July 21, 2020
Welcome to the Maryland Fishing Line Episode 009
Today is July 21, 2020
This is the podcast where we talk about fishing throughout the great state of Maryland.
The Maryland fishing line is a production of The Angler Magazine, Chesapeake Edition.
The Chesapeake Angler can be found throughout southern Maryland, Anne Arundel County, and the Eastern Shore. If you would like to see it in your area and it’s not there let us know!
Greetings and introductions
Let’s take a look at what’s going on around the state.
Topwater action remains strong at Conowingo dam and on the Susquehanna Flats in the early morning hours. Live lining or chumming is a great tactic right now throughout the bay from the upper to the lower. Trolling the channel edges is a strong second option pulling umbrella rigs or bucktails behind inline sinkers. These fish seem to be holding suspended in 25 feet of water. Jigging for suspended fish once you find them on your graph is also a good tactic. Please keep in mind oxygen levels are low and water temps are high - this combination leads to high mortality rates so do what you can to minimize this. Use off set circle hooks when fishing live or cut bait and handle fish quickly and carefully. One of the best things you can do is consider targeting other species while these conditions exist.
After a long hiatus, it seems as though bluefish are back on the menu. Look for them wherever you find balls of baitfish below or on the surface.
This is where a lot of the action is right now but you have to work to find them. They will show up in chum slicks and for trollers alike.
Redfish and Puppy Drum
There are lots of puppy drum up in the feeder creeks and big bull redfish in the bay. The Target Ship is home right now to those many of those bulls and you can find them sight casting, chumming, and trolling.
We are on a huge run of specks right now that will only continue to get thicker as we head into fall.
We got an email from Nicole asking us to do a deep dive into catching specks in the Bay.
So to understand a little bit about the fish first. The speckled trout is a member of the croaker family and likes some very specific habitat. They thrive in shallow water areas with aquatic vegetation. This equates to shorelines around the mouths of the rivers and creeks.
So now that we know to look for eelgrass and submerged aquatic vegetation let’s look at what they eat. They love crabs, shrimp, and small forage fish.
Putting those two pieces together seems simple but many anglers spend a lot of time searching out prime speck territory and they don’t share those secrets openly as you might imagine. If you are looking for the go to place you are going to want to think about Tangier Sound.
You can catch these fish on live bait, cut bait, on the fly, and artificials. And as always let your choice of bait be dictated by local conditions. Match the forage!
As an example, when soft crab runs occur in shallow grassy areas, cut peelers or soft crabs may be essential for catching specks. During other periods, when trout are mainly feeding on baitfish, cut spot or live baits may be more effective.
The best baits most of the time include peeler crabs, soft-shelled crabs, fresh shrimp, bloodworms, and cut fish.
When choosing artificial lures for catching speckled trout, match your tackle to local baitfish. In many parts of the Chesapeake Bay, the most abundant food sources are bay anchovies, killifish, menhaden, spot, and white perch.
So simple jigs rigged with soft plastic bodies, grub-style or slender bodies, or small shad bodies work great. Bucktail-type jigs are also popular, especially when combined with lure bodies or bait strips. Other popular lures include small spoons, metal jigs, swimming plugs, and surface chuggers. If I had one bait to throw in all conditions it would be a white paddle tail plastic combined with an erratic retrieval.
One of the most popular ways to target specks is to cast lures along points, grassbed edges, or other structure. You can also troll slowly along these same areas in order to cover a large area. Because most of the fishing occurs in very shallow water, small boats are often preferred. When launch sites are available near prime fishing areas, anglers may also use kayaks or other small boats while speckled trout fishing.
You will find spanish mackerel right now busting schools of bait fish alongside the bluefish.
White perch provide outstanding fishing in the summer. They are found in all types of water throughout the region. Chase them in the tidal rivers and creeks by casting small spinners on light tackle or by bottom rigs with bloodworm, shrimp, or minnows.
Look for Spot on hard bottom areas or shoals with the same bottom rigs with bloodworm that you use for White Perch.
And speaking again of bloodworms they are in short supply right now so if you need them and see them, buy them - don’t wait thinking you will find them at the last minute. You can keep them for several days just make sure to flip the bags. Pro Tip - add a little protein powder to the bag to fatten them up and keep them from eating on each other. You can also mix some nightcrawlers up with the bloodworm juice as you are cutting bait.
Look for largemouth bass fishing to continue in summer patterns with early mornings and late evenings offering the best shallow water bite. During the heat of the day using soft plastics, crankbaits, or jigs around deeper structure or any shade is going to be your best bet. If you are fishing any of the tidal rivers schedule an early morning or evening outing around a falling tide and target grass or spatterdock.
These same largemouth tactics will also put you within the same space as northern snakeheads. They are post-spawn now and should be eager to feed. They will jump on spinnerbait and chatterbaits, as well as, topwater frogs early and late in the day. If you want to target snakeheads with live bait large minnows under bobbers is your best bet.
Lower Susquehanna and Chester River are seeing both blue catfish and channel catfish on cut bait, clam snouts and just about anything that smells bad.
Bobbers and nightcrawlers for the kids and adults alike. This is the perfect time of year for a late evening at a local pond introducing kids to fishing. And a fat bluegill makes for a good fish sandwich.
YouTube catch up
New videos drop for the week is a great snakehead and largemouth video. Make sure to stick around to the end to see the Snakehead freakout release.
We hit the mark and passed our 350 subscribers goal on YouTube and our random comment winner was Zach F who won a Bass Pro Shops eGift Card. We are still trying to find Zach F!
We are going to have a new monthly giveaway with multiple ways to enter that will launch August 1st - you can enter to win a $25 Bass Pro Shops eGift card.
As always, if there is something you would like to see covered on the YouTube channel let me know and we will see what we can do about that.
Magazine Catch up
The August issue of the magazine just went to print and should be available around the end of the month. Make sure to be on the lookout for it. We had a great bragboard response and have added a second page of photos sent to us by local anglers. If you want to see your catch in print you can send them to email@example.com and make sure to include a by-line and that you have attached a high-resolution image suitable for printing. If you send them from your phone make sure to send the largest file size possible..
Personal fishing weekly updates
Insta @chesapeakeangler & @bnraines
And of course you can read the e-magazine online at chesapeakeanglermag.com