We're deep into August and the sands of summertime are running out, but it's still not too late to squeeze in a quality saltwater fishing trip before the leaves start to fall. Whether or not your angling preferences lean toward the Chesapeake, the Delaware Bay or the mighty Atlantic, now is a great time to enjoy some quality saltwater action on rod and reel.
If your fishing passions favor striped bass, the Chesapeake Bay is the hot ticket right now. Fishing's been so productive there that Captain Mark Hall called me from his boat "Gone Fishin'" on Monday while in quest of beefy rockfish out of Rock Hall, Md., to file his report.
"Fishing for rockfish has been pretty good," he affirmed. "We've been getting our limits on big stripers running anywhere from 18 to 36 inches and more. We've already boated two nice keepers this morning. One went 37 inches, the other 34. We caught a 40-incher the other day that went 26 pounds. We're trolling for the most part right now since the chumming action has been a little bit slow."
But angling action in the upper Chesapeake is not limited to striped bass.
"We also have a lot of bluefish around in the two- to three-pound class," Hall notes. "Bottom fishing has been very good as well with a lot of action on perch and spot. So far we've been catching a lot of little undersized croakers with just a few legal ones along the way, but croaker fishing should be picking up."
When a captain named Hall targets striped bass, a species also called rockfish or rock for short, out of a place called Rock Hall, the fishing planets must surely be auspiciously aligned.
Hall had to cut his report short, noting, "Got to go now - we've got another nice striper on." One nice thing about a trip out of Rock Hall is its proximity to our corner of Pennsylvania, just a short drive away.
For more information on Chesapeake striper fishing or to book a trip, you can contact the Gone Fishin' at 410-708-4794 or 610-633-7535.
Another convenient angling destination for fishermen from our neck of Penn's Woods is Fortescue, N.J. Currently, this is the place to go to load up on feisty bluefish. According to Cliff Higbee of Higbee's Marina, anglers can catch all the bluefish they want right now.
"Action on bluefish has been steady with blues being our mainstay this summer. Guys who focus on blues can count on getting their 15-fish limit pretty much every day," said Higbee. "Here on the Fortescue side of the Delaware Bay, croaker fishing has really started to pick up. Flounder fishing has also been pretty steady with a ratio of ten-to-one throwbacks to keepers (18 inches). Flounder season goes out Sept. 7, but now we're starting our weakfish run."
Fortescue has long been known as the weakfish capital of the world, and although the stock has been down since the good old days, things could be bouncing back.
"Right now we're seeing a lot of undersized weakfish with a few keepers (13 inches) mixed in," noted Higbee. "All the signs are good that we'll get a nice run on weakies for a few more weeks before they move out of the bay. As I said, croakers started really coming on this weekend, and the white perch fishing in the back creeks around Fortescue has been phenomenal - the best I've ever seen - with some very nice sized perch."
For more information on fishing the Fortescue scene, check their website at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you're in the market for fluking or sharking, you might want to head toward the Atlantic Ocean. According to Captain Dick Herb of Escapade Charters out of Avalon, N.J., the hottest angling action in those waters is on two species of fish right now - summer flounder and brown sharks.
"There are still plenty of big flounder in the back bays," said Herb. "From the lower end of the bay out through the inlet and onto the offshore reefs, we're finding plenty of fluke. The bigger flounder are still hanging in the inlet. Brown shark fishing is getting hot about eight miles offshore. The water is still not real warm, about 68 degrees or so, so they're a little farther out than most years at this time, but the action is really good."
Fishermen who visit the south Jersey coast are not limited to flounder and brown shark, however. "Croakers are starting to come in now in pretty good numbers," added Herb, "and for people who head farther offshore, tuna have been real good this year - although the fuel cost is a problem, so tuna trips are pricey. Tog fishing is also very good, but the prospects are excellent with a one-fish limit per day. I've never seen tog fishing so good. We can usually pick up a few togs while fishing for flounder. There are also black sea bass around."
But Captain Herb still believes that fluke are the best bet for the time being. "If you're looking at inshore action, flounder are still good and should stay that way until the season closes on Sept. 7. We had a phenomenal day in the inlet this weekend, and we expect the action to continue right through the end of the season here."
For more information on Escapade Charters and updated reports on ocean fishing, you can contact Herb at 609-9678-0779.