Fishing for striped bass is beginning to take a back seat to other summer migrant species as water temperatures climb into the low 80s and striped bass are holding in deeper and cooler waters and go off feed. Fishermen are finding more activity in the early morning hours in the form of mixing it up with breaking bluefish or casting lures in the shallower waters along shorelines. Fishermen are still live lining spot along the shipping channel edge out in front of the Gas Docks, the Power Plant and channel edges near Bloody Point and Poplar Island but it is not the same game it was a month ago. Striped bass are not feeding as actively, hungry bluefish now dominate the scene and small spot are becoming harder to find. Striped bass are of course the back bone of fishing in the Chesapeake but anglers looking for fun fishing might want to think about making some adjustments in their more traditional fishing plans.
Trolling with a mix of spoons, bucktails and surge tube lures behind inline weights and planers are producing a mix of bluefish, striped bass and Spanish mackerel. Channel edges, ballast stone piles and shoals are all good places to troll. Putting out a couple of larger spoons in a trolling spread has been accounting for some exciting catch and release action from large red drum.
Setting up on a channel edge with live spot can account for some catches of striped bass but more often a live spot or cut spot will elicit the ravages of hungry bluefish. Bluefish arent so bad and will only be here for another two months, so accept their presence and enjoy the action. Bluefish hold a unique place in the marine world and because of their unabashed voraciousness offer a new tune to fishing play list. They are a great way to introduce kids or someone who has never fished before to fishing since the action is usually so exciting and non stop.
Bottom fishing has been a real bright spot in the fishing scene lately. There is good fishing for flounder on hard bottom all the way north to the Gum Thickets. Most any good bottom near a channel area seems to be holding flounder and many of them are above the 20 mark. Croaker fishing remains good in traditional areas such as Eastern Bay, the lower areas of the Choptank River and deeper areas out in the bay. The croakers seem to be reluctant to leave the cooler waters of the deeper channel areas in the evenings and often that traditional fishery is occurring a few hours later than it was a month ago. Evening croaker fishing in the Choptank River recently showed the best opportunities for medium to large croakers in deeper waters from 40 to 50 deep. Smaller croakers, spot and white perch seem to holding in shallower waters such as 25 to 35 of water.
Poking around shorelines of the bay, tidal rivers and tidal creeks casting small lures such as beetle spins, Mepps spinners and the like with an ultra-light spinning outfit can offer a lot of relaxing fun this time of the year. White perch can be found holding near structure such as sunken wood, piers and rocks. It is a simple kind of fishing from a kayak, small skiff or from shore and easily scheduled after work and dinner.
Recreational crabbing remains rather static this week as most crabbers are able to put a catch together of a ½ bushel to a bushel per outing before the mid morning heat sets in. A recent full moon shed has introduced a lot of light crabs into of the mix and there are certainly plenty of small crabs to chew on baits.