Spanish mackerel seems to be the cry that is being heard from one end of the middle bay region to the other. Fishermen are always up for some new excitement and the recent influx of Spanish mackerel is certainly filling the bill. They are spread out from the Kent Island south to the southern limits of the region. The mouth of Eastern Bay from Bloody Point Light to Poplar Island has been a real hot spot lately as well as both sides of the shipping channel. Trolling small spoons behind planers and inline weights has been the most common way to catch a mess of Spanish this week. There continues to be plenty of large red drum in the region so placing a couple of larger spoons in a trolling spread can offer some exciting catch and release action. Spanish mackerel have been attacking schools of bay anchovies in the area along with a mix of bluefish and striped bass. Often the Spanish mackerel can be seen grey hounding through the air chasing bait. Small spoons and metal jigs have been two of the more popular lures to use when casting into such a melee.
Bluefish are also spread from one end of the region to the other and providing a lot of exciting action for anyone fishing in the region. They can be caught by casting into breaking fish, jigging, trolling, chumming, live lining or chunking. As most fishermen have found out by now, bluefish will make short work of live spot that are meant for striped bass; three or four quick bites and there is usually nothing left. Chunking with cut spot can often have some effect on soothing oneís revenge and also add some tasty bluefish to the fish box. If chilled down quickly in a mix of ice and salt water they are good grilled, broiled or smoked. If grilling or broiling them skin the fillets and smoking them after brining in a low temperature smoker for 8-10 hours makes for some fine eating.
There are certainly plenty of striped bass in the region and they are being caught by trolling or jigging underneath breaking fish. The water temperatures are fairly high now and the larger striped bass are often holding in deeper and cooler waters. Fishermen are having some success with live lining spot but the abundance of bluefish can be pesky at times. Casting along shorelines at dawn or late in the evening is also a good way to catch a couple of striped bass and downsizing to an ultra-light outfit and some small beetle spins or spinners is an excellent way to catch white perch.
Croaker fishing in the deeper areas during the day from Poplar Island south and channel edges towards dusk continues to be very good. Peeler crab, squid and shrimp have been good baits to use on bottom rigs. The spot fishing in the tidal rivers and bay points also is good for larger sized spot and bloodworms tend to be the preferred bait. Flounder fishing is about as good as it is going to get and many fishermen are finding themselves enjoying some of the best flounder fishing theyíve ever encountered in the bay. Most any hard bottomed point or channel edge is a good place to drift for flounder; Cooks Point, Taylorís Island Flats, James Island Flats, the western edge of Poplar Island and Thomas Point are just a few of the places fishermen are catching flounder.
Recreational crabbers are doing fairly well this week in the middle bay region. We are in a new moon phase so most of the legal sized crabs being caught are heavy. There are still plenty of small crabs chewing up baits but that is not such a bad thing. Recent heavy rains will most likely push the crabs into slightly deeper water and perhaps a little farther towards the mouths of creeks but that should be short term if we donít get anymore heavy rains.