Chesapeake Bay Fishing Report
As we near the end of Trophy season, the action has picked up quite a bit compared to the first few weeks of the season! In the last week we’ve seen more and more keeper sized fish caught – most of them already spawned out. With the forecast looking like mid Summer over the next week, the end of the Trophy season should go out with a bang!
The start of the Summer season is fast approaching (May 16th) and with that new Rockfish regulations have been passed regarding keeper size limits and hook requirements. In short, the keeper sizes will be 2 @ 19″ 1 of which can be over 28″. Regarding the hooks, if you are fishing live bait or chumming you must use circle hooks. If you are just fishing cut bait or with no chum, you can use circle or J hooks with no size requirements on the hooks. For the full details regarding these regulations, please familiarize yourself by going here.
The trolling bite has been good over the last week. Anglers trolling from Love Point down past Poplar Island have been doing great, especially on white tandems. Fish are being caught all over the water column so try running spreads in all parts of the column. If you’re running 6 or more spreads, evenly distribute your baits to cover all your bases (2 down on the bottom, 2 in the middle and 2 in the upper water column) to increase your chances of landing that trophy!
Some other areas to target in the upper bay would be: mouth of the Magothy River, just south of Hacketts Point and around Poplar Island. Those have all been hot this past week.
Moving further south in the bay, anglers trolling between Chesapeake Beach and Point Lookout have had more success trolling the Western Shore side closer to Calvert Cliffs. A few keeper sized fish were caught there this week, mostly in the upper part of the column. With warmer temps in the forecast, we’re anticipating more fish to be caught near the top.
The Chumming bite continues to be more consistent and productive this trophy season. Areas like Podickory Point, Hacketts Point & Love Point are all doing well. Anglers fishing with Chum Buckets and fresh LY on the bottom have landed a few really nice fish in these areas.
One of the key factors to this tactic is timing the tides. You need to be fishing during a transitioning tide. Target the last hour of one tide into the first hour of the next tide, ideally on an outgoing tide. This is when bait and Rockfish will be most active and apt to bite.
Another key factor is using FRESH LY for your baits. Frozen LY can be used but generally the fresher the bait, the better your chances of hooking up. Frozen will work best for chunking/throwing over the side as chum.
Light Tackle Casting
Anglers fishing from shore at Thomas Point have been tearing it up. Casting lures like Yo-Zuri Crystal 3D Minnows, Spoons & Jigs w/ Soft Plastic trailers have all been catching. Not a whole lot of keeper sized fish have been caught here but lots of schoolie sized fish which are fun just the same. Good news is May 16th brings the start of the new size regulations where anglers may keep 2 fish over 19″, one of which can be over 28″.
Jigging the Bay Bridge has produced some fish but most of them are resident fish, measuring 18″-30″. Calvert Cliffs power plant has produced some fish but not in great numbers like we’ve seen in recent years. Jigging up north in the Susquehanna Flats has been decent near the edges of the channel. Expect the topwater bite to start in the next couple weeks once the water temps rise a bit more.
Areas like Sandy Point, Thomas Point and Point Lookout have all been producing fish. Fishing bait like Alewife, Bloodworms, Soft Crab & Razor Clams are going to catch a mix of fish like Rockfish, Perch, Blue & Channel Catfish. Matapeake and Romancoke Piers have been better in the evening with Chunked LY and Bloodworms.
More and more reports have come in the past week and we’re hearing about Black Drum, Bluefish and Rockfish being caught off the coast. We expect the Bluefish run to really pick up over the next couple weeks in areas like the Ocean City Inlet, Indian River Inlet, and Lewes, DE. Anglers fishing cut bait from shore or casting lures like the Daiwa SP Minnow have landed sporadic fish. It’s still hit or miss now but it’s only going to get better over the next couple of weeks.
A bunch of short Rockfish and a few keepers were landed at Indian River Inlet this past week. The evening bite has been better at the Rt. 50 bridge this past week.
The Flounder bite has picked up quite a bit and anglers are catching them in Ocean City and DE. Best baits to use are top & bottom rigs with live minnows, squid & Gulp.
Black Drum are being caught off the beaches from Ocean City, Assateague & Fenwick with Sea Clams.
The Snakehead bite has been great the past week. Many anglers are catching them on beds during their spawn. Topwater baits, swimbaits, chatterbaits and live baits like big bull minnows are all great ways to catch these delicious fish.
Largemouth Bass are biting like crazy this past week as well. Many are on beds or transitioning from deeper water to the shallower water to spawn. Using the same baits as you would Snakehead, you can catch quite a few largemouth right now!
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