Wild Chesapeake: Bluewater Picks and a New Bay Catfish Record

Fishing may not be firing on all cylinders, but it’s pretty darn close, even if tough weather Sunday and Monday made us pump the brakes. From yellowfin and cobia to catfish and brown trout, you have options, people. Lots of options.

Jen Garmer, left, with Capt. Karl Roscher. Photo courtesy of Capt. Roscher

Offshore action gets better daily, at least when Mother Nature permits the fleet to sail. On Saturday, Jen Garmer landed a 50-pound yellowfin tuna while fishing with Capt. Karl Roscher on the charter boat Hurricane out of Fisherman’s Marina in West Ocean City. They trolled ballyhoo on spreader bars at the Poorman’s Canyon where they found bluefins to 30 pounds mixed in with the yellowfins. Last Friday, I heard there was an awesome bigeye tuna bite over the Wilmington Canyon just off the continental shelf west of Delaware Bay. I’m not sure if that’s where Captain Mark Hoos on the charter boat MARLI put Rob Coughlin and his crew on 12 bigeye tunas and one nice gaffer dolphin, but that’s a great day fishing the bluewater. 

Cobia Mania has taken over in Virginia where chummers and sight fishermen are doing well on the shoals at the mouth of the Bay. Jack Normand logged a 70-pound cobia at Long Bay Pointe Marina. Interestingly, the big red drum are also still concentrated in the same areas. You can’t lose.

Bluefish, flounder, spadefish, Spanish mackerel and other summer visitors are coming on strong in Virginia. Ocean’s East Tackle shop checked in an eight-pound, 13-ounce doormat caught at the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel (CBBT). Spadefish up to five pounds are hanging around the Chesapeake Light Tower and other coastal wrecks. Looking for sheepshead? Try the CBBT. It’s a fish magnet. (Andrew Truitt from Girdletree, MD caught a monster sheepshead in the OC inlet over the weekend on a peeler crab bait. The big sheep was 27-inches long and weighed 15 pounds!)

Maryland DNR confirmed that Brian Dvorak of North East, MD broke the white catfish Chesapeake division record with a 9.6-pounder off Turkey Point near the mouth of the Elk River. Dvorak was fishing oh-dark-thirty on June 3 when he struck white gold, besting the previous record of 8.27 pounds set in 2017. Catfishing is good to excellent in the tidal Chester, Susquehanna and other rivers. Fresh cut bait on a 3/0 to 6/0 hook under a float is a good choice.

If freshwater is your game, try for brown trout in the Gunpowder.

Crabbing is improving for trot-liners using razor clams—chicken necks; not so much.

-Captain Chris D. Dollar