Waterfowl blind site licensing dates and locations announced
When it’s nearly 100 degrees outside, it’s a great time to think about hunting, and it’s almost time for resident hunters to apply for a 2017-18 waterfowl blind site license.
Beginning Aug. 1, license applicants will be entered into a lottery for a chance to select their blind sites in Maryland. Each site license is assigned to a designated location in Maryland waters, where hunters can anchor their boats to hunt waterfowl.
From 7:30 a.m. to 8 a.m. Aug. 1, applications will be accepted at statewide locations, including the local sites listed below. Anyone arriving after 8 a.m. will not be eligible for the lottery.
The lottery will start at approximately 8:30 a.m. Once selected, applicants will have eight minutes to choose their blinds, with a maximum of two sites per day. Selections will end at 4:30 p.m. and resume the following day.
On Aug. 2, from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., licensing will be held at all regional service centers. Beginning Aug. 3, these locations will follow regular-business hours.
Citizens must present a 201617 or 2017-18 resident hunting license in order to participate in the process (landowners or individuals with written permission of a landowner, who desire to license their own property, are exempt from this requirement). Applicants must also present a driver’s license or other photo identification to verify identity and residency. Individuals under the age of 16 are exempt from this requirement. Landowners who would like to license their property should bring a copy of the property information (available online) and a tax map or other legible map showing the exact location of the shoreline to be licensed.
Preview maps of shoreline licensed by waterfront landowners are available on the Department of Natural Resources’ website and at these local sites:
Caroline County: Lottery held at Caroline County Public Library, 100 Market Street, Denton. Preview maps available there.
Talbot County: Lottery held at Easton Volunteer Fire Department, 315 Aurora Park Drive, Easton. Preview maps available at the Easton Branch of Talbot County Library (across from courthouse).
On Aug. 2, and thereafter, licenses for Caroline, Talbot, Kent, and Queen Anne’s counties will be issued at the Eastern Regional Service Center, 120 Broadway Ave., Room 207, Centreville.
Dorchester County: Lottery held at LeCompte Wildlife Management Area, 4220 Steele Neck Road, Vienna. Preview maps available there. Please call ahead to confirm the office is staffed 410-376-3236.
Large numbers of striped bass have moved into the upper Chesapeake Bay and chummers are catching them at Swan Point, Love Point, and Podickory Point. A good tactic is locating a school of fish suspended along channel edges and then chumming on top of them. Adding a few small chunks and working to get the chum down to the fish will produce fish. The largest fish are being caught on the bottom at the back end of the chum slicks.
Trolling remains a good option if lures are far enough down to get where the fish are holding. Bucktails dressed with sassy shads or twister tails are a good option as are surgical tube lures and parachutes behind inline weights. Jigging can be productive when a good concentration of fish are spotted suspended under breaking fish or just holding on a channel edge.
White perch fishing on some of the knolls and shoal areas out in the upper bay have been good for anglers fishing with bottom rigs and bait. The tidal rivers and places like Kent Narrows also offer fishing opportunities for white perch.
In the mid-Chesapeake, the outside edge of the Hill, the Clay Banks, and the Diamonds are good places to look for stripers. Bluefish should start to filter into the middle bay shortly and will provide additional fishing action. There is some bait in the form of bay anchovies moving about and two- and three-year-old rockfish have been working them over. Dropping down some live spot can pay off with some legal-size fish.
The shallow water action at dawn continues to offer some exciting topwater fishing action. Prominent points, submerged breakwaters, and the rocks along Poplar Island are good places to check. Poppers and Zara Spooks are good choices with interior rattles a sound attraction.
Farther south, large red drum are becoming more common near the Target Ship and Middle Grounds. The shallow water action for a mix of speckled trout, striped bass, and bluefish continues to be good in the Tangier and Pocomoke Sound areas along marsh edges and creeks. Casting Gulp and Bass Assassin soft plastics in white and pearl have been some of the best options. During the early morning hours, Zara Spooks and poppers have been a good choice. Drifting soft crab baits or peeler crab is also a great way to target speckled trout.
The bottom fishing action in the lower bay has really hit high gear in the past week or so with the arrival of large spot to add to an increasing numbers of croaker.
At the ocean, summer is in full swing and a variety of summer species are presenting good fishing opportunities. In the surf, a mix of kingfish, croaker, flounder, and blowfish are biting. The kingfish prefer bloodworms, but squid will work well for croaker, flounder, and blowfish. Fishing with larger baits can entice sting rays and inshore sharks.
The inshore and offshore wreck and reef sites have been offering good sea bass fishing with a healthy addition of flounder to the mix. Chunking at some of the 30-fathom-line hot spots, such as the Sausages, Hot Dog ,and Hambone has been good for a mix of yellowfin and bluefin tuna. Trolling is another option with rigged ballyhoo a popular offering. Dolphin-fish, bigeye tuna, and white marlin round out the offshore mix.