Despite the wind and rain that lasted through the weekend fishermen found places to tuck in on the upper bay’s leeward coves and tidal rivers. The rain finally broke on Sunday and conditions are improving this week with warmer temperatures. Water temperatures in the upper bay have dropped to 58-degrees and a few degrees cooler in the tidal rivers.
Striped bass will be found by fishermen fishing below the Conowingo Dam this week by casting swim shad and crankbaits. The dam is releasing water once a day so fishermen need to be careful. Improving weather conditions and warm temperatures will bring fishermen out this week and they will begin to explore traditional locations from Pooles Island south to the Bay Bridge. Before the Northeaster, fishermen were finding good light tackle jigging under breaking fish or at deep structure where the fish are holding. Dillard Howell and Mark Haley enjoyed some good fishing while jigging bucktails near Pooles Island just before the blow.
The Patapsco River, although on the windward side of the bay during the blow had some sheltered areas where fishermen found some good jigging action for striped bass and white perch. That fishing should continue this week and conditions certainly will be a lot nicer. The Sandy Point Light and Podickory Point area will be a good location to check out this week for jigging and chumming striped bass. The Love Point area will also be a place to check for chumming or trolling. The Bay Bridge Piers and rock piles as well as the sewer pipe will certainly draw the attention of fishermen looking to jig up some striped bass or white perch and perhaps the last of the bluefish. Now that water temperatures are descending into the 50’s the bluefish will become less of a problem for fishermen using soft plastics while jigging or trolling. Keith Tiedemen holds up a nice white perch he caught recently in the upper bay.
Some diehard recreational crabbers went out looking for some of the heavy crabs that are moving out of the tidal rivers. Choppy waters and strong winds caused many crabbers to use collapsible crab traps and most did rather well with a ˝ bushel to full bushels caught in a few hours. The Elk River was a standout and the Gunpowder, Patapsco and Magothy offered good crabbing.
Middle Bay Region
Fishermen will be out searching for fish this week and evaluating the changes in fishing that last weekends Northeaster dealt. Water temperatures in the bay are down to around 57-degrees and the tidal rivers are running about 2 or 3-degrees cooler. Breaking fishing and diving birds were observed in numerous locations in the Choptank, Tred Avon, Severn and Miles Rivers over the weekend and the action continues today. Fishermen who are able to slip away from work have been into good striped bass fishing since the weather cleared on Monday. Casting and jigging to breaking fish has been the most popular method of fishing although some fishermen are trolling. The earliest reports speak of an absence of bluefish; so it is possible and about time that they started to head south; temperatures are in the middle 50’s which is a little chilly for bluefish.
There are some really nice striped bass being caught this week; although some pods of fish can contain a lot of small fish fishermen are finding striped bass up to 30” in size. Jigging with metal, bucktails or soft plastic jigs is usually the recipe for working schools of striped bass that are chasing bait. There always seems to be plenty of nice fish underneath the surface action.
Trolling is another option for fishermen who like their heavy tackle and warm cabin. Fishermen can now bring out their umbrella rigs that are rigged with sassy shads with a Storm type swimming shad as a trailer. Tandem bucktails with curly tails and spoons are popular items in a spread as are tandem Storm shads. Most fishermen are covering just below the surface to about 25’ deep to make sure they are covering all depths where fish may be found.
Fishing for white perch continues to be a good option in the lower sections of the tidal rivers on oyster lumps. Fishermen are either jigging with metal and a dropper fly or using bottom rigs and bloodworm. Recreational crabbers are still at it stocking up on heavy fall crabs in the lower sections of the regions tidal creeks and rivers.
Lower Bay/Tangier Sound Region:
The NOAA Buoy at the mouth of the Potomac is currently showing a water temperature of 59-degrees. Last weekend’s Northeaster has pushed us farther into a fall pattern of fishing; where striped bass and white perch will be the main targets. A couple of large striped bass over 36” have been reported recently and fishermen are anxious about the possible arrival of the large fall migrant striped bass that may or may not venture into Maryland waters in the next few weeks.
At present fishermen are enjoying catching striped bass up to 30” in size on a regular basis by jigging under breaking fish or where they are holding near deep structure such as steep channel edges and points. The western side of the shipping channel around the Gas Docks, Cedar Point and Point-No-Point has been popular places to find fish recently; as well as the mouth of the Potomac. Bluefish are quickly becoming less of a problem for fishermen who have some live spot saved up for live lining. The 30’ channel edge out in front of the Gas Docks has been one of the more popular places to live line this week.
Trolling is certainly an option this week and medium sized bucktails, Storm Shads and spoons will be in order and you can bet fishermen will be placing a couple of large parachutes in their spreads in hopes of a large fall migrant striped bass. Chumming is always popular this time of the year and boats continue to have good success at the rock piles north of Point Lookout, Buoy 72 and 72A as well as the Middle Grounds.
Fishermen in the Tangier Sound area are finding striped bass in the shallows along the marshes along with the last of the speckled trout. Breaking fish composed of various sizes of striped bass are being found throughout Tangier and Pocomoke Sounds. Some of the larger charter boats from Crisfield are now venturing over to the Southwest Middle Grounds for chumming striped bass.
Fishing for white perch has been good in the lower sections of the regions tidal rivers such as the Patuxent, Nanticoke, Wicomico and Pocomoke. The white perch are beginning to school up in deeper waters over oyster lumps and similar structure. Jigging with small jigs and a dropper fly has been a popular way to catch them as is bottom rigs baited with bloodworms. Recreational crabbers are doing well on heavy fall crabs in the regions tidal rivers and creeks. There are a lot of adult female crabs and smaller crabs but the large heavy male crabs make it all worth while.
Click here for information concerning harmful algae blooms
Click here to view recent bay satellite images at mddnr.chesapeakebay.net/NASAimagery/EyesInTheSky.cfm