Coastal Mid-Atlantic Fishing Report, March 2021

Coastal Fishing Reports presented by Intrinsic

Coastal Mid-Atlantic Fishing Report, March 26 Update:

Inshore wrecks and reefs continue to offer up tautog to those who make it out with crab baits in the cooler. The Morning Star made it out last weekend for a tagging trip and 36 tog were reeled up to the rail; 35 went back over the side with some new jewelry. The tog are active off Virginia Beach as well, though many anglers in that area have become preoccupied with a surprisingly strong redfish bite in the inlets and the lower Bay (see the Way South reports for details).

big tautog caught on wreck
There are a few weeks of togging left, before the season ends. Photo courtesy of Capt. Monty Hawkins

Those in search of easy spring fishing have been heading west on the DelMarVa Peninsula to the upper Nanticoke near Seaford and Laurel, and Old Inlet is also reporting perch in the Delaware creeks on the east side. Land-bound anglers on Maryland’s stretch of the coast have also been enjoying much of the same with white perch action in the St. Martins River and near Bishopville. Readers checking in mentioned that bloodworm bits and grass shrimp on a shad dart are doing the trick. Same goes for anglers down the beach in southern VA, where the Northwest river is the place to try.

Coastal Mid-Atlantic Fishing Report, March 19 Update:

Boats headed to the wrecks continue to load up on tog, on the (rare) days the weather allows them to get out. The wreck fishing has been excellent lately, and there are plenty of large fish to go around. The OC Fishing Center said that most boats are returning with news of having excellent days; wind is the biggest variable in whether these fish are getting caught or not on any given day.

puppy drum in virginia chesapeake
Salty species are making an early showing in VA waters this March, including some specks and puppy drum.

In the VA inlets, Ocean's East reported that puppy drum and speckled trout have shown up and are happily feeding on glass minnow right now. Red drum have been moving up the coast in solid numbers recently and should be making for excellent action in Virginia’s waters in the very near future; a few oddball blacks popped up this week as well, caught on blue crab in deep water. We also heard that at least one boat made the (very) long run south to fish for yellowfin in Carolina waters, where good numbers were being caught this week.

Many coastal anglers are shifting inland a bit to the back-bay tributaries for the time being, where yellow and white perch have begun running. Minnow on shad darts or bottom rigs have provided the most consistent action, although fishing bloodworms or nightcrawlers is accounting for some fish as well. Areas that see shad runs are also getting their first signs of action.

Coastal Mid-Atlantic Fishing Report, March 12 Update:

Offshore has obviously been a no-go much of the week, but the OC Fishing Center did report that tog boats who made it through the inlet were coming in were returning with fish. This season has been good for tog, following a great sea bass year — many thanks to the Ocean City Reef Foundation and their efforts to restore the fishes habitat off the coast! If you’re interested in supporting them, check out their website for information on events needing volunteer help and how to make a donation to ensure the continued restoration of OC reefs. This past fall, our Angler-in-Chief Lenny Rudow volunteered with them to prep a sailboat for sinking as reef habitat. The OC Reef Foundation oftentimes has interesting volunteer opportunities like this going on— as a side note, if you are or have a high school student, volunteering for OCRF is a valid way to meet service-learning requirements. Groovy!

coastal yellow perch
It's that perch-jerking time of year! Photo courtesy of Eric Packard

But back to the fishing… Although there isn’t much going on along the coast, we have high hopes that continued warming will bring action back to the DelMarVa coast soon. For anglers looking for a quick dinner, the perch run does offer a potential diversion with solid chances of success. Yellow perch (minnows best bait) are now running strong in traditional spawning areas along the back-bay feeder creeks and the first reports of white perch (bloodworms best bait) are already filtering in as well.

Coastal Mid-Atlantic Fishing Report, March 5 Update:

Thanks to wind and waves only a few boats managed to leave the docks this week to hit the tog bite. We didn’t locate any Delaware anglers who made it out, however, the Ocean City Fishing Center did let us know that the few boats leaving the docks are returning with tog in hand. Fairer weather should begin to allow more boats offshore and through the inlets, providing us with more info in the coming weeks. We’re sure tog would be willing to bite off Virginia’s coast as well, though we weren’t able to get any first-hand info from anyone who made it out, and with the end of the winter sea bass and now bluefin shut down as well there aren’t many other options for the time being. Until water temps come up a bit and the winds die down, during the lull many coastal anglers Jonesing for a bite will be heading to the creeks to pick at perch. Or, of course, one could always head south... far south.

angler holds up a sailfish
Kevin fled to Costa Rica this week, to enjoy some offshore action that simply isn't available in our local waters this time of year.