I managed to get out for a few days earlier this week and last weekend. I have been fishing the Eastern Bay area with the fly rod chasing the breaking striped bass and blue fish around the mouth of Eastern Bay. The key to finding the fish has been tide/current. You need a moving current, slack tides have all but shut the bite off. Also, morning has been best for us, probably a combination of the tide along with some cooler water and hungry fish. I have hit some shallow water areas, 2 to 5 feet of water, and have had decent luck the last 45 minutes before sun-down (which is getting earlier and earlier now). Topwater and subsurface flies have been the trick for me.
For the first time in the past three years the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council and the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s (ASMFC) Summer Flounder, Scup and Black Sea Bass and Bluefish Boards (Board) achieved consensus on their recommendations regarding proposed fishing regulations for those species for the upcoming fishing year – that’s the good news. Now the bad news, for the third year in a row the Council and the Board recommended decreases in the total allowable landing levels (TAL) for summer flounder, scup, and black sea bass. Bluefish was again the single bright spot as its quota was increased by about a half a million pounds. For full details on this development see the following link: http://www.tidalfish.com/Fishing_News/p2_articleid/315
Weekend/Upcoming Fishing Events
No big fishing tournaments or anything are happening this weekend other then some crab feasts, picnics and good times with friends. Enjoy the long weekend!
Upper Bay Region
White perch fishing, or rather catching, continues to be good on hard bottomed shoals and reefs and are being caught on tandem jigs or bait. The following locations continue to produce: Snake Reef, Man-O-War Shoals, Belvedere Shoals. Largemouth Bass and Cat fishermen have been doing well in the Susquehanna River and Susquehanna Flats areas of the upper bay. Try early morning and evenings with top-water plugs for some exciting largemouth bass action. The largemouth fishing has picked up a bit since my last report.
Striped Bass have also been lurking the upper bay area; jigs and jigging spoons are your best bet if not using bait, however, most of the fish caught on artificials have been sub keeper fish. Anyone catching keepers more regularly are using bait such as chum, live bait or eels.
Bluefish have also been spotted in the upper bay area mixing in with the striped bass schools. Most bluefish have been 2-3lbs in size.
Below the Pooles Island area the best reports of striped bass catches are coming from the chumming fleets at locations such as Swan Point, Love Point (mouth of the Chester Rive), Triple Buoys, the Mud Flats, the Dumping Grounds, the Sewer Pipe and the channel edge from Podickory Point to Baltimore Light. While chumming has been the most preferred method in these locations, the live bait bug (using live spot and/or perch) has been catching on and anglers have been having good success. As I mentioned in the opening of my reports, current us key. As soon as the current is slack you mind as well take a break and grab some grub and drinks. As soon as the current starts, get back to fishing.
Mid Bay Region
The Bay Bridge area has been good this past week for a lot of jigging Tidal Fishers for nice sized white perch and some keeper striped bass. The main area of concentration has been the sewer pipe. Several Tidal Fishers posted reports of keeper striped bass throwing plugs over the pipe on a ripping tide.
Breaking striped bass with a mix of bluefish are all over Eastern Bay, Popular Island, Stone Rock, Choptank River area. They have been breaking on both tides. But like I said, you need a good moving current. One thing to note which I found this week was that once the tide was moving even if the fish went down, I could stay on them by watching my fish finder. So if you find the school goes down, which will probably be the case with weekend with all the boat traffic, just watch your fish finder and you should see them. Just drop your jigs or bait a little deeper and you will be set.
Choptank River and False Channel anglers continue to be knocking the socks off striped bass by live-lining spot. Anglers are going in the river a bit, try the Harris Creek area or just inside the mouth of the river, catching live spot and then returning to the mouth of the river area to drop them down and quickly finding keeper stripers. If you fish the area you will see the charter fleet, you do not need to be right on top of them, the striped bass are spread out all over the area, try the edges of the fleet, you will find fish. Dr. Don reported he had some good luck trolling around the Stone Rock area and managed to pick up a good mess of decent size bluefish. He reported,” Left Oxford a little after 2:00 with the mission of catching some blues and macks for the smoker. My smoker has been broke for several years and finally got the part to fix it. Started and stayed at Stone Rock. Caught 8 very nice blues from 4-6 lb in about an hour and a half trolling. The hot lure was a red hose set 12′ down on the downrigger. Stayed in 16-20′ of water. The blues were big enough to pull a little drag and they also did some nice jumps. Would have liked to catch them casting or jigging. I did not mark any fish on the meter when I was catching. The fillets are soaking now and going on the smoker tomarrow. There were also several groups of birds working over some small rock later in the day. Caught quite a few on small poppers on the long rod, nothing over 17″ though. The breaking fish covered alot of ground quickly. Very calm afternoon with a south wind just picking up as I headed back. I saw the widest, darkest, most pronounced tide line I have ever seen heading out where the river and bay meet. The Choptank side looked like chocolate milk. No sign of any macks”
The trolling anglers are finding striped bass along channel edges on both sides of the shipping channel. Most fishermen are pulling umbrella rigs loaded with sassy shads and trailing a 6” Storm shad.
Croaker fishing continues to be hot. The croakers seem to be spread out over the entire region and holding along the edges of channels and holes during the day and moving up the edges of the channels towards evening. Most fishermen are using peeler crabs or shrimp for bait but some are using squid or artificial flavored baits.
White perch and spot fishing has been good in Eastern Bay, Hackett’s, Thomas Point, Tolley’s, Holland Point and the lower sections of the major tidal rivers.
Flounder have continued to show up in some reports. Flounder reports have been coming from the Eastern Bay area down to James’s Island Flats and the Taylor’s Island Flats. Squid fished on bottom rigs drifted on the edgs has been the ticket.
Lower Bay/Tangier Sound Region
Good fishing for striped bass can be found along the western side of the shipping channel by trolling and live lining spot. Live spot around the Gas Docks has been very good. Target the sharp edge from 20’ to 40’ for some of the bigger fish. Most fishermen that are trolling are using medium sized bucktails with pork rind in tandem or behind umbrella rigs. Spoons are also being used with good success and fishermen targeting bluefish have been putting surge tube lures out behind the boat. Fishermen have replaced the sassy shads on their umbrella rigs with hookless spoons or spinners because of the blues that have invaded the waters.
Breaking Striped Bass and Blues are all over the lower bay. A pair of good binoculars will reveal their location quickly. Wild Bill had a two day trip and managed to find fish every day. Captain Walleye Pete has been reporting the same. The larger fish have been down deep and heavy spoons or jigs are the ticket, although Wild Bill reported that he had about 20 to 1 undersized fish to keeper sized fish. He did manage to find a nice school of 4-6pound blues that provided some great fun on the fly rod and light tackle,
Striped bass can also be found holding structure at places like Cedar Point rips and cuts such as the lower Hooper’s Island Bridge.
Boats have been chumming for striped bass with good success at locations such as Buoy 72, the Middle Grounds and along the channel edges at the mouth of the Potomac River. Bluefish tend to invade the chum slicks at several of these locations and can dominate the fishing action very quickly.
Spanish mackerel have showed up in good numbers in the lower Chesapeake as reported many times over the last few days by Christy from Buzzs Marina. Small Cark Spoons and Drones tend to be the most popular lure choices with inline weights or planners. Usually a size 0 to 1 size Clark Spoon in silver or gold or the same size Drone Spoon in silver or a chartreuse/silver combination are the ticket for catching Chesapeake Bay Spanish mackerel. Try a Clark spoon with 20 lb fluorocarbon leaders about 20’ behind a #1 planner or a 3 oz to 4 oz inline weight. Trolling speeds are usually higher than what one would troll for striped bass. Spanish tend to be deeper during the day but one can find them on top sometimes early in the morning or evenings and they can be caught with small silver spoons or jigs or a little deeper on Got-Cha plugs.
Christy and Mike from Buzz’s Marina have posted several reports this week of some BIG red drum showing up, one report was, “Full moon, light tackle, what fun! Ray Sousa and I left the dock about six and got to the lumps south of the Target Ship and anchored up. We started with bottom rigs and it was slow at first. As soon as the sun went down the fish finder started going crazy. We caught some 16 inch plus croakers. We kept seeing suspended fish on the finder so we switched to a wire leader/hook and a quarter ounce split shot. My daughter always says “big bait, big fish” so I used a big hunk of fresh alewife. Within seconds the line peeled off at least a hundred feet of drag. After about ten minutes I got the fish to the boat and released a three foot drum at the boat without bringing it aboard. Went again, and minutes later repeat repeat and after a twenty minute fight and a trip all the way around the boat I got this 47 incher. It was hard to weigh quickly but it was somewhere between 35 and 38 pounds. Also in the mix were six to seven pound bluefish with a couple of legal sized rockfish. Back home by 11pm.”
If you are fishing the southern Maryland Chesapeake waters keep and eye out for these guys, they can be a blast. Also check the Maryland Chesapeake Angler message board for more reports and pictures from Christy and Mike.
Anglers around Tangier/Pocomoke Sound have been having good catches of croaker, spot, and a mix of small bluefish and sea trout. The best action is early in the morning and late in the afternoon for the deeper waters. The evening migration of croakers up onto the shoal areas along channels has tended to be unreliable lately due to warm water temperatures. Anglers are reporting that some nights the action does not start till several hours after dark and can be spotty. Perhaps the most exciting bottom fishing news in the region is the excellent flounder fishing. Fishermen are reporting catching flounder on the shoals behind Hooper’s Island Light, the channel edges in Tangier and Pocomoke Sounds, Cornfield Harbor at the mouth of the Potomac and the Chinese Mud’s at the mouth of the Patuxent.
Ocean City Fishing Report
Ocean City Fishing Center reports
Wednesday, August 29th 2007:Only a couple boats ventured out today, but those that did came back with nice catches. Two boats went out on full moon overnighters. Capt. DJ Churchill on the “That’s Right” came in with 1 Yellowfin Tuna, 11 Longfin Tuna, and 1 Swordfish. Capt. Joe O’Boyle on the “Mojo” came in with one White Marlin release and a couple of tuna. As for the full day offshore trips, Capt. Jeff Powell on the “Mak-Atak” came in with 2 nice size Yellowfin.
Oyster Bay Tackle’s Sue Foster gives us this report for the Maryland Ocean City and Delaware Beachs area:
Fishing this week was fair on flounder. Some people caught and some people didn’t! Anglers needed to be right on the tide to be lucky. The surf saw snapper bluefish and sharks along with a few panfish. Offshore, the news was flounder, croaker and some sea bass. Further offshore, tuna were biting for anglers chunking in the canyons. Wahoo were also biting. Assateague surf saw a few pan fish, some sharks, and bluefish at night.
Daytime fishing has been slow during the day because of the heat.
Clark from Old Inlet reports on surf fishing: “Plenty of small fish in the surf. Bluefish, kingfish, croakers and spot are all here. Real and artificial bloodworms are working well for the kingfish, spot and croakers. Whole finger mullet are the best bait for the bluefish.”
Ocean City surf saw some snapper blue action this week along with sand
sharks and a few croaker. Some larger sharks were caught at night. We had a customer come in Monday morning to say he was catching snapper blues in the surf early Monday morning with finger mullet. Others have been catching them at night.
Bill McNeil of Oyster Bay Tackle fished the Delaware State Park one morning and caught bluefish every cast with whole finger mullet on a mullet rig. “They were only 13-inches but the action was good until the bait ran out!” said Bill. (He was fishing early in the morning.)
The best baits for bluefish is usually finger mullet on finger mullet rigs or cut finger mullet or cut bunker on a top and bottom type surf rig. The best baits for kingfish, spot, croaker and trout are bloodworm or Artificial Fishbite Bloodworms on Kingfish Rigs. Croaker will also take chunks of finger mullet.
I hope everyone has a great week and I look forward to reading everyone’s reports if you make it out on the Maryland Tidal Fish Chesapeake or the Tidal Fish Mid Atlantic Offshore Message Board.
Until next week, good times and good fishing!