Maryland Weekly Fishing Report Overview | September 05, 2012
Somehow we all made it through a steamy Labor Day weekend and this coming weekend on September 8th is the awards ceremony for the Maryland Fishing Challenge to see who leaves Sandy Point State Park with a new boat, motor and trailer, a dream fishing vacation or a pile of other large prizes. Our Diamond Jim lucky fishermen will see if one of them walks off with the big payoff or they all share in the $25,000 cash prize so come by and see who wins the awards and after the ceremony is over there will be plenty of good eats at the Seafood Festival. Stop by the fishing tent exhibits and say hello to the fisheries staff. Below is a partial shot of last year's crowd waiting to see who gets drawn.
Fishermen at the top of the bay have been focusing mostly on catching channel catfish and white perch in the lower sections of the tidal rivers. There is some striped bass action at the base of the Conowingo Dam for fishermen casting swim shads and crankbaits. Largemouth bass fishermen also continue to find largemouth bass in the grass of the Susquehanna Flats. Farther down the bay fishermen are finding good fishing for white perch on many of the reefs and knolls between Rock Hall and Baltimore Harbor; bottom fishing with bait has been the preferred method of fishing. Fishermen are reporting schools of small striped bass chasing bait in the area and every once in a while they are able to catch a legal fish. Legal sized striped bass become a little more common as one approaches the Love Point area but local fishermen still report a very high throwback ratio when it comes to striped bass. Fishermen have been trolling spoons and surge tube lures along the channel edges and also chumming or live lining spot when fish can be spotted on a depth finder. Most fishermen that are chumming and live lining on some of the tradition grounds such as Love Point, Swann Point and Podickory Point report slim pickings at times.
Fishing fortunes pick up at the Bay Bridge and south as fishermen find a mix of striped bass, bluefish and Spanish mackerel spread throughout the region. Trolling along the western edge of the shipping channel from Thomas Point south to the power plant has been very productive for a mix of bluefish, Spanish mackerel and striped bass. Small chartreuse flash Drone spoons and Clark spoons behind planers and inline weights have been the most productive lures. Live lining spot has been good at traditional locations such as Sharps Island, the Diamonds, Gooses, False Channel and the Hill off Poplar Island. The bluefish have been pretty pesky so often chunking with fresh spot can be a little less frustrating. Of note is also the prospect that large red drum have been caught and released in the area by live liners. At times a mix of bluefish, striped bass and Spanish mackerel can be spotted chasing bay anchovies and casting to the surface fish or jigging underneath has been providing plenty of action.
Larger striped bass are beginning to move into the lower sections of the region's tidal rivers and fishermen are finally starting to catch some legal sized fish. Most fishermen have been enjoying the excellent fishing for white perch either by casting small lures along shorelines or fishing bait under deep water docks or oyster bottom in some of the deeper areas of the rivers. Perhaps some of the most impressive white perch are now coming from deeper water on large baits such as peeler crab. The occasional striped bass, croaker, small red drum and speckled trout are also adding to the mix.
Fishermen in the lower bay region are finding striped bass here and there at traditional locations such as steep channel edges. The channel edge out in front of the Gas Docks continues to be absent of the good striped bass fishing opportunities local fishermen are used to. Most fishermen have been checking out favorite spots looking for marks and then setting up on suspended fish. Bluefish continue to chew up anything that looks like an easy meal and what could be more tempting than a nice delectable live spot all by his lonesome in deep water. Chumming has been productive for a mix of bluefish and striped bass and the mouth of the Potomac and the Middle Grounds have been good places to go lately.
Trolling small spoons with chartreuse flash behind planers and inline weights has been a good way to catch a mix of bluefish, Spanish mackerel and striped bass. The edges of the shipping channel and areas around the Middle Grounds, above the Target Ship, Tangier Sound and the lower Potomac River have been very good places to troll. Large red drum are in the area and are being caught and released by fishermen; if they don't straighten the hooks out on small spoons first. Rob Wilhelm sent in this picture of his nephew Jeff with a Spanish mackerel they caught together in the lower Potomac River.
Photo Courtesy of Rob Wilhelm
Fishermen have been finding plenty of bottom fishing action in the tidal rivers in the southern region and Tangier Sound as well. Fishing for white perch has been excellent and good for spot and a mix of croaker and speckled trout. Fishermen are also seeing a lot of small red drum and other fish such as small sea bass, southern kingfish and small black drum. Flounder fishing continues to be good along the channel edges in Tangier and Pocomoke Sounds and to a lesser extent around Point Lookout.
Recreational crabbing remains steady in most areas of the bay. The larger male crabs continue to still be far up the tidal rivers despite some of the recent rains. Recreational crabbers are reporting larger crabs in the upper sections of the tidal rivers with fewer throwbacks. Crabbers in the lower sections of the tidal rivers are catching good crabs also but report a large number of small crabs and sooks chewing up baits. Keep in mind if you venture up the tidal rivers collapsible crab traps can be swept off channel edges in a good current often to be lost in deep water and strong currents.
Freshwater fishermen continue to see most of the fish they pursue in a summer mode of behavior feeding in the shallows from dusk till dawn and lounging around in cool shade during the day when the sun is high in the sky. Fishermen in the western region have been enjoying good fishing for smallmouth bass in the upper Potomac and Deep Creek Lake during the early morning and evening hours. Trout fishing in the western region streams is good in many of the fly fishing and catch and release areas. When waters cool down to acceptable temperatures in October the fisheries service will once again begin their fall stocking of trout in trout management waters. Devin Angleberger sent in this picture of a nice brown trout before he released it back into Beaver Creek.
Photo Courtesy of Devin Angleberger
Largemouth bass are still holding to grass as they look for small baitfish and crawfish. Targeting shallow grass at dawn and evenings is always a good tactic with topwater lures such as poppers, frogs, and buzzbaits. Lipless crankbaits and spinnerbaits as well as weightless soft plastics are also a good bet around grass bed edges. In the tidal waters the edges of grass beds and spatterdock beds are good places to target on a falling tide. Dropping soft plastics through deeper grass and targeting sunken wood in deeper water with crawfish imitations are good options for later on in the morning or late afternoon. Grub jigs and crawfish imitations are also good choices along steep edges to deep water and creek mouths.
Ocean City area fishermen are reporting some fun fishing in the surf for a summer mix of kingfish, croaker, spot, small bluefish and even a couple of large red drum. Typically sometime around 3rd or 4th week of September the area will see a run of large red drum pass by the beaches. Fishermen who can't wait for that big pull have been having some catch and release fun with inshore sharks and sting rays.
In and around the Ocean City Inlet fishermen are finding good fishing for flounder in the channel approaches to the inlet. Croakers, small red drum and small sea bass continue to go after squid baits. More than a few fishermen have been drifting live spot along the channels looking for that big old doormat that is residing down there somewhere.
Fishermen headed out to the reef and wreck sites are finding some dandy sized flounder and a nice mix of sea bass to bring back to the docks. Farther offshore the trolling at the 30-fathom line out to the canyons is producing small dolphin, white marlin and the occasional yellowfin tuna, blue marlin and wahoo.
Most of the world is covered by water. A fisherman's job is simple: Pick out the best parts. - Charles Waterman