Memorial Day crept up fast on us this year and marks the incoming summer’s months, although its still feels like early spring with the cool temperatures and vast amounts of rain we have been going. I am not complaining though, I love the cool temperatures; it makes for some comfortable fishing conditions and has done wonders for my garden.
Weather forecasts for this coming long weekend call for cool nights and low 70’s during the day which should make for a nice weekend. I did check the marine forecast and it is calling for a small craft advisory on Saturday in most (Pictured is fellow Tidal Fisher Phil with a 30inch+ striper. He was fishing with Tidal Fisher Skip (27 Sailfish) this past week. Click here for the full report with pictures) of Maryland’s Chesapeake, so be sure to check the marine weather reports before you head out. It will definitely be crowded out there with the holiday weekend so watch out and take extra caution, we anglers will be sharing the bay with more then normal sail and pleasure boats.
Maryland Chesapeake Bay water temperatures are warming up to the lower 60’s sparking more schools of bait to enter the Maryland portion of the Chesapeake. Along with these schools of bait has brought on some great light tackle jigging (LTJ as we call it on TidalFish.com) for striped bass. TThe Susquehanna Flats is getting a run of blue back herring which has triggered a flurry of striped bass activity.he warmer water has also brought the annual migration of bluefish which is making a real mess out of light tackle anglers tackle. Trolling anglers are still picking up striped bass on a consistent basis through out the Chesapeake. There have also been some very good reports of keeper flounder being caught in the lower portion of the Maryland Chesapeake. Also, a report of Speckled Trout being caught, one weighing in at 8lbs. Also this week we have had a few croaker reports from the lower Maryland Chesapeake, which means they are finally on their way. Fishing is really picking up, hold on tight to your rods.
Maryland Fisheries News
A few things have happened in the fisheries world over the last week. The first one is almost totally unbelievable. This week Friends of the Sea certified Omega Protein, the company that harvests menhaden as fast as they can, as a friend of the sea. Instead of taking up a ton of space here, I made a post on my blog on Lateral Line. Click here to read my take on this certification and how you can help strop the destruction of forage fish in Chesapeake and along the Atlantic Coast by signing a grass roots petition effort we have put together.
Second piece of news is super for our beloved Chesapeake Bay Blue Crab that we all love and enjoy. On Thursday a Maryland House-Senate Panel of lawmakers did the right thing in the name of conservation and voted 10-2 to approve Maryland Department of Natural Resources (Maryland DNR) recommendation of a 34 percent reduction in the harvest on female crabs. This will be achieved through bushel limits on commercial crabbers, an all out ban on females for recreational crabbers and an early close to the female season for commercial crabbers. These new regulations passed on Thursday are under the Maryland category of “emergency regulation” which means they are in effect for 180 days. However, given the support from the Governor, landslide vote by the House-Senate panel and support of the Maryland DNR it is pretty much done deal that Maryland DNR will ask and get approved that the regulations will become permanent. Watermen have said that with these regulations comes the end of the Maryland seafood industry, I’d argue and I think many agree, that these regulations are exactly the opposite, they assure the Chesapeake will have a seafood industry for blue crabs in the future. I commend and congratulate Governor O’Malley, the House- Senate panel and Maryland Department of Natural Resources John Griffin as well as other Maryland DNR workers for doing the right thing in the name of the crabs/fish to assure we have them for the future.
Weekend/Upcoming Fishing Events
A few events to put on your calanders.
Raymarine Electronics Seminar sponsored by Jaws Marine
When: Thursday, May 29th 6:30 p.m.
Where: JAWS Marine, 6100 Chemical rd. Curtis Bay, MD 21226
What: Learn how to use your electronics to maximize your fishing day on the water. Use your chart plotter, fish finder and radar more efficiently to find and stay on fish. Whether you are trolling, bottom fishing or jigging you will learn tips and tricks from the experts on how to use your equipment. Instructional, real-time seminar with Q&A to follow and RAYMARINE equipment to see and use.
Information: Call 410-354-9100
*Tell them you heard about the event on TidalFish.com and get a FREE Jaws Marine T-Shirt
Fishing Day Camp Offered for Local Youth
When: There will be two sessions of the camp, running from July 21-25 and July 28-Aug. 1
Where: Point Lookout State Park
Details Point Lookout State Park from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Each day campers will learn angling skills, have a chance to practice those skills, and fish. On the final day of the camp, they will fish on a charter boat. Campers will receive a rod, tackle, life vest, and a copy of Lenny Rudow’s Guide to Fishing the Chesapeake. They will also get a one- year Youth Membership to CCA, including the Rising Tide magazine, access to the Rising Tide website, conservation tips and activities. The cost is $150 per camper..
Information: For more information about the day camp or to register, Brooke MacDonald, 1-888-758-6580, or Rob Schou, 443-926-6156. Registration is limited to 10 campers per week.
Maryland Fishing Reports
Upper Chesapeake Bay Region (Susquehanna River/Flats to Bay Bridge Waters)
Ele and Captain Mike from Herbs Tackle reports,”The flats fishing is hot right now. It seems like a lot of fish have moved onto the flats in the last day or two. Probably following the Blue Back Herring which have not really started running yet. Many fish over 20 pounds.” A few Tidal Fish anglers have been fishing over the last week, earlier in the week things were slow, but confirm what Ele reported, the last few days has been very good. Lures of choice have been soft plastics in the 6 and 12 inch class, albino and chartreuse have been good colors. Some anglers have been rigging these baits with no weight and using them as a surface/subsurface lure and doing well. This is a technique that the light tackle northeastern anglers have long used and it can make for some spectacular strikes. Top water poppers have also done well in very shallow water at dusk and dawn, however it has taken some time slowly cruising the skinny water to find the school.
The shad fishing is over for anyone trying to target them. There are a few here or there, but nothing worth targeting.
There were again a few reports on the Tidal Fish message boards from anglers catfishing in the upper bay and doing very well. The Elk River has been one of the hot spots.
Anglers are still doing some trolling in the upper bay region. Areas that have been producing are: Brewerton Channel, The Dumping Ground above the Bay Bridge, and the sharp edge from Baltimore Light down to Sandy Point Light. Having said that, many of the trolling anglers have switched over to chumming. Key is moving current. Make sure to check the tide charts not just for the tide, but also check the current information. Current does not run at the same speed throughout the tide cycle and fishing the right time of current can be the different between catching and not. Knowing this will also allow you to adjust your weights so you can vary the bait location in the water column. Hot areas have been the Triple Buoy area outside of Rockhall at the mouth of the Chester River as well as Baltimore Light and Podickory Point.
Mid Chesapeake Bay Region (Bay Bridge to Honga River Waters)
Anglers are continuing to troll to target striped bass, however the light tackle and fly fishing is really heating up.
Richie Gaines from Angler’s Connection Guide Service reported in and Richie said he has not left Eastern Bay since leaving his fishing at the Susquehanna Flats when the season closed a few weeks ago. Richie said the May worm hatch is in full swing and he has had big stripers on light tackle and the fly in the 20-30lb range over the last week. The key to finding the fish has been good current and looking in 16-23ft of water with oyster bottom. Check your charts of Eastern Bay and you should be able to locate these areas. He said that they have been hitting every lure, plastic and jig he has thrown at them, colors have not really even mattered. Richie said the water is clear and very good quality, Eastern bay has not gotten all the run off that the main portion of the Chesapeake has experienced as a result of all the rain. If you are looking for colors to use, I would recommend albino and chartreuse as a tip from my fishing the area over the last week.
Captain Walleye Pete Daulberg of Four Seasons Guide Service reports that he has been fishing mostly the lower Chesapeake and the Honga River. There are a slug of good fish from the Gas Docks to Parkers Creek which has ranged in the mid 30 inches. Some days these fish are breaking and others you need to cruise the edges and locate them on your fish finder. Captain Walleye Pete also reported that one of his clients managed to land an 8lb Speckled Trout in the Honga River the other day. And as a bonus they got three more for the day.Speckled Trout has not been something Capt Walleye Pete specifically targets, but he says its a good sign of the things to come for this fishery. Capt. Walleye Pete has been focusing on point, drop offs and open water structure in the Honga. Lures of choice have been Bass Kandy Delights in 6 and 12inch
(Pictured is fellow Tidal Fisher jumbo1’s crew with some nice stripers they caught light tackle jigging the middle bay area this past Wednesday. Click here for the full report with pictures)
Captain Mark Galasso from Tuna the Tide Guide Service reported: “Fishing has been a bit crazy in the mid Bay lately. The high winds have made us run for cover. Nice Rock are still being caught on the shell piles and hard bottom. Good numbers of the smaller ones are also starting to show up. A few people have started chumming with limited success in the mid Bays traditional Chumming areas. There are still a few Trophy fish being caught south of the Bay Bridge trolling large Parachutes. We have been jigging the hard bottoms and catching a few fish from 12 to 36 inches. A few Perch are moving in to the mouths of the Rivers. Some nice Rock are starting to move in those areas to feed on the Perch probably until the Spot show up. The May worm hatch hasn’t been so cut and dry so far this year. Fish have been showing signs of gorging on May worms but not like in the past where they regurgitated black wormy messes as soon as they hit the boat. That may explain the lack of a complete shut down of the fish for a week or so.”
Talking trolling for a second the Gum Thickets, Bloody Point and south to Buoys 83 and 84, the channel edge on the western side of the shipping channel which extends from Chesapeake Beach south to Cove Point and the False Channel around Buoys 3, 4 and 5 at the mouth of the Choptank have all been good areas.
(Pictured is fellow Tidal Fisher Phil and Skip (27 Sailfish) with a nice striped bass.Skip reported, “Got #7- a fat 24” on a single chart. 60 feet off a board.#8 hit a new lure-a white 2 oz Alien with a purple shad (Marty’s baitshop).It was about 30 ” long.Phil let the fish go after a fast photo. Click here for the full report with pictures)
Successful trolling spreads have been parachutes and bucktails rigged with sassy shads. Good colors have been the regulars: white and chartreuse. Skip (aka 27 Sailfish on the TidalFish.com message boards) fished out of Solomons with a group of other Tidal Fishers and reported:
“Did not know what to expect this morning as we drove to the Solomons ramp at 4:00 am this morning.The rain was coming down heavy at times but let up when we got to the ramp at 5:30.Fellow TFers Reeltor (Paul) and Old No. 7 (Phil) were with me.Both have fished with me before which made the decision to go easier.The wind was not quite as predicted – the 5-10 was more like 15 to 20 .We got near Drum Point and were greeted with 2-3 foot rollers- in the river.The east wind against the outgoing current made for a rough/wet ride.I slowed the Grady to 12 knots and aimed for the HS marker.Munching on donuts we remarked that there were no other boats out.We knew the Parkers would not be out but thought for sure someone else would try.Got near the HS marker and saw two charter boats inside near the target.The wind turned SE so we headed north to set the spread.The rain started coming down again but luckily the donuts were safe and dry .Got everything out by 7:00 in the clean 64* water and worked NW towards the western channel edge.Got into 55 feet and a planer board rod got hit.Phil reeled in the chunky 26 incher- nice start.It hit a tandem chart.- back 50 feet.Hardly had that fish in when another planer rod got hit- this time a single 6 oz chart. with white shad.Paul reeled in a nice 37 incher- great for this time of year.Got everything reset and another rod got hit.The guys told me to reel in my own dinner – so I took a turn….read his full report with pictures here .)
Lower Maryland Chesapeake Bay (Honga River down to the Maryland /Virginia Line Waters)
Mike and Christy from Buzz’s Marina in Ridge buzzed in a report this week with anglers having good action on striped bass and now blue fish and a nice surprise of some fellow Tidal Fishers who were fishing out of Buzzes catching some very nice healthy keeper flounder. I hope this is an indication that the Maryland Flounder Fishery is coming back, it sure would be nice.
(Pictured is fellow Tidal Fisher Charlie (Ida Mae) and Annie with some nice flounder caught out of Buzzes this past week. Click here for the full report with pictures)
Ocean City Coastal and Offshore Fishing Reports
Ocean City Fishing Center Reported: Charter Boats are in the water and ready to fish. Many boats have been catching good numbers of Tautog and many keeper Flounder. Capt. Monty on the headboat, Morning Star, is inshore wreck trips for tautog. The headboat, Bay Bee, is Flounder fishing this weekend.
Sue Foster from Oyster Bay Tackle and Fenwick Tackle reported:
We had some really nice stripers weighed in from the North Ocean City MD and Fenwick Island DE surf this past week along with some decent sized bluefish. Assateague was good during the week, but had a big grass problem over the weekend. A major Northeaster dirtied the bay water, so bay fishing was slower on the tautog. We heard of some good flounder reports from South Bay.
Striper fishing from the Rt. 50 Bridge was good, but slowed up with the dirty water conditions after the Northeaster.
The Oceanic Pier had a nice run of snapper blues and shad at night along with some short stripers. Offshore, anglers are picking away at sea bass and tautog.
Grass ruined the weekend action on Assateague surf. Anglers did better in Ocean City and Fenwick Island where the water was cleaner.
Other than that, most of my reports were from Ocean City and Delaware Beaches. Last week, before the storm on Monday, Assateague had great reports of stripers and black drum. Bunker for stripers… Crab, Fishbites, or clam for drum….
Apparently the action in Ocean City started on Thursday evening. A group of anglers said stripers were biting from the beach around 139th Street on the fresh bunker they bought on Thursday. Several other anglers came in talking about “keeper” stripers from the North Ocean City surf on bunker. We sold out of fresh bunker by Saturday morning at Oyster Bay due to the tremendous
demand for the lucky bait!
Our Fenwick Tackle store in Fenwick Island had good reports as well. Dan Watson of York, PA came in Saturday with a 14 pound, 35 inch striper caught on bunker from 119th St in Ocean City.
Other than the blues and stripers, there were also reports of sharks and skates. One angler reported catching a 3 foot dogshark and said he had a really good fight! Sharks like bunker, squid, or mullet chunks.
Remember to post reports and check for reports on a daily basis from other Tidal Fishers on the Maryland Chesapeake Message Board, there are so many Striped Bass Fishing Reports it’s hard to keep up.
Until next week, good times,and good fishing!
Chief Angler, TidalFish.com