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Chesapeake Bay Fishing Report – May 4th, 2018

Things are heating up!

The first couple weeks of Trophy season were definitely slower than usual. Blame the cooler water, unseasonably cooler weather or whatever you want, all that is behind us now! With a string of warmer days this past week the bite is ON! We’ve had reports of several keeper fish being caught all over the mid bay region and we anticipate the bite to continue through the next few weeks.

Now is the time of year to get the kids out there and get a rod in their hands! With so many kids fishing events going on this time of year, there’s really no good reason not to get out!

Rockfish

Before we get into the fishing report, we’d like to share the recent news. Maryland DNR has announced that the proposed Circle Hook regulations and updated keeper size limit have been APPROVED. This means at the start of the “Summer Season”, May 16th, we’ll have a 19″ keeper size limit and when Chumming/Live-Lining bait anglers must use a non-offset circle hook or a J-hook with less than a .5″ gap.  This is an effort to reduce the mortality rate due to gut hooked Rockfish during this timeframe.

To view the official news on DNR’s page go here.

Trolling

The mid-bay area has been decent this past week. We’ve had reports of anglers catching keepers in deeper water with white tandems near the bottom. The mouths of the rivers and the ledges of the shipping channels have been the hottest spots. The best way to attack this is to cover all your bases. If you’re trolling 6 spreads, you should run 2 deep, 2 middles and 2 in the upper part of the water column. Just because white has been hot lately, don’t be afraid to mix it up. Try varying your colors as well as your depths. Run a white and chartreuse in all parts of the column to pick up a pattern. If you find that your deep whites are getting hit, switch it up to run more deep white spreads.

Angler Joe Knighton and Captain Kevin Thomas managed to pull this nice 39″ Rockfish up just south of the Bay Bridge this week. This fish bit a deep white tandem off the boards.

The trolling bite has also been good further south in the bay. Areas like Chesapeake Beach and further south have been producing decent fish this past week. Concentrate on the mouths of the rivers and those deeper drops in the shipping channels. Don’t forget to vary your depths/colors!

Chumming

The Chumming bite has been great this past week. Patience is key here but anglers are finding shorts and keeper size fish to keep things interesting! Target areas like Podickory Point, Hacketts Point and Love Point in the 28′-35′ of water with muddy bottom. We are anticipating this bite to continue to get better over the coming weeks as the water temps continue to rise.

Angler Shelby Paukert landed her first Rockfish yesterday while Chumming on Podickory Point. It wasn’t a keeper but it sure was FUN! Congrats Shelby!

Grab yourself a couple chum buckets, some bags of FRESH Alewife (one bag per person per hour on the boat), fish-finder rigs with enough weight to hold bottom and get ready for some action! With the new regulations coming into effect at the switch of the season, you should check out this Baitfishing/Circle Hook Seminar video we held last month! Special thanks to Lenny Rudow! Very good info there…

Light Tackle

The first couple weeks of trophy season were brutal for light tackle anglers. Not the case this week. Anglers have had good success the last few days near the Calvert Cliffs power plants. The Susquehanna flats catch and release fishing has been heating up as well. We’re anticipating this bite to continue to get hotter as the weather improves and these fish move out of the rivers post-spawn.

Some of the better spots this past week were Thomas Point Park, the Bay Bridge and the mouths of the local rivers. Thomas Point Park was on fire this past week with several anglers landing nice sized keepers from shore casting Yo-Zuri jerkbaits, Jigs and Crankbaits.

This husband & wife team doubled up on some nice fish jigging just outside of Solomons Island. Nice work guys!

4 year old Bryson landed this nice fish casting a 9″ blue and white redfin lure on the Susquehanna Flats. Such an awesome experience/photo for this little guy!

Perch/Crappie Fishing

The panfish bite continues to be hot this week. The spawn may be over but we’re seeing plenty of these guys being caught all over the place. In many of the local creeks & rivers anglers are catching these fish a variety of ways. Jigging tandem shad dart rigs or a spoon/dart rig tipped with a little bloodworm or grass shrimp has been hot. Focusing on structure or deeper holes is a good place to target.

Smaller jigs with soft plastics like Mr. Twisters or Bass Assassin 1.5″ Tiny Shads will also catch a mess of fish. Areas like Hillsboro, Tuckahoe Creek, Magothy River and St. Mary’s Lake have all been productive producing Perch and Crappie a plenty!

Nothing like a young man’s first Crappie! Isaac caught this on a little jig with a Mr. Twister soft plastic in his neighborhood pond. Creating memories, we love it!

Freshwater / Largemouth / Snakehead

Like many of the other local species the freshwater bite has been good this past week. Anglers are landing a variety of species in their local freshwater spots. Perch, Crappie, Bass, Trout Shad and Snakehead are all being caught with regularity this week. With a warmer trend over the next week or so, we’re anticipating this bite to continue to get better.

Largemouth Bass are being caught with regularity on swimbaits, chatterbaits, topwater, and dropshot. With varying water depths and temps between bodies of water you’ll see some fish are pre-spawn, some are currently spawning and some are post-spawn. We’ve seen large bedding bass in areas like Wye Mills, Unicorn Lake and Tuckahoe while areas like Loch Raven are still seeing pre-spawn conditions. Keep an eye on water temps and if you’re seeing 60º+ look for fish on beds. Otherwise, look to use swimbaits, crankbaits or jerkbaits worked in deeper water near structure.

Eric Packard landed this beautiful piggy this morning while fishing topwater at St. Mary’s Lake in Southern MD! Great way to kick off the weekend! Nice work Eric!

The Snakehead bite continues to be hot in areas like Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge and the Northern Potomac River. Productive techniques continue to be large Bull Minnows under a bobber, crankbaits and swimbaits. Don’t be afraid to go bigger. The bigger the bait, the bigger the fish!

Tony Nguyen landed a mess of Snakehead fishing Chain Bridge in VA/DC by snagging them. He reports the spawn is happening and they’re not taking baits but are so thick you can snag them with large treble hooks. Go get yourself some delicious swimming dinner this weekend!

Show us what you caught!

We’d love to see your catch! Send your photos with some simple info (your name, location, bait/technique) and any other info you’d like to share to [email protected] By sending your images you are giving us permission to use them online.

If there are any children under 18 we need their parents permission before posting any images online!

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