September is a transition month. And so far, it is the best of all possible worlds. We got a cold front that changed the weather from insufferable heat and humidity to cool dry air. Fish like this change as much as we do, and the bite is on.
The Spanish mackerel continue to fill the coolers of skilled trollers from Cedar Point Hollow to the mouth of the bay. The mackerel are fast-moving and love small multi-colored spoons at fast speeds. Most are using planers to hold the lure at the right depth. The mackerel are jumping and feeding somewhere at all times. The trick is to find them. They have been at Cedar Point Rip, the Targets, and in the ship’s channel from the HI buoy to buoy 72 and in the Mud Leads. Good catches have been made in the Potomac from Point Lookout to St. George Island. Bluefish are also hitting the spoons as are an occasional big bull redfish. Don’t set those drags too tight!
Cobia is not as numerous now, but patience and luck can result in a big trophy fish for both chummers and trollers. Trollers using big surgical eel lures have done very well as they can cover a lot of water searching for fish, whereas chummers are enticing the fish to come to them in a single location. Chummers have been rewarded with some big bluefish in the five-to-seven-pound range and lots of little ones. Mackerel come into the chum lines too, and casting small fast-moving spoons results in hookups.
The big bull reds are schooled up and marauding around and could come into a chum line at any moment. Trollers using big spoons have a shot at hooking up. These fish are over the slot limit and often weigh as much as sixty pounds.
Infant redfish in the creeks are being caught on perch lures. The redfish in the slot of 18 to 27 inches are now pretty common for lure casters in the lower Potomac as are speckled trout in the 15-to-24-inch range.
Trollers targeting rockfish in the Potomac have done very well in the evenings on moving tides. The fish are concentrated on 20-to-30-foot edges from Swan Point to Port Tobacco. These fish are 20 to 28 inches and will soon start their fall migration toward Ragged Point, and then to the mouth of the Potomac on their way to the Ocean.
Spot is still all around for bottom fishermen as are white perch. Ragged Point in the Potomac and Hawk’s Nest in the Patuxent have plenty of spot and perch.
Bloodworms, the preferred bait for bottom fish, continue to be in short supply.
Hurricane Ida messed up conditions in Maine for three days of digging and the tides have not returned to normal lows. Substitutes for bloodworm are bits of squid, shrimp, nightcrawlers. Fishbites are a prepared bait, dried and hardened, that is an excellent substitute. The Lugworms are natural worms imported from Asia and measured out by weight. They are a great bait, but the supply chain has broken down and there have been inconsistent deliveries.