Sea trout providing good action now that rock season has closed


July 16, 1998|By Peter Baker | Peter Baker,SUN STAFF

The early fishing seasons for rockfish closed Sunday on the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries, but fishermen who frequent the tidewater needn't pack it in until the fall season opens Aug. 15 because there still are excellent angling opportunities.

Among the best fishing news for bay anglers is an influx of sea trout over the past several days, including large numbers over 20 inches in length.

"We had expected to see good numbers of weakfish [sea trout] to 20 inches this summer," said DNR Fisheries Service biologist Martin L. Gary. "Late last week, they showed up in good numbers and ahead of schedule. Weakfish from 23 to 27 inches were more common than those under 20 inches and the numbers were eye-popping."

The largest numbers of sea trout have been in Maryland's lower bay waters but they have begun to move into the middle bay and will continue to move northward. According to DNR, sea trout to 18 inches were caught in the mouth of the Patapsco River as late as October last year.

Bottom fishermen also can expect good action in different areas on catfish, white perch, croaker, spot, flounder and rockfish, which must be released if hooked.

Bluefish, too, are making their move up the bay, although more slowly than the sea trout. Bluefish have been moving in schools as far north as Poplar Island.

Bluefin tuna changes

The National Marine Fisheries Service changed the limit for bluefin tuna in the large school/small medium class to one fish per boat per day, effective today.

Tuna Tournament winners

Capt. Dave Wentling and the Instigator won first place in the O.C. Tuna Tournament last weekend and Jacob Barnhardt landed the biggest tuna, a 182-pound bluefin.

Capt. Jerry Richardson (Always Late) placed second and the crew of the Nasty Habit II placed third.

Fishing updates

Chesapeake Bay

Upper bay: With rockfish allowed as catch-and-release only, channel catfish offer the largest catches for upper bay anglers. Cats to 8 pounds have been taken from Belvedere Shoals, Hodges Bar and off Tolchester. White perch are prevalent on oyster bars and humps, with Podickory Point, Pooles Island, Hart/Miller Island, the lower Chester River and Bay Bridge pilings all good locations. Love Point and Gibson Island have been good choices for spot and croaker, although the bite has been erratic. Large spot on bloodworms at Buoy 6 near Kent Narrows.

Middle bay: Sharp's Island Light, James Island and the western edge from the Radar Towers to Parkers Creek have been turning up increasing numbers of sea trout, including occasional catches over 20 inches. Croaker fishing has been excellent in the evenings at James Island, Holland Point Bar, The Diamonds, Summer Gooses, Chinese Muds and buoys 10 and 12 in the Choptank River. Spot have arrived in good numbers at the mouth of the Severn River, Todds and Cooks points in the Choptank and Holland Point Bar. Eastern Bay, especially the edges from Wades Point to Tilghman Point, Prospect Bay and Parsons Island, is good for perch, croaker, spot and increasing numbers of flounder.

Lower bay: Excellent fishing for croaker and bluefish continues, and large numbers of sea trout have moved in on the Middle Grounds, Tangier Sound and along the eastern bay channel edge from HS Buoy to Buoy 72.

Ocean City

Inshore: Plenty of action for flounder in the back bays, but many of the fish are under the 14.5-inch limit. However, some over 7 pounds have been caught, along with many from 2 to 6 pounds. Best areas are the Thorofare, Buoy 3 north of the Route 50 bridge, the airport and from the inlet to the Route 50 bridge.

Offshore: Bluefin tuna action has been good from the Jackspot to the Twin Wrecks, while yellowfin have been active from the Hot Dog to the 30-fathom line and in the canyons. Bluefish from the Bass Grounds to the Jackspot. King Mackerel, false albacore, bonito and small dolphin from the 20 to 30 fathom lines to the jackspot. Wreck fishing will turn up sea bass and tautog.

Other areas

Susquehanna River: Catfish have really turned on, with catches made throughout the river on cut bait, shrimp or clam snouts.

Tidal Potomac River: Best largemouth bass action has been around grass beds in the river and creeks.

Upper Potomac River: Smallmouth fishing has been excellent, with tube lures and grubs working well.

Deep Creek Lake: Large bluegill around docks and piers; trout action at the dam in 20- to 24-foot depths.

Pub Date: 7/16/98

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