Surprisingly, speckled trout fishing remains very good, despite summertime heat, in the lower portion of Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay (Crisfield and other locations). Impressive fish to 4 pounds have been reported. Chesapeake Bay rockfish action has been sporadic. Most of the reporters of larger fishing have come from the Bay Bridge and north. Ocean City anglers have had fun with summer flounder fishing! Big rays roaming the surf will take baits and once hooked, will keep anglers occupied for hours. Sea bass and flounder have been hauled over the rails of the Morning Star. Yellowfin, bluefin and dolphin have been biting on the offshore grounds.
(Photo: Tidal Fish subscriber SeasideRHT had a blast with quality upper bay rockfish while jigging, topwater fishing and fly fishing! During a recent trip north of the Bay Bridge, they were “happy to find a surprisingly good quality of fish spread over a wide area along the eastern side. Had great action on top early and late in the day with some good fish crushing Smack-Its. Otherwise bounced around fishing slicks with 5- and 6-inch plastics and silicone flies.” The fish were on the move yet were consistently found five to 15 feet down in 25 to 35 feet of water.)
MSSA Beach ‘n Boat Flounder Tournament
Saturday, August 25, in the Atlantic Ocean by boat, beach, bridge or jetty
$1,000 top prize for largest flounder checked in
Registration from 6:30 to 8:30 a.m. at AKE Marine, captain’s meeting at 8:30 a.m., fishing 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., weigh-in 3 to 5 p.m.
Chesapeake Bay Fishing Reports:
Breezy Point Marina reports:
The fishing around Breezy Point remains good but not great. You can fill your box with nice bluefish but you will have to travel for sizable stripers. Nice stripers are hanging up north, around Eastern Bay. Smaller are plentiful at Breezy Point. Croaker fishing has picked up at night, while croaker caught during day remain fairly small. Spot never seem to grow up, still catching small ones. One thing never changes this time of year – plenty of big jellyfish!!
Captain Walt at Light Tackle Charters in Crisfield reports:
“We're alternating days from seaside to bayside with success in both areas. Cobia have been the target on the seaside and surprisingly, speckled trout are still the target on the bayside. I admit that I am amazed that the speck fishing has remained this good in the Maryland /Virginia line area of the Chesapeake. As previously reported, June had been the best speckled trout month I could remember in a long time. But with the bay water temp at 80 degrees I'm amazed that the speck fishing remains very, very good. We continue to catch between 20 and 40 specks in a day. And about eight per day are in the 4-pound plus range.”
Ocean City, Maryland, Fishing Reports:
The following report is from Sue Foster at Oyster Bay Bait & Tackle:
“Flounder fishing was excellent with lots of picture snapping going on at Oyster Bay Tackle! A few keeper sea trout were reported. Surf fishing was typical summer fishing with sharks, skates, rays and a few kingfish, spot, seatrout and snapper blues. Offshore fishing was good on big eye tuna. Yellowfin were still about. Bluefin moved in around the Hot Dog. Closer inshore, sea bass are biting offshore mixed with some nice flounder. More croaker in Delaware Bay.” Sue also reported lots of big rays roaming the surf. “Anglers are talking about fighting a beast for over an hour that will barely move!” At the Ocean Pier, excellent flounder fishing during incoming tides has been reported. Bluefish have made showings and there have been some shad at night. Spot are plentiful for pier anglers. Sue had more information from the flounder scene: Jim Gale caught an 18 incher near the bulkhead, Dave Beach Sr. fished the bulkhead and nailed a pair of 21 inchers on live spot an live mullet, Ken Hahn used squid and minnows to catch 19 to 21 inchers, while Art and Christian Arthur came up with 18-inch flounder and a 15-inch weakfish in the bay behind Assateague at high tide on Gulp! baits.
Captain Monty Hawkins aboard the Morning Star:
“Sea bass numbers are falling off, but size seems increased; have seen some very good fishing this week. Of late emphasis has shifted to flounder.” Monty reported a couple of limit catches of flounder, including fish pushing 5 pounds. “Boys caught a lot more than dinner on my 8-person insanely-long trip recently. Hit a little patch of rocky bottom that I found on another trip - nice. Maryland limit of blueline tiles and plenty of sea bass. Saw white marlin, had two mystery run-offs - yellowfin tuna ate a wooden-mullet trolling home.
Captain Sean Welsh on the Restless Lady:
Fishing report from July 11: Capt.Todd and Brandon had a slow ride to outside the Hot Dog with high seas. No crowd of boats with the rough water and fishing was very good. Spent three hours trolling and had enough tuna so we came on home early. Twelve yellowfin and two bluefin and a couple over bluefin released. Open boat crew was flawless in the cockpit and had a great time.
Fishing report from July 10: Electrical storm on Monday kept us at dock. CaptainTodd and Brandon had a 5-hour on Tuesday. Went to the Eastern Reef and had a fun day bottom fishing. Lots of fish, mostly undersized. Caught 125 sea bass manage to get some keepers along with a tiger shark release. Crew loved it, first time out for the Dalton family from West Virginia.
Fishing Reports provided by Charlie Taylor:
UPPER CHESAPEAKE BAY AREA – One- to 4-pound bluefish are still scattered over the Gooses, Radar, Sharps Island, Stone Rock, and Poplar Island areas. Anglers trolling bucktails and small spoons are catching trout at Stone Rock. The oyster bars in the mouth of the Choptank River are still producing good numbers of spot and white perch on bloodworms and grass shrimp. Jumbo white perch are available throughout the upper bay. Grass shrimp and bloodworms remain the bait of choice. Some of the better locations are the Bay Bridge pilings, Magothy River mouth, Mountain Bar off Gibson Island, Key Bridge, Pooles Island, Swan Point Bar, Belvedere Shoals, Chester River and Corsica River. Flounder fishing is good throughout the upper bay, with some of the better areas being around Hackett's Point and just inside the Magothy and Severn rivers. Large spot are available on bloodworms around the Bay Bridge.
MIDDLE CHESAPEAKE BAY AREA - Spot and pan trout, along with some croaker, are found throughout the area. The fish are located in 30 feet of water on the inside of the channel, off Smith Point. Best action is after dark. Some flounder are mixed in the catches. Taylor blues are all over the area, and anglers fishing for trout are advised to reel in the fish quickly to avoid having them become food for bluefish. Some Spanish mackerel are showing at the C-73 buoy, the Great Wicomico Light and from Windmill Point to Gwynn Island. Best success is to be had by trolling Drone or Clark spoons on long leaders behind a planer. Some of the feeding schools are marked by gulls. Excellent bottom fishing at the mouth of Dividing Creek, Blackberry Hang and at the N-2 buoy. Speckled trout have moved into the grass beds at Dameron Marsh and are taking grubs and live minnows fished below popping corks at Windmill Point. Fair numbers of flounder are available around the mouth of the Little Wicomico River and at the Cell. Schools of spadefish are found at the Cell and Wolftrap Light. Bottom fishermen are catching spot and croaker on the lower Rappahannock River, along with a mix of spot, croaker, white perch and catfish between the power lines and Bowlers Rock.
OCEAN CITY - In the bays, flounder are being found at the Thoroughfare, along the channels and off the Route 50 bridge, on minnows and squid. Sea bass are being caught from the Route 50 bridge. At the inlet, pan trout are being taken along the south jetty and from the pier on bloodworms and squid. Offshore, dolphin are being found in large numbers near the canyons, while white marlin and yellowfin tuna catches have been good. Black sea bass and tautog fishing is good on the wrecks.
Potomac River Fishing Reports:
Potomac River and freshwater reports from Captain Ken Penrod:
TIDAL POTOMAC RIVER: Bass fishing has changed some since the water has heated but the theory that bass go deep isn’t quite accurate. In any water temperature, bass go where the food is and right now, the food is in the shallows. Find green grass and you are close to green fish.
WASHINGTON D.C.: we catch smallmouth bass on Mizmo tubes from bridge foundations, rip-rap banks, drop-offs on the main stem, and rocky cover above Key Bridge. For largemouth, it’s hard to beat the Washington Channel so treat this water as if it was a lake unto itself. There are bass born there that have never been to the main stem. Use crankbaits on the drop-offs, and feed ‘em tubes everywhere.
WOODROW WILSON BRIDGE vicinity: We like the Belle Haven Marina for launching, and even small-boat anglers don’t have to go far. Coves on the Virginia side are very fish-worthy where Magic Stiks, tubes, and Big Mouth spinnerbaits trigger strikes. Also try a ¼-ounce jighead and spear a Magic Stik through the middle. Jig this offering down drop-offs and bottom clutter. Other good places to try include Penrod Cove concrete, Fox Ferry during low water, back end of Broad Creek, Hog Island during low water, and Smoot Bay drop-offs. A little farther south, Gunston Cove, Pomonkey Creek and Hallowing Cove are reliable stops most days.
MATTAWOMAN CREEK: The headwaters are really thick with algae and the spatterdock looks like a wildfire area. Look to wood cover within the 6-MPH zone with Stiks and Penrod Special spinnerbaits. The grass beds near the state park are still holding bass but not the numbers of just a few weeks ago. I really like 6-inch Case Magic Stiks Texas rigged on a 3/0 hook. The Occoquan complex is still worthy although beat-to-death in some areas. The heavy grass in Chickamuxen Creek holds plenty of bass, and plenty of boats.
MARYLAND’S EASTERN SHORE TIDAL RIVERS: LOU guide Captain Brian Barnes reports varying success on the beautiful Eastern Shore tidal rivers and much depends upon the tide-times for your day. The Nanticoke may be the best river, followed by Pocomoke, Wicomico and Choptank. All of these rivers have great spatterdock populations along with substantial wet wood and man-made cover.
DEEP CREEK LAKE: My guides continue to be concerned about the health and population of the lake’s black bass. I’m asking MDNR for an answer because something is just not right. Perhaps it’s just a decline that can happen on any body of water. Brent Nelson and Bret Winegardner work hard to find bass for their clients and it seems that smallmouth bass and topwater lures are the ticket early in the morning. When that’s over, try skipping plastics under boat docks or fish the grass edges in some of the coves.
SUSQUEHANNA & JUNIATA RIVERS, PA: Bass fishing is very good, if you can get to them. The river is too low for our guides to get around in jet boats without damage. I visited John Cunningham of Riverfront Campground and he tells me that the anglers he shuttles upriver are “kickin’ butt.” In the Juniata, “rock snot” on the bottom fouls every cast.
More Potomac River reports:
POTOMAC RIVER - D.C. - Fletcher's Boathouse reports lots of catfish action. A few rockfish are cooperating for those fishing large minnows. Bass are hanging around most every bridge piling in the city. These pilings concentrate the tidal current and provide shade and baitfish. Plastic grubs, small crankbaits and spinnerbaits will take bass. Washington Channel boat docks and pilings are holding bass and crappie. The grass along the War College Wall is also holding fish. Pop-R's, buzzbaits, plastic frogs and spinnerbaits are taking bass here. Grassbeds below Blue Plains are giving up bass on buzzbaits, spinnerbaits and plastic frogs and worms.
POTOMAC RIVER - BELOW WOODROW WILSON BRIDGE - Fish topwater baits around cover early and late in the day. Other times, small crankbaits, spinnerbaits, Senkos and plastic worms take the fish. The last two hours of the outgoing tide are the best time, but fish may be caught anytime the tide is moving. Farther down the river, Wade's Bay, Blue Banks, Mallows Bay, the mouths of Aquia and Potomac creeks, and Nanjemoy Bay, are full of hydrilla, topping out on the surface at high tide. Lots of milfoil is mixed in with the hydrilla in some areas. Here, the floating worm is at its best. Rig the worm Texas style and place a small swivel in the line, about 12 inches from the hook. Toss the worm out onto the grass and begin a slow, twitching retrieve across the top of the grass. When the strike comes, wait until you feel the weight of the fish on the line before setting the hook. The Zoom Horny Toad is catching fish like crazy. Rig it weedless, cast it onto a grassbed that has topped out and retrieve it just fast enough to keep the legs flapping. The bass will do the rest. Remember to wait until you feel the weight before setting the hook. Catfish are cooperative all over the river. Fish clam snouts, nightcrawlers, cut bait or live minnows on flats adjacent to the river channel. These fish put up a great fight, so be prepared for good times. In the creeks, fish the lily pad fields with plastic worms and grass rats for bass.