The Chesapeake Bay Foundation is hosting a Shore Anglers’ Fall Preview from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 5, at Jimmie & Sook’s in Cambridge.
Fall fishing opportunities will be featured in discussions led by representatives of CBF, the Coastal Conservation Association, and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.
“Where are the fish?” Hear from DNR staffers about the “Click Before You Cast” app that provides answers to that age-old question. The app uses real-time indicators such as salinity, water clarity, and dissolved oxygen levels to help anglers target specific species more easily. Learn more about this tool and see a demo from the developers themselves.
You can also learn about the DNR’s new rockfish advisory system, catch-and-release best practices, and upcoming management actions for rockfish and menhaden for the 2020 fishing season. There will also be a demonstration of the iAngler tournament app, a platform for catch-and-release tournaments used locally and nationwide.
Attendees will receive a discounted registration to the Rod and Reef Slam Fishing Tournament on Sept. 21.
Heavy appetizers are included so registration is required online by visiting the CBF website events calendar. This event is free and open to the public.
* * *
Hunter Safety Class
A free five-session Hunter Safety Education Class is scheduled for the following dates: Sept. 9, 11, 16, 18 (6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.) and Saturday Sept. 21 (9 a.m. to 1 p.m). All sessions will be held at the Thendara 4-H Center, 6275 Lord’s Crossing Road near Hurlock. Ages 12 and under must be accompanied by an adult parent or guardian. The class is open to all interested persons. If you have a disability that requires special assistance to participate, contact Conrad Arnold at 410-330-5967 prior to Sept. 9.
The class will meet requirements for an individual to be eligible to obtain a Maryland Hunting License. To successfully complete the course, you must attend all five class sessions, pass a written and practical exam, and participate in live firing exercises. Class content will include wildlife management, hunter ethics, basic firearms safety, first aid and survival, and more. Preregister is required online at: https://register-ed.com/events/view/148915
* * *
According to the DNR, Chesapeake Bay surface salinities are still below normal for this time of year but improving slightly. South of Bloody Point, and including the Potomac River, anglers will find adequate oxygen for gamefish from the surface to the bottom, or deeper than 30 feet. North of Bloody Point, in the deep channel waters up to Swan Point, anglers should avoid fishing deeper than 20 feet.
Live-lining spot and small white perch is working for anglers targeting striped bass. The Love Point rocks, the Swan Point area, and Bay Bridge structure continue to hold fish but the stripers are moving about.
Small spot seem to be everywhere in the shallows of the Bay and lower sections of tidal rivers, so catching them shouldn’t be a problem. A dozen bloodworms cut up into small pieces is usually more than enough to catch enough spot for a day of live-lining.
Spanish mackerel continue to provide exciting action. They can be found along main channel edges from the Bay Bridge south. Anglers are trolling a mix of small Drone and Clark spoons behind inline weights and No. 1 planers with long fluorocarbon, mono, or wire leaders. Gold spoons and silver spoons with a stripe of chartreuse are working well. Trolling at about 8 knots will help to avoid small striped bass. Casting a small heavy metal lure into breaking fish, allowing it to sink for about a five count, and then reeling it in fast is working for mackerel and for avoiding small stripers.
If your depth finder shows large dark blips close to the bottom under breaking fish, they most likely are large red drum. Targeting them with 6- to 10-inch soft plastic jigs can be a good option, as is jigging with large silver spoons.
White perch and catfish continue to provide action in tidal rivers and creeks. Casting small jigs, spinnerbaits, or beetle spins with light spinning tackle near rock jetties, fallen treetops, docks, and old piers will attract them. A net at hand comes in handy when large catfish attack a small lure.
With lower water temperatures, recreational crabbing has improved in many areas. The lower and middle bay regions continue to provide the best opportunity but rising salinity levels are causing crabs to move into the upper bay. Shallower areas tend to hold small crabs and the larger and heavier crabs are coming from waters 10- to 15-feet deep.
On the freshwater scene, largemouth bass are still favoring their typical summer pattern, mostly feeding at night in the shallower areas where there is grass or some kind of cover for bait fish or other prey such as crayfish. Targeting these areas in the early morning or late evening with topwater or shallow running lures will catch them. Buzzbaits, plastic frogs, lipless crankbaits, and soft plastics can all be good choices. Northern snakeheads can frequent the same tidal rivers in the same grassy areas as largemouth bass, often farther back in the grass. Noisy topwater lures such as buzzbaits and chatterbaits will usually attract their attention. Casting to fry balls can often result in a crashing strike from a guarding northern snakehead.
On the Atlantic Coast, kingfish are being caught in the surf on bottom rigs baited with pieces of bloodworm or Fishbites. Spot and small croaker can also be part of the mix. Using squid can draw flounder and blowfish, while sand fleas might provoke a hit from a pompano or small black drum. Finger mullet or cut spot seem to be the best baits when targeting bluefish.
Close to shore, a mix of Spanish mackerel and king mackerel have been active. Trolling spoons at a good clip behind inline weights and planers is a popular way to target them. Slower speeds will produce bluefish. Some anglers are finding cobia in the same shoal areas and are sight fishing for them with live eels.
Anglers at the offshore canyons are reeling in some fine yellowfin tuna, often more than 60 pounds. White marlin, blue marlin, bigeye tuna, wahoo, and dolphinfish are also in the mix.
* * *
Duck blind know-it-all
Two-pounds of ants collectively contain as many neurons as a human.