Lower Bay Fishing Reports

Lower Bay Fishing Reports presented by The Tackle Box

Lower Chesapeake Bay Fishing Report, September 13, 2019 Update:

Most trollers have continued to take advantage of the killer Spanish mackerel bite, and landing them has been no struggle with so many in the area. The Tackle Box suggested pulling small Clarks spoons, small Drones, or Hard Head Custom Baits. They also reminded us that a good rule of thumb for trolling speed when you’re going after Spanish mackerel is about double striper-speed. Typically this has meant cruising between eight and 10 mph, although some boats prefer going a bit faster or slower. The bulk of the catch is centered around the channel edges, which have been incredibly productive. With that being said, Spanish mackerel seem to be literally everywhere, so trolling your way home can’t hurt. Mornings have been highly active, but the fishery is sustained throughout the day.

big red drum caught on boat
FishTalk Contributor Wayne Young (the author of "Bridges Under Troubled Waters: Chesapeake and Potomac Fishing Reefs") got this beautiful red jigging under breaking fish - WTG, Wayne!

If you tire of catching macks, the Target Ship has been a point of interest recently; it puts you in a good position to reel in some large red drum when you can find birds under breaking fish. Jigging large spoons or large soft plastics, typically 10 inches, has been effective. Both species plus blues and (mostly small) stripers are also being caught under those birds. We also had a reader report running-and-gunning from the mouth of the Rappahannock up to the Middle Grounds produced multiple drum of 40-plus inches.

Stripers have been plentiful throughout the Potomac/Point Lookout zone, but currently, aren’t the focus of most anglers. A large portion of the ones being caught have been sub-legal and the fishery isn’t as steady as the mackerel. For those who are determined to land them, the J&W mentioned that livelining spot around Point Lookout has been a good bet.

From the Middle Grounds south, cobia lazing atop the water have been a common sight this week but most of them have been shy of the limit. Sight-casters, trollers, and anglers drifting live eels are all finding success. Trollers pulling red or green hoses (red and off-reds like orange or pink have been particularly effective the past week) seem to have been out-catching anglers using other methods recently. 

Crabbing report: crabbing is good in the Lower Bay – get in on it while you still can!

Lower Chesapeake Bay Fishing Report, September 6, 2019 Update:

Some anglers fishing the Lower Bay have found themselves returning to the docks with empty fish boxes this week – not because the fishing isn’t good, but because it’s been so fantastic in recent weeks that their freezers and fridges at home are already packed. The neighbors and extended family’s fresh-fish needs have been appeased, the kids greeted their new teachers with a soft cooler bag full of mackerel. Boats headed to channel edges throughout the tribs and Bay have been pulling Drones, Clarks, and fluorescent green and pink Hard Head Custom Baits at a pace of a leisurely eight to 10 knots. Their cruises have frequently been interrupted by a bent rod, followed by another rod going down before a can of beverage can be cracked. Oftentimes, the Spanish mackerel snagging their spoons have been of monstrous proportion and the water is still riddled with this species ranging from the Lower Potomac to the Middle Grounds to Windmill Point to mouth of the Bay and beyond. The occasional bluefish hasn’t been an uncommon occurrence, either.

huge catch of mackerel
Ummm, ya think there are still a few mackerel in town? Photo courtesy of The Tackle Box.

The Tackle Box mentioned that if pursuing rockfish in Maryland waters or the Potomac is in the plans, the fish don’t seem to be concentrated in one area, but are rather taking spot all throughout the area. If livelining isn’t your deal, they suggested heading to Cornfield Harbor, where jiggers have had great success this week. The area has also been home to breaking fish and diving birds, which often hold a mix of schoolie stripers and Spanish mackerel underneath for some fast action.

Many Virginia anglers tired of eating mackerel and waiting for the rockfish to come into season in their waters have been trolling for cobia. The cobia bite has been wonderful, especially for anglers trolling surgical eels (orange and red have been hot), at the Target Ship, Middle Grounds, the Cabbage Patch, and the Targets. Trolling spoons in the same areas, especially at the Target Ship, is producing a few large bull reds. Chummers are also getting some fish on live eels. Although most of the cobia have been on the smaller size and only one in five or one in seven has been a keeper recently, it’s still crazy fun to watch a cobia hit your eel on the surface. Lure casters using large, bright orange and pink bucktail/jig combos are having success, as well.

Bottom fishermen continue to catch plenty of spot of all sizes, ranging from bait to dinner, on bloodworms and bottom rigs. A few keeper croaker are mixed in on hard bottom between eight and 18 feet of water, but most are smalls. In rivers and creeks, perch are highly active during morning and evening. The bite has been dependent upon moving tides, when they’ll take bloodworm on a bottom rig or spinners and small lures cast to rip-rap and structure.

August 2, 2019
Lower Chesapeake Bay Fishing Report, August 30, 2019 Update: Although high wind and overcast days put a damper on many anglers fishing plans early this week, those who managed to get out on the water continued to enjoy an epic Spanish mackerel bite… Read more...
July 5, 2019
Lower Chesapeake Bay Fishing Report, July 25, 2019 Update: Fishing in the Lower Bay remains absolutely fabulous, with a variety of species and locations for anglers to choose from. There's a strong Spanish mackerel and bluefish bite, plus the cobia… Read more...
June 6, 2019
Lower Chesapeake Bay Fishing Report, June 28 Update: In the northern parts of the Lower Bay, the Tackle Box ensured us that the reasons to get out on the water this week are many – killer bites are happening throughout the region. The Potomac has… Read more...