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Best bait for weakfish (Choptank)

11065 Views 19 Replies 12 Participants Last post by  Manayunk Jake
For last two years, I have caught a lot of nice size fishes, striper, blue, cat, perch, spot, croaker and ray. But I never catch any of weakfish over 8 inch at Choptank fishing pier. So, now I really want to taste fighting with one nice size weakfish. Could you any one give me any tip for catching them? Probably, weakfish has its own preference.
I'd appreciat for any tip.

Thank you,
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Well, the basic standby bait for "spike trout" (little guys) is squid. Most of them will bite it.

But there are better baits. Peeler crabs are probably hands-down the best bait there is. Some people also fish strips of chicken breast (seriously) soaked in something called shedder oil. Some of the board members refer to it as "Perdue peelers." You can do the same thing with squid.

Finally, out in the ocean people will liveline small fish like spot for the tiderunners, which is a colloquial term for giant trout.

Good luck and good fishing!
All of the baits already discussed will work, but small jigs are best in my opinion. I spend a lot of time targetting weakies, they are very high up on my species list. They are extremely aggressive and will absolutely pound small bucktails tipped with firetail jelly worms, fins, bass assasins, storm wildeyes, or spec rigs. Use the lightest jig you can that will still get you down to where the fish are.

If you do opt to use bait, peelers are the best bet. Most people use bucktail teasers on their hooks. Chicken in peeler oil is a great bait, but works best in early spring before the first crab molt. Once the water warms, the trout will not take it as eagerly. If you are after a true tiderunner, small live spot are a great bait, but don't expect much action. You won't get as many fish, the ones you do get will be big.
At choptank, I have had the best luck with just cut spot or cut bunker. I have tried the live spot at night at choptank and only caught stripers. You may get lucky and catch a nice trout on them. It seems that the trout hits only what's around. I haven't tried purdue peelers and that may work. It just seems that cut spot or bunker will catch everything that is around. I have used artificials with much success for trout, but never at choptank. Hope this helps.
Sand Flea gave you some excellent advice on different baits to use. Trout that enter the bay and eventually the tributaries such as the Choptank are mainly feeding on small fish called Silver Sides. They resemble a sardine in both size and color. Knowing this you want to present a bait the represents them. In "cut" bait we have squid strips and chicken strips. In artificials we have bucktails, Hopkin's and Clark spoons and Sting Silvers which are jigged. To these artificials we add squid and chicken strips, and rubber/plastic tails. Also Bass Assassins (BA) are very effective. Each of these baits whether they be cut bait or artificials look like Silver Sides. OK, that's a third of the puzzle. Another third is to give the bait movement. The best way is to jig and this technique takes some getting used to. There's no need for long casts here. When using squid or chicken I use a 3-way swivel. Attach your line to one eye. On another eye attach your sinker via a 12" piece of leader. On the remaining eye attach your hook via a 36" piece of leader. Cast out 25 or 30 yds. and let the sinker hit bottom. Take in all the slack and with your rod at the 3 o'clock position raise it slowly to the 11 o'clock position and immediately return your rod to the 3 o'clock position. Now here's the important part. When returning your rod to the 3 o'clock position take in the slack as you lower the rod. This is when most of the bites happen and you need direct contact between your rod tip and the bait to feel the bite.. Any slack and you won't feel it You can fish the artificials the same way. This technique isn't for the lazy guy who wants to just throw it out there and sit back and wait. Sure he's going to catch fish - those 10" trout that you were talking about. And he may catch more fish than you - a bucket full of those 10" trout. The fish that you are targeting will be quality fish and probably not as many. I'd much rather have 4 or 5 trout that are 18" +. The final third of the puzzle is horizontal water movement other wise know as current. Fish both sides of the high tide with the out going being the best. If the tide is slack (dead high or dead low) you're not going to catch fish, it's that simple. Bring these three pieces of the puzzle together and your days of catching 10" trout will be over. The only variable you have is which type of bait is the most productive. This you will have to experiment with. The other two pieces remain constant. Hope this helps out and good luck.

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I have actually caught a few nice trout at choptank off of BLOODWORMS:eek: I have never really targeted trout there but when fishing for spot to liveline have caught a few nice ones. I actually caught one off of a small 6" striper. No I didn't use the striper for bait illegally. I caught a small one and pulled it in off of cut bait but as i was reeling it in I had a big run on my liveliner so I set it down and proceeded to catch me a nice striper on my livelining pole. When I came back to reel in my other pole a nice 18" trout had gobbled him up! Now we know who is really on top of the food chain out there.:jawdrop:
The problem is we don't get many trout (weakfish) that far up the river... especially in a year like this where we have had lots of rain to lower the salinity of the river. It just isn't a consistent fishery for trout in Cambridge section of the river. The trout prefer deeper and higher salinity waters, like those found in the river's mouth or in the main bay (trout will spawn in shallower waters of the main bay in the spring then are a deeper water fish). You don't see many trout in the rivers except for fall, then they're after spot.

By far, best bait would be fresh crab, then fresh spot. Small squid pennants are productive when trout key into smaller bait fish like glass minnows (silversides). Bloodworms can also be productive. I wouldn't rack your brain out on trying to catch trout from the Choptank pier because it takes some special circumstances from Mother Nature to make it happen on any remotely consistent basis. Just drown some crab, fish at night, and if there happen to be any keeper size trout, hopefully they'll eat it.

It you really would like keeper trout, you'd stand a much better chance fishing RT 50 bridge at night in OC, near east channel draw, the last of the incoming tide to beginning of ebb, from mid-May until mid-July, double 4" Fin-S jigs (or spec jigs), or Gotchas.
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Livelining spot

I have seen nice weakfish caught at choptank on livelined spot.
Greetings All!

The best trout (weakie) fishing on the bridge/pier is in the Fall, and I've seen just about everything mentioned catch good fish. Unfortunately, some nights the fish are picky, prefering peelers and/or bloodworms, over cut spot or squid. I try to bring a smorgasboard.

Yo catman! Thin strips, huh? Maybe that's why I don't catch as many trout as I should -- I'm always using steaks or fillets from fresh spot. I may try bucktailing this year, while waiting for the liveliner to start singing....
Cut Spot is the best bait;Peelers are good if you can keep the Perch and Croakers off of them.My top secret is using 3-4inch soft plastics on 1/4-3/8oz jigheads.You can catch Stripers,Flounder,and Trout at the Tank on 3" plastic minnows on a 1/4-3/8oz jighead;it caught all them last fall.
Wow! all of your suggestion and advise are really great to me!!!
I will try livelineing. And where do you buy peeler? Chesapeake Angler? If you know better shop, please let me know. Sometime Chesapeake angler (39 exit on rt 50 ??) they only have frozen one. Does frozen one work too?

Thank you all! :)
cut spot or croaker blood wrmz fall is the best :cool:

Anglers is before the bridge but I don't recommend going there. There is a baitshop not even a mile past the choptank bridge. It is called tommy's tackle. It is on the left hand side after you cross the bridge. Just look for a red colored banner around a small building and he is the last shop in the back. He's open 6 am - 8 pm except on Sunday 6 am - 10 am and 12:30pm - 4:00 pm
and Wed 6 am - 6 pm

Give him a call (410) 228-3658

They sell live peelers there and I think they are better fresh.;) JMHO
Thank you, FL FISHERMAN!!
NO Problem!:)
Greetings All!

Someone said earlier in the year that Tommy's was closed for good. Hopefully its not true, but you can also get fresh spot to get you started fishing at Kool's Ice & Fish Market (behind Olde English's in Cambridge.) They also sell crab aprons which work great for cats.

There's also Shore Sportsman on RT 50 E in Easton Md. Bait there is great some days and shabby others, but I usually pick up some bloodies and a couple of shedders there just in case Tommy's is out.
Thats what I thought

But they temporarily closed down and moved to another building 1 block away. I confirmed this about a month ago the last time I went to the choptank.:)
So now is not the time to fish for trout,wait till the fall. Has anyone caught or have seen any being caught so far. TRIGGER
Trigger, reports from the tank have said only a very few trout were caught. That was a couple weeks ago so I hope by the cleanup we will be ok. Anyone have a recent report from the tank?
Greetings All!

MD DNR report this week: "Bloodworms, peelers, and bait shrimp picked up some spot and croakers at the Severn River Bridge, Choptank Pier, and Matapeake Pier." If you read the report for the middle bay, they go on to say no weakfish (trout) reported. That includes boat fishermen. Could be the low salinity, a shortage of weakfish (NJ is suffering, too) or both. Hopefully the trout will invade the Choptank this Fall when salinity levels rise. One bad sign is the lack of trout at Stone Rock and the Choptank Buoy. Last year the mouth of the 'Tank was filled with trout and croakers. No weakie catches were reported in the Lower Bay, which makes me think the fish are scarce so far this season. (They were catching some weaks last month near the 72A Buoy, but I haven't read any good reports since.) Another problem could be that fishermen are concentrating on the plentiful rock and croakers in the Lower Bay, ignoring the harder to catch trout. Hoping that's the case, but I'm thinking weakies/trout may be in a downward cycle.
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