Maryland Weekly Fishing Report Overview | August 21, 2013
As we move into the last two weeks of August it would appear by the traffic that families are trying to get in a vacation before the month is over and school begins. It's coming, drive by any high school and you will see the next season's budding gridiron football team on the practice field and discount department stores are flooded with school supplies. It always does my heart good to see fishing rods and crab nets lashed to the roof of the family vehicle with all the other vacation gear. Make fishing part of your vacation plans.
Fishermen are reporting some exciting fishing opportunities this week in the lower Susquehanna River and the channels in and around the Susquehanna Flats for Striped Bass. It is reported that a good portion of the fish are sub-legal in size but there has been plenty of fun topwater action and fishermen are able to catch Striped Bass greater than 18". Fishermen have been picking away at Smallmouth Bass and Walleye in the lower Susquehanna River and Largemouth Bass on the flats for a while now so this is a welcomed addition to the action. Rick Drummond reported in an angler's log that he not only caught this beautiful 20" Smallmouth Bass in the lower Susquehanna but also had some exciting Striped Bass fishing as well.
Courtesy of Rick Drummond
There has been plenty of good Striped Bass fishing in the area of Swan Point, Love Point and Podickory Point in the upper bay. Fishermen are having good success by chumming, live lining, trolling and jigging over suspended fish. Fishermen that are trolling, are now using spoons behind inline weights since Bluefish are now in the area.; a few fishermen even reported catching and releasing some large Red Drum. The Bay Bridge has been a good place to look for Striped Bass; the piers, rock piles and the sewer pipe have been all holding fish. Fishermen have been drifting back live Spot or jigging near the bridge piers. A mix of Striped Bass and Bluefish have been breaking water lately and I personally passed acres of breaking fish on the southeast side of the bridge Tuesday morning at a little before 7am and not a boat was to be seen anywhere. Jay Fleming was out in his kayak jigging near the bridge piers recently and shows off a nice Striped Bass he caught.
Photo by Jim Thompson
There are plenty of White Perch in the upper bay and fishermen are finding them near shoreline structure by casting beetle spins, spinners, small jigs or fishing grass shrimp close to old piers, docks, fallen tree tops and rocks. Out in the bay on many of the shoal areas between Rock Hall and Baltimore; fishermen are either jigging or fishing bait such as bloodworms to catch White Perch and Spot.
The middle bay area from the mouth of the Choptank to the Bay Bridge continues to be the place to find the most consistent Striped Bass action. There is some evidence that the concentration of fish that have been holding at the Hill are moving about as evidenced by the good fishing north at the Love Point area and south to below the Choptank. Live lining Spot on the edges of the Hill is still the hottest ticket in town but there is plenty of good fishing for Striped Bass to be found along channel edges in the middle bay region... Bluefish are in town and are making short work of live Spot where and when fishermen send them down to 30' channel edges. Trolling has been a good option in the middle bay area for a mix of Bluefish, Spanish Mackerel and Striped Bass. Most fishermen are using small Drone spoons but Clark, Crippled Alewife and Tony spoons will work also when trolled behind inline weights. Breaking fish are being spotted chasing Bay Anchovies throughout the region and fishermen are casting to a surface melee of Striped Bass and Bluefish. Most of the Striped Bass on top tend to be small but quite often larger Striped Bass can be found deep by jigging.
Water temperatures in the middle bay region are around 76-degrees this week and fishing the shallower waters of the bay and tidal rivers remains good in the early morning and late evening hours. Fishermen are casting smaller lures such as spinners, spinnerbaits and jigs for White Perch with good success. Topwater lures and swim shads are working well for a mix of Red Drum, Speckled Trout and Striped Bass. Don Webster sent in this nice picture of a Choptank Red Drum he caught while light tackle fishing.
Photo by Don Webster
Bottom fishing for a mix of Croakers, Spot, White Perch, Bluefish and the occasional Red Drum or Speckled Trout has been good in the tidal rivers and bay areas in the middle bay region. Baits of peeler crab, shrimp and bloodworms have been working well on bottom rigs.
Lower bay region fishermen are encountering a wide variety of fishing opportunities now that Bluefish and Spanish Mackerel are so common. Boats that are trolling are catching a mix and fishermen chumming in the lower Potomac and areas such as the Middle Grounds are catching a lot of Bluefish up to 4lbs in size. Spoons are the favorite offering while trolling and occasionally large Red Drum are being caught and released. Striped Bass can be caught along channel edges in about 30' of water on live spot and jigging over suspended fish holding on steep edges near points and channels has been productive.
The shallow water light tackle fishery along the lower eastern shore has been very good for a mix of Speckled Trout, Red Drum, Striped Bass and Bluefish. Topwater lures are perhaps the most fun but Gulp Mullet swim shads are a very good choice also. Some fishermen are also drifting large pieces of peeler or soft crab in fast running current emptying out of the marshes and catching a mix of Red Drum, Speckled Trout, Flounder and Striped Bass. Bottom fishermen are finding good fishing for a mix of Croaker, Spot, White Perch, Speckled Trout, Kingfish and Bluefish in the Tangier Sound area and flounder fishing has been showing improvement along channel edges. In the lower Potomac besides the mix of Spot, Croaker and White Perch; fishermen are also catching a lot of medium-sized Blue Catfish.
Recreational crabbing continues to provide fair catches of crabs in the middle and lower bay regions. Most recreational crabbers are reporting it is tough to put together a half bushel together per outing. Razor clams are just about impossible to obtain for bait so most everyone recreational and commercial are using menhaden or chicken necks for bait. A few recreational crabbers feel that fresh White Perch makes the best bait in their collapsible crab traps. Prices for a bushel of large or jumbo male crabs are approaching the $200 mark in many areas so that tells you something; so be happy with a half bushel or so for your efforts and if you manage to catch a bushel you can really boast.
Freshwater fishermen in the western region of the state have been enjoying the cooler weather that has translated into cooler water and better fishing. Trout fishermen are finding good trout fishing in many of the special management waters within the region. There is good fishing for Smallmouth Bass and Walleye in Deep Creek Lake and the upper Potomac. Jeston Clopein holds up a big 28" Walleye that he recently caught in the upper Potomac.
Courtesy of Jeston Clopein
Largemouth Bass fishing in all regions of the state has been good this week. The fish are still holding to a summer pattern but cooler water has definitely put them in a more active mood. Fishermen are also starting to notice that sunrise is a little later in the morning and water surface mist and fog is becoming more common place as waters cool. Fishermen are reporting very good opportunities near shallow grass and cover in all regions of the state. A mix of soft plastics, frogs, poppers is a fun and exciting way to catch Largemouth Bass. As the fish retreat to the shade under grass, old docks, fallen tree tops or lily pads casting weighted plastics is a good way to target these areas. In the tidal Potomac and its feeder creeks, Snakeheads are a big part of the action and fishermen have been catching some big ones.
Bluegills always provide a lot of fun action in the summer months and in some areas they can become quite large. Small jigs, surface poppers and even various types of flies work well to put a bend in light tackle. There are plenty of Channel Catfish in many of the states tidal and non-tidal rivers, as well as lakes and reservoirs. Sitting bank side in the shade watching a rod in a forked stick seems to be a pleasant way to spend part of a summer day.
Ocean City area fishermen continue to enjoy a nice mix of summer fish species in the surf; Kingfish, Spot, small Bluefish, Croaker and a few Sea Trout are being caught. In the evenings inshore sharks and sting rays can provide some fun catch and release action. In and around the inlet fishermen are catching large Flounder on live Spot during the day and a few Triggerfish and Sheepshead on sand fleas. At night the action switches to a mix of Bluefish, Sea Trout and the occasional Striped Bass. In the back bay areas Flounder are being caught in the channels and edges, with some of the larger Flounder being caught on live Spot and Gulp baits. Ken Kopro holds up a Bluefish he caught at the inlet recently.
Courtesy of Ken Kopro
Out at the wreck sites fishermen are experiencing fair to good fishing for Sea Bass and Triggerfish and usually good fishing for Flounder. At some of the traditional 30-fathom line locations fishermen are catching some Yellowfin Tuna and Dolphin. Out at the canyons there is a mix of White and Blue Marlin, Wahoo, Dolphin, Yellowfin Tuna and the occasional Bigeye Tuna.
"It is a favorite opinion of ours that nothing in the "fish line" ever comes easy and that only by long patience and endless endurance do we ever get results. We have had good luck at times, of course, but we have always been hard luck fishermen. And sometimes it goes against the grain. " - Zane Grey