Fishing Report: Won’t be long until fall fishing arrives

The signs that summer is waning continue to pop up.

School buses can be seen on the roads in many areas and nature is giving signs to those who notice and contemplate.

There are quite a few of the 2011 year class Striped Bass in the upper bay and at this point in time they are falling into the 16-inch range.

Tristen Pattisall went fishing in Ocean City and was obviously happy with this nice flounder.

Tristen Pattisall went fishing in Ocean City and was obviously happy with this nice flounder.

Chumming is still a viable option in the upper bay at traditional locations with channel edges such as Swan Point, Love Point, the Triple Buoys and Podickory Point.

Cow-Nosed Rays have been pesky intruders to chum slicks this summer and a lot of the smaller Striped Bass tend to move into the slicks but there are some nicer fish to be had.

Early morning tides and fresh baits on the bottom at the back of the chum slick tend to offer better chances for larger Striped Bass.

There continues to be quite a bit of fishing action around the Bay Bridge this week; boats have been anchoring up at the end of the Sewer Pipe and just north at the Rock Piles.

Most are live lining Spot but a few are chumming with menhaden or Razor Clams and fishing either cut spot, menhaden or live Spot. Drifting live Spot or fresh cut baits back to the bridge piers has also been a successful tactic as has jigging with soft plastics.

Schools of bait fish are more common in the bay and tidal rivers as summer starts to wind down and a mix of Striped Bass, Bluefish and Spanish Mackerel have been harassing them in areas where the current sweeps the bait along channel edges.

Most of the bait being seen are Bay Anchovies but small Menhaden and Silversides are also being seen. Casting to breaking fish is always fun and metal jigs have been popular; be wary of shiny snaps and swivels and even black ones get bit off by Bluefish at times.

There have been good reports of schools of Striped Bass off of Taylor’s Island but the action can occur most anywhere out in the bay.

Trolling a mixed spread of small spoons, bucktails and surge tubes behind planers and inline weights has been an effective way to fish for a mix of Bluefish, Striped Bass and Spanish Mackerel throughout most of the middle bay region.

The shipping channel edges in the bay where current flow is good has been one of the more productive places to troll lately.

Spoons have been one of the more popular lures to troll. Drones come with all kinds of reflective strips, Clarks come in silver and gold, Pet and Tony spoons are usually in Silver.

Most are allowed to trail fairly far behind the stern and the number of hits one gets from fish will tell you if your lures are at the right depth. Shallow water fishing for Striped Bass and White Perch continues to be a fun early morning or evening affair as long as the tide is moving and just about everyone would agree that a flood tide is best.

Water temperatures are slowly dropping so this type of fishing will only get better as we approach the month of September.

Topwater lures are always the most fun and entertaining way to fish for Striped Bass and it also is a great way to avoid submerged rocks and grass. Obviously there are miles of shoreline to explore and looking at charts is a great way to start.

Keep an eye out for prominent points and submerged rocks, etc where the current flows by. Our friends the puppy drum did not show up this year for the most part; it would seem they have moved off to some other area now that they are approaching 30 inches.

The Speckled Trout have been dearly missed also this year; winter cold shock in Virginia waters seems to be the reasoning there.

There is a lot going on in the lower bay region this week and there is a wide variety of fishing opportunities to choose from.

Trolling has been very good for a mix of Bluefish, Spanish Mackerel and Striped Bass around the shipping channel edges from Cove Point to Point Lookout. Most everyone is trolling small spoons behind planers or inline weights. There has been some talk of larger Bluefish out at the Middle Grounds and large Red Drum continue to entertain catch and release fishermen in the area above the Target Ship.

Schools of croaker and Spot are being reported to be packed in around the mouth of the Patuxent River and fishing for a mix of croaker, Spot and small Bluefish has been good in the Tangier Sound area.

Some very nice flounder are being caught along the hard bottomed shoals of the channels in the Tangier and Pocomoke Sounds this week and a few Speckled Trout are being caught from Hooper’s Island south. Fishing for a mix of croakers, Spot and Blue Catfish has also been good in the lower Potomac River around the Cobb Island area.

Ocean City surf water temperatures are beginning to slide downward but are still in the 70s. There is a summer mix of Kingfish, Spot, croaker, small Bluefish and flounder in the surf with early mornings offering the best action.

Inshore sharks are offering some fun catch and release action in the evenings.

Flounder fishing in the inlet and back bay areas continues to be good during the day with the usual number of throwbacks. Croakers, Spot and small Bluefish are also part of the mix. At night a larger grade of Bluefish is being caught at the inlet.

Outside the inlet at the inshore wreck and reef sites there is a very nice grade of flounder being caught with some being of doormat size. A few Black Sea Bass are also being caught.

Out at the 30 Fathom Line and beyond to the canyons a mix of Yellowfin Tuna, Dolphin are being caught along with White and Blue Marlin.

Keith Lockwood has been writing the Fishing Report since 2003 and has had a long career as a fisheries research biologist since 1973. Keith is an avid outdoorsman enjoying hunting, fishing, bird dogs, family and life on the Eastern Shore.

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