Middle Chesapeake Bay fishing Report, August 2021

Middle Chesapeake Bay Fishing Report, August 27 Update:

HOT WEATHER ALERT! Hey, FishTalkers! Our region is in the midst of another hot, hot, hot spell! We want to pop in and remind you to please keep undersized fish in the water when releasing them, and only bring them out when totally necessary, especially when air temps exceed 90-degrees. As anglers, we’re all in the fight to conserve and restore our striped bass populations—safe catch-and-release practices are an excellent way to ensure that we’re doing our part and reducing striped bass mortality. If you’re interested in learning more about safe catch-and-release practices, check out this Safe Summer Catch and Release article.

big spanish mackerel
Dave was fishing with Travis Long in the vicinity of Sharp’s Island Light, when a 27-inch Spanish mack attacked his G-Eye.

Can we get a holler for the Spanish Mackerel?! Because we are PUMPED about this week’s report. Trollers are reporting that the bite is on fire, with many non-stop days. Alltackle suggested trying around Bouy 83, the False Channel, and trolling the channel edges. While the mackerel are around, they’re rather spread and hotspots are changing rapidly. Many catches reported have included big macks, too, with fish up to 28-inches. Another cool tidbit — a couple of trollers reported fat bluefish hitting their spoons. Most boats on the troll are chugging forward at seven or eight knots but remember to check out Finding the Ideal Spanish Mackerel Trolling Speed before you set the throttles. Also remember to look for the working birds; multiple reports came into Angler’s this week from fishermen and fisherwomen who found the mackerel hiding under them, and managed to lure them to bite by casting small jigs through the mayhem. Just remember to reel fast!

Reports of strong catches of rockfish flowed in from the Bay Bridge this week, with livelining the main tactic but jiggers catching fish as well. Multiple readers noted that the early morning bite was best, midday was fairly slow, and the evening bite was decent but not as hot as the a.m. hours. If you’re planning to fish there, a dawn or early morning leave time can also help mitigate the boat traffic that ramps up later in the day. Everyone knows about the Bridge and many, many boats will be casting at it all day.

The Angler in Chief says he made multiple evening forays to Thomas Point and all around the shallows from the South to the West Rivers, with crazy good success on white paddle-tails this week. He notes that the six- to eight-foot depth range was hot after about 6:30 p.m., with the bulk of the rockfish ranging from 20 to 25 inches. Overall, the AIC reports that the action was fire. A white BKD on a half-ounce head skirted with chartreuse proved effective, too. The AIC’s other fun catch of the week? A (throwback) flounder in Eastern Bay! Always the most welcome sight.

Contributor Eric Packard fished from Solomons up to the Power Plant late this week and didn’t spot birds nor mackerel, but did encounter schoolie stripers. He also notes that the cutlassfish bite in the Solomons area remains strong and he and a couple of friends caught 30-plus in one outing.

Middle Chesapeake Bay Fishing Report, August 20 Update:

Several readers reported a good liveline bite in the Bay Bridge area this week on rockfish mostly in the 18- to 24 inch-range with a few bigger ones in the mix.

striped bass fishing with jigs
Braden found that white paddle-tails did the trick at Thomas Point.

Reader reports of Spanish mackerel in the Middle Bay zone continue to run from excellent to awesome this week, with big catches made just south of Poplar, off the mouth of the Choptank, and the Chesapeake Beach to Deale zone. Angler’s and Alltackle confirmed this, mentioning that the run is great again this year. Many readers are getting into abnormally large fish and the Angler in Chief says a 27-inch mackerel came over gunwale of his boat north-west of Sharp’s Island Light last Sunday. Other readers also reported 27- and 28-inch Spanish in the vicinity of the Choptank. However, many also said that there were long stretches of inactivity which then busted loose in a mayhem-style bite for just an hour or two.

Rudow does report one oddity: the mackerel didn’t hit his planer-and-spoon rigs (even when sighted gray-hounding and breaking) and after trolling didn’t produce, he says they pulled the lines and began having success by casting silver/pink G-Eye Rain Minnow and spoons and tossing chartreuse HHCB popping cork rigs where the fish had recently been spotted. Many snapper blues and smallish rockfish were also in the mix. (Note that some readers fishing the Choptank area did report good action on the troll using green and gold Drone #0 spoons). Lenny also said that a quick stop at Thomas Point produced stripers up to 23 inches on white paddle tails fished on quarter- and half-ounce heads. 

Angler’s and Alltackle both suggested hitting up Thomas Point or the Bay Bridge if you’re looking for the stripers. They’ve been in both areas, hitting jigs and soft plastics. Live liners are also enjoying a good bite, and we had some reader reports of good striper action in the shallows of Eastern Bay on riprap and points, as well.

Oddball report: Multiple reader reports of small flounder (all undersized) and lizardfish came in this week. At the mouth of the Choptank and out of Deale, these toothy bottom feeders have been snapping up baits fished on bottom rigs, jigs, and even the occasional spoon behind a planer.

Middle Chesapeake Bay Fishing Report, August 13 Update:

Angler in Chief Lenny Rudow says the stripers have stuck around in the shallows and the evening bite on 16- to 24-inch rockfish has been great casting five-inch white paddletails and pearl BKDs on quarter-ounce heads. Eastern Bay, Thomas Point, and inside the mouth of the South have all been productive. Perch fishing in the river, meanwhile, has been fair to middling with more small fish than eating sized. Angler’s in Annapolis echoes this, mentioning that Thomas Point was a great spot this week. Don’t forget that Sunday is Angler’s White Perch Open, the biggest perch fishing event of the year!

big redfish in bay
Kennedy Konnor, and Kev Smith tied into a triple-header of bull reds while fishing north of Poplar. All we can say is HOLY COW, people, HOLY COW!

Crazy catch alert: A family fishing north of – yes, we said NORTH of – Poplar Island ran headlong into a school of bull reds this week. They hooked up a triple-header, and “all three reels were singing in different directions.” Now, that’s what we call a cool event!

Contributor Eric Packard has continued enjoying the fine cutlassfish action in the lower Pax, including catches of 10 or more on three-inch paddletails. Electric chicken remains a top color choice. There were also reports of cutlass from the Severn this week, all the way up to the Arden area. They were caught on white paddletails.

Ready for your summer mackerel fix? Multiple readers reported solid action both trolling (standard planers and small gold and silver spoons) and tossing spoons on light tackle this week. The False Channel/mouth of the Choptank area was a top producer, south of Poplar was another hot zone, and Chesapeake Beach checked in a number of successful anglers as well. Spotting birds proved to be a winner for the light tackle crowd so bring your binoculars if you hope to play this game. Alltackle in Annapolis mentioned both tactics as well, recommending that you run over to working birds if you see them. Plenty of mackerel and little blues have been under them, happy to hit spoons or soft plastics zipped through the breakers.

Middle Chesapeake Bay Fishing Report, August 6 Update:

The Angler in Chief notes a clear uptick in the shallow water action this week, perhaps thanks to the slightly cooler temps we’ve been experiencing lately, and says he found plenty of stripers up into the mid-20s on the Thomas Point shoals in the evening. He found the bulk of the fish in just four feet of water, and a reader he spoke with who opted to try the lighthouse instead reported drawing a blank. White paddle-tails on quarter-ounce heads were the ticket in the shallows and blow-ups on topwater at dusk were happening as well. David Rudow also made his mark on the fish this week, getting into a school of stripers at the mouth of the South River late in the afternoon. He wrangled up 12 (including a few keepers) in three to six feet of water on pink BKDs with a round three-eighths ounce baby blue Paw Paw Jigs head.

catching spanish mackerel
Zach tied into a nice Spanish mack while fishing near Poplar.

Reader reports of Spanish mackerel in the Middle Bay zone went through the roof this week, with significant catches made off the mouth of the Choptank, Chesapeake Beach, and near Point Lookout. Some boats got into them thick, with catches measured by the dozen, and the presence of birds (off the Choptank) made it possible to fling spoons on light tackle rather than troll, troll, troll. Gold and silver were reported to be the top color choices. Snapper blues were in the mix as well and some reader reports included catches of well over a dozen fish.

Last Sunday, our Angler-in-Chief made a trip down to the lower Patuxent and fished for ribbonfish with Contributor Eric Packard, and said they had a ball catching well over a dozen in just a few hours of fishing. The cutlasses were located near bottom over a shoal of about eight to 10 feet, and hit three-inch electric chicken and pumpkinseed/chartreuse paddle-tails retrieved slow and steady. He also notes that these things chew through lots of plastics and it’s important to bring plenty of extra tails.

Big Worm mate Max Rudow let us know that despite the excitement over the stripers opening back up, bottom fishing was an absolute blast this week. He reported that a couple of hours bottom fishing the Severn produced striped bass, keeper croaker, spot, white perch, silver perch, a yellowfin trout, and (small) speckled trout. The Big Worm was utilizing bloodworms and FishBites on bottom rigs to score their catch. Rudow also mentioned that spot have thinned out quite a bit in the Severn over the past couple weeks and are becoming more difficult to pin down. Meanwhile, the white perch catches in the Severn exploded. Anger’s in Annapolis backed this up and suggested hitting shallower water earlier in the day, before moving to deeper water where fish will school up as the sun beats overhead. As usual, shadier and protected areas are producing good numbers of fish in the evenings.

We received two reader reports this week of more speckled trout action in the Middle Bay zone from the Little Choptank area. One had four and the other had six, and the fish were chunky and all between 18 and 22 inches. We also had several readers reporting lots of flounder in the area, though they're babies; all the ones we heard about were in the eight to 10 inch range.