Maryland Weekly Fishing Report Overview | November 17, 2010
Earlier this week fishermen finally got a break from the windy weather that has been so dominant lately. Striped bass and white perch cooperated from the northern most limits of the bay at the base of the Conowingo Dam south to the Virginia Line. The winds have returned today but hopefully will subside soon. Water temperatures in the bay are hovering around the 54-degree mark and school sized striped bass, white perch and bait are starting to go deep. This is not to say breaking fish will not be encountered in the lower sections of the tidal rivers and the bay but vertical jigging and trolling deep are definitely paying big dividends for fishermen.
Fishermen are finding striped bass in all regions by casting swim shads and crankbaits and a host of other lures from shore and small boats around various types of shoreline structure. Old piers, breakwaters and channel edges are all good places to cover when looking for striped bass. Bottom rigs baited with bloodworms can also be deployed from prominent points and fishing piers by shore based fishermen in all regions of the bay.
Fishermen in boats are finding striped bass by trolling a variety of bucktails and parachutes dressed with sassy shads as well as spoons. Those trolling in the tidal rivers have been focusing mostly on medium sized striped bass up to 30" in size. Out in the bay proper, fishermen are adding larger lures into their trolling spreads and picking away at some of the large fall migrant striped bass that have been moving into Maryland waters. The edges of the shipping channel from the Bay Bridge south have been the place to look for the big fish and some of the old traditional steep edges continue to be standouts. The sharp edge near the Bloody Point Light, the western edge of the shipping channel from Thomas Point south through Breezy Point to Cove Point and the areas around Buoys 80, 78 and 72 are all great places to troll. Captains report many of the big fish are coming from the flat lines at depths of 25' to 40' deep. James Houck holds up a nice one for us to see.
Light tackle jigging or vertical jigging is always popular this time of the year because it works so well when striped bass and bait are found deep. Depth finders are as important to fishermen this time of the year as a good bird dog is to bird hunters. Metal jigs or soft plastic jigs, fast action fishing rods and braided line on a conventional or spinning reel are the tools of the trade. Some fishermen will have a top shot of mono or fluorocarbon added to their braid but when fishing deep it doesn't seem to make much difference. The lower sections of many of the bays tidal rivers provided action this past weekend; mostly near channel edges and deep water lumps or reefs. Good reports came in this past Sunday from the mouth of the Chester, Choptank, West, Nanticoke, Patuxent and Potomac Rivers.
White perch are schooling up in the lower sections of many tidal rivers over oyster reefs or similar structure. Jigging with small metal jigs with a dropper fly is a very popular and effective way to catch a mess of fat white perch this time of the year. Many of the reefs and shoals are holding white perch in the upper bay, the rock piles at the Bay Bridge are a very good place to try as is Hackett's Bar and similar type bars and reefs throughout the bay.
Cool weather and cold nights continue to lower water temperatures in the state's freshwater lakes and ponds. Many of the larger lakes in the western region have or will soon experience the annual fall turnover of deep and surface waters. Fishermen are reporting good fishing for a mix of large yellow perch, walleye and largemouth bass on the outside edges of the thick wild celery grass beds in Deep Creek Lake. Slow trolling with Rapalas or drifting live minnows are a good way to catch them. Good smallmouth bass fishing is being reported on some of the rocky points on the lake. Trout streams and rivers in the western and central regions have been running low and clear but today's rains may help the situation.
Fishing for largemouth bass has been good in all areas of the state; cooling water temperatures have the bass on the prowl for baitfish and crawfish that are moving towards deeper cover as grass beds diminish and shallow areas cool down. Fish the transition zones near drop offs with drop shot rigged Senkos, tubes, jigs and crankbaits; slow and close to the bottom. Smallmouth bass fishing in reservoirs such as Prettyboy has been excellent also and crawfish imitations are the bait of choice. John Mullican sent in this beautiful picture of a Monocacy smallmouth bass.
Ocean City area fishermen will be focusing on the good tautog fishing at the inlet area this week and the top of ebb tide is the time to be there. More and more striped bass are being caught at night; casting bucktails, swim shads and swimming plugs have been effective. Drifting live eels and spot are an excellent choice also. Surf fishermen are seeing the fishing for striped bass improving as the fall migration moves through the area. Surf conditions have been rough at times so check conditions before you make the drive. This old picture was found recently in an old file cabinet here at the Fisheries Service and I thought it was worth sharing. Fishermen are vigilant and hopeful as ever but check out those vintage vehicles. This picture shows the beach at either Assateague or Ocean City, probably in the late fifties.
The boats that are venturing outside the Ocean City Inlet are finding excellent fishing for striped bass and large bluefish around the shoal areas off the beaches such as Fenwick, Isle of Wight and Gull Shoals. Most boats are trolling a mix of parachutes, bucktails, spoons and Stretch crankbaits.
Sea bass fishing has been good with most fishermen being able to put double digit or limit catches together. Tautog fishing has also been very good on most of the inshore wreck and reef sites.
What I'm trying to do is tell you how nice it was in the fall, in late October and early November, when the big blues ran close to shore to fed off minnows and the sand fleas. Looking back, I can't think of any real big fish we caught or any lives we saved, or anything poetic or fancy. I do remember an infection I caught- that is the feeling of wonderful contentment a man can have on a lonesome beach that is chilling itself up for winter, sort of practice-swinging to get ready for the bitter cold that's coming.
-Robert Ruark, The Old Man and The Boy