Despite Blazing Heat, Great Fishing Continues

July 25, 2016  |  We are saddled with blazing heat, but we can still corral croaker, round up cobia, and hogtie perch and stripers.


Croaker are in the Bay and rivers and steadily getting bigger. Many are now in the 13- to 15-inch size. The fishing is best at dusk and into the night and will hit on bookworms, squid, and shrimp.

The white perch are as plentiful as we can remember. The perch are in the rivers for bottom fishermen and in the creeks for lure casters. The perch are competing with tiny redfish that love the hot weather and are growing by leaps and bounds, though most are still 10 to 12 inches. I know of only one that has been keeper-sized (18 inches) so far this season. Remember, if that croaker-looking little fish has a spot (or multiple spots) on its tail, it must go back in the water.

Rockfishing is steadily getting better in both the Potomac and Patuxent with lure casters finding fish in the shallows at dusk and dawn. Jiggers and trollers are doing well on the oyster bars. The big schools of rockfish are now up the Bay above Baltimore. Many boat captains have moved their boats to the Magothy River to keep up with the migration. Spot have shown up in small numbers and size, enough to supply some bait and live liners. The main body of rockfish in the north ranges in size from 22 to 25 inches.

Cobia are in the lower Bay around the Target Ship, the mud leads, the lumps below the Target Ship and Smith Pint to the Cut Channel in Virginia.  Chumming and chunking with fresh alewives and using live eels for bait is a popular method. Trollers using big spoons and surgical eels have been successful. Every day is different as evidenced by Captain Kyle Johnsons's trips last week where on Tuesday he hooked seven and landed five.  The next day his party hooked one that spit the hook and that was all for the cobia that day, but suddenly Spanish mackerel showed up in good size and were thrashing  around on the Middle Grounds.  Mackerel hunters eagerly looked for them Thursday, but they had just as suddenly disappeared.

Speckled trout were caught in the Honga Rive rand thoroughfares of the salt islands this week. Big redfish should be there by now too.

Bass fishermen and bluegill seekers find great fishing at St. Mary's Lake, but the fishing is best in the 6 AM to 9 AM window.

Al Henkel shows off a string of perch from a Patuxent Creek.
Ken Lamb shows off rockfish that took Beetlespin in the Patuxent River in18 inches of water at dusk.
Steve Helmick with speckled trout from the Honga River.