Cover Image: Anglers Employee EJ found fish jigging at the bridge this week, while Roger found them in Eastern Bay! They both found that darker colors like black, blue and gray were the key to success!
Rockfish: Water temperatures have dropped, and bait fish have moved into deeper, warmer water in the main bay, with the rockfish following behind. If you are fishing north of the bridge, trolling will most likely be your best bet. Be prepared with a umbrella rigs and a variety of in-line sinkers to get your lures down into the deeper water where the fish are holding. The mouth of the Patapsco up to the key bridge, along with the mouths of the Magothy and the Chester are good areas to troll. Jigging at Love Point, the Bay Bridge and the Sewer Pipe has also been successful. You can also try chumming with alewife near Hacketts! South of the bridge, most of the reports involve finding birds and jigging. The majority of the fish caught below birds will be on the small sized, but there are big fish (reports up to 32″) mixed in, you just have to be persistent! The birds are also moving around quite a lot, so you don’t necessarily need to chase them, simply use the birds as an indicator of an area that the fish might be in, then mark them on your fish finder! Poplar Island, Eastern Bay, the Mouth of the Choptank, Sharp’s Light and the channel edges off of Chesapeake Beach are good places to look for those birds! You can also find the fish suspended on your fish finder and jig for them. If you prefer to troll south of the bridge, the channel edges on the Eastern Shore side down to the mouth of the Choptank is a good route to try. Further south, towards the Potomac and the Tangier Sound, rockfish can still be caught in shallow water using jerk baits or paddletails, and there are still some Speckled Trout in the mix too!
Perch: White perch have moved into deeper water, especially near the mouths of rivers! Looks for them over hard bottom and drop a Chesapeake Sabiki Rig with bloodworms, razor clams, fish bites or even minnows! Yellow Perch are starting to become more active in the upper parts of the rivers and the creeks. Small jigs and Shad darts with live minnows work well, along with casting beetle spins!
Catfish: There are plenty of channel cats and blue cats to be caught all over the bay! North of the bridge is an especially good area, along with rivers in the lower bay such as the choptank. Catfish are a great fish to target if you are shore fishing, and will eat almost any type of cut bait from mullet to alewife or spot!
Pickerel: Pickerel fishing in the western shore rivers has been excellent, using anything from jerk baits to paddletails or live minnows. We’ve gotten reports or nice sized pickerel, up to the low 20s in the rivers, but most of the reports of pickerel 25 inches or bigger come from eastern shore mill ponds, primarily caught on minnows! Regardless of location, it seems to be a better morning bite and they are almost always in shallow water or around structure.