Wild Chesapeake: Record Ocean City Payout

Fishing and hunting guide Captain Chris Dollar brings up-to-date sporting life insight to the Bay Bulletin. Check in weekly to see what’s happening out there.

It was a hit-or-miss week for your intrepid outdoors correspondent. We did well in the shallows of Eastern Bay and lower Chester, chucking topwater Smack-it Jrs. with a Clouser-style fly trailer of about three inches. It worked best on the incoming tide. The jigging bite over structure on the day however did not work so well. All I brought to hand were some schoolies up to 18 inches. Anglers fishing the Choptank to the South River and points north report similar success on the surface casting MirroLures, Rapala X-Raps or similar plugs. Try Poplar Island, Sharp’s Island or Thomas Point just before first light.

William “Bunk” Stansbury caught this 45-inch, 50-pound black drum at the mouth of the Magothy River. It broke his net. (Courtesy of William Stansbury)

Sticking with the upper Bay, I’ve heard of three black drum caught recently just inside Eastern Bay, on near the Magothy, and just inside the Chester.  Peeler crabs seem to be the ticket. Fans of eating-sized white perch and spot are catching all they want on bloodworms on live bottom areas at the mouth and inside in the West, South, and Magothy rivers. The lumps lining the channel to the Patapsco River continue to give up as many flathead and channel catfish you’d want. They’ll hit bloodworms, clams, and cut bait.

More Spanish mackerel are around, with better numbers below the Patuxent River, especially between Point Lookout and Point No Point. Light tackle anglers are also finding them in Eastern Bay and near the mouth of the Miles River. Trolling spoons is usually effective to locate and catch these fast swimmers, but they will hit hammered spoons thrown on light tackle as well. There are red drum in the mix, too, but not in Eastern Bay. 

The croakers are on Virginia’s seaside oyster bars now. Puppy drum and speckled trout are biting on suspended baits or swim baits in the lower Bay inlets, and more have moved into the Piankatank and Mobjack Bay. Spadefish and sheepshead are still holding around rocks and bridge pilings, and the cobia and bull drum bite is still happening in open waters.

A friend posted a photo of a largemouth bass caught in a crab trap in a local saltwater creek near Point Lookout just inside the Potomac. That gives you an idea of just how low salinity levels are this summer.

It was a photo finish in the White Marlin Open that ended last Friday. Pascual Jimenez from Puerto Aventuras, Mexico and the Weldor’s Ark crew out of Morehead City eked out a win over Gregory Giron and Virginia Beach’s Underdog team. Both anglers weighed in 83-pound white marlins, with Jimenez checking his in on the final day. Yet, because the Underdog crew gaffed their marlin and the Weldor’s Ark crew did not, Weldor’s Ark’s was declared the winner per the tournament’s unique rule. In most other tournaments, the earlier fish would have gotten the nod. The purse was a world-record $2,584,260, while Giron took home $129,784 and Lights Out from Ocean Reef, FL placed third winning $85,804 for the 75-pounder caught by Bill Haugland of Coconut Grove. The $5.45 million-dollar purse was the most ever paid in any fishing tournament.