Middle Bay Fishing Reports

Middle Bay Fishing Reports presented by Waterfront Marine

Middle Chesapeake Bay Fishing Report, October 15 Update:

Working birds are angler’s compasses to fish right now: much action is centered around casting through the multiple schools of breaking fish at the river mouths. Alltackle reported that the Choptank, South, West, and Severn have all been speckled with flocks this week, leading anglers to plenty of schoolies. Casting and retrieving through them is leading to hookups with fish mostly in the 16- to 22-inch range, although some are extending beyond that mark. Morning and evening have been especially exciting times to head out, offering great topwater fishing on top of beautiful views. The Thomas Point area has been a common topwater destination, as has the Severn. A couple of shoreline anglers also reported that the creeks of the Severn are holding some striped bass near the mouths, but that catfish are biting better. The catfish bite is generally really strong right now, and setting out cut baits just about anywhere could lead to a solid hook up.

october spanish mackerel
Spanish mackerel in October? Manny and Marty jigged up a pair of 20-inch macks just south of Poplar last Friday. Photo courtesy of Jay Bernstein

Just prior to last weekend’s big blow there were still a few late-season Spanish mackerel hangers-on south of Poplar, and we heard from two readers who caught a few while jigging under birds. Though they’ve certainly thinned to the point that it’s a longshot to get one, who can remember finding October mackerel off Poplar island??

Angler’s reported that the jigging bite for stripers at the channel edges has been just okay, but bites can be had by those who do some searching. The mouth of the Choptank is also noted to be holding some fish. Contributor Eric Packard had an even better report from the Pax, he hit Mill Creek several times this week and found that stripers have taken up residence in very solid numbers. One morning he ticked off a count of 27 while casting and kayak trolling half- and quarter-ounce jigs with white paddle tails. Most were undersized fish but there were “a few” keepers as well, plus a handful of (small) specks.

White perch are picking up steam, now hanging on hard bottoms in the rivers and river mouths. Dropping bottom rigs or small spinners is a great way to entice them to bite.


Middle Chesapeake Bay Fishing Report, October 8 Update:

*We apologize for the light reports this week, but due to exhibiting at the U.S. Powerboat Show in Annapolis (come see us this weekend at booth F7) and some personal matters we have not been able to gather as much intel as usual. Stay tuned for next week’s reports!

There is a still a lot of diversity of species in the Bay as we approach fall patterns. Mike Snyder let us know that he caught a variety of interesting fish this week while using bloodworms.  A small flounder, lizard fish, croaker, white perch, and spot, but the biggest surprise was a juvenile black drum. 

black drum fishing
Catching this juvenile black drum was a pleasant surprise for Mike!

Lucas Middledorf reported catching puppy drum this week on the South River casting a small swimbait.

Eddie Weber said the fall bite has not heated up yet in the Severn presumably due to the water being  a bit warmer this year than last year which may be slowing the transition into the true fall bite, especially topwater. Though he said he has heard of some good fish being caught light tackle trolling in the river.


Middle Chesapeake Bay Fishing Report, October 1 Update:

The AIC says that as of the weekend there were still a few mackerel on the south side of Poplar but their numbers are definitely thinning rapidly and on a morning trip there on Wednesday, they only put one in the box. There was a ton of other action, though, with schools of fish popping up and down just west and south of the island. The vast majority of the fish are now stripers nowhere near keeper size with some snapper blues and the last macks of the season. Five-inch white paddle tails and popping cork rigs trailing three-inch paddles (Z-Mans, to avoid countless bite-offs) did the trick. He said they did find a few larger stripers too, including a 30-incher cranked up and then released by FishTalk Yak-master Zach Ditmars. Rudow said finding keeper-sized stripers has grown more difficult on the western side, with throwbacks outnumbering keepers in the shallows by around 15 to one. However, he says that working at it in three to 10 feet of water will eventually produce fish up into the mid-20s on the Thomas Point shoals and similar areas. He also noted that the baby bunker are beginning their push out of the creeks and the river mouths could turn on at any time.

macks and blues in middle bay
Sisters Kim and Kristine had a great afternoon fishing near Sharps Island Light recently.

We had a late-week report from a reader hitting the north side of Poplar and encountering a large school of snapper blues in the 10- to 12-inch range, and t wo readers checked in with last-of-season macks a bit farther south from the False Channel area. Both said plenty of small but eating-sized bluefish were hitting their spoons in that area as well, and G-Eye Rain Minnow were mentioned as a good producer.

What’s up with the white perch? We don’t know… but the sub-par season continues. Many anglers hitting the Severn, South, and West reported disappointing numbers and few decent-sized perch this week. Those who enjoyed some level of success said Beetle Spins and Perch Pounders were the productive choices. The folks at Angler’s say many have moved deep already and are best targeted with Chesapeake Sabikis tipped with Fishbites or razor clam bits.

FishTalk Contributor Eric Packard spent some mornings on the lower Pax recently and reports growing numbers of stripers hitting paddle-tails in the creeks and along the docks. Most are in the 15- to 18-inch range but a few keepers are in the mix as well, and he also mentioned that snapper blues are fairly common and wreaking havoc on soft plastics.

September 3, 2021
Middle Chesapeake Bay Fishing Report, September 24 Update: The Bay Bridges continue to be a focal point for many anglers, with good catches on fish up to 30 inches being reported by readers. Both jiggers and live-liners have been happy, and at… Read more...
August 6, 2021
Middle Chesapeake Bay Fishing Report, August 27 Update: HOT WEATHER ALERT! Hey, FishTalkers! Our region is in the midst of another hot, hot, hot spell! We want to pop in and remind you to please keep undersized fish in the water when releasing them… Read more...
July 2, 2021
Middle Chesapeake Bay Fishing Report, July 30 Update: Ready for the return to rockfish? Soon people, soon—August 1 is the date! Many Middle Bay anglers have turned to white perch to keep themselves busy through the closure, but even this has become… Read more...