Image: Eric Packard caught speckled trout near Piney Point using a 4″ pink and orange paddletail on a 1/2 oz jig head. Right: Belinda Chen caught this red drum near Kiptopeke State Park!
Rockfish: Rockfish season returns on September 1st with the same limit of one fish per person, 19 inches or longer! We are confident that the fishing will be great, because we are seeing a lot of nice sized rockfish mixed in with schools of breaking bluefish and Spanish Mackerel! We predict that the best places to fish for them will be the mouths of the rivers, inside of the rivers, and in the main bay north of the bridge. Try Love Point or the Seven Foot Knoll. Jigging with heavier (1-1.5 oz) jig heads in deeper water is popular this time of year, along with top water! The top water bite is best in the early mornings and evenings around points and shoreline rip rap. Slowly trolling spoons on planers is another excellent tactic. Or, if you don’t have a trolling set up, you can troll with spinning gear! Use a bucktail with a gulp swimming mullet on it.
Mackerel and Bluefish: Mackerel are definitely still in our mid-bay area, but reports are hit or miss. Look for breaking fish and birds and cast into them with metal jigs. There may be mackerel there, but if not, you may catch some bluefish instead! You can also troll spoons at a faster speed, 7-10 knots. Please remember to avoid trolling right through the middle of breaking fish when other anglers are casting at them. Numbers of both Mackerel and Bluefish will increase as you head south.
Perch: Perch fishing is a great option during the closure, or when nothing else seems to be biting! Spinners near structure in the rivers always works, but you can also catch large ones by fishing structure in the main bay! Try the bay bridge, Thomas Point or any other light house!
Red Drum: Puppy Drum are still an exciting “new” species to target in this area, because it’s not often that we so many of them so far north (as far as the Severn River)! Use small plastics on light weight jig heads in shallow water! For large bull reds, you’ll need to head south, at least to Point Lookout. These fish are often sitting underneath of the school of breaking fish, so use a large, 7″ paddletail on a 1-2 oz jig head.
Speckled Trout: Speckled Trout can be found in the Patuxent and the Potomac Rivers, as well as on the Eastern Shore from the mouth of the Choptank south into the Tangier Sound. Look for points and grass beds, and use small paddletails on light jig heads.