Good rockfish chumming action has been reported at Hackett’s, Tolly’s and some of the well-known consistently-productive locations. While rockfish action in general has picked up, there is still room for considerable improvement, and captains and anglers are hoping it happens soon. Anglers who want to live-line spot for stripers have had to deal with extremely small spot, with some teeny-tiny specimens as small as 2 inches. Spot that little are difficult to fish correctly and as one captain put it, “They don’t make enough noise in the water to attract stripers.” Trollers have downsized their baits to include 4-inch and 6-inch shads. White perch fishing has been excellent in the shallows, and crabbing has been phenomenal!
(Photo: Tidal Fish subscriber Ready2Reel enjoyed “non-stop action” recently while trolling the eastern channel edges just south of the Bay Bridges. Most of the rockfish were 18 to 24 inches, “with a 22 and a 28 incher “going home for dinner.” The total catch included about 25 fish, with about eight of them under 12 inches. The action came while trolling “BFG and StumpJumper Tandems; best bite was 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. I think I was the only boat fishing! Took my spring rigs, kept the bottom BFGs, removed the 9-inch shad and replaced with 4-, 5- and 6-inch shads.”)
MSSA Beach ‘n Boat one-day Flounder Tournament
Saturday, August 25 – Fish the Atlantic from boat, beach, bridge or jetty
Largest fish wins $1,000
No pre-registration – attend registration meeting August 25 at 6:30 a.m. at AKE Marine in Ocean City
$50 for captain, $25 each additional angler
Call 410-255-5535, or firstname.lastname@example.org
Chesapeake Bay Fishing Reports:
Angler’s Fishing Center in Annapolis:
Chumming in 35 feet of water at Hackett’s and Tolly’s has produced good-sized rockfish. Angler’s also reported that perch are schooled up in the shallows where they’ve been caught on spinners, grass shrimp, bloodworms, night crawlers and soft crabs. Perch have also been pulled from the bridge pilings and hard bottom areas. Croaker and spot are on hard bottom areas in 10 to 20 feet of water and they’ve gobbled down bloodworms, night crawlers and other typical bottom fishing baits. Crabbing has been outstanding – some of the best in years!
Captain Hank DeVito on the Afternoon Delight:
Rockfish action has been better, but “it’s still not up to speed.” Captain Hank has been catching and live-lining spot for stripers, but the problem is that the spot have been tiny, with some as little as 2 inches. Hank called them “aquarium-size,” and said “they don’t make enough noise in the water to attract rockfish. The small spot also have to be fished on very thin wire hooks with light leader and no weight, which can make it difficult to get them down in current. Obviously, Hank and others are hoping bigger spot show up real soon. “Some days overs and unders are caught, but there are usually a lot of throwback stripers.” Hank said there’s been no real consistency with trolling, and most anglers are using tandem 1-ounce bucktails with 4-inch and 6-inch shads. A few small bluefish have been mixed in with the stripers. Water temperature has been in the mid 70s and with the recent hot weather Hank is expecting an improvement in striped bass action. During recent hot summers, when there has been a lack of oxygen in the water along the Western Shore, Hank said rockfish have ganged up on along the Eastern Shore, where there’s structure and deep water near the shoreline. Chumming is particularly productive on these fish. “There’s a good grade of white perch going,” especially off Deale, and Hank has heard reports of rockfish eating big white perch. Some 12- to 15-inch croaker have been caught at night.
Tyler’s Tackle Shop and Crab House in Chesapeake Beach:
George Klein at Tyler’s Tackle Shop and Crab House reported, “Rockfish are being caught trolling from Parker’s Creek to West River on the western side of the main channel using small tandem rig bucktails with 4- and 6-inch shads and 5- and 6-inch Storm lures on small umbrella rigs. Some of the charter boat captains have also started using #1 and #2 Drone spoons with #1 and #2 planers plus red or yellow surgical hoses since some bluefish are starting to show up. Just east of the C&R buoy in 20 to 30 feet of water, some rockfish and bluefish are being caught trolling using spoons and hoses. Live lining has started to pick up using live spot that are being caught in the mouth of the Choptank River around #9 and #10 buoy in 15 18 feet of water using bloodworms. They are live lining for the rockfish around #4 buoy in the False Channel and also at the Hook, which is around Poplar Island. Bottom fishing for white perch and a few spot has started to pick up around Holland Point in 5 to 8 feet of water and outside of Holland Point in 18 to 23 feet of water. Some spot and croakers are being caught in the Choptank around #9 and #10 buoys. Pier fishing in North Beach and Breezy Point has produced some white perch, croakers and a few rockfish for anglers using bloodworms, squid and shrimp.”
Breezy Point Marina reports:
“Fishing remains very good this week. Bottom fishing and livelining have picked up drastically. Last weekend several boats limited out on both rockfish and croaker. Croaker bite turned on late at the lighthouse and stopped with the tide. Rockfish were all over the bay in stacks but unless your stack was hungry, you couldn’t pull a fish out. Live-lining is pretty much the same. Probably what hurts the most is the small spot. It takes awhile to get enough for bait and you have to run up the Choptank. The hot weather should bring on the bottom fishing.”
Captain Walt at Light Tackle Charters in Crisfield reports:
“Cobia have been the reason to get out on the water. These brown bruisers are battling at the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel complex as well as out of the seaside inlets of Virginia. We're employing relatively light 20-pound tackle for these arm crushers, throwing artificial eels to them as we spot them. My preference for cobia fishing is sight fishing, so we cruise past markers and other structure on the lookout for "the man in the brown suit". More often than not we'll spot several at one time, and begin our casting.
Captain Curtis Johns on the Karen Ray in Crisfield:
Anglers on the Karen Ray have enjoyed good croaker fishing. There were times last week with Captain Curtis “anchored one time and never moved.” While many of the hardhead have been 9 to 10 inchers, some nice croaker to 13 inches have also come over the rails. Kingfish, trout and bluefish have been mixed in. There have been good kingfish catches on the edges in Pocomoke Sound, and in 25 feet of water near Tangier Light, where there have also been strong numbers of blowtoads and some kingfish.
Ocean City, Maryland, Fishing Reports:
The following report is from Sue Foster at Oyster Bay Bait & Tackle:
Despite lots of wind which has been a significant issue, “Blues and shad were reported from the Route 50 bridge at night along with a few keeper stripers.” Sue Foster at Oyster Bay Tackle flounder fishermen have been kept ashore many days, and the surf at times has been unfishable due to the wind.
Captain Monty Hawkins aboard the Morning Star:
Flounder action has featured many throwbacks but some keepers as well. Dedicated flounder anglers are bottom bouncing with 4- to 6-ounce Spro bucktails “while doubles of sea bass are coming all around.” In addition, Captain Monty has done some offshore deep-dropping. “We hand-crank, no electrics. Visualize the Empire State Building, that's how deep.
Captain Sean Welsh on the Restless Lady:
Captain Sean Welsh on the Restless Lady reported, “Went to same spot and a little slower pick. We were 6 for 9 on yellowfins. Tunas were hitting the flat lines with naked ‘hoo and the spreader bar. Very good bite at the Poormans 50 line.”
Potomac River Fishing Reports:
Potomac River and freshwater reports from Captain Ken Penrod:
TIDAL POTOMAC RIVER: Bass fishing in many areas may be as good as it ever was and the recent heavy rains did little to change that. In Washington D.C. water, we find plenty of mid-size smallmouth bass on bridge foundations, causeway at Columbia Island Marina, drop-off at Kennedy Center and Three Sisters Island area. Best lures have been the 4-inch Mizmo tube, Rapala DT6 crankbait and weighted Jacks worm. The Washington Channel dropoff along the Fort McNair side is pretty good for largemouth bass and there are some stripers there also. We recommend the Hot Mustard DT6 crankbait and Rattlin’ Rapalas.
WOODROW WILSON BRIDGE VICINITY - Bass fishing hasn’t been up to par with other sectors but you can still do well if you play the tides and work various areas like Hog Island, Fox Ferry Point, South Point, Woodrow Wilson barges and Belle Haven region coves. Use Case Magic Stiks with a 3/0 hook, Rapala Thug in Firetiger, Mizmo tube in green pumpkin, and Big Mouth Lure Co. spinnerbaits.
Between Piscataway Creek and Pomonkey Creek, try Pohick Bay on the south shore, Pomonkey Bay and the creek, small creeks inside Hallowing Cove, and grass beds at Greenway Flats.
In the Mattawoman Creek area, a “good tide week” and light winds much of the week helped us stay on one of the largest concentrations of bass that I’ve encountered in years. I’m fishing grass beds where I use Gator spinning rods, Shimano reels, 8-pound Excel or Suffix monofilament, 3/0 hooks and 6” Case Magic Stiks. Cast the offering to the outside edge of the milfoil. Other good areas include Leesylvania jetties, Chickamuxen grass, Belmont Bay grass, and Mallows Bay wood and grass.
NANTICOKE RIVER: Life Outdoors Unlimited Captain Brian Barnes reports “tough” fishing this week but Broad Creek saved the day, especially above Bethel in the wooded section of the creek. Bass were in the thickest of cover and his best offering was a Sweet Beaver in main-vein color as well as Big Mouth Grass Jigs in magic craw color. On low water Brian still likes the Rapala DT6 in hot mustard along spatterdock edges.
POCOMOKE RIVER: Captain Brian Barnes, Life Outdoors Unlimited guide and owner of Big Mouth Lure Company, reports that “the river is fishing about the same as usual” and what that means is a falling or low water time period is much more productive than high-water periods. That’s simply because this river has more emergent vegetation and other cover than any other tributary to the bay, and bass and food have massive sanctuary. Look for bass on the outside edge of spatterdock where Rapala DT06 crankbaits often do the job. Big Mouth spinnerbaits, especially the Penrod Special pattern are productive, and Brian likes to pitch Chigger Craws to pad edges also. Look to areas between Shad Landing and Dividing Creek where drainage ditches enter the river, and give Nassawango Creek a look. I really like a pink or white floating worm here.
DEEP CREEK LAKE: LOU guides Brent Nelson and Bret Winegardner report that the high pressure weather system was a negative this week. The spawn is over for the most part and bass will go to the summer pattern after a short recovery period. Brent Nelson reported that he and his clients caught 16 smallmouth bass and one largemouth but the fish were small. He likes Mizmo tubes and Magic Stiks for fish around boat docks, rocky shores near the state park, and grass edges in some of the major coves uplake. “Big bluegill are spawning in certain areas of the lake and the kids love that action,” he says. Brent likes the early morning bite where poppers and prop-baits invite memorable strikes. He says “after the sun comes up go the back end of the cove on the southern end of the lake. Fish the grass edges in 6 to10 feet of water with Magic Stiks and crankbaits.
SUSQUEHANNA & JUNIATA RIVERS, PA: The good news is that bass fishing became legal on Jun4e 16. LOU guide Mike Breeding has been trying to find musky and walleye without much success although he did land one walleye of 35 inches Wednesday. The river is in good shape for our style of fishing and the bass have had a 6-week sabbatical.