Tangier, Pocomoke, and Lower Shore Fishing Report, April 2024

Tangier, Pocomoke, and Lower Eastern Shore Fishing Report, April 26 Update:

The warm spring weather we had been enjoying took a break as cooler temperatures and breezy winds visited the region this week. The fish didn’t seem to mind and anglers grabbed a jacket to keep catching all that this region of the Bay has to offer. The push of bull red drum into the Bay has been slow to start so far, but we are finally seeing more schools show up. There are plenty of black drum around in the Pocomoke Sound that anglers are catching by drifting crab baits on fish finder rigs. There have also been plenty of striped bass landed while trying to fish for the drum. The migratory stripers are making their way out of the Bay to make the turn north where they will spend their summers. Virginia anglers are catching them in the grassy shallows of the bayside and more fish are showing up along the seaside beaches too.

accidental rockfish
Plenty of accidental rockfish are being caught in the shallows by anglers looking for drum.

On the seaside surf fishing is a great option right now with the chance at black drum, striped bass, and now bluefish. This week we received reports from multiple readers accounting for chopper blues from eight to 12 pounds (see the Coastal Reports for the full scoop). Flounder action has been getting more consistent, too. Sea Hawk Sports Center says that silversides are definitely producing more bites on pink and chartreuse flounder rigs. They also mentioned a lot of their fish are coming from depths of less than 10 feet. The extended forecast looks like warm weather will be moving back in which should make for some great fishing days. Don’t miss out!

Tangier, Pocomoke, and Lower Eastern Shore Fishing Report, April 18 Update:

Eastern Shore anglers continue to record great catches from the beaches to the bayside. The wind has been a problem at times, but when the breeze is calm, there are plenty of fish willing to bite. Black drum are showing themselves in good numbers in the Pocomoke and Tangier sound. Most anglers are catching these fish by drifting cut fish or crab baits in shallow grass flats. A handful of red drum are also starting to show up and their numbers will continue to improve as we progress through the spring. We have heard reports of a big red drum migration pushing north from North Carolina, so it is only a matter of time before the big schools return to our waters.

black drum in the pocomoke sound
The blacks are back in town, both in the Sounds and along the coast.

Surf fishing action has really picked up on the sea side and black drum are the main target for beach anglers right now. Successful reports rolled in from both the Virginia and Maryland side of Assateague Island this week. Sand fleas and chunks of crab have lured the drum to fish finder rigs. If you do some digging, it has been fairly easy to find your own sand fleas for bait. Striped bass have also been showing up in increasing numbers as they start to make their journey back north along the coast to their summertime hangouts. One surf angler reported catching a 38 incher this week. More stripers will be running along the beach over the next few weeks. It is a great time of year to hit the beaches since you have a chance to catch black drum, striped bass, and red drum all in the same area. Clearnose skate, dogfish, and puffers have also been common bycatch in the surf. Sea Hawk Sports Center let us know that seaside flounder anglers have continued to find success when they have been able to find clean water. 

Tangier, Pocomoke, and Lower Eastern Shore Fishing Report, April 12 Update:

On the east side of the peninsula, the black drum run is really starting to shape up. The warm weather this week has increased activity and many anglers found success from Assateague down to Virginia Beach. The bite has been better the farther south you go. We did see a report from ana angler fishing near the Maryland /Virginia line on Assateague who caught and released a 36-inch black drum. Chincoteague seems to be a hotspot for surf anglers right now and Captain Steve’s Bait and Tackle has had numerous back drum checked in this week. Many of the drum are in the low to mid 20-inch range with some fish well into the 30s being caught. Black drum are also making their way up the Bay and into the Pocomoke sound. The bayside fish tend to be on the larger side but are harder to locate. Fish finder rigs baited with crab or clam is doing the trick to get these fish to bite.

fishing for white perch
White perch are a good bet right now but the run will likely peter out soon, so get 'em while you can.

Sea Hawk Sports Center mentioned that the Pocomoke River is still producing a variety of panfish including white perch, crappie, and a few yellow perch. White perch have been hanging around near areas with hard bottom and blood worms on bottom rigs is catching them along with plenty of other species. C.L. Marshall from Tangier Sound Charters was out this week taking full advantage of all the Pocomoke has to offer. His main target was white perch, and if there someone who knows how to find the fish, it’s C.L. His crew found steady pickings of good size white perch that made for some delicious meals. The crappie bite is still going strong in the Pocomoke with some nice pan sized fish being put on stringers; crappie have preferred small jigs tipped with live minnows trolled in four-to-10-foot depths.

Sea Hawk also let us know that the warm weather this week got the flounder bite back on track. Flat fish are being caught as far north as Ocean City now with good fishing happening in Chincoteague and Wachapreague. Drifting Gulp! Swimming Mullets tipped with minnows has worked great. A Hi-Lo teaser rig is another popular setup when targeting flounder. Anglers are still finding the best luck on outgoing tides in areas with clean water. Since it is still early in the season, the key is to fish when the water is the warmest, which is on an outgoing tide after the water has been warmed up in the shallow bays.

Tangier, Pocomoke, and Lower Eastern Shore Fishing Report, April 5 Update:

Water temperatures are warming, and more fishing opportunities are presenting themselves on the lower Eastern Shore. The white perch runs are winding down in this section of the Bay, but there are still plenty of fish to catch as the runs wrap up and the fish make their way out of the tributaries. Multiple anglers found success in the Wicomico and Pocomoke Rivers this week targeting the white perch. Minnows and grass shrimp are the top two producing baits right now. Since the fish are in shallower water, a jighead tipped with bait floated under a bobber is a very effective rig. Tandem rigged shad darts tipped with grass shrimp and bounced along the bottom is another proven method catch perch and many other species. There are also hickory shad showing up in the upper river areas.

shad and perch in the river
Tyler's spring break on the Shore was off the hook - literally!!

Sea Hawk Sports Center let us know that the drum bite in the surf has been improving steadily on the sea side this week despite the weather. More fish are being caught in the surf on the Virginia side of the beaches with Chincoteague noted as having solid action. We haven’t heard of any jumbos yet, but the class of fish seems to be ranging from 25 to 35 inches on average right now. The big ones are definitely out there and more fish will be making their way north and into the sounds in the coming weeks. When targeting the drum, it is best to use fish finder rigs with sand fleas, soft crab, or fresh cut baitfish chunks as bait. For a rundown on catching black drum in the surf check out our how-to video:

The poor weather has also been keeping the flounder bite on the slow side. The best chance at a steadier bite is still at the coastal bays of Virginia’s eastern shore. We have heard unconfirmed reports of a few flatties being caught in Ocean City, and Fish In OC confirmed the first official catch yesterday from an angler who caught an 18-incher. The next warming trend should push more fish into the OC inlet and bay areas. Captain Steve’s Bait and Tackle did report good flounder fishing in and around Chincoteague this week with one boat checking in with a three-man limit of fish and another with five nice flounder. Decent bites are also being found in Wachapreague and Folly Creek with more fish pushing into the bays daily.