January 18th, 2019
The last week was dominated with snowy/cold conditions with air temps averaging in the upper 30º range and water temps about the same at 38º. In the last week we’ve had an increase of ice, making it difficult to get to some spots in the tidal creeks and lakes in the area. Further west in Deep Creek there is enough ice in the coves to safely fish for Yellow Perch, Walleye, Pickerel and even Bass. The catch and release Rockfish bite has been good in the southern bay area, south of Tangier Island.
As far as the Perch fishing goes, we’ve seen great things coming out of the Eastern bay area, specifically in Marshy Hope Creek, Tuckahoe Creek and in Western Maryland in Deep Creek Lake. Being that the water temps are in the upper 30º range right now, you’re looking to fish slow, and on/near the bottom. Popular rigs are the float & shad dart combo tipped with either a blood worm, minnow or grass shrimp (if you can find them). Make sure the distance between the float and the shad dart will get the shad dart close to the bottom if not on it. Another one of our favorite rigs is a tandem rig made with a three way swivel with a VMC Hot Skirt jig tipped with a grass shrimp and a tony spoon on a 12-18″ leader tipped with a minnow. This should be fished slow and just off the bottom. The trick is you want to have as much action as you can with as little retrieve as possible. Remember, the fish are lethargic and don’t want to chase bait down so you want to fish as slow as you can and wait for that slight “tap” to let you know you’ve hooked into one.
In the last week we’ve seen some nice Pickerel pulled out of the same area’s we’re catching Perch. Look in the creeks and rivers in 4-10′ of water. You’re not going to find many Pickerel in a single spot so work the structured areas in the shallower water and move along after 5-10 minutes. Pickerel are very aggressive and will strike at pretty much anything so grab your light tackle spinning rod and fish with tony spoons tipped with a minnow, smaller jigs with soft plastics, inline spinner baits like Mepps or other spinners like Capt. Berts. You can also throw the glow skirt spinners tipped with Gulp Alive Jiggin Minnows with pretty good success. The trick is to work your baits slower than usual and target structure. These fish are going to be holding tight to structure waiting to ambush bait.
Fishing for Crappie this past week was good if you were able to get out. In many of the freshwater lakes and ponds there were nice size crappie being caught. Minnows under a float, jigs tipped with a minnow, spinnerbaits or small spoons tipped with live bait will all work well when targeting Crappie. Look for deep holes where these fish will be holding close to the bottom. You can vertical jig for them if you are on ice or cast to them from a boat/kayak. Some good vertical jigging options are blade baits or small chrome-black back rattle traps.
The catch and release Rockfish bite has been great over the last week. The hottest bite was located in the southern bay, past Tangier Island. Trolling large spreads or jigging larger baits close to the bottom was the ticket to finding big migratory fish. There haven’t been many big fish landed this winter but Captain Jamie Clough from Eastern Shore Light Tackle Charters was able to find a few this week. Look to use a heavier jig, like a 1.5oz-2oz G-Eye jig, with a 7″-10″ soft plastic trailer like a BOSS BKD in chartreuse or white. If you’re trolling, make sure you’re squishing the barbs down and no stinger hooks allowed!
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