Fishermen in the upper bay region have been encountering breaking fish and diving sea gulls in the general area from Hart-Miller Island/ Rock Hall south to the Bay Bridge. Light tackle enthusiasts report that the action can often be fast and furious but not something that can be always counted on every time you leave port. Most fishermen bring a good pair of binoculars and scan the horizon for diving birds to lead them to the fish. The schoolie sized striped bass are generally running from 18” to 30” in size with most falling in the 22” to 26” size range; heavy shouldered and fat. A number of fishermen have been reporting that the action seems to be better in the evening rather than mornings but this may be a factor of tide rather than sunlight. A good running tide is always an important factor in successful striped bass fishing in the bay. Casting bucktails and soft plastic jigs or jigging deep with metal jigs have been the most successful methods this week for light tackle fishermen.
Trolling will continue to be very popular this week for school sized striped bass and the large fall migrants that have worked their way into the upper bay region. White umbrellas, daisy chains and white bucktails, parachutes or Storm shads have been reported to be the most productive color this week. Water clarity conditions are good so it would make sense that white would be a stand out; cloudy water conditions often lend themselves to chartreuse being the more productive color. Fishermen have been trolling large parachutes and bucktails for the big fish and medium sized offerings for the smaller fish less than 28” in length. Channel edges in the bay and at the mouths of many of the tidal rivers have been productive areas for school sized striped bass and the deeper areas of the shipping channel for the large fall migrant fish. Lenny Herd Jr. caught this nice 45” whopper while trolling near the Dumping Grounds recently.
The mouth of the tidal Patapsco/ Gunpowder area, the Chester River and the Magothy River have been good places to look for school sized striped bass lately and the action should continue this week. Fishermen report that the action has been running “Hot and Cold” but is certainly worth the effort to check out. White perch are schooling up in some of the deeper holes near the mouths of many of the tidal rivers and can be caught on bottom rigs baited with bloodworms.
Mid Bay Region:
Hopefully this week fishermen in the middle bay region will get a break from strong westerly winds that made for some tough fishing conditions earlier. Boats coming out of ports on the western side of the bay were at an advantage being able to catch a bit of a lee. Trolling for the large fall migrant striped bass that have moved into the region has been taking center stage for many fishermen who are prepared for trolling multiple rod set ups with large parachutes and bucktails. The action is spread from the Bay Bridge south with most of the traditional locations that produce for fishermen in the spring doing the same this week. The shipping channel is the super highway for these large fish as they move up and down the bay looking for menhaden. Most fishermen are reporting that white parachutes and bucktails have had an advantage over other colors this week whether they are rigged behind an umbrella, daisy chain or rigged as a single or tandem set up. Brandon Hayden was trolling a single parachute in 80’ of water in the shipping channel when he caught this 48” fish.
Fishermen are also trolling near the mouth of the Choptank and tidal rivers on the western shore for striped bass under 28” with medium sized bucktails and parachutes; usually deep. There are plenty of fish around and they are not always thick enough for jigging so trolling has been a very effective method for catching a limit of striped bass. Breaking fish and diving sea gulls has been occurring periodically throughout the region this week but it has been nothing one can count on. One day the action is nonstop and the next it is nonexistent. Fishermen who are looking to bring home fish would be advised to be prepared for both trolling as well as jigging.
White perch are now schooling up in some of the deeper holes in the tidal rivers and can offer a great alternative for fishermen looking to fill up some empty space in their freezers. A simple two hook bottom rig baited with bloodworms will usually do the trick. A number of fishermen reported that many of the white perch they caught this past weekend where over 10” in length.
Lower Bay/Tangier Sound Region:
The lid blew off the large striped bass fishery this past weekend and fishermen report that the action continues to improve. More than a few boats reported limiting out in less than an hour and a number of boats fishing in the MSSA Tournament this past weekend reporting releasing over 60 fish. So Far this fall run of large striped bass has been one beyond anyone’s expectations. Boats are trolling the usually haunts along the edges of the shipping channel on both the western and eastern edges. Due to strong westerly winds many boats hugged the lee side of the bay and the lower Potomac River Saturday and Tuesday as much as possible.
Large white parachutes and bucktails have been the order of the day this week in the bay and chartreuse has been the color of choice in the lower Potomac. Fishermen report that umbrellas and daisy chains have been effective as well as single and tandem rigged parachutes and bucktails. JJ’s Tackle at the Solomon charter dock reports that they have been busy filling out citations for striped bass over 40” and sent this picture of Wayne Vlands with a 48-1/2” whopper at the dock scales.
More than a few fishermen have been finding shelter from recent strong winds by trolling in the lower Patuxent and Potomac Rivers as well as the western side of the bay near Cove Point to Point-No-Point for school sized striped bass under 28” in size. Medium sized bucktails and parachutes behind umbrella rigs have been working well with inline weights. The fish are typical late season fish with heavy shoulders and bellies stuffed with small menhaden.
Fishermen have also been finding breaking fish from time to time in the lower bay and Tangier Sound regions and casting or jigging to them. The channel areas of Tangier Sound have been productive and fishermen are also trolling in that area with good success for school sized striped bass. Keeping a close eye on ones depth finder near steep channel edges during a good running tide has also been productive for fishermen when striped bass are balling up bait deep below the surface.
White perch are providing good fishing in many of the regions tidal rivers now that colder water has the perch schooling up in some of the deeper holes in the lower sections of the rivers. A two hook bottom rig baited with bloodworms has been an effective way to catch some large white perch for the freezer.
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