Chesapeake Bay Fishing Report

October 19th, 2018

With the significant temperature change over the last week, we’ve seen fishing become a little hit or miss. Don’t worry about this too much, though. Fish are adjusting to the dropping temps and will soon begin to feed like normal Rocktober feeding patterns! We have seen the typical pattern already taking shape. Trolling deep ledges with umbrellas rigs baited with 6″ shads or spoons in gold/chartreuse colors have been working well. Jigging schools of breaking fish under birds has also been working well. Topwater during low light conditions or on grey overcast days has also been producing some decent fish in shallow water. The key right now is to find the clearest water possible.



Trolling in the upper bay is going to be best around areas such as the mouth of the Patapsco, mouth of the Magothy, mouth of the Chester (Swan Point & Love Point) and along the channel ledges in 25′-45′ of clear water. The key is clear water. Fishing up around the Susquehanna is spotty due to the high amounts of water flow from the Conowingo Dam. This is leaving the waters up there cold and stained. You may find success in that area fishing bait (fresh Alewife or Bloodworms) on bottom with a solid chum slick working but it’s definitely been hit or miss when trolling.

Focus your efforts further south in the bay to increase your chances of hooking up with some good keeper fish. Target the deeper part of the water column and try a few different spreads until you find whats working. Bucktails bounced on bottom with sassy shads has been working well around the mouth of the Eastern Bay this week. Trolling deep tandems in Chartreuse or Black/Chartreuse have been working well also. If you move even further in the bay, look to use Spoons in Gold color with a Chartreuse tail behind a #1 or #2 sized planer. Red or Green surgical hoses have also been working pretty well with enough inline weight to get them close to the bottom.

Light Tackle Casting (Topwater, Jigging)

We’re getting more and more reports of big fish being caught in skinny waters. Topwater fishing has been working well lately. Focus on low light situations like early in the morning and later in the evening or on grey cloudy days. Great areas to try out are the rock piles under the Bay Bridge, Shoreline structure near the mouths of the area’s tidal rivers and along the points and jetties in 1′-10′ of water. The colder water is pushing bait out of the tidal rivers so the mouths of these rivers are where Rockfish will hang out and wait. Great baits to try out are the Nomad Chug Norris, Whopper Ploppers, Storm Chug Bugs and the Stillwater Smack-Its.

Shawn Kimbro has been busy as of late, pushing his new book “How to Catch Chesapeake Panfish”. It’s a wonder how he finds time to get out and land beautiful fish like these! These two were caught jigging schools under birds this week. Nice fish Shawn!

Jigging the channel ledges just outside the mouths of the tidal rivers has been working as of late. Look for diving birds working schools of bait. There will be plenty of Rockfish swarming below these diving birds. If you’re landing throwbacks, try to work the outside edges of the action and near or on the bottom. This is typically where the bigger fish will hang out waiting for an easy meal to come to them. 3/4oz – 1oz jig heads like the G-Eye Jigs with a natural colored 6″-7″ soft plastic trailer will work for you here. The Bustem’ Baits 7″ baits have been working really well lately. Natural Alewife colors or Chartreuse will be the way to go here. Great spots to target are going to be the Key Bridge or Shoreline structure around the Key Bridge in the Patapsco. The Bay Bridge pilings around the rock piles and eastern side pilings are holding decent keepers. Thomas Point Lighthouse as well as the channel ledges around the mouths of the tidal rivers are also great spots to try out.

Chumming / Chunking / Live Lining

Chumming with Fresh Alewife on your line has been the most popular method of fishing for Rockfish all year! It’s pretty simple why, people catch fish! This time of year things tend to slow down a little bit though. Chumming and chunking is going to work better for you in low visibility waters such as up north around the Susquehanna. Down around this area, anglers are having success in 25′-35′ of water around the popular points like Swan, Love, Podickory, Hacketts and Thomas Point. All these areas have been producing fish, just not as many as we were catching in the early spring/summer months.

The live lining bite is still producing some nice keepers, the trick is finding the bait! Spot have all but moved out and we won’t be carrying any more this year. We have live Eel in stock and this will be the best bait to live line now with the Spot moved out. You can also live line some smaller Perch but the most consistent way to catch fish right now is going to be jigging/light tackle casting for them.


Husband and wife team Bob & Whitney have been busy landing Catfish off their pier near the mouth of the Magothy this week! Nice fish y’all!

We’ve had a ton of Catfish catches reported this year. They’re still being caught as of late especially in the tidal rivers, specifically near the mouths of these rivers. Pretty much any type of cut bait on bottom is going to be a good way to catch them. Baits like Fresh Alewife, Frozen Alewife, Perch, Bloodworms, Razor Clams are all going to work well for you. They’ll also hit lures like jigs, spoons or occasionally those topwater baits meant for hungry Rockfish!


Perch are being caught in deeper water on hard bottom or near submerged structure. Baits like Bloodworms, Razor Clams or Minnows will work on bottom rigs. Tandem Shad Dart rigs tipped with Bloodworms or Grass Shrimp will also work really well. Some good areas to try your luck will be Tuckahoe Creek, Bay Bridge Pilings, Hacketts Point and along the sea wall near the Naval Academy in the Severn River.

Freshwater Fishing

Fishing for freshwater species has been good as of late. Fish are feeding aggressively, looking to fatten up before the cold water months. You can catch Largemouth Bass using jigs, Texas-rigged soft plastics, Spinnerbaits, Topwater Frogs, Whopper Ploppers and paddle tail swimbaits. Trout stocking has been going on all over the state and you can learn more about that here

Pro Staffer Kevin Maher landed a couple of nice Black Crappie while fishing a freshwater pond on the Eastern Shore.

There are some nice Crappie being caught this week also. Small spinnerbaits, nightcrawlers or minnows under bobbers will all work for freshwater fishing and are great ways for kids to land some fish!

Coastal Fishing

We’ve had reports of Kingfish, Snapper Blues, Rockfish and some large Red Drum here and there being caught in the surf. Bloodworms and Squid are working well for the Kingfish and Mullet or Fresh Alewife will work for the Blues, Rockfish and occasional Red Drum.

Inlet fishing is producing some decent keeper Rockfish, Flounder and some Sheepshead. You can target the Rockfish with jigs, paddletail swimbaits, or by live lining Eels. Flounder are being caught with Gulp Mullet on jigs or with no weight drifting in the current. Sheepshead are being caught with Sandfleas near rocky areas.

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