Black Drum Bite Is on in Lower Bay

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), May 8, 2008 | Go to article overview

Black Drum Bite Is on in Lower Bay


Byline: Gene Mueller, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

In the lower Chesapeake Bay, private and charter fishing boats are gathering around buoys 13, 16 and 36A to drop weighted bottom rigs into the water that have sea clam or crab baits pierced onto 7/0 hooks. The anglers are drawing strikes from broad-backed, roly-poly bottom feeders known as black drum - and they're getting them. Not only are the tasty drumfish taken in the Bay, but some of these heavyweights are eagerly sucking in bait offerings on the sea side of Virginia's lower Eastern Shore, especially in the Fisherman's Island inlet.

Virginia Beach super angler Ken Neill has been fishing around the Eastern Shore's barrier islands and either caught or watched friends catch black drum and numbers of red drum (redfish, channel bass). Neill and wife Tricia also visited Buoy 13 in the Bay, where the duo caught and released three black drum in short order, including one that measured 50 inches in length.

If all goes right, the black drum schools should arrive in Maryland waters in a couple of weeks, particularly the Stone Rock and Sharps Island Light sector of the middle Chesapeake.

Virginia trophy striper season - While Maryland's trophy striper season shuts down after Tuesday, the Virginia trophy season in its portion of the Chesapeake and all the tributaries is under way through June 15, but in the Atlantic it is open only through May 15, which also applies to the tidal Potomac River. Be sure to observe a 32-inch minimum size everywhere except for the Potomac River tributaries, where a 33-inch minimum size is in effect. One trophy fish is allowed per person a day. For more information go to mrc.virginia.gov.

Maryland rockfish doing well - It appears trophy-size rockfish cooperate better in the lower Maryland portions of the Chesapeake than in the upper parts. Large stripers, some in excess of 40 inches, have been taken from the Potomac River's St. George's Island downstream to and around the corner of Point Lookout and also across in some of the deeper pockets along the Middlegrounds and up toward the Patuxent River area.

The upper Bay's trollers find some large rockfish, but reports say catches are sometimes hard to come by. I'll be charter fishing out of Kent Island today to see first-hand how good or bad it is. …

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