Just five days into the coveted cobia season, there are already whispers of successful hauls and numerous sightings across the region, particularly stretching from Smith Point to the mouth of the Potomac River, with a higher concentration south of Smith Point near Tangier.

While the bay temperature is only marginally above the ten-year low record, a forecasted spike to 79 degrees in the upcoming ten days will significantly boost the comfort level for cobia.

Enthusiasts pursuing cobia have been setting up chum lines using chum blocks or tubes and luring the fish with live eels. Known for their predilection for eels, cobia are also partial to chunks of fresh-cut bait or live spot. Some fishermen opt for a more active approach, cruising the waters in search of the fish which prefer to swim just beneath the surface. Upon spotting cobia, fishermen present their live eels, spot, or lures.

Adequate bait isn’t scarce this season. Spot, alewife, and other bait fish are in high supply in our bay section, which should expedite the arrival of cobia and bluefish.

Stripers, commonly known as rockfish, are dispersed throughout the bay and rivers. Local guides who ply the Honga shallow waters and Tangier Sound’s backwaters have reported promising catches. Similarly, the Point Lookout Bar has seen productive fishing. Both the Potomac and Patuxent Rivers have also been rewarding for trolling enthusiasts this week.

The region’s bottom fishermen enjoy a rich harvest of spot and perch.

Meanwhile, south of our location, trout are abundant and appear to be migrating northward. They’ve already made it to the Honga River and the mouth of the Potomac.

A noticeable presence of skate, also known as cow-nosed rays, is reported in deep and shallow areas. Though they’re seen as a nuisance when caught instead of the targeted cobia, the skates effectively test the quality of one’s fishing tackle.

Reports are also coming in of excellent bass, bluegill, pickerel, and crappie catches in freshwater ponds and at St. Mary’s Lake. In addition, catfish are making a substantial showing up in the rivers, taking refuge from the salty waters of the bay.

Lastly, crab enthusiasts are reporting bountiful hauls from crab pots off waterfront docks and by those using trotlines and chicken necks.

In conclusion, while the bay’s temperature might not be ideal currently, the fishing forecast for the season remains promising, with various species showing favorable activity. With an increase in temperatures expected in the next ten days, the cobia season could see a significant upswing, making this a season to watch for both casual and professional fishermen.

Ken Lamb of St. Mary’s Tacklebox provided information for this article.

David M. Higgins II is an award-winning journalist passionate about uncovering the truth and telling compelling stories. Born in Baltimore and raised in Southern Maryland, he has lived in several East...

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