Maryland’s regular striped bass season is underway and conservation regulations put in place last year are in effect through the end of 2019.
Through May 31, anglers in the Chesapeake Bay fishing below the Hart-Miller Island/Tolchester boundary line have a daily limit of two striped bass between 19 inches and 28 inches, or one fish above and one below the 28-inch mark. The Department of Natural Resources has an online map that shows the boundaries. Starting in June, all bay and tributary waters are open until December 15.
When fishing in the Chesapeake Bay and its tidal tributaries, anglers must use non-offset circle hooks when live-lining or chumming and must use circle hooks or “J” hooks when using fish, crabs, worms, or processed baits.
Anglers are encouraged to use their own conservation measures by handling fish carefully and reducing the number of fish caught and released, especially when water temperatures are high.
• Use larger circle hooks in the 8/0–9/0 size range
• Keep fish in water when unhooking
• When releasing fish, minimize handling and get the fish in the water as fast as possible
• Minimize heat stress by avoiding fishing days when air temperatures are above 95 degrees
• Have appropriate de-hooking hardware on hand
• Keep hands wet to help fish maintain their protective slime layer
• Keep only what you can eat or share
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It’s a great time to go fishing. Opportunities abound and fish seem very hungry. This report summarizes just a scrap of it. Crappie were biting for me this week at a local pond and they fried up deliciously. They liked a silver, sparkly tube lure trailing a weighted cigar bobber. A slow retrieve with some jerks along the way worked.
With stained water, chumming or chunking in the Chesapeake Bay at the Love Point and Podickory Point channel edges will likely produce some rockfish for the frying pan. A mix of channel and blue catfish will also be biting if baits settle to the bottom of the chum slick. Fresh cut menhaden baits will entice them.
Light-tackle jigging is also a fun way to target striped bass along channel edges at Love Point, Hacketts Bar, Thomas Point, and most anywhere fish can be spotted on depth finders as well as Bay Bridge structure. Large soft plastic jigs with large eyes on the jig head have been real producers for this type of fishing.
Anglers trolling typically downsize their bucktails and swimshads a bit now in trolling spreads to get the rods bending. The steep edges of the shipping channel from Bloody Point and the outside edge of Hacketts down to Calvert Cliffs and the CP Buoy have been good locations. Most of the action is coming close to the surface and early in the morning. Tandem-rigged parachutes or bucktails dressed with sassy shads in white and chartreuse have been the lures of choice.
Fishing for white perch in tributaries continues to be good. Grass shrimp and bloodworms top the list for bait choices. The perch can be caught in shallower waters on beetle spins, spinners, or small rattletraps near shoreline structure. Sunken wood, submerged rock jetties, and dock piers are good places to fish. Catfish there will attack cut bait, clam snouts, chicken livers or gizzards. Sometimes they’ll go after lures as well.
Farther south, lower bay waters are offering the best opportunities to intercept large post-spawn striped bass exiting spawning rivers. Some of the most consistent action has been occurring at Cove Point, Point Lookout, and Smith Point. Shallow-water anglers are catching mostly small rockfish using swimbaits and topwater lures. Some speckled trout and red drum are also being caught and most of the redfish are falling inside the 18-inch to 27-inch slot.
On the freshwater scene, fishing for largemouth bass is about as good as it gets. Casting spinnerbaits and swimbaits along grass edges will draw them, especially on sunny days. Buzzbaits tend to be a good choice when fishing over the grass. Crankbaits, grubs, and soft plastics can be excellent choices to fish drop-off edges and deeper sunken wood.
Northern snakeheads could be part of the mix when fishing buzzbaits. The bite has slowed down as the fish are spawning and in many waters they are protecting their brood that has hatched. They are aggressively protective, so dragging a buzzbait through their no trespassing zone will often elicit a violent strike.
On the Atlantic Coast, inshore fishing at Ocean City is off to a great start. Surf fishermen are catching a mix of bluefish, black drum, kingfish, and blowfish. Tautog are being caught on pieces of green crab and sand fleas at the South Jetty and along bulkheads. Flounder continue to move through the inlet into the back bay areas. Near shore, sea bass and tautog are biting. Offshore, bluefin tuna are being caught near the Baltimore Canyon while trolling and limit catches have been the norm.
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Duck blind know-it-all
Beavers have a set of transparent eyelids that enable them to close their eyes yet retain their vision whilst underwater.
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