POORSalt water OCEAN...

**** EXCELLENT*** GOOD** FAIR*

June 25, 1992|By Peter Baker

**** EXCELLENT*** GOOD** FAIR* POOR

Salt water OCEAN Inshore *** Flounder fishing in the back bays has been hit or miss -- not on the numbers caught, but on the number of keepers. The flats at buoys 7 and 9 have produced some fish over the 13-inch minimum. Drifting larger minnows may increase your chance of larger flounder. In the inlet at Ocean City, bluefish and sea trout have been active in the first couple of hours of the changing tide on bucktails, grubs and cut baits fished near the rocks. Squid, peeler crab or minnows also will work well. Small blues and a few over 10 pounds have been taken in the surf at Assateague and North Ocean City on cut mullet. Also some kingfish and spot on bloodworms.

Offshore **** Last weekend, the first white marlin of the season was taken at Washington Canyon. Good numbers of mako, hammerhead and dusky sharks are being taken at the Fingers, and catches of yellowfin tuna and dolphin have been increasing with much of the action also at Washington Canyon. Bluefish up to the 14-pound range have been hitting at the Lumps. Headboats still doing OK on sea bass at the wrecks.

CHESAPEAKE BAY

Lower bay **** Schooling bluefish from 1 to 3 pounds are scattered from Tangier Sound through the Middle Grounds west toward Point Lookout and Point No Point areas. Casting spoons to the breaking schools works well. Chumming also has been producing blues. In Tangier Sound, off Crisfield and Deal Island and at Hooper Strait, sea trout, spot and croaker are mixed, with few croakers of legal size. Sea trout catches have been respectable, however. Bottom fishing at night with peeler crab in the deeper holes has worked well. The same areas will also produce an occasional channel bass, and speckled sea trout are moving into the shallows at Smith Island, Bloodsworth Island and South Marsh Island. Flounder catches have been increasing in Tangier and Pocomoke sounds, Cornfield Harbor and Hooper Strait.

Middle bay *** Bluefish are scattered in loose schools from the mouth of the Patuxent and Cedar Point to Chesapeake Beach and Holland Point on the western shore, and from the Bay Bridge to Bloody Point, Poplar Island, the mouth of the Choptank and Taylors Island on the Eastern Shore. Gum Thicketts, Brownies Hill and the Gooses also have been good spots for blues from 1 to 8 pounds. Black drum catches to 70 pounds are still being reported at Honga River, Stone Rock and Poplar Island, but numbers have been dropping off. Try bottom fishing with soft crab over oyster bottom in 12 to 18 feet of water. Some flounder, sea trout and medium to large spot have been taken near the mouth of the Choptank, the mouth of the Patuxent and the mouth of Eastern Bay. Cedar Point and Blackwalnut Point have also been good for flounder.

Upper bay *** Love Point and Swan Point at the mouth of the Chester River have produced sporadic bluefish action, with anglers in the right place at the right time tearing into blues from 10 to 15 pounds. The right place could be the edges of the fishing reef refurbished last year by the Maryland Saltwater Sportfishermen's Association at Love Point. The right time? Figure on early morning or near dusk with a changing tide. Trolling hoses has worked well. White perch action is picking up slowly. Good areas to try are Belvedere Shoals, mouth of the Magothy River, Key Bridge, Tolchester, the Chester River and the lower Susquehanna. Bloodworms or clam snouts on double bottom rigs with No. 2 hooks have worked well.

POTOMAC RIVER

Upper tidal *** According to bass guide Ken Penrod of Outdoor Life Unlimited, bass fishermen should concentrate on the areas of submerged grass that abut a channel dropoff. Hot areas have been Bryans Cove, Mattawoman Creek, Belle Haven Cove and the Boundary Channel.

OTHER RIVERS

Patapsco River *** White perch fishing still a bit slow in the Key Bridge area, but improving. In the upper river, bass guide Phil Waggenbrenner reports that smallmouth bass fishing has been very good.

Patuxent *** Small bluefish schooling and breaking early and late off the river mouth. Spot, some sea trout, flounder and small croaker action as well.

Susquehanna River *** to **** Port Deposit area has been good for white perch and smallmouth bass. Crankbaits worked around the islands have produced good bass catches, bloodworms will do well for perch. Largemouth bass hitting worms or spinnerbaits fished around wood structure. Catfish in the 5- to 8-pound range have been hitting chicken livers or clam snouts. Above the dam, medium depth crankbaits will do well on smallmouth bass around the rocks or islands where the water is moving well.

Gunpowder River *** Dundee Creek may be the best action around for bass. Try artificial worms, topwater lures and white and chartreuse spinnerbaits near the grass beds or wood cover.

Middle River *** Wood cover -- docks, pilings, etc. -- should turn up some nice bass on artificial worms and spinnerbaits.

Choptank River *** Catfish, perch, some spot and a rare blue will turn up at the fishing pier in Cambridge.

Chester River *** White perch fishing improving toward the river mouth over oyster bottom. Well up river there is some good bass fishing around wood when the tide is moving.

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