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Aug 17 2009

Maryland Chesapeake Bay Fishing Reports and Ocean City Offshore and Inshore Fishing Reports Updated August 17, 2009

spanish_steveThe Spanish are invading Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay, Spanish Mackerel that is. Reports are in with excellent catches of Spanish Macs from the Maryland line all the way up to in and around the bay bridge area. Flounder pounding reports are in the from the middle and lower Chesapeake. It’s been a few years since I’ve heard such good reports coming in, but keeper flounder are back in Maryland’s Chesapeake waters. Punk (ie undersize) striped bass are all over the bay along with their friends the bluefish. The action has mainly concentrated from Sharps Island, Popular Island up to Thomas Point, mostly on the eastern side.
(pictured is Steve’s (aka michasp1) son Randy with a nice spanish mac caught in the middle bay. You can check their full report with more pictures here )

My Fishing Shop Visit
I was in Baltimore this week and stopped in to Tocherman’s Tackle located on Eastern Ave. in Baltimore. I heard about the the shop for years, it’s actually been there before I was even born. I was having lunch with a friend around the corner and decided it was time to stop in and check out the action. I had remembered that local well know fly angler Joe Bruce (formally of the Fisherman’s Edge) had told me he ties flies in the store on Fridays and sometimes on Thursdays. As soon as I walked into the shop I was overwhelmed, fishing tackle everywhere. A huge selection of lures, rods, reels, and a breath of fresh air as I kept walking and looked to my right and saw Joe tying flies surrounded by fly tying materials and tackle. I finally got to meet Tony Tocherman and his lovely wife. I hung out with Joe watching anglers steam in on a regular basis. A fly angler even came in and bought a new fly reel.
It bought back good memories of what fun it is to hang out in a local tackle shop. Joe Bruce was the first person to teach me how to fly cast, he set me up with my first fly rod and reel and taught me how to tie flies. He continues to pass on his knowledge just as he used to at his shop. The guy who came in to buy the fly reel was talking about his casting and a problem he was having. Joe strung up rod and reel and grabbed the guy and took him out back where he proceed to give a free fly casting lesson. That is called good old fashioned service, but beyond that, it’s called passion about the sport and passing on knowledge. Tony and his wife are great people just as passionate which shines through as they run around the shop trying to check out clients with a smile on their faces. It’s just fun to be in the shop.

In today’s day in age with low cost big box stores we have lost sight of what quality, service and true passion about the product that is being sold means. We seem to trade service and passion for the lowest price. Now I did not really check the prices at Tocherman’s, but I am sure they are not the lowest price you can get, but I would bet they are fairly priced. And I would bet you will not find the passion or knowledge that they are willing to share at a store that offers you the lowest price. They say you get what you pay for. I always repeat a quote I learned somewhere growing up, the bitterness of poor quality will remain long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten. So you can get a reel for a few bucks less somewhere, so you can get a lure a few cents cheaper, so you can get the fly rod and reel cheaper, great.  But once you get it can you use it? Did the person who sold it to you teach you how to cast it or offer you a few tips that change you from an average angler to a quality angler? I sometimes am a geeky academic with the analysis that I do, but think about this. I am looking for a new fly rod and reel. I find it on the net for $10 cheaper then in my local tackle shop so I buy it. Now I get the combo but have no idea what backing to use, what is the best line for the striped bass fishing I am going to be doing at the mouth of the Choptank and I do not know what leader to use. So I think to myself, easy enough I will go and ask some friends. You do that and you get some good information, but that took time. Then you go and search on the internet. That took time to find the information and then to read it all. Then you have to go back out or order the other stuff, more time. You spent way more then $10 in time. Go into your local tackle shop and you generally get all that. Now I know, I am a tech dude you and you are reading this on the internet. I am not saying that the internet is a bad place, it’s a great place and you can get a great amount of information. What I am saying is when you are looking for fishing tackle, or anything else for that matter, the appearance that something is cheaper my only appear to be so. Remember, you can always get or make that extra $10, but one you spend your “time” its gone forever, you can never get it back. I would rather optimize my time, spend a little extra money and get some “service”. I could ramble on more, my point is, support your local tackle store and remember it’s not always just about the price as in dollars.

Oh yea, stop in to Tocherman’s (1925 Eastern Ave., Baltimore, MD, 410-327-6942) if you are ever in Baltimore, its a cool fishing shop, you’ll be glad you did! Joe Bruce is there on Friday’s usually trying flies. He also runs bonefishing trips to the Bahamas for some sick low prices that offer some spectacular bonefishing opportunities and also still teaches fly casting and fly tying. You can reach him via email at: saltflies @

Maryland Fisheries News
In the last report I said that August was a slow month for fisheries news. Well I guess with the heat wave we have been having I was wrong, things heated up and just this past week there was a scoping meeting to increase the length of gill nets in Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay. The gill netters already reach their quota just fine, do we really need more nets? I say no. If you agree send an email to Sarah Wideman at MD DNR who works in the regulations department and is in charge of this possible change and tell her you oppose any and all increases in the proposed increased gill nets:

Tournaments, Events and Other Fishing Happenings
MSSA Essex Chapter Meeting- I will be speaking on Light Tackle Striped Bass Fishing in the Chesapeake Bay
When: Tuesday, August 18th at 6:30 PM
Where: The hall is about 7/10 of a mile on the right 1909 Old Eastern Ave. in Essex, MD
Cost: Free
Description: Brandon will give you the full run down on light tackle fishing for striped bass in the Chesapeake Bay. From rods, reels, lures, and where to fish.


Upper Chesapeake Bay Region (Susquehanna River/Flats to Bay Bridge Waters)
Most of any of the action in and around the Susquehanna Flats is fishing for largemouth bass. The water temperatures on the flats are way high and with that there are no striped bass to speak of. If you are looking for them look in the main channels and edges. 

A little further down the bay in and around Still Pond down to Worton Point and Hart Miller Island area light tackle anglers reported that there have been some breaking fish, however the shallow water bite has slowed greatly due to water temperatures. Some are still catching a few, but it’s been at day break and night fall.

Fishing in and around the mouth of the Chester River (Love Point, Triple Buoy)across to around the Middle River and Patapsco area has been decent for finding white perch and some keeper stripers. Bluefish are in full force.Spanish Mackerel have also been caught this past week. Anglers who are chumming are having to go through a lot of shorts to find a keeper. Please be careful with fish when returning them. Mortality increases with the high air and water temperatures.

Anglers fishing out of Sandy Point and around the Bay Bridge structure have had spottly success.  Spot and perch are around on the drop offs and reefs and anglers who are able to catch them and drop them in and around the rock islands and pilings of the bay bridge have been catching.

Mid Chesapeake Bay Region (Bay Bridge to Honga River Waters)thomas_point_fishing
It appears that the striped bass and blue fish have switched shores and are more along the eastern shore from Thomas Point area all the way down to the mouth of Choptank, with the main concentration of breaking fish on the north and south side of Popular Island.

The big news is Spanish Mackerel have invaded and can be found in the same areas as the breaking stripers and bluefish. Gold Clark Spoons rigged behind an in line sinker have been the ticket.

The western side from 30-40ft of water (basically along the edge of the shipping channel) from Deale all the way down to the Gas docks has also had some of the same action as the eatern shore, but the eastern shore has been more consistent from all the reports I have been getting. However, if you are in that area, it’s worth looking, check Capt Wayne’s Report below for more on that.
(Pictured is Little Stinker, Stinkbait’s son showing off his catch. You guess the spot. You can see their full report and pictures here ) 

Flounder are back in Maryland. The hot spot has been the eastern shore edge from James Island down to buoy 74. Bottom bouncing blues belly and live minnows have been the ticket.

Capt. Wayne Morgan from the Frayed Knot fishing in and around Maryland’s Middle Chesapeake Bay reported in:
The fishing in the mid bay area is as hot as the weather. Usually this time of year fishing becomes quite difficult but this year (for me at least) has been a pleasant exception. The fishing from Thomas Point to Flag Harbor the past 2 weeks has been red hot; in fact it’s been almost like Burger King where you can “have it your way.” Here’s what I mean:

Rockfish: Most people have been live lining with spot around deep water ledges and once you find them you limit out very quickly, or jigging on schools of summer rockfish in the 30-45 foot depths of the bay or trolling the channels of Eastern Bay, Choptank River or Gum Thickets and all 3 ways have been producing.

Bluefish: These toothy critters have now moved into the area in large numbers and can be caught trolling spoons and hoses along hard bottom area such as Sharp’s Island or fishing with chunks of cut spot while anchored.

Spot: The biggest spot that I have seen in several years are everywhere in the Bay. Live liners prefer the 4-6” spot and those have been hard to find but the 8-10” spot are abundant. Holland Point, in front of Chesapeake Beach and up in the Choptank River have been the best locations to catch all you want.

Flounder: I am not a flounder fisherman but I understand that the flounder fishing has been quite good in the mid bay area along the drop offs of the Western shore from Parker’s Creek down to Cove Point. Squid strips, bull minnows, bluefish bellies, cut spot or even small live spot have been the best producers. I saw a 22” flounder caught in Eastern Bay last weekend on a live spot while live lining for rockfish.

Captain Walleye Pete from Four Seasons Guide Service reported:
The high water temperatures have about shut down the great shallow water striped bass bite he has been having, but he is still catching a few. With all the founder around he has been concentrating on that fishing and having great success.

Friend Charlie Taylor checked in with his Charlie Taylor Fishing Report for this area of the bay: Bluefish, 3-6 pounds, abound from Thomas Point, South to Parkers Creek. Spot remain scattered throughout the region. Spanish mackerel continue to please anglers fishing the upper and middle Bay. One of the better concentrations is at the Stone Rock. Small spoons, trolled at 8-9 knots, are producing up to 30 fish per boat. White perch can be found in substantial numbers on virtually any oyster bar or naturally occurring lump North of the Bay Bridges. Peeler crab, bloodworms and grass shrimp are the most productive baits. Bluefish, 2-4 pounds, have been taken trolling small spoons and surgical eels in the following locations: Bloody Point, Brickhouse Bar, Love Point, Gum Thickets and Swan Point.

Lower Maryland Chesapeake Bay (Honga River down to the Maryland /Virginia Line Waters)

Charlie Taylor checked in and gave me these reports which extend a bit into Virginia’s water which most lower bay anglers sometimes venture into :
Baitfish are schooling up and moving down the bay in huge numbers. This has caused a veritable feeding frenzy among other fish. Bluefish and stripers are churning the water to a froth at the mouth of the Potomac River. Under the schools of blues and stripers, the bottom fishing is superb, with large croaker, pan trout and flounder biting very well. In addition, small Spanish mackerel schools are also feeding on the baitfish.

Good catches of croaker are available at Blackberry Hang, near Tangier Light, Smith Point and the Mud Leeds. Spanish mackerel action is good for trollers working from Smith Point Light to the SP Buoy and along the western side of  Cut Channel. Bottom fishing is excellent at the SP Buoy, in 60 feet of water, for trout and croaker, with peeler crab and bloodworms being the favored baits. Cobia and red drum are active off Deltaville. Good flounder action remains available just north of the Cell and east of buoy 42. Trollers are catching Spanish mackerel between #6 buoy and the R buoy, located off Windmill Point. Bottom fishing for spot is excellent at the Silos and on Windmill Bar. Flounder continue to bite well around the north end of the White Stone Bridge. Bowlers Rock, buoy 16 and the Power Lines area are giving up good sized croaker and spot, while buoy 8 is producing fair numbers of flounder.

POTOMAC RIVER – D.C. – Lots of catfish, many in the 8-10 pound class, are being caught in Fletcher’s Cove. Bass are being caught around bridge pilings, riprap banks, wood cover and dropoffs. Better choice for baits are topwaters early and late in the day, and plastic worms, spinnerbaits and crankbaits when he sun is up. Washington Channel anglers are taking bass, catfish and stripers, trolling parallel to the War College Wall.

POTOMAC RIVER – BELOW WOODROW WILSON BRIDGE – Bass are orienting to main river grassbeds and wood cover. Plastic baits and spinnerbaits are the best producing baits, when fished in the outside edges of the grassbeds. Creeks are also producing good numbers of bass for anglers fishing plastic worms and crankbaits around docks, pilings and other wood structure. Lily pad fields and grassbeds in the creeks are giving up bass on buzzbaits, topwater frogs and small plastic worms on outgoing tides. Catfish are available on any flat adjacent to a dropoff. Cut crab or eel are the better baits. Use stout tackle when fishing for these fish as some of them are brutes. Forty to fifty pound fish are not unusual, with plenty in the 20-30# class.

Ocean City Maryland Offshore and Inshore Fishing Reports

Sue Foster from Oyster Bay Tackle and Fenwick Tackle gives us this report of the action from the Maryland and Delaware Coast:
Fishing this week saw a good amount of flounder and a surprising number of keepers. There were still some croakers, but not as many as last week. Stripers are hitting on the Route 50 Bridge but not as many are keepers. Bluefish on the Bridge are keeping thing interesting both day and night.
Surf fishing saw snapper blues, kingfish, and spot during the early morning hours and also at sundown. Nighttime action was croaker, big sharks, and rays. Offshore action was flounder, sea bass, croaker and triggerfish. Croaker were right offshore of the beach in North Ocean City!  Further offshore, we have tuna, wahoo, dolphin, and marlin… Ocean City’s one and only White Marlin Open Tournament is over and a Maryland State Record was broken…

We at Oyster Bay Tackle and Fenwick Tackle heard of croaker, kingfish, spot, several flounder, and some snapper bluefish in the surf.  There were still some huge rays.  The bluefish were biting on finger mullet and mullet rigs  or simply chunks of finger mullet on surf rigs.  We had reports of croaker after dark from the beach on bloodworm and squid.  Norfolk spot and kingfish like bloodworms, nightcrawlers, and Artificial Fish Bite Bloodworms. Some anglers reported doing well on kingfish with cut bunker at night. Sharks and rays were biting bunker chunks or whole small squids. Once the “heat of the day” gets overhead, the surf fishing can be slow. GO EARLY, and then go at dusk and after dark for the best results.

Assateague surf saw some snapper blues, one blue I heard of 4 pounds,  a few kingfish, Norfolk spot, croakers and sharks!  It seems by looking online, that shark fishing wasn’t quite as good as last week, and bottom fishing for kingfish and such was kinda slow. Some anglers caught one, some none, some just a ray or a sand shark. Others caught some big sharks at night…. Saw several posts of “bugs” meaning flies and skeeters, which means, bring bug spray and long pants and long sleeve shirts on a West Wind on Assateague!

Flounder!!!!  Flounder were biting in the bay this week and we at Oyster Bay
and Fenwick Tackle snapped some pictures!  Kayla Replogle of Reistertown, MD
came in with a 3 1/4 pound, 20-inch flounder caught in the Assawoman Bay in
Ocean City, MD drifting past Bouy 5 with a live minnow on 8/9/09. Weighed in
at our Fenwick Tackle Bait and Tackle store in Fenwick Island, DE.

Anglers continue to catch bluefish and stripers on the Route 50 Bridge at night. Anglers have been working  Gotcha Plugs to catch the numerous bluefish at night. I also saw anglers pulling in good sized snapper blues over the railing early in the morning. Others are using soft bodies on lead heads for the blues and stripers. Decent amounts of stripers have been caught at night, but not as many keepers this week.  Anglers have also been using live eels from the bridge as well at night.  Shiners, minnows, and squid are the baits by day for flounder.  Bloodworms are catching Norfolk spot. A few more spot were around this week for anglers catching them with “hook and line,” little hooks, and bloodworms or nightcrawlers.

We continued to have reports from anglers catching  keeper flounder from the 9th Street Pier and the 2nd to 4th Street Bulkhead on cut or live spot. Live minnows and frozen shiners are also working. There’s little throw back sea bass, a few croaker, and some decent sized eating spot from the piers as well. Triggerfish on frozen or live sand fleas are around. Small tautog on the same…

The Oceanic Pier (410-289-2602) reports another real good week on flounder and other bottom fish. A lot of fish!  There were lots of throwback flounder with some really nice keepers.  There were 5 flounder over 23 inches on Wed and Thursday mornings early. Croaker fishing slowed up with anglers catching
one here and there, a few short blitzes, and between theblitzes, picking them up here and there 9 to 10-inches. There was a lot of spot action and little sea bass for the kids to catch. Night fishing for shad and blues was spotty. Anglers use  Gotcha
Plugs and  Spec Rigs at night for the shad, stripers, and blues.  J.J. adds that the rockfishing on the Rt. 50 Bridge and the Inlet Wall is still good though the keeper stripers have slowed down. More throw backs this week. More action on the Bridge than the Inlet, this week.  Still lots of bluefish with Gotcha Plugs or bait as well. J.J. wants everyone to know that when you come to the pier, go to the Oceanic Motel and park, then come buy your ticket and he will give you a pass for your car. There is also a big municipal pay lot about a block away from the pier. Call J.J. at 410-289-2602 for parking details.

Ocean City Fishing Center reports:
August 15, 2009- Today at the Fishing Center we had an extremely busy saturday with twenty one boats fishing today. We had six boats today that released one marlin each. These boats were: “Mugger”, “Last Call”, “Why Not”, “Game Over”, “Playmate”,and “Daydreamer. The “Fortune Cookie” and the “Instigator” each released two white marlin each. The “Press Time” was in the Poor Girls Tournament today and the released blue marlins. The “Daydreamer” also pulled in two dolphins along with their white marlin. The “Ranger” also caught one dolphin and twelve trigger fish today. The “Tuna Dog” also caught dolphin today. The “Playtime” managed to find a yellowfin tuna today . Book a trip now while the bill fish bite is HOT!!!! The Bay Bee had a great day with 55 throwbacks seven keeper flounder and 150 throwback croakers. The “Get Sum” also caught croaker and ended up with eight keepers.

August 2009- With the first day of the 16th anuual Poor Girls Open complete many of our boats fished today. Every one of our charter boats that left the marina today returned with a White Marlin release. The “Playmate” with Captain Willie Zimmerman released a total of 3 White Marlin today. Captain Dale Lisi on the “Foolish Pleasures” released a White Marlin and killed a 2 dolphin and a baraccuda, yes, a baraccuda. One of the dolphins weighed 16 pounds and the other 18 pounds. The “Instigator” with Captain Dave Wentling released 2 White Marlin today. Captain Frank Pettolina off of the “Last Call” also released a White Marlin today. “Mak-Atak” with Captain Rusty Reddish released 2 White Marlin and killed 2 nice gaffer dolphin today. Our headboat the “Morning Star” with Captain Monty Hawkins has been catching a great amount of fish. Yesterday Captian Monty had an 8 pound 2 ounce flounder, today a 6 pound 3 ounce flounder, while releasing a good deal of flounder, 26 between two people. Book your offshore charter now with Ocean City’s Premier Charter Fleet before the kids go back to school its a great family activity!
August 10,2009- A big congratulations goes out to the “Playmate” with Captain Willie Zimmerman who  had a grand slam yesterday, which is a White Marlin release, a Blue Marlin release, and a Sailfish release. Great job boys! Today the “Hot Pursuit” with Captain Mark Sewell had 3 White Marlin releases. “Press Time” with Captian Luke Blume released a White Marlin and killed two nice gaffer dolphin. Catpain Jeff Powell on the “Mugger” went fishing today and returned to the docks with 2 gaffer dolphin one weighing 17 pounds and another weighing 20 pounds. “Fish Bonz” with Captain Mark Radcliffe released 2 White Marlin today. The “Instigator” with Captain Josh Wentling released a White Marlin and a Spearfish today. The Billfish bite is hot so book your charter today! 410-213-1121

August 08, 2009- With the White Marlin Open complete a wave of relief has come over the marina, however the boats have not stopped fishing. “Playmate” with Captain Willie Zimmerman returned to the docks today after releasing 2 White Marlin and killing 2 nice gaffer dolphin. “Press Time” with Captain Luke Blume released a White Marlin today and killed a nice size dolphin.Captain Dan Cook on the “Fortune Cookie” released 1 White Marlin and killed 3 dolphin varring in sizes from 15 pounds to 20 pounds. “Fish Bonz” with Captain Mark Radcliffe returned to the dock with 6 gaffer dolphin all of which weighed around 20 pounds. By far the most astonishing number of dolphin caught today was off of the “Daydreamer” with Captian Ken Tackett. All 6 dolphin were around 20 pounds. “Ranger” with Captian Scott Beatty released a White Marlin and a Blue Marlin. Captain Dave Wentling had a good day of fishing today returning to the docks with 2 yellowfin both weighing around 75 pounds and released a White Marlin. “Tuna Dog” with Captain Aric Gilley was on an overnighter and returned to the docks with some nice size yellowfin, a mako which weighed approximately 135 pounds, and a gaffer dolphin. The “Get Sum” with Captain Nick Clemente had 15 throwback flounder and 1 keeper and 6 dozen crabs from the 4 hour morning trip. “Fish Finder” with Captain Mark Sampson released a total of 9 sharks today including 6 Dusky sharks, 1 Atlantic Sharpnose, 1 Spinner, and 1 Sandbar. Our headboat the “Morning Star” with Captain Monty Hawkins limited the boat with flounder today, this means that all 22 passenagers on the boat caught the maxium amount of flounder allowed, which totals 66 flounder. The bite is hot the weather is great soa book your charter today with Ocean City’s Premier Charter Fleet.  Congrats to the “Foolish Pleasures” and its crew for taking 3rd place in the tuna catagory during the White Marlin Open.

That’s it for this week. Remember to post reports and check for reports on a daily basis from other anglers on the the Maryland Chesapeake Message Board, tons of reports daily.

Until next week, catch some BIG fish!

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