By Captain Jason Seman
The Marylander – Denton, MD
It’s no surprise to Marylanders, but time has been truly better spent on the Chesapeake Bay this summer. Live lining, light tackle, and chasing schools of hungry Striped Bass are how we spend our time as anglers in the summer sun. It is the fresh air and the sense of adventure in Maryland’s great outdoors that is allowing us to spend quality times with friends and family during this period of recovery
It is no secret, but July has always been one of our favorite months to fish and the Chesapeake Bay. It is a period in time that light tackle fishing becomes the most popular method to target Striped Bass regionally. Our bait of choice is “Spot”, a small baitfish that we typically catch using “blood worms” in shallow water. This migratory species is
often a favorite snack for hungry Striped Bass. These fish migrate up the Chesapeake Bay during the months of June & July and are welcomed by local anglers upon arrival.
Pairing this bait of choice with the appropriate sized circle hook and your favorite spinning reel can lead to a successful outing and harvest. As a point of conservation, we typically will not use Spot less than 5 inches in length or a 6/0 hook. We have found by using a larger baitfish and a larger hook size, we have reduced the amount of undersized Striped Bass that we encounter. This has not only lead to reduced physical contact with juvenile fish but allows us to target a legal size grade of Striped Bass.
Aboard The Marylander, we also do not practice catch and release with live or cut bait. A Striped Bass will typically swallow an entire spot whole and head first. When hooked, the circle hook design allows for it to typically hook the fish in the corner of the rockfish’s mouth, but there is still a chance that deeper hook sets can occur. It is this reason
that we try to limit our contact with fish we are not trying to harvest with live or cut bait.
Artificial lures, jigging, trolling, and topwater are a far better method of catch and release if desired in our opinion due to the nature of the shallow hook set. But when doing so, proper handling of the fish is required to ensure a healthy release. Using a proper “de-hooking tool” or releasing the fish by the mouth only gives the Striped Bass a far better chance of survival than touching the gills or the protective slime layer that encompasses their skin. Mitigation of exposure out of water in the summer heat must also be limited to reduce the risk of mortality when releasing the next generation of the fishery.
This season began with great uncertainty but our customers and followers support have given us an even deeper sense of motivation as our summer continues. We have been blessed by our harvests thus far and our customer’s willingness to book one of the best-kept secrets Maryland has to offer.
It is no secret though, that the Chesapeake Bay is our passion and we are privilege to have the opportunity to share it with our fishing friends aboard The Marylander. As we continue to pursue our next catch, we urge all anglers to operate with a sense of stewardship and appreciation for Maryland’s great outdoors. We also look forward to continuing to share our fishing and hunting adventures with you in the months ahead and our only wish is that the good times roll for all Americans alike.