Cooler water temperatures in the lower Susquehanna River and upper bay have caused the fishing for striped bass in the area to greatly improve recently. Water temperatures are holding around 64-degrees and striped bass are very active. David Beach sent in a report that he has been doing very well by casting swimming shad type lures from shore and catching some nice striped bass as evidenced by this nice pair.
Seth McCauley also sent in some pictures and a report from the flats area about early morning success on striped bass. We went out to the same location the weekend before (9/27/09) and maxed out with 2 18 inches and 2 22inches in 90 minutes. You have to be early, starting 6:00am and move east out of the channel until you see the grass. Stop on the outskirts of the grass and throw the rattle trap but reel quickly to keep in on the top of the water and out of the grass on the bottom. Use a med. to large rattle trap or you will get small rockfish. They stop feeding around 9:00am.
Farther down the bay fishermen are finding a mix of striped bass and bluefish chasing bait from Pooles Island south to the Bay Bridge. Many of the striped bass are undersized but there are plenty of nice fish being caught; some as long as 30 or more. Most fishermen are jigging under breaking fish or deep fish that are being marked on depth finders. Others are trolling deep with spoons or bucktails or bottom bouncing. No one spot seems to be better than any other so fishermen are checking on all the popular locations where strong currents sweep bait near deep structure such as steep channel edges. Depending on time of day and tide, boats can seen grouped up at the Patapsco River, 6,7, and 9 Knolls, Belvedere Shoals, Podickory Point, Love Point and the Sewer Pipe. Jeff Dortch sent in a report that he was part of the fleet of boats that were working the area near Podickory Point on Sunday and sent in this short report and photo of his son with a nice striped bass. This is a picture I took of my son, Jacob Dortch (age 14) with a rockfish he caught on Sunday, launching out of Sandy Point. He caught two 24 rockfish, and I caught one 19 rock and a 15 bluefish. It was a bit of a drive from our home in Carlisle, PA but the nice weather and fish made it worthwhile.
The Bay Bridge Piers and Rock Piles are always a go to place for fishermen this time of the year when striped bass and white perch congregate there holding close to structure. Fishing success is very dependent on tidal currents and it can often take a steady hand at the helm to hold a boat in good position for getting jigs close to the base of the structure.
Fishing for white perch has been very good at the mouth of the Susquehanna and the lower sections of the regions tidal creeks and rivers. The perch are moving around chasing bait and can be caught on small jigs in deeper water and spinners and beetle spins in shallower waters. Recreational crabbers are reporting catching up some nice heavy crabs this past week in many of the regions tidal rivers.
Middle Bay Region
Fishing in the middle bay region has moved into a solid fall pattern; which means trolling, and jigging deep for a mix of striped bass and fat bluefish. The striped bass are typically holding near steep channel edges where tidal currents are sweeping schools of small bait in the form of bay anchovies past. At times the mix of bluefish and striped bass are pushing the bait to the surface where they are often marked by diving gulls and terns and other times can only be marked by depth finders or slicks. Current water temperatures are around 64-degrees.
Jigging with metal jigs with or without dropper flies, bucktails, casting to surface fish and trolling with spoons and bucktails have been the more popular ways to fish for them. Locations such as the mouth of Eastern Bay, Poplar Island and the Diamonds are a few examples of places where breaking fish have been encountered recently. Trolling in these areas as well as the western edge of the shipping channel are also good places to start out a day of fishing. Most fishermen are realizing that they have to be flexible as to where they fish and are cruising the bay while looking for signs of fish.
Recently schools of bluefish in the 5lb to 6lb range have moved into the region and fishermen are finding a little more teeth and power when they hook into a bluefish. There are still plenty of 3/4lb bluefish around but these new larger bruisers may tend to bully striped bass from some locations due to their nature of biting anything around them when feeding. Trolling spoons and surge tube lures deep is a great way to catch them if fresh bluefish fillets or smoked bluefish are in order.
Cooler water temperatures have striped bass roaming through the shallower waters of the bay and lower tidal river shorelines. Casting surface lures in the early morning or evening hours can offer some exciting fishing. White perch are also are on the move in the lower sections of the regions tidal rivers and can be caught on spinners and beetle spins in shallower waters and small jigs or bait in deeper water. Peeler crab and grass shrimp are popular baits to use on a bottom rig when fishing for white perch. Gary Combs got quite a surprise when he was fishing with a peeler crab bait in Harris Creek off the Choptank River when he spent an hour and a half tussling with this 50 black drum before releasing it.
Recreational crabbers are catching heavy crabs in many of the regions tidal rivers this week; water temperatures are falling so many of these crabs are on the move. Many successful crabbers are reporting that this is a great time of the year to catch up some large heavy crabs.
Lower Bay/Tangier Sound Region:
The NOAA Buoy at the mouth of the Potomac River is currently showing a water temperature of 66-degrees. A mix of striped bass and bluefish has been one of the main targets of fishermen in the region. Jigging under breaking fish or casting to them has been very popular wherever fishermen are encountering them from the western side of the bay to the channel areas near Crisfield.
Trolling a spread of bucktails, spoons and surge tube lures is an excellent way to put together a catch of striped bass and bluefish. Bucktails and spoons have been working on the striped bass and bluefish are suckers for surge tube lures. The western edge of the shipping channel, the Middle Grounds and the main channel in the lower Potomac has been popular places to troll.
There are spot schooling up at the mouth of the Patuxent and fishermen have been able to stock up on some live spot recently for live lining. If they have facilities to hold them chances are many will wait until the bluefish leave before trying any serious live lining for striped bass. Large croakers and spot are being reported at the Middle Grounds this week. Recreational crabbers are catching some nice heavy male crabs in the tidal creeks and rivers and a whole lot of sooks. White perch, striped bass and small puppy drum are being caught in the shallows of the regions tidal rivers on small soft plastic swim shads, spinners and beetle spins. Chris Karwacki and son were fishing the shallows of Tangier Sound when they caught these nice striped bass recently.
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