Tangier, Pocomoke, and Lower Shore Fishing Report, April 2022

Tangier, Pocomoke, and Lower Shore Fishing Report, April 29 Update:

While we were unable to gain any confirmed intel on reds or specks in the Sounds or along the ESVA north of the Cabbage Patch (where reds and black drum have been caught), looking at the calendar it’s a good bet that it will happen any day now. Part of the absence of info may be the result of the solid flounder bite taking place in the coastal bays, which is definitely tempting many area anglers to head east instead of west.

flounder fish
The flounder bite in the coastal bays is getting most of the attention in this neck of the woods recently.

Speaking of heading in other directions: plenty of fishermen are sticking to the tributaries in search of the elusive snakes, but reports of success have been a bit lackluster recently. The most we heard of his week (on hook and line) was seven, and one or two seems a lot more common recently.

If you enjoy fishing this area and you’re up for a challenge, remember that next month the first-ever Smith Island Fishing Tournament kicks off. May 20 to 22 anglers will compete for the Smith Island Slam (the minimum $1,750 grand prize started at $1,500 and could easily continue to go higher depending on entries) and whoever catches the longest combined rockfish, redfish, speckled trout combo will win big, along with calcuttas for the biggest fish of each single species.

Tangier, Pocomoke, and Lower Shore Fishing Report, April 22 Update:

There’s plenty to do around the lower shore right now, with great options within the Sounds and oceanside. Many anglers have been heading east recently and we saw plenty of reports of flounder this week from the oceanside in Chincoteague, Wachapreague, etc., and quite a few anglers had solid days, bringing in multiple flounder with a few doormats in the mix. Sea Hawk reported that black drum are still on the ocean side, too. There were some good catches over the weekend from the surf, accompanied by a brigade of skate and some sharks, as well.

southern catfish
And the winner of the Most Consistent Award is... well, you know.

Anglers fishing the tribs are reporting steady action on catfish... no shocker there! They've been offering a much more consistent option than snakehead, which had awakened in this region and has been active during periods of warmer weather, but they haven’t enjoyed the recent chill in the air. FishTalk’s Zach Ditmars hit the Blackwater last weekend and reported seeing fish jumping and active on the surface but refusing to eat a lure and several anglers he spoke with were also empty-handed, indicating a case of widespread weekend lockjaw made worse by very windy conditions. Hopefully the incoming sunshine will kick them back into gear.

Tangier, Pocomoke, and Lower Shore Fishing Report, April 15 Update:

Big news from the area this week is that the flounder bite on the sea-side is… good! Sea Hawk reported some solid, photo confirmed flounder catches that included doormats and that fishing has gotten pretty good on the last of the ebb tide, given that water quality is respectable. Positive reports from ranged from Quimby right on up to Chincoteague. Meanwhile in the tribs, perch and panfish are still providing plenty of action up the winding reaches with shad darts tipped with bloodworms or grass shrimp being the preference.

snakehead in the river
Dave hit the east side on a sunny day and tied into a pair of eight-plus-pounders.

Bigger news from the area this week: anglers working frogs and topwater in the shallow, weedy upriver areas got into serious snakehead numbers and the species is officially now “on” for spring, thanks to the recent warming trend. Catches of up to eight fish in an afternoon have been reported and one reader checked in with a pair topping eight pounds. This recent warm-up should really kick these fish into high gear and we'd expect that this weekend could be an epic one for snakehead sharpies working the creeks and rivers down on the Shore.

Tangier, Pocomoke, and Lower Shore Fishing Report, April 7 Update:

Sea Hawk Sports Center says this week that anglers are doing well on the seaside for flounder, while puppy drum caught on assorted baits along the ESVA are just sporadic catches so far, but a good sign for the upcoming season. Reports of larger drum have begun to come in from the shoals off Fisherman’s Island and big black drum are now being reeled through the ESVA surf, so we’d expect to start hearing about these beasts showing up inside the Bay any day now, as well. (If you haven’t tried it before catching drum in the surf is a total blast and we filmed a how-to video on it last season: How to Catch Black Drum While Surf Fishing).

caught a shad
Shad are running strong - get 'em while you can! Photo courtesy of Eric Packard

Areas that see a shad run have been providing solid action this week. As par for the course, tandem rigs with darts up top and spoons on the bottom are doing the trick. Panfish catches up the tributaries, meanwhile, remain steady. Anglers who fished the creeks with shad darts tipped with grass shrimp or minnow, beetle spins, and other small lures were finding plenty of perch and crappie. Pickerel are also still biting, and bass the bass bite is picking up. Anglers who hit the tribs for bass this week reported spinner baits and topwater were working.

Tangier, Pocomoke, and Lower Shore Fishing Report, April 1 Update:

Panfish are providing great action in the upper reaches of the sound’s tributaries, mostly white perch and pickerel, with shad darts tipped with minnow, tiny soft plastics, and bottom rigs with bloodworm are all working well. For the pickerel, a live minnow is the best bait. In the Snow Hill area we heard some good reports on the pickerel and panfish fronts, and some hits on the white perch. Anglers targeting crappie in specific near structure in five or more feet of water have also been doing quite well. Perch are in post-spawn mode and can be located in deep pockets and holes as they depart the spawning grounds. Likewise, catfish have been an easily accessible target throughout the region both in the tribs and in the mouths of the rivers. Sea Hawk also mentioned that shad were taking darts from Snow Hill down to Porters Crossing.

cooler full of white perch
Though the yellows have mostly departed you can still put together a nice catch of white perch if you act fast.

Striper closed for catch-and-release in Maryland today. In other news, Maryland’s crabbing season opened today. We don’t expect to see them available to trot-liners for a while, but hopefully the potters will be hauling their catches to seafood stores near you soon.