View Full Version : Middle Chesapeake Bay

10-29-2010, 05:56 AM
Anyone interested in participating in this thread addressing fishing and marinas in the Lower Potomac and Middle Chesapeake Bay, jump in. I live about 15 miles up the Potomac and run out to the Bay from the Solomons to below Reidville. Right now, fishing seems slow except for bluefish. Waiting for the big stripers to show up.

1973 Browning Marine
12-01-2010, 07:50 PM
HEY chawk_man, any word on the big stripers? I have never been on the Chesapeake Bay! I know it is a huge body of water and I would love to fish it!
Just finished a boat restoration project (18 foot v-hull) and was wondering what the fishing was like in the bay this past summer? I have fished Cape May, N.J. many times as a kid and now as a grown-up. Some great memories. Ocean City Maryland is the closest I have ever gotten to the Chesapeake! What's the flatty fishing been like this year? Mostly throwbacks in Jersey except off shore. (few in backwater). What size blues do you guys generally catch in the bay? (average) How about weakfish! Do you guys ever catch any down there anymore? (very few and far between except a few caught in backwater holes). I am hoping to take my two girls(8 and 13) out this coming season and was wondering if you had any advice on where to go on the bay? (fishing,crabbing mostly) Just figured I would ask someone like you who is familiar with the Bay area. thanks, Tom

12-06-2010, 06:40 AM
Sorry it took awhile to reply. Just pulled my boat abd trailered it down to the dealer for a 400 hour service on the engine.

Big stripers are currently in the middle Bay and lower Potomac, but in fewer numbers than the previous 3 to 4 years. Weather has not been cooperating. Given how fast the water temp is dropping, they're probably heading back down the Bay. Most winter fisherman willl hang out around the CBBT to catch the out migration. For the last 2-3 years, they've hung out between the CBBT and Virginia Beach during the winter.

However, I'm anticipating they'll come further south this year, so later this week I will be trailering my boat down to Hatteras, and stay there through the middle of February. That will allow me to fish out of Hatteras or Oregon channels. If they fail to come that far south, then I will at least be able to run out to near the Gulf Stream and tuna fish.

BTW - last January we had a fantastic run of puppy drum on the beaches below Cape Point. Never seen anything like it - 20" to 28" puppys on a light trout rod is a blast. You can only keep one, but what fun.

Would like to keep this thread alive over the winter so we can keep up with where the stripers are located, and news of other fishing between the lower Bay and Okracoke Inlet.

1973 Browning Marine
04-03-2011, 07:26 PM
Been a while Chawk_man, I think I finally got my boat to where I need to be. (yeah right!) Anyway, did you go down to HATTERAS this past winter like you said you were. How did you make out? Any striper news in the Chesapeake yet? That puppy drum fishing sounds like alot of fun. When I fish offshore on my brothers boat, we occasionally stop at a few spots and use light tackle and fish for Mahis. Thats fun but a little slower. Like I said, would like to fish in Chesapeake some time this season, just wanted a heads up before I go down. talk to ya, Tom

04-04-2011, 07:34 AM
I'm still at Hatteras. Been here since early December. Stripers stopped off Oregon Inlet this winter. Had to trailer up there to get to them, but there were plenty there. We had a great blue fin tuna run this winter, but it was tough for me to get out to the Gulf Stream in my 25 ft boat. The winds have been terrible this winter and early spring. Although I hooked up on a couple of blue fin, I didn't boat a single one. Did get several nice wahoo, some black fin, and a 110 lb mako. False albacore have been all over. Yellow fin are now in the gulf stream off Hatteras and I've seen a few dolphin brought in but I've not been able to get out in over a week, and this week doesn't look good either. Nothing going on in the Pamlico Sound yet - water is still too cold. I'm staying here through April to work on my house and hoping I can get out in the Gulf Stream a few more times.

I don't have much of a forecast for the spring striper season in the middle Bay, but based on the winter numbers, it should be pretty decent.

04-04-2011, 03:04 PM

Sounds like some things haven't changed...what does "great" mean nowadays, regarding the bluefin fishery down there?

When we used to go down there, there were huge makos during april, usually in the 60-64 deg 'green water' on the inside edge of the GS....if you get a half decent day and you like to "see them fly" you may wanna give it a shot....we almost always used False albacore but only becuase it was 'fresh and free'.

04-04-2011, 03:23 PM
Makomark - some boats hooked up five or more blue fins in a single day. Several boated and released tuna were well over 300 lbs. Rules now are one blue fin 73" or more per boat per season, and one blue fin between 26" and 73" per boat per day. There was a lot of top water action on the blue fins, and severl folks hooked up with jigging rods. Haven't seen so much broken tackle coming off the charters for a long time. Quite a few mako's were also hooked up on the edge of the Gulf Stream - some boated and some released.

1973 Browning Marine
04-13-2011, 10:59 AM
CHawk_man, sounds like a blast! We had a run of blue fin a few years off Jersey where everyone hooked up to them but like you say, not a one was landed. Easily in three hundred range and ?. Actually, there were a few boated but not too many! Like you said, lots of gear mayhem! That was late in the season for a few weeks. Tough to get the right weather to be able to fish em. Unfortunately, not too many bluebird days, always seems to be blowing. Just trying to keep the thread alive, that's all! see you guys later, Tom

04-13-2011, 02:49 PM
Tom - Trophy striper season opens this weekend on the Chesapeake. Unfortunately, I will miss the first month of it since I'm in Hatteras, then have some obligations the first two weeks of May. Haven't heard any reports yet.

We landed at 64", 54 lb. Wahoo on Sunday. Funniest darn thing. We had stopped to untangle some lines and were in idle. One of the lines we were untangling took off like a scalded cat. I cut the other line, and we had a nice fight on our hands for about 30 minutes.

Yellow fin are now running off Hatteras. Wind has been a problem.

04-14-2011, 09:37 PM
I'm anticipating they'll come further south this year, so later this week I will be trailering my boat down to Hatteras, and stay there through the middle of February. That will allow me to fish out of Hatteras or Oregon channels. If they fail to come that far south, then I will at least be able to run out to near the Gulf Stream and tuna fish.

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1973 Browning Marine
04-18-2011, 08:31 AM
chawk_man, last year while eating at a local seafood place that my brothers and I frequent, I had the chance to try some freshly caught Wahoo. I decided that it was the best tasting piece of fish I have ever eaten! lol While fishing off shore for tuna last year, my brother and his buddies had several experiences where just about every baited line had been surgically sliced off. No sign of a hit on poll or anything, just a ball of line leftover. They did however manage to land a couple Wahoo (over the course of the season) and figured that was what had been cleaning off their gear. Those suckers have one hell of a set of choppers! lol They are not as common off Jersey, but they must migrate through those waters at certain times of the season. Anyways, congrats on your 54 pound Wahoo and the coming fishing season.
I am still putzing around with my little boat. I still have to install a Wise offshore stainless steel cooler seat which I am waiting to be shipped at the moment. I only have two seats in the boat at the moment, so figure I will have to wait til that is done. Don't think I will be able to make this weekend with work and all the other fun stuff. lol keep me posted when you get back up! all the best, Tom

04-18-2011, 08:52 AM
Tom - You're right about the wahoo's teeth. If they hit a purely mono leader, you are likely to lose the fish. The trick is to use about 9" of wire leader between the ballyhoo hook, through the skirt, before attaching to mono leader - just make a small loop in the wire with a haywire twist. Wahoo seem partial to red and black skirts, but will hit most anything. The problem with the wire leaders is that tuna are weary of them. Trade-offs, tradeoffs!

04-19-2011, 02:08 PM
There are a few tricks to making the "wire work" to keep the wahoos and not scare the tuna. another wahoo tip - troll around floating objects, like you would for dolphin, but use a planer board and get the bait down below the surface. The smaller ones ( < 20-25#) travel in 'packs'.

tom - you are right - that is the best tasting fish from the sea and fresh is the only way to get it. The other unique thing about them is their jaw structure...if you look close, you find they have two sets of jaw hinges. This will allow them to clamp down on fish larger then they are. And fast, i don't think anything can beat them in a sprint.

They do come up north but only with the warm water....figure Baltimore canyon is about it though you can find them much further north if you get a big eddy. As you noted, no drag sing, just a hookless line. Being as they don't stick around any length of time, most people don't realize what happened. By the time somebody 'figures it out" (or remembers) they are gone for another year.

04-20-2011, 07:14 AM
Makomark - Okay - I'll bite! What are the tricks for using wire and not scaring off the tunas?

04-20-2011, 01:18 PM
The basic scheme modifies the standard mono based ballyhoo rig. Many derivatives from there. Here's the basic theme:

Take mono leader, slip on skirt, crimp sleeve, and then hook. Take a short piece of 100# single strand, bend into U, and slip thru bend of hook. Insert tag end of mono into crimp while sliding the single strand ends into crimp at same time. Fix crimp as normal, trimming single strand if required.

The wire "usually" keeps the rig intact when the ono show up; the skirt hides it enough to make the tuna happy.

Some boats swear that the wire requires a certain finish color to be 'transparent to the tunas' while others will extend one end of the wire 6" above the head of the skirt. I'm sure coming up with other variations won't require much thought.

04-21-2011, 05:36 AM
Makomark - Okay - that sounds good. Do I understand correctly that you let the skirt ride over the wire down to the nose of the ballyhoo as typical of a mono rig? How short is short on the wire? That is, how much wire is exposed pass the head of the skirt?

1973 Browning Marine
04-22-2011, 03:07 PM
Sorry I did not post sooner, yeah gettin back to rigs. They were targeting tuna when the lines were clipped off clean and blowing in the wind and yeah the tuna will spot wire leader a mile away. (gotta hide hooks also or you'll be standing there all day scratching your head saying: "What am I doing wrong? or Hey, where did everybody go? lol One of my brothers buddies later decided to target wahoo and caught a few over the coarse of the season but nothing like the one you caught. Can you imagine catching a 6 footer around 100 pounds or so! Now that would be fun! They catch em big like that but I think most are smaller, but the big ones are out there too! Ya never know, that's what makes it all so much fun! Right? Talk to you guys later, Tom

04-22-2011, 11:25 PM
C: I prefer the short "loop" that spans the mono and is retained by the crimp. It's purpose is to keep the hook from going anywhere if the mono meets those razor teeth.

one of the mates showed me their version of the extended wire rig. Again, the bend goes thru the eye of the hook and up thru the sleeve. one end of the wire is clipped at the crimp; the other end goes back up thru the skirt ( or lure head - a short zuker ) and is fastened to the mono with another crimp above the head, maybe 8". The few he showed me were all a bit different. one consistent item was that the 'leading' crimp appeared to be a single. i suspect its smaller area helps to hide it somewhat.

Two other 'tuna tricks' that worked well down there as well as up off Delmarva: the ballyhoo daisy chain and the swimming mullet.

If you ever get down to hatteras and want to see some real wahoo damage, look up Capt Jim Bowman. The details are a little gruesome for a permanent post.

04-23-2011, 06:00 AM
Makomark. Roger that. Will be doing some experimentation. I know Jim - He's running Marlin Mania. I'll ask him about that.

05-11-2011, 07:08 AM
Given how fast the water temp is dropping, they're probably heading back down the Bay. Most winter fisherman willl hang out around the CBBT to catch the out migration. For the last 2-3 years, they've hung out between the CBBT and Virginia Beach during the winter.

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05-12-2011, 07:02 AM
I just got back from Hatteras and will not launch in the lower Potomac until next week. I will try to post an update then. In the meanwhile, if anyone is out fishing on the lower Potomac or middle Chesapeake, please post some updates.

06-23-2011, 07:37 AM
Fishing in the Bay and lower Potomac is slow, slow, slow. Some spot and perch are being caught at Ragged Point light, but that is all that I have heard. Fished last week Monday-Wednesday, only got one 23" striper near #1 at Smith Point, and a bunch of very small blues. Last Saturday we trolled from Cornfield Harbor to #72 to #68 to Smith Point Light, nothing. Then in the evening we shallow trolled above Ragged Point Light into the Machodoc. Still nothing. So I pulled the boat for a 400 hour maintenance schedule. Will re-launch this weekend (hopefully.)

Is anyone doing anything out there?