Try lower bay, Assateague, O.C. bays for hot fishing

June 09, 1996|By Peter Baker | Peter Baker,SUN STAFF

With the best Chesapeake Bay rockfish angling currently found south of the Patuxent River, a good alternative area for bridge, pier and surf fishermen and those with small boats is the Assateague shoreline and the back bays behind Ocean City.

Fisheries biologists, tackle store owners and fishermen who have been there this spring are saying the fishing there is the best it has been in several years.

With water conditions reported as very clear and much of the back-bay structure visible, casters and drift fishermen have been enjoying near-perfect conditions.

The flounder run continues to be hot, with Department of Natural Resources fisheries biologist Martin L. Gary reporting a 2-to-1 ratio of keepers to undersized fish, with many in the 2- to 5-pound range.

Gary reports the flounder have been gorging on grass shrimp, which several tackle store owners said are plentiful this season.

The Thorofare, the channel behind the convention center and the edges of the flats near the Route 50 bridge have been good choices.

The jetties and the Route 50 bridge at night are good locations for rockfish, which have been taken regularly on bucktails with 4-inch twister tails. Stripers to 15 pounds are not uncommon.

Bluefish from 2 to 4 pounds continue to roam throughout the back bays and the surf from Fenwick Island to behind Assateague.

Throw in occasional catches of sea trout to 5 pounds at the inlet, and the mix of possibilities is impressive.

Chesapeake Bay update

The best of the rockfishing has been in the lower portion of the Chesapeake Bay, with many charter, private and head boats limiting out. The best method has been chumming, and the best area has been from HS Buoy to the Middle Grounds.

There are some 2- to 4-pound blues in the area, with Smith Point a hot spot, but scattered catches up as far as Taylors Island.

The mouth of the Potomac, Hooper Straits, Kedges Straits and Tangier Sound have been good for croaker, although catches have not been as consistent as in past weeks.

Flounder fishing has been consistent, but a larger percentage of the catch is below the 14-inch minimum. Sea trout catches remain spotty.

In the middle bay, trollers have done reasonably well for rockfish with bucktails or medium-sized spoons. The best areas have been Buoy 82 or the old gas buoy area.

Black drum action has been spotty at the Stone Rock, but last weekend the fishing started to pick up, with some boats reporting two to four per boat. Croaker action is largely limited to the mouth of the Little Choptank and Choptank River up to Chlora Point.

White perch action has been good over hard bottoms in the South, West and Severn rivers, as well as at Hackett's and Tolley points.

In the upper bay, catfishing offers the best action, although Worton Point and the Triple Buoys area have been best bets for trolling bucktails for rockfish.

From Swann Point to Tolchester and at Hart and Miller Island, catfish to 9 pounds have been hitting cut bait or bloodworms.

White perch at Belvedere Shoals, Snake Reef and well into the Chester River. Perching also is good in the Lapidum-Port Deposit area of the Susquehanna.

The Susquehanna also holds excellent rockfish action, now that all bay areas and rivers are open and the minimum size limit is down to 28 inches through June 16.

Pub Date: 6/09/96

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