Fishing for striped bass in the lower Susquehanna River below the Conowingo Dam continues to draw the attention of local fishermen in the early morning hours. Most fishermen are casting swim shad or crankbait type lures but some enterprising fishermen are drifting live eels or small gizzard shad with good results. The best action tends to be early in the morning and tapers off as the sun rises in the sky.
White perch are schooling up along deep channel edges that lead towards the mouth of the Susquehanna and Elk Rivers. Bottom rigs baited with bloodworms or grass shrimp have been the most common to catch them. All of the regions tidal rivers have populations of white perch that are schooling up at the deeper holes located near the mouths of those rivers.
School sized striped bass continue to be found deep near the mouths of the regionís tidal rivers such as the Patapsco, Magothy and Chester Rivers. Most fishermen are marking them on their depth finders and jigging or trolling deep. Metal and soft plastic jig are being used and those trolling bucktails, parachutes and spoons are using planers and inline weights to get down deep. Water temperatures are dropping into the low 50ís and the activity levels of school striped bass are beginning to slow down and often fish are being described as having lockjaw. Often it takes a change of the tide to spur fish into feeding.
Shore based fishermen are having some luck from prominent points and piers. Most are fishing with cut menhaden baits on bottom rigs but at locations such as the Kent Narrows casting jigs up current and bouncing them along in the current has been productive.
Middle Bay Region
Fishermen were out in force over the weekend hoping for a repeat of the success that had last weekend. For many it was not to be and it was not for trying. There were large fleets of boats trolling the traditional locations along the shipping channel such as the Bloody Point area, Buoys 83, 78 and the western edge of the shipping channel below Breezy Point. Some large striped bass were caught by fishermen trolling large parachutes, Storm shads, buck tails and spoons deep behind planers and inline weights; umbrella rigs have also been popular. Alicia Main caught this fine looking fish while trolling an umbrella rig near Buoy 86 with friends.
There are school sized striped bass out in the bay and in the mouths of the tidal rivers but they also have not been the most cooperative for fishermen that have been light tackle jigging or trolling. Most of the time they are holding deep now and fishermen are trying to mark them with their depth recorders; which can be a difficult proposition at times. White perch and gizzard shad are also schooling up deep where tidal rivers dump into the bayís waters and they are not likely to bite on buck tails being trolled or large jigs. Fishermen are also reporting that striped bass that are holding over deep structure can change their feeding activities on the change of a tide. Water temperatures are dipping into the low 50ís this week so the game is not going to get any easier. Larger fall migrant striped bass can tolerate colder waters so there is hope that fishing for these fish will pick up this weekends slump.
Lower Bay/Tangier Sound Region:
Fishermen have been trolling along the edges of the shipping channel in search of the large fall migrant striped bass that have moved into the area. Most of the action has been centered around traditional locations on the steeper edges of the shipping channel; Cove Point, Hooperís Island Light, Buoy 72 and 72A and the channel edges at the mouth of the Potomac River. Large parachutes, bucktails and Storm shads behind umbrella rigs or in tandem are popular but spoons such as a Crippled Alewife are a good option also. Planers will get tandem rigged parachutes and bucktails down to the depths where the fishing are holding; but inline weights will have to be used for umbrella rigs.
School sized striped bass are still being caught by fishermen trolling medium sized bucktails and spoons and by light tackle jigging over fish suspended along channel edges and similar structure. Some of the channel areas such as the Hooper Island Straits and the channel edges at the mouth of the Potomac and the western side of the shipping channel have also been holding striped bass under 28Ē in size.
Fisheries Service biologists recently surveyed the Tangier Reef which is an 86 acre site located near the Fox Island Buoy. The center point coordinates of this triangle shaped reef are 37-degrees, 55-minutes, 22-seconds north/ 075-degrees, 56-minutes, 67-seconds west. The reef is constructed of concrete rubble from the old Woodrow Wilson Bridge. Biologists found marine live on the rubble that included colonizing organisms and fish such as juvenile sea bass and this tautog held by David Crump.
White perch continue to be found holding in some of the deeper holes and channel areas at the mouths of the regionís tidal rivers. The mouth of the Patuxent, Nanticoke and Pocomoke Rivers have been particularly good places to find white perch holding. Bottom rigs baited with pieces of bloodworms or grass shrimp have been the baits of choice.
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