Maryland Weekly Fishing Report Overview | September 25, 2013
Fishermen are presented with some exciting fishing opportunities this week as cooling water temperatures have fish throughout Maryland feeling active with the presence of autumn beginning to settle in. Many of our summer migrant species in the Chesapeake and coastal bays are feeling the urge to head south. Freshwater fish are beginning to feel more comfortable in cooler waters and feeling the urge to feed more. Some may have noticed that our Ospreys have departed for the most part in the last two weeks and the next big cold front with northerly winds will surely bring in Canada Geese from up north.
Striped Bass fishing in the lower Susquehanna River and surrounding areas where the river flows into the bay continues to be good for anglers using topwater lures and a variety of other lure types. The throwback ratio is generally about 3 to 1 for undersized Striped Bass as water temperatures drop to the high 60's this week. There are also plenty of Channel Catfish in the area as are Largemouth Bass. White Perch seem to be heading for deeper water so they can be found in channels where bloodworms on bottom rigs or small jigs tipped with a piece of bloodworm should entice them to bite.
Upper bay fishermen are seeing a mix of Striped Bass and small bluefish chasing bait throughout the region often marked by diving gulls or slicks. Many of the Striped Bass are in the 16" to 17" size range but there are plenty of larger fish often underneath the surface action. Chumming for Striped Bass is back in full swing in the Swan Point and Love Point areas and trolling has proven to be a very productive way to target the larger grade of Striped Bass. Most fishermen are trolling with planers and small to medium sized Drone spoons with very good success. Cooler water temperatures in the upper bay have Striped Bass moving into areas such as tidal rivers and shallower areas along shorelines creating some exciting light tackle action. Phillip Rineman sent in this picture and an angler's log of some fun light tackle fishing near Hart-Miller Island.
Photo Courtesy of Phillip Rineman
Fishing at the Bay Bridge piers continues to be very popular this week as fishermen drift live Spot, chum or jig to Striped Bass holding near the bases of the piers. A nice grade of Striped Bass have been holding there for a while now and also at the nearby sewer pipe on the northeast side of the bridge. Fishermen are also finding good success by trolling in the general area with planers and Drone spoons and breaking fish are being encountered by fishermen at any time. The breaking fish are mostly comprised of small Striped Bass and Bluefish but offer some fun casting action on top and good jigging opportunities for larger Striped Bass holding deep underneath the surface action.
Striped Bass fishing continues to be very good in the middle bay region this week but the pattern of the fish holding at the Hill has changed. Cooler water temperatures (71-degrees) and increased oxygen levels at deeper depths have allowed Striped Bass to freely move in other areas of the middle bay. As long as Spot are available a lot of fishermen are still live lining but the action has now spread out into other channel edge areas such as Thomas Point, the Gooses, False Channel and the Clay Banks to name a few. Breaking fish or suspended fish are being encountered with increased regularity this week and fishermen are enjoying casting to surface fish or jigging to fish holding deeper. Bluefish are still a major part of the mix so most fishermen are jigging with metal. Trolling is a good option and fishermen are using planers or inline weights in front of Drone spoons.
Shallow water light tackle fishing for Striped Bass continues to be a fun option for fishermen in the lower sections of the regions tidal rivers and bay shorelines. Topwater action has been fun and productive with lures such as Chug a Bugs and skipping bugs. Swim shads, crankbaits and streamer flies such as Deceivers and Clousers have all been good choices. Fishermen will also encounter slot sized Red Drum and Speckled Trout as part of a welcomed mix. Matt Baden lays this nice Speckled Trout on the measuring board in his kayak that he caught along the eastern shore of the bay.
Photo Courtesy of Matt Baden
White Perch have left their shallower summer haunts for the most part and now can be found in deeper waters often holding over oyster bottom and structure. Jigging is an effective way to target them as is the simple bottom rig baited with bloodworms, shrimp or peeler crab. Fishermen have been taking advantage of the large spot and medium sized croakers that are active in the region and stocking up before these two species bid us a hasty retreat. There is already evidence that these two species are starting to move south and next big cold front will certainly send them on their way.
Lower bay region fishermen are reporting some rather hit or miss Striped Bass action at traditional spots such as the Gas Docks at Cove Point, Buoy 72 and Cedar Point. Live liners report good action one day and nothing the next. It would appear the fish are moving around a lot and this is most likely due to good water conditions and schools of bait moving through the region. Fishermen are finding breaking fish composed of Striped Bass, Bluefish and a few Spanish Mackerel throughout the region. Casting to surface fish or jigging underneath continues to provide good fishing opportunities wherever the situation arises. Trolling small spoons behind planers and inline weights has been very effective along channel edges and those fishermen placing larger spoons in their trolling spread are catching and releasing some large Red Drum. Chumming has been good in locations such as the mouth of the Potomac, the Middle Grounds and Buoy 72 and 72A for Bluefish.
Shoreline and boat fishermen are enjoying good fishing for a mix of Spot, Croaker and White Perch in the lower sections of the regions tidal rivers and the Tangier/Pocomoke Sound complex. Shoreline fishermen also report good fishing for a mix of Bluefish and Red Drum on cut baits. Light tackle fishermen are enjoying good fishing for a mix of Red Drum and Speckled Trout along the shorelines of the eastern shore marshes.
Recreational crabbers are reporting fair catches of crabs this week in the lower sections of the bays tidal rivers and creeks as crabs begin to exit for the bay. Most crabbers are reporting a half bushel of crabs or more per outing and the quality of the crabs is very good. Female and small crabs are chewing up baits which is hopefully a good sign for next year's prospects.
Freshwater fishermen in the western region of the state are reporting that cooler water temperatures seem to have spurred the larger Smallmouth Bass to become more active. Most fishermen are reporting good success with swim shads, tubes and crankbaits cast near underwater ledges and large submerged rocks. Ralph Pratt sent in this picture of a beautiful Smallmouth Bass he caught and released on the upper Potomac recently.
Photo Courtesy of Ralph Pratt
Fisheries survey crews report that the Savage River trout survey showed 1,434 adult trout per mile in the fly only section of the river and 766 young of the year trout per mile. The dominant trout were brown trout. The Artificial lure/fly section of the river revealed 1,302 adult trout per mile with 326 young of the year trout per mile.
Largemouth Bass fishermen are finding good to excellent fishing opportunities in most areas of the state this week. Topwater lures such as frogs, buzzbaits are good choices over thick grass and poppers, spinnerbaits and soft plastics in and around sparser grass. Deeper sunken wood and similar structure is also a good place to fish jigs, crankbaits and plastics this time of the year. Bluegill Sunfish, Crappie and Channel Catfish also offer good fishing this week in ponds, lakes and rivers throughout the state.
Coastal fishermen in the Ocean City area are reporting good fishing in the surf for small Bluefish and slot size Red Drum on mullet baits this week. Some large Red Drum are also being caught and released along with inshore sharks. Smaller baits are catching a mix of Kingfish, large Spot and a few flounder. Inside and around the Ocean City Inlet fishermen are catching a mix of large Spot, Croaker and flounder during the day. During early morning, evening and night time hour's fishermen are catching small Bluefish by casting Got-Cha lures. Fishermen are also drifting live finger mullet and small spot and catching a mix of Striped Bass, slot size Red Drum and a few large flounder. In the back bay areas flounder and a mix of Croaker, Spot and slot size Red Drum are being caught.
Outside the inlet there is excellent fishing for large flounder on the near shore wreck and reef sites. Farther offshore fishermen are finding Yellowfin Tuna at the 30-fathon line out to the canyon areas with White Marlin and Dolphin in the mix. Boats have been doing overnight trips to the canyons and chunking for Yellowfin Tuna with excellent results. The Norfolk Canyon has been a real hot spot for White Marlin releases this week.
"... the fisherman fishes. It is at once an act of humility and a small rebellion. And it is something more. To him his fishing is an island in a world of dream and shadow." - Robert Traver, 1960