Chesapeake Bay Fishing Report
Well folks, the trophy season was officially over yesterday and with the new season upon us, many have an optimistic outlook for the next few weeks. Size limits have changed from 1 fish over 35″ per person to 2 fish per person over 20″ with 1 keeper allowed over 28″. All the talk during trophy season was that the keepers were hard to come by but many anglers were catching rockfish in the 20″-32″ range. Looking at the 10 day forecast we have a string of beautiful days ahead with some hot weather over the next couple days and then rain mixed in towards the middle of next week. This weekend is looking perfect to get out of the house and spend some time with the family fishing many of the diverse fisheries we have around us or just take the dog for a walk around a new state park you haven’t visited yet.
With trophy season over and the new season upon us, many anglers are excited to be able to keep the fish they’ve been releasing for the last month. Chumming/Chunking has been good in some of the typical spots like Hacketts Point, Podickory Point, Sandy Point and around the Bay Bridge. Drifting with the current with a chum bucket and fishing fresh cut bunker off the bottom has produced decent fish. Light tackle jigging with 1-2oz. jigs and 6″-12″ bkd soft plastics in natural colors like alewife or opening night has been even better over the last week. In the mouth of the Choptank river there have been fish breaking the surface which is fairly odd for this time of year but a good sign that light tackle jigging and topwater fishing will be warming up over the next few weeks.
Trolling has been decent in the middle bay area just northwest of Love Point off the deeper channel there. It has also been productive just outside the mouth of the Patuxent off of Cedar Point in deeper water, trolling smaller baits like 6″-9″ shads and spoons. Tandem rigs and smaller umbrellas will be the trick now that the big fish are headed north up the coast of the atlantic ocean.
Perch fishing recently has been great and people are catching plenty of fish in shallower water which is typical of a Summer pattern. Shore fisherman have had success with small spinners, perch pounders or small jigs tipped with live bait. Fishing the Bay Bridge has been productive with top & bottom rigs with bloodworms or razor clams as has deeper water with hard bottom. Charlie and Anna have been fishing docks/pilings with smaller epoxy jigs and have been catching 12″-13″ White Perch lately. Lucky ducks 😉
Ocean City/Assateague Island/Coastal Fishing
Fishing the coast over the past week has been pretty decent. The Bluefish blitz we saw over the last two weeks is all but over but Bluefish are still being caught in the area. The highest concentration of them has just moved out of the area but there are still fish to be caught. Fishing the surf with topwater has been good just south of OC off Assateague Island. Reports of large Rockfish being caught off the shore have come in recently so that’s a sign that the big Rockfish are on their way north. Surf casting top water plugs produced a nice 43″ Rockfish. We expect the next few weeks to be good for Rockfish on the coast. Flounder in the 16″-22″ have been caught in the inlet recently as well. Hot colors for Flounder are pink gulp and nuclear chicken.
Crabbing over the last week has been surprisingly good. Water temperature has been rising so crabs are crawling out of the deep mud. Crabs have been caught off piers in traps at a rate of a dozen per day using razor clams vs. chicken necks. This time of year razor clams are a better bait to use because crabs are lethargic and razor clams get them going so whether you’re using a trotline, hand line or trap, if you can use fresh razor clams we would recommend it.
This Saturday we are hosting a crabbing event & seminar that starts at 10am. We will have kids games going on, a $5 raffle with great prizes, a seminar teaching us all how to catch crabs using a variety of techniques and bait, and we will have steamed crabs and soft shell crabs for sale. Crab sales are first come, first serve so make sure you get here early. The raffle drawing will take place at 3pm. For more details and to pre-buy raffle tickets, please visit this page.
Fresh Water/Largemouth bass/Crappie
Many of the area reservoirs are on fire with the Largemouth Bass bite. Spawn is essentially over for them and you can find many of them either on beds or just off the beds near deeper drop-offs. Soft plastic craws fished Texas rigged on beds has produced a nice stock of bass. Stick worms in bright colors like pink, white and chartreuse fished wacky rigged weightless have also landed a few nice bass this past week. If you’re fishing a deeper drop-off, look to use natural bait color crank baits deep.
Crappie are in full spawn mode so focusing on grassy flats using small shad darts with minnows or night crawlers will get them hooked up. Target any structure or lay-downs in those areas and you’ll get bit.