Middle Bay Fishing Reports
Middle Chesapeake Bay Fishing Report, September 25 Update:
Anglers: due to all the blustery weather the past week, we had a tough time getting our usual data dump. Reader reports were down and several of our usual sources simply said they haven't been able to get out. We've gathered what info we could, but have to warn everyone that this week's reports are on the thin side.
Angler in Chief Lenny Rudow reports that stripers up to 24 inches are hitting white soft plastics in the shallows off the West River with abandon, and Thursday evening the boat he was on (two people aboard) on had its limit in three casts. Perch fishing remains excellent in the shallows of the South River right next door, with the added bonus of (throwback) puppy drum in the mix. Beetle Spins, Super Roosters, and Road Runners with white/chartreuse tails all proved effective. He also reports, however, that making a foray for last-chance cobia during last weekend’s wind storm proved far less effective, with zero cobia boated. He did note that there were several charters trolling the eastern side shelf across from the Pax and surmised that someone must have caught some recently or they wouldn’t have stuck to the area, but can’t confirm the fish’s presence. Another reader reported a goose-egg trolling for cobia there early in the week, and for the first time in a while, this hotspot failed to make reports from The Tackle Box. If you want to get after last-chance cobia, running a bit further south might be a good maneuver.
Contributor Eric Packard checked in to let us know that a mix of stripers (some keeper sized) small specks, and small reds are still biting in Mill Creek and the lower Patuxent. There are also pods of stripers under working birds in the river near the Route 4 bridge, but they’re not even close to keeper-sized. Spot are still plentiful for bottom fishermen.
We had just one reader report from the Choptank, where a morning spent casting in wind-sheltered up-river areas produced several throwback stripers and two barely-legals on white BKDs.
What about those big reds? Chances are they’re still around, but thanks to all the wind… well, you know.
Crabbing Report: Crabs are still utterly on fire, though there’s a huge proportion of females in some areas.
Middle Chesapeake Bay Fishing Report, September 18 Update:
Angler-in-Chief Lenny Rudow reports that some blues must have decided to head north a bit for some reason, because casting for stripers off the mouth of the West River mid-week produced lots of missing tails until switching to metal and discovering snappers in the 12-to-14-inch range. Rudow and crew also encountered breaking fish at Thomas Point and just south of the green number-one marker, but both schools consisted only of micro-stripers. He said mid-week he also found tons of undersized fish churning the water on the north side of Poplar, along with some large flocks of birds, but said "you’d have to staple two of the fish together to get one long enough to hit 19 inches." Much to his dismay, he says there were no signs of mackerel, and considering the cool nights we’ve had recently, fears the bulk of ‘em may have turned tail and headed south. Angler’s Sport Center confirmed this sad sentiment, with minimal Spanish mackerel reports coming in this week. They only heard of a few being caught, primarily by anglers trolling for stripers on the channel edges. Another evening this week, Rudow stayed inside the South River and Ramsey Lake, and caught a mix of big white perch and small redfish. A quarter-ounce Road Runner with a white/chartreuse paddle-tail and Beetle Spins were the tickets to success. Although he says he didn’t encounter any personally, he also spoke with two anglers who caught small speckled trout in the shallows of the South.
Herring Bay proved productive mixed-species trolling grounds for readers pulling spoons behind number-one and number-two planers last weekend, with one report of mackerel up to 26 inches and a limit of five stripers in the box, plus a small bluefish. A bit more exciting, readers going after the cobia on the eastern side across from the mouth of the Pax up to Punch Island Bar are still catching a few fish on red and orange hoses behind number-two and number-three planers in 15 to 25 feet of water. It’s been a heavily-trafficked area, however, with some readers reporting over 30 boats pounding on a school when one’s located. Contributor Eric Packard partook in that fishery this week, and had just one good hook-up… which unfortunately snapped the line. However, they did also have blues and mackerel grabbing at small spoons, which they kept in the spread to generate some action. Packard also notes that kayak fishing in the lower portions of the Pax has been great, with a mix of small speckled trout and redfish, bigger white perch and stripers, and a few blues and lizard fish in the mix. He also spent a day in the zone between the Pax and the Choptank and while jigging on the eastern side, and BOOM! The above pic says it all.
Tochterman’s let us know that their crew members who hit the mouth of the Choptank this week slammed redfish and specks under a school of breaking fish, and also reported that their crew caught a baby black drum at the mouth of the Choptank.
Crabbing Report: It’s on, people, bait up your trot lines!
Middle Chesapeake Bay Fishing Report, September 11 Update:
Specks and reds in the South and Severn rivers? Yup! We heard from one reader who got two specks and another who caught a redfish on two different outings this week while casting the shallows, and although all of these fish were small, keeper rock were also in the catches. The reds hit Beetle Spins being cast for white perch (which were also present in great numbers). Reports from Angler's Sport Center back it up. We also heard from another angler trolling open water just south of the Rhode, who found numerous small blues and rock and found one fish of each species sized for the cooler.
What about the mackerel? We heard from one reader who got four keepers and a number of mini-mack trolling on the east side near the mouth of the Little Choptank, one who caught three west of Poplar, and another who caught four off Chesapeake Beach. Both boats working the eastern side also had small blues in the mix but some were keepers in the 12 to 14 inch range. The big haul we heard about came from the south side of Poplar, where the birds were working and the mack were smacking to the tune of dozens caught on light tackle. This mirrors Angler’s Sport Center’s report, which also places the best concentration of mackerel on the south side. The Tackle Box also mentioned that Spanish mackerel are erupting in the mouth of the Patuxent daily as trollers and lure casters are catching them on small spoons and jigs.
Angler in Chief Lenny Rudow reports going on a cobia foray on the eastern side of the Bay just north of the Patuxent, trolling tubes behind planers early this week. The bite was on the slow side and they only boated one (slightly undersized) fish, but did see several other smalls and one large one caught in the fleet. He noted that red hoses behind number two and number three planers were the top pick and putting a small spoon out on a number-one planer produced several snapper bluefish and one oddball catch, a black sea bass. (Yes, a sea bass while trolling in the Middle Bay!)
Crabbing Report: Crabbing is off-the-hook good in creeks and shallows! There’s a big mix of male/female and smalls to jumbos, so get ‘em while you can!
Middle Chesapeake Bay Fishing Report, September 4 Update:
Readers reporting in from the former Spanish mackerel hotspot off the mouth of the Severn report a sudden absence of the Spanish and an up-tick in striper catches, following the hurricane moving through last weekend. Striper catches plus a few small bluefish continued to be good there in the mid-week reports. We did hear from readers who found mackerel a bit farther south in the Poplar zone, near the mouth of Eastern Bay. Angler’s and Alltackle in Annapolis both confirmed that Poplar was a hotspot this week, and recommended trolling Number One Clark and Drone spoons. Although no super spectacular catches were noted this weekend, one reader reported catching three mackerel and another reported six. The Tackle Box let us know that there were breaking rockfish in big numbers Sunday morning in the mouth of the Patuxent from the mouth of Town Creek to West Basin in about 15 feet of water. Both mackerel and rockfish were in the mix for Contributor Eric Packard this week while fishing the lower Pax, but so were nice specks, white perch, and small blues.
Crabbing report: Angler-in-Chief Lenny Rudow reports that crabbing in the Middle Bay is utterly off the hook right now, and in the South even he was able to fill up a bushel basket in record time trot-lining with fowl necks. He notes that most of the crabs weren’t huge and he had to sort through endless smalls and females but still managed up to a dozen keepers in a run.