Water temperatures in the upper bay/Susquehanna River area continue to drop and now are in the 55-degree range. Fishermen have been finding good fishing for striped bass in the lower river and out in the channels leading to the mouth of the river. Most fishermen are casting crankbaits such as Rat-L-Traps but some are live lining small white perch, eels and gizzard shad.
Striped bass are being caught farther down the bay at traditional locations such as the channels around Pooles Island and in several of the tidal rivers such as the Patapsco. The Inner Harbor area has been a particularly good place to jig for striped bass that are holding on channel edges or chasing bait. The various shoals and knoll outside the mouth of the Patapsco continue to be good places to check for striped bass. Fishermen are either marking fish on their depth finders holding over structure or simply casting to breaking fish. Often fishermen find themselves moving from one school of fish and heading off for another batch of diving birds on the horizon looking for larger fish.
The channel edges of the Love Point area and Podickory Point have been holding striped bass as well as the Bay Bridge piers and rock piles. Jigging has been the most popular method of fishing but more fishermen are beginning to troll now with umbrella rigs or tandem rigged bucktails. Most are trolling with inline weights to get down close to where fish are holding near channel edges.
White perch fishing from the mouth of the Susquehanna south to the Bay Bridge has been very good this week as the perch begin to school up in the deeper areas. Small jigs such as soft plastics and metal have been good choices for lures.
Middle Bay Region
Many fishermen have been commenting that the fishing for striped bass could hardly be any better as many of them find plenty of fish before they even clear the tidal rivers when leaving the dock. The striped bass are chasing schools of bait that are pouring out of the rivers and into the bay; bay anchovies and small menhaden are the main items on the dinner menu although young of the year blueback and alewife herring are also beginning to migrate out of many of the tidal rivers. Jigging with metal, soft plastic jigs or bucktails under breaking fish or to fish holding deep is the most popular way to catch striped bass in the fall. Trolling can be an effective way to catch fish and many fishermen are breaking out the umbrella rigs and trolling near concentrations of fish or along channel edges. The fish tend to be deep this time of the year so inline weights are one of the more common ways to get to them. David Yost holds up a nice striped bass he caught while trolling in 36’ of water off of Deale.
Despite the cold water temperatures which are now down in the 55-degree range fishermen continue to find striped bass in the shallows during the early morning and evening hours. Casting surface poppers has been a very effective way to fish and certainly a lot of fun. Some fishermen are also trolling with light tackle in the shallows or close to them with bucktails or swim shad lures and doing quite well.
More and more fishermen are also trolling out along the shipping channel edges with large parachutes and bucktails looking for the first of the large fall migrant striped bass. A few have shown up in the lower bay region and it is hoped it will only be a matter of time before more fish move into Maryland waters and fishermen can enjoy catching them till the end of the 2009 season.
More than a few fishermen have been focusing on white perch lately in the lower sections of the regions tidal rivers. The perch are schooling up in the deeper areas of the tidal rivers often over oyster bars or similar hard bottomed shoals. Jigging with metal and dropper flies are the most popular method of catching up a mess of fat white perch but bottom rigs baited with bloodworms or grass shrimp will also do the trick and is often the preferred method when taking youngsters out for a day of fishing.
Lower Bay/Tangier Sound Region:
Bay water temperatures in the lower bay region have slipped below the 60-degree mark. The cooler water temperatures are having a profound effect on the feeding and schooling habits of striped bass which makes for some of the best fishing opportunities of this fishing season. Bait in the form of small menhaden and bay anchovies are pouring out of the tidal rivers and when schools of hungry striped bass and bait collide the stage is set for a feeding frenzy. If fishermen happen upon this occurrence it can be an unforgettable experience. Casting bucktails, swim shads or surface poppers into the surface melee can offer some exciting action. Many fishermen prefer to cast or drop metal jigs below the surface action and catch their fish that way. Whichever method you choose; you’ll have your hands full on light tackle.
Fishermen have been trolling out in the main portion of the bay along the edges of the shipping channel looking for the first of the large fall migrant striped bass that may or may not show up this year. Large parachutes and bucktails behind umbrella rigs or tandem rigged, Storm shads and spoons will all be used to entice any large fish that show up to strike. Yesterday afternoon November 3rd, Bill Bates brought in this 44” striped bass to J.J.’s Tackle Shop in the Solomons. Bill caught it while trolling a white umbrella rig off of Cove Point.
Most of the charter fleet has been trolling for striped bass whether they are in Tangier Sound, the Honga Straits or along the western shore of the bay. The striped bass are schooling up and trolling has been an effective way to catch them. Some boats will chum this week at the Middle Grounds and perhaps at the rock piles north of Point Lookout but most will be trolling. There are still striped bass in some of the shallower waters along both sides of the bay and casting surface lures; swim shads and bucktails can be very productive.
White perch fishing in the lower sections of the regions tidal rivers is about as good as it gets and fishermen who relish white perch fillets are stocking up by jigging or by fishing with bottom rigs baited with grass shrimp or bloodworms. The perch are schooling up in deeper waters; often 40’ or more over hard bottom such as oyster bars.
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