Tangier and Lower Shore Fishing Reports

Tangier and Lower Shore Reports presented by Suzuki Outboard Motors

Tangier, Pocomoke, and Lower Shore Fishing Report, July 30 Update:

Speck action continues to attract the most attention, and Sea Hawk reports that the bite is holding up even through the dog days of summer. Small four-inch paddletails in white, electric chicken, and chartreuse are top picks. Mostly small stripers are also in the mix for shallow-water casters, but one reader reported throwing back several that were big enough for the cooler this week.

beautiful redfish
Dan encountered this beautiful over-sized red - a gorgeous catch and release!

Sea Hawk also heard of a few reds and flounder caught in the sounds this week, not huge numbers but some nice fish here and there. Trollers working the open waters were catching some nice Spanish mackerel, plus a few snapper blues mixed in. As usual, spotting birds and then pulling spoons behind planers is the ticket to success for that species.

Tangier, Pocomoke, and Lower Shore Fishing Report, July 22 Update:

While most folks in this neck of the woods are still targeting the speckled trout bite, there are some new players in town. We heard from readers that trolling spoons in open water is now producing a mix of smallish bluefish plus a few over two or three pounds, and a mackerel or two. One reader reported finding both species in a mixed (though short lived) frenzy under birds. Sea Hawk reported that there have been some pretty nifty bluefish catches in the Sounds, although the fish are mostly small.

spanish mackerel in tangier sound
Species diversity is on the increase in these waters, folks! Photo courtesy of Eric Packard

Speckled trout are still holding strong, with the water conditions and the bite slowly recovering from the storm that blew through last week. In recent days, however, we had multiple reports of absolutely excellent days in the Sounds. Most guys are reporting catching them on Hot Chicken, Pink Ghost, Salt n Pepper, or Electric Chicken five-inch Saltwater Assassins. That said, a few anglers this week also reported finding themselves in situations where casting at the shore was producing more little stripers than specks.

Sea Hawk also had reports of flounder in the Sounds this week. Flounder can be tempted by drifted squid strips or pink and white soft plastics bounced off bottom. There haven’t been any stand-out spots for them, and many anglers are coming across them accidentally while on the drift for other species. Some (mostly small) croaker were caught this week as well, with a few just-keepers in the mix.

Tangier, Pocomoke, and Lower Shore Fishing Report, July 16 Update:

STRIPER ALERT: as of the publishing of this report on July 16th, striped bass fishing will be closed in Maryland (as they already are in Virginia waters) through the end of the month. This includes targeting them for catch and release fishing. We have received many reader requests for more detailed information about the closure, such as specific lures or tactics that may or may not be used, but we can’t expand beyond the DNR’s latest guidance and unfortunately have no further information on how the state will determine enforcement of the regulations. The best we can do is to suggest taking all reasonable measures to comply with the law while enjoying your pursuit of other species.

speckled sea trout on the line
Many angler will be looking to see specks this weekend - and the opportunities are solid.

Speckled trout are hanging around in sufficient numbers for anglers to be having fair days on the water. As stripers shut down, we’re expecting more pressure to be put on them. A few readers and Sea Hawk Sports Center recommended hunting down the specks in weeded areas and off of points, where casting four-inch plastics to them is effective. The specks have been responding well to glittery, shiny soft plastic lures. Pairing that sparkle with white, pearl, chartreuse, or pink colors in your paddle-tails is key.

FishTalk readers who hit the Sounds this week also reported dirty water conditions in many areas due to wind early in the week, making a search for clean waters key. Puppy drum and full-fledged reds are also still in the Sounds. Although our report numbers of them have been relatively low there were a few solid fish Sea Hawk found this week. Puppy drum have mostly been outside the limit, however, some keepers were caught in stained water early this week. Better numbers of reds are being found to the south, closer to the Bay’s mouth. The scoop on flounder is just about the same as previous weeks. They’re still hanging around the Tangier, primarily along channel edges, and have also popped up at The Cell. Sea Hawk suggested drifting squid chunks or bouncing pink, white, chartreuse, or pearl soft plastics for them. Jigging the drift has been working well.

The crabbing report is petal-to-the-floor and the crabs are in. Don’t hesitate to get up early and hit the water with a trotline and some fresh chicken necks or clams. It’s totally feasible right now to bring home a bushel instead of hitting the seafood store for one.

Tangier, Pocomoke, and Lower Shore Fishing Report, July 9 Update:

Although speck fishing has become a bit tougher in the heat, fishing is absolutely off the hook in this zone in a number of ways. So knock on some fiberglass and hope that you can find time to head over there this week. First off, Sea Hawk has had reports of flounder from the sounds, including some scratching doormat size. Drifting minnows and squid was most anglers’ ticket to catch, although some are swearing that bouncing white or pink BKD’s off bottom is the way to go. Still, Sea Hawk said that the best flounder fishing is to be found inside the inlets of Virginia’s Eastern Shore on the last part of the flood tide.

cobia fishing with eels
Chris, purveyor of The Pearl on Smith Island, fished both east of and west of the island over the course of several days and found this hungry eel-eater in 22 feet of water to the west.

Just outside the Sounds, cobia fishing has been good this week. Sea Hawk had multiple reports of fair-to-good cobia days, although some were dominated by undersized catches. Live eels on bottom have been a favorite, and rays and the occasional shark are interfering with baits. Results from surgical eel trolling and sight casting have been iffy — we had a couple good reports from trollers, although it seems like bait is dominating the bite. Sight casters have been suffering from southerly winds and tough visibility.

Spanish mackerel are totally on the radar now, too. This week was the dawn of Spanish fishing in this zone with most catches occurring from just north of Cape Charles to the Tangier. Ocean’s East suggesting going after them by trolling Number One Drones and tossing Gotcha plugs. Remember to up your trolling speed a bit from where you’d normally set it — the mackerel enjoy faster action. And if you have any doubt, check out The Ideal Mackerel Trolling Speed article, which details the formula for success.

Croaker, white perch, and stripers are all also within the Sounds. Croaker have oscillated between nuisance fish and fan favorite over the past couple of days, due to anglers dropping down over pockets of little teeny croaker that are picking at baits. Conversely, some other guys have been letting down their baits and getting into schools of nicely sized eater croaker.

Tangier, Pocomoke, and Lower Shore Fishing Report, July 2 Update:

Sea Hawk Sports says lots of anglers are out looking for the cobia, which are taking cut bunker fished around the change of tide in 15 to 25 feet of water. Boats are reporting six-plus hookup days, though rays and small sharks can be an issue for chummers right now.

a croaker fish caught in the bay
Some croaker pushing keeper size are popping up these days. Photo courtesy of Eric Packard

Spanish mackerel now have been spotted and caught in the Sounds, with their numbers expected to rise in the upcoming weeks. Flounder are totally in as well with many reports of multi-catch days. They’re mostly taking drifted squid and live minnows, but some anglers are catching them while jigging for stripers from the MD/VA line north. Those stripers are mostly small, however, with most keepers coming in during the morning and late afternoon. Interestingly, anglers fishing bait have been encountering some croaker larger than those we've seen in recent years. Some are keepers and many are pushing keeper size, so this fall decent croaker fishing may well be a possibility.

What about the specks? While the action has tapered a bit from the peak it’s still happening. Reports for them have slacked off some but part of that is probably because many anglers have shifter their sights to other targets as the summer fishing options expand. Readers report the best success with pink, white, and Electric Chicken this week. During the heat of the day finding a slightly deeper hole or channel has been important.

June 4, 2021
Tangier, Pocomoke, and Lower Shore Fishing Report, June 24 Update: The Tangier and Pocomoke are providing some of the best light-tackle fishing on the Bay right now, with plenty of action from specks and stripers. Speckled trout have been seemingly… Read more...
May 7, 2021
Tangier, Pocomoke, and Lower Shore Fishing Report, May 28 Update: Team FishTalk/PropTalk made a foray to Smith Island this week for multiple days of fishing and when it comes to the speckled trout bite, it was hands-down speck-tacular. The AIC says… Read more...
April 2, 2021
Tangier, Pocomoke, and Lower Shore Report, April 28 Update: Excitement is building in these here parts, folks — we had a report of a single speck from the sounds last weekend, then a reader checked in after catching two (a 17” and a 19”) mid-week.… Read more...