Image: Left: Anglers Owner Charlie caught keeper sized Black Sea Bass in the middle Chesapeake Bay while fishing with LJ, owner of G-Eye Jigs! They were fishing in about 80 feet of water and were using gulp and squid on 3/4-1 oz G-Eye Jigs jig heads! Right: Mickey Weber caught this Pickerel in the Severn River using a live minnow!

Rockfish: Rockfish season closes on December 10th, but catch and release fishing will still be allowed until April. The best striped bass fishing will now be south near Hoopers Island, the mouth of Patuxent, Point No Point, and Point Lookout. The fish will be in deeper water, so check your fish finder along channel edges in about 30 feet of water, and around any deeper water structure! Try jigging with larger profile baits on 3/4-1.5 oz jig heads. Trolling will also be productive.

Black Sea Bass: It’s true! There are keeper sized (12.5 inches or bigger) Black Sea Bass in the middle Chesapeake Bay! We’ve received reports of them being caught as far north as the Bay Bridge, around any kind of reef or submerged structure. While they were previously being caught in more shallow water around structure, the water temperature is continuing to drop, and we are finding that they have moved deeper.  Look for wrecks or reefs in 60-80 feet of water anywhere in the middle bay! Use a 3/4-1.5 oz jig head and bottom bounce gulp twister tails with a small piece of squid. You can also just use a simple bottom rig with squid on it, or metal jigs!

Pickerel: Head out of the main bay and up into the tributaries for excellent pickerel fishing! The upper parts of all of the rivers and their creeks are on fire! From shore, try Beachwood park on the Magothy or any of the Eastern Shore mill ponds! Idylwild, Marshy Hope and Martinak State Park also offer the opportunity to fish the upper parts of some of the Eastern Shore rivers for pickerel. Use a small weedless paddletail or live minnows. Fish your minnows either under a bobber, or on a small feather jig.

Perch: Some white perch can still be caught in deeper water in the bay, but yellow perch are what we really start to get excited about this time of year! It’s not quite the spring run or spawning season, but they are becoming quite active in the upper parts of the rivers. Try any of the areas mentioned above for pickerel. You can also fish for them from shore in Greensboro and Hillsboro. Live minnows will be your best bet, but 1″ gulp on a feather jig, or small perch jigs will work well too.

Crappie: Small, 1″ plastics such as Gulp or Bustem Baits, on small jig heads or feather jigs will work well for some fun Eastern Shore crappie fishing! Tuckahoe creek, Marshy Hope, and any of the mill ponds have been producing! Minnows will work well too!

Catfish: Winter is a great time to target Blue Catfish! Fishing with cut alewife anywhere in the main bay, especially above the bay bridge, will produce a lot of fish!