Image: Left: Shane Schoonmaker, age 7, reeled in the 24″ rockfish all by himself while his sisters Lana and Lily cheered him on! They were fishing at the mouth of the Honga River with their dad Mike Schoonmaker. Right: Reed Baxter caught his first rockfish trolling a white umbrella rig in the Potomac River. It was an impressive one at 25″!
Rockfish: The best areas for Rockfish right now will be from Thomas Point south to the Eastern Bay, Chesapeake Beach and the mouth of the Choptank. Trolling channel edges in 50-60 feet of water has been the most productive method of fishing. The fish are primarily suspended in the middle of the water column, so you’ll want to keep a variety of inline sinkers on hand to vary your lure depth. Fish are still primarily biting on smaller, 6″ baits, but it’s a good time of year to upsize to bigger, 9″ baits. The most popular color has been white! Jigging is another productive tactic. Use heavier jig heads with 7″ baits and skirts.
Pickerel: Shallow waters of any of the rivers are a great place to catch pickerel! Try the Magothy, the Severn, or the Patapsco. Any of the Eastern Shore ponds are great spots as well! Use light, 1/8 oz-3/16 oz jig heads with 3.5-4 inch paddletails. Live minnows on a bobber also work great!
Perch Fishing: Yellow Perch are starting to show up in the shallows of the rivers and in the Eastern shore ponds as well! Minnows on a bobber will be your best bet! White perch are in deeper waters now, so you’ll want to use jigs or Chesapeake Sabiki rigs with grass shrimp, fish bites or small minnows. Look for ledges, points, underwater structure or oyster beds.
Snakehead: Snakehead are still biting! Minnows or mepps are definitely your best bet, and you will most likely find them in slightly deeper water, although we have heard some reports of them still hitting on Top Water up in the Middle River! Otherwise, Blackwater refuge and the surrounding areas or the upper Patuxent will be your best bet.
Black Sea Bass: This is an interesting one! We have been getting reports of Black Sea Bass being caught from the bay bridge south all summer, but they have been small. We are now starting to get reports of keeper sized (12.5″ or more) Black Sea Bass being caught on cut bait around the sewer pipe north of the bridge, the bridge and Thomas Point! Try a bottom rig around any kind of structure!