspect of things also. Fishermen at the Choptank Fishing Pier have been catching a mix of white perch, croakers, spot and channel catfish lately. Those crabbing with collapsible crab traps have faired pretty well also. This group of happy fishermen enjoyed some good times together while fishing off the Choptank Fishing Pier and was planning to keep the party going with the promise of a catfish fry; perhaps complete with some tasty hushpuppies.
Recreational crabbing in the middle bay region continues to be good in most areas and crabbers are able to put a decent catch together. The crabbing tends to be better on the eastern shore and crabbers are remarking that there are a lot of small crabs, sooks and doublers. Also mentioned was the fact that the bulk of the keeper sized males are heavy with meat.
Lower Bay/Tangier Sound Region:
Live lining spot and the Gas Docks, seems that is what most everyone is talking about when they think about catching striped bass in the lower bay region. As most people know the striped bass in the region love the structure of the pilings that make up the Gas Docks and since no one can fish amongst the pilings any longer since the pier has come to live once more for the purpose it was intended for. Fishing the channel edge beyond the security perimeter with live spot has been the place to go for catching striped bass; it’s close for boats coming out of the Patuxent, cost effective and simple, (1spot = 1 striped bass). Of course the bluefish have been doing their best to screw up this equation by chopping off those nice little spot right behind the head and where the hook is, but most fishermen and captains are taking it in stride as long as the spot are plentiful. Robert Kibler grew up in Calvert County but now lives in Honduras came to visit family and friends and to go fishing. Robert caught this nice striped bass while live lining a spot near the Gas Docks with his friend Kevin Zinn.
There are of course other places to live line effectively for striped bass such as good deep structure locations such as Point-No- Point, Calvert Cliffs Power Plant and generally most any good steep edge where striped bass are holding. Places where one can get away from the crowds. Chumming at the Middle Grounds and along the channel edge at the mouth of the Potomac has also been producing some striped bass fishing as has trolling. Other fishermen are finding breaking fish that are a mix of bluefish and striped bass with a few Spanish mackerel zipping through at various times and places in the lower bay region. The peak of the action tends to be early in the morning and late evening hours. Fishermen are either casting to the surface fish or jigging deep underneath.
Bluefish are everywhere in the lower bay region and the largest ones seem to be hanging around the area of the Middle Grounds and the Target Ship. Fishermen who want to catch them have been trolling red surge tube lures or chumming. Smaller bluefish are spread throughout the region often in shallower waters. Spanish mackerel are around but mostly at the Middle Grounds area and the Mud Leads.
Croaker fishing continues to be excellent in many areas of the lower bay and Tangier Sound. The Middle Grounds, the Target Ship area and the shoals along the eastern side of the shipping channel as well as the lower Potomac River have all been good places to fish day or night in the lower bay. The croaker fishing in Tangier Sound has focused mostly at the Puppy Hole, Great Rock and the Terrapin Sands. Fishermen there are catching a mix of croakers, large spot, small bluefish and a few small sea trout.
Large spot can also be found in the Patuxent River and live lining size spot can be found in most of the shallower areas of the lower bay and Tangier Sound. White perch are being caught in most all of the regions tidal creeks and rivers. Flounder are being found at locations such as Cornfield Harbor and channel edges near Point Lookout as well as hard channel edges in Tangier Sound. Fishermen working the eastern shore marshes have been catching good numbers of speckled trout this past week. Chris Karwacki holds up a nice speckled trout for the camera that he caught in the shallows of Tangier Sound. Recreational crabbing in the tidal creeks and rivers is very good.
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