Chesapeake Bay Fishing Report
Welcome to July folks! Fireworks, Fireflies and Fishing all month! Seems as if the 4th of July holiday weekend was a good one as many of our customers made their way out and caught a good amount of fish! The weather was perfect and the holiday weekend was a nice break from the norm. We’ve been busy here at the shop this week and with good fishing weather in the 10 day forecast we expect it to be another great week of fishing in the Chesapeake Bay and throughout Maryland! One bit of news for this week is that we now have live Spot in stock and that should make for a fun weekend of live-lining for Rockfish. Be sure to call in advance to confirm we have them in stock as all of our bait is first come, first serve!
Starting up north near the Susquehana River the topwater bite has picked up over the last week. Anglers fishing the Susquehana River near Deer Creek where it becomes tidal just north of Port Deposit have had good success with an early morning topwater bite. Shore fishing with longer surf gear popping plugs or Smack-its has worked out pretty well. Once you get down river from the islands (Robert, Spencer, Wood & Snake Islands), you can jig up some of the suspended fish in deeper water.
Fishing the mouths of the Patapsco and Chester rivers this past week has been successful. We’ve found that good schools of fish are holding here recently and chumming/jigging/trolling/live-lining have all been doing well in these areas. One of the hottest spots this past week has been just east of Belvidere Shoal. Several 4-5 man boats reported limiting out in less than an hour of fishing which is pretty awesome. Anglers fishing out of Downs Park on the pier have had success live-lining Perch and Spot this past week.
Sandy Point has been busy this past week and reports have been ok with smaller Rockfish with a few keepers mixed in. Chunks of Alewife, Soft Crab or Bloodworms either early morning or later in the evening on a moving tide have worked the best. Now that we have live Spot in stock, try throwing a few of those out on fish finder rigs early in the morning and see if you can land a big one! Fishing the Bay Bridge pilings this past week has been good as well. Evening jigging has pulled up a few nice fish and chumming the south side of the shipping channel there has also been good.
Trolling this area should start to produce a mixed bag of Rockfish and Bluefish. We recommend switching to metal spoons soon so you’re catching and not getting ripped off! Look to troll in 30′-35′ of water along the channel edges and troll in a zig-zag pattern over top of the breaks.
Matapeake and Romancoke piers have been producing pretty good fish later in the evenings with big chunks of Alewife. We’ve had reports of 35″ fish being caught after the sun goes down.
White Perch/Bottom Fishing
The Summer pattern for White Perch is in full effect. We’re seeing plenty of fish being caught in shallower water near structure such as piers, bulkheads, pilings, jetties and rip-rap along the shorelines. Look to use your favorite spinner bait like a Mepps #1 spinner or the ever popular Bert’s Perch Pounder in chartreuse with a silver blade. You can fish for them deeper with top & bottom rigs and use bait such as razor clams, blood worms or grass shrimp. You’ll want to target hard bottom or deep structure like reefs and oyster beds. One popular spot this past week was off Chesapeake Beach on the deeper side of the reefs during a moving tide. This spot is holding a mix bag of Perch, Spot & some Croaker.
A little further south near buoy 72 around the Patuxent river has been good this week. They’ve been catching some Speckled Trout on 1/4oz. jigs with 4″-5″ paddle tails in red, white or natural colors. If you’re catching smaller fish, try adding a skirt to make the profile of your bait a little larger and see if that helps landing a better quality fish.
Flounder fishing down south has been pretty good lately. Lots of throw-backs and a few keepers mixed in have been caught in the southern bay. Bouncing 4″-5″ white mullet off the bottom has been the ticket the past week.
Summer brings the Sharks and they’re being caught off the coast in Assateague, Ocean City and the Delaware Beaches. Reports of Sandbar and Sand Tiger Sharks have come in and they’re using big chunks of Alewife or other large cut bait. A decent mix of Bluefish and Rockfish are being caught here as well. Fishing the inlet area anglers have had success with Gotcha Plugs catching a good amount of snapper size Bluefish and Rockfish.
Fishing offshore has been good this past week. Many of the charters are coming back with SeaBass, Flounder and the southern canyon trips have had success catching Tuna, Mahi and a few White Marlin.
Fishing freshwater for Largemouth Bass has been good this past week. Fish are holding deep close to structure during the day due to warmer water temps. Loch Raven has reported good size Largemouth being caught near offshore structure. Anglers are using shaky head jigs with floating worms, drop-shot and spinner baits deep. Trolling in deeper water for Rockfish has also been working. They’re using Stretch 25s in natural colors to catch them.
The water levels are back to normal in Rocky Gorge so look to fish the rock piles and stumps along the shorelines. Using jigs, shaky heads and drop-shots have all been working this past week. The topwater bite has also been good early in the am in shallower water and especially later in the evening.
Crabbing over the past week has been pretty slow. We’ve had some good reports from the Eastern Shore of a bushel being caught in an hour or two of running a 1200′ trotline with Chicken Necks in 8′ of water. Tide must be moving and your water depth should remain consistent for the length of your trotline. Ideal depth is 4′-8′ and great baits to use are either Chicken Necks or Razor Clams. Pots have been doing ok in much deeper water and they’re using either Alewife, Spot or Razor Clams in their traps.
We’ve had several customers purchase the durable Orange Fish Baskets to use as a Bushel Basket.
Many of them have asked us what the rules are for using the fish baskets as bushel baskets. We reached out to DNR to get an official rule on whether crabbers can use the durable orange fish baskets as their “bushel” basket and this is the response we received:
The orange baskets were actually given to commercial guys for culling purposes. They put their undersized crabs in them while crabbing so that they did not have them mixed in with the legal sized crabs.
A standard U. S. Bushel is 9.3 U.S. gallons. The “orange baskets” are 11.9 U.S. gallons and they are definitely bigger than a standard U.S. Bushel.
For those who don’t know, here is a breakdown of how to measure hard crabs:
We followed up with the question: “If the crabber knows what a bushel of crabs is, are they allowed to use the orange fish baskets?”
The answer we received was:
I would think so. I think just as long as they know not too fill it to the brim. I would hope that NRP doesn’t give citations solely on the fact that people are using the orange baskets.