Well ladies and gentleman I do apologize about the delay of a report but I have been busy fishing and good god has it been good. The middle part of the bay seems to be on fire with keeper Rockfish over the last week and a half. Trolling, light tackle jigging, and chumming have been a recipe for heavy coolers and piles of fillets. It seems most of these fish are in the neighborhood of Podickory Point and Love Point down past 84A south of Poplar Island. Yes that is a large area compared to Annapolis but with that being said the concentration of fish has been unreal. Trolling umbrellas, red hoses, spoons, and tsunami tandems have been some of the hotter lures either running on boards or as boat rods over 35-90’ of water. Yes, that is a broad generalization but the good news is they have been intermingled in both deep and shallow water so find your school of fish, pick a pattern, and work on them until you have had your fill. Key on ledges and slicks and such to find the bait because when you find the bait you will find fish (whether they are hungry or not is another thing). Right now there are plenty of bunker around and that is going to be a primary food source that will eventually change over to small peanut bunker and Silversides. A lot of the fish I cleaned over the past week have had a lot of shiners and peanut bunker in their belly which would tell me one thing and that is its time to pull the spoons on in line planers. Drone spoons, Tony Acetta’s, and even a Clark spoon on a size 1-3 planer with 15-20’ of leader is a recipe for a bent rod. Dolly’s, Hackett’s, Tolly’s, Thomas, Dumping Grounds, and Gum Thickets all the way down to 86 have all been very good spots to work depending on the day however it has been for the most part a morning bite so if you really want to put the hurting on some fish, get up a little earlier, drink an extra cup of coffee, bite the bullet, and be ready when the sun comes up.
As far as chumming goes, chumming is, was, and will always be a sure fire method to catch stripers. Now, it is a waiting game as it is very tide dependent and especially dependent on location. Look for channel ledges you would think would hold some stripers. Hackett’s is always a good spot to try off the ledge at Green Can #1 or north of Sandy Point at Podickory Point. As far as a depth goes, most of these fish are being caught chumming in the neighborhood of 25-35’. Grab the fish finder rigs, a couple ounces of weight and some 5 or 6/0 circle hooks and you got chumming rigs. A few bags of alewives and a chum bucket or two and you have yourselves a slick in the making. If there is one thing I can reiterate to chummers is that you can mark fish with bait all day and until the tide gets right and the current is right and these fish get hungry enough to scavenge along the bottom it is likely to be slow so sit back, relax, and let your slick do the work. Don’t get frustrated if after an hour you haven’t had so much as a nibble because chances are the current and hungry fish haven’t matched up.
Now onto the light tackle jigging. It has been phenomenal over the last week. Finding ledges where there is an abundance of bait is key. Find the bait and you will find the fish. Now it is easy enough to find breakers and that is self-explanatory. Look for birds, ease into the fish and throw anything with a hook over it’s that simple! However, you will not always have breakers and that is not the end of the world with modern day electronics and a good chart. All it takes is one good drift to find a good school of fish and pick away at them. One thing to note is feeding stripers are almost always on the move so don’t be alarmed if you turn back around to get on top of a school of fish and you can’t find them. 9 times out of 10 stripers will swim against the current when chasing bait so keep that in mind and look up tide when you have gotten off the fish. Half ounce jig heads and bass assassins and bkd’s in your favorite colors are a go to with some fluorocarbon 15-30-pound leader. The hardest part about jigging is getting the rhythm down so once you catch your first fish on a jig it will come clear to what you need to do but read your electronics and adjust accordingly. If the fish are 30’ down don’t sit right at the top. If the fish are at 20’ let 20’ of line down and so on and so forth until you develop a pattern you can key on and have at it. Primary bait sources right now are bunker of all sizes and silversides so look for the ledges, read the current, and do your best to stay on top of the school. We have had multiple reports including some from my own adventures this past week about 30-35” fish on a jig and they are still around. Just because you are using smaller baits does not mean for a second you will catch 18” fish. A wise man once told me “Elephants eat peanuts”. And that was probably some of the most important information you can have as a fisherman. Stripers can’t go to the grocery store and pick out a nice steak, instead they have to take what they can get, if that fish is hungry and opportunistic in nature like stripers are, they will eat a sting silver or a 4” paddle tail, or a 5” bkd no problem. I don’t care if that fish is 12” or 40” if they think they can eat it THEY WILL TRY so get after it.
In terms of white perch this year, it has been an awesome year barring some really nice fish up to 13.5”. I can’t tell you how many citations we have had come through the shop over the last week from up the shallows. The Severn, Magothy, and South rivers have been awesome areas to get after some fish on ultralight tackle. Perch Pounders, Rooster Tails, shad darts, small Kastmasters and Tony Acetta’s have all been an effective means to catching good white perch. Look for structure like docks, boat houses, grass beds, rock jetties in anywhere from 3-6’ of water and have at it. Perch fishing can be some of the most fun you can have so at the very worst case take your bottom rigs and bloodworms or soft crab or razor clams and sit back and have some fun!
No news in regards to croakers. Still very few are being caught and the ones that have been caught are all small ranging from 8-10”. No word on the spot yet and from my own honest opinion I don’t expect to see any spot this year but stranger things have happened so all you live liners cross your fingers and hope the spot gods pity you. Short of that, catfish are still around and they always will be so grab your clam snouts and go nuts. That’s all I got for you guys this week so good luck, god bless, and don’t do anything I wouldn’t do.