Chesapeake Bay Fishing Report
If you are headed out this weekend, the predicted rain will most likely help you out! Over the last week we’ve seen river water temps continue to rise above 80º! Hopefully the rain will knock some of those temps down a bit, as Rockfish can’t tolerate 84º and above. We’ve noticed this past week that most of the Rockfish have been pushed up north between Swan Point and Pooles Island in 20′ or less of water. As the day gets hotter, these fish are trying to find the coolest, most oxygen rich waters they can. So far, these areas are up north.
This style of fishing for Rockfish continues to be the most productive over the last week. Anglers are fishing either cut bait (FRESH Alewife or Soft Crab) or Live-lining Spot, White Perch or Eel in the cooler, more oxygen rich waters up north. You’ll want to fish early in the morning or later in the evening to combat the rising water temps. Once the sun gets over the horizon, the bites significantly drop off. Make sure you are using in-line circle hooks for this style of fishing. To prevent gut-hooking, use a larger size circle hook, depending on the manufacturer you’ll want to use either a 8/0, 9/0 or even a 10/0. We’ve had some customers express their frustration with using circle hooks and it turns out they’re trying to “set” the hook which you don’t really need to do. You’ll want to just reel down to eliminate the slack in the line and let the fish hook itself.
These fish are ultra stressed right now because of the low oxygen and high water temps. We’ve had several reports of floating fish, up and down the bay. During these stressful conditions, it is best for the fish if you leave them in the water while you release them. Make sure you have a dehooker or good pair of needle nose pliers at the ready and just unhook the throwbacks in the water without touching them. This will help keep their slime layer slimey and reduce the amount of stress they endure.
There are a few other spots in the Bay where Chumming/Chunking/Live Lining will work well. Near the Key Bridge structure in the Patapsco River is a good spot to try your hand at live-lining Spot or White Perch for Rockfish. Further south in the Bay spots like Thomas Point or Poplar Island in the mouth of Eastern Bay have been decent chumming with fresh Alewife.
Trolling for Rockfish right now has been hit or miss especially once the sun is up. Early in the morning these fish are being found in 15′ or less of water near channel ledges where they can slip down to cooler water once the sun comes up. You’ll want to try to find quiet water…meaning water that doesn’t have a ton of traffic running around on it. Using surgical tubes in Red, Green or Purple with some in-line weight as well as Gold Tony Spoons behind planer boards has been the best bet.
The best areas to jig up some fish right now are bridge pilings in 20′ of water or less with quick easy access to deeper water. The east side of the Bay Bridge, Key Bridge and a few other areas with deep structure are all going to be good spots to target early in the morning before the sun gets too high.
Always the most fun way to catch any fish, topwater has been decent the last few weeks. Look to target these fish in 15′ or less near structure like rip-rap, pilings, docks or grass beds very early in the morning. The bite has been better the further north you go. The Rip-rap around Dobbins has been decent, the pilings in the Patapsco River, and areas in Prospect Bay have produced some fish.
The Perch bite was a little off/on this past week. Rising water temps have the Perch running for deep water as soon as the sun is up. Look to target these fish around structure in the very early morning and later in the evening. Fishing Soft Crab around the west side of the Bay Bridge pilings has been good this past week. Look to find Perch in deeper water on hard bottom using bloodworms or a little bit of soft crab on a bottom rig.
You’ll find a mix of Kingfish, Bluefish, Flounder and Shark off the shore very early in the morning. Look to use bloodworms for the Kingfish, cut bait for the Blues, Gulp Mullet for the Flounder and larger fish heads for the Shark. In the Bays you’ll find a mix of throwback Flounder and Rockfish as well as a few Bluefish mixed in.
Off shore there are a nice mix of Flounder and Sea Bass holding on the wrecks. The Tuna bite is still going strong with Bluefin being caught with regularity. Chunking and trolling are your best bets for the Tuna. Squid and/or clam on a bottom rig will be your best bet for Sea Bass and bouncing a bucktail with Gulp Nemesis off the bottom with get the Flounder.
In many of the area’s lakes and ponds there are a nice mix of fish being caught. Largemouth Bass are hitting topwater baits like the Whopper Plopper early in the mornings and stick worms fished low and slow or under cover during the day. Crappie, Bluegill and Sunnies can be caught with earthworms on little jigs or bottom rigs. Small spinnerbaits like a Rooster Tail or Bert’s Perch Pounder also work really well for the panfish.
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