Fishermen in the very upper reaches of the Chesapeake who fish the general area from the lower Susquehanna and Elk Rivers down to the mouth of the Sassafras River are finding a mix of small striped bass, large white perch and channel catfish. Most fishermen are working the channel edges with small crankbaits such as Rat-L-Traps and soft plastic jigs; particularly in the early morning and evening hours. The Conowingo Dam has been holding water back this week so flows in the lower Susquehanna have been low.
In the area around Pooles Island fishermen are finding a mix of small to medium sized striped bass, white perch and there are still some small spot around this week. Water temperatures are now in the mid 60’s so many fish can be found in relatively shallow waters. Many of the shoal areas in the upper bay as well as channel edges have been excellent places to troll or jig for striped bass this week. Bluefish are still in the region but show signs of thinning out this week and fishermen look forward to being able to troll with sassy shads and Storm type soft plastic swimming shad lures. Most fishermen at the moment continue to troll a mix of spoons and medium sized bucktails often behind umbrella rigs and are reporting good success.
Fishermen are reporting this week that the small spot that are holding in the shallows are becoming harder to find but still available. The bluefish have not been as much of a problem this week in regard to tearing up live spot baits intended for striped bass. The Rock Piles at the Bay Bridge and sharp channel edges such as the one off Podickory Point have been productive locations to live line spot for striped bass this week.
Striped bass can be encountered throughout the region this week either on the surface or deep as they chase bait schools. Much of the action has been taking place where strong tidal currents sweep bait past shoals, points and channel edges. Vertical jigging with metal such as Stingsilvers and Crippled Herrings is a popular choice often with a dropper fly. Many fishermen have been reporting catching large white perch this way also as a bonus to the striped bass catches.
Shoreline fishermen reported this week that fishing with bottom rigs baited with bloodworms have been catching some nice sized white perch and striped bass. Fishermen are also using fresh cut spot with good success for striped bass.
Recreational crabbing is winding down quickly in the tidal river areas and catches are reported to have dropped off this week although more than a few crabbers reported they were able to put a descent catch together.
Mid Bay Region:
Bay water temperatures this week are dipping into the mid 60’s this week and fishermen should start to see bluefish moving out soon. Fishermen are reporting that trolling bucktails and spoons has been catching striped bass and bluefish this week. Most fishermen have been trolling near channel edges, ballast rock piles and shoal areas or near slicks and breaking fish. Others are cruising out in the bay and looking for diving bird activity and breaking fish or slicks and any evidence of striped bass holding close to deep structure. The eastern side of the bay from the Gum Thickets south past Poplar Island and Sharps Island Flats and on the western side of the bay from Breezy Point south have been popular areas to look for activity.
There are still small spot to be found in the shallower waters and tidal rivers but they have been a little harder to find this week for those wishing to live line them for striped bass. The bluefish are still in the region but their numbers are beginning to slack off with colder water. Light tackle jigging under breaking fish or near deep structure that is holding fish continues to be productive.
Strong winds have been a problem for the shallow water light tackle crowd but on the days that the winds have been laying down fishermen have been finding some action in the mornings. For whatever reason; fishermen have been reporting that the fishing has been better in the mornings before sunup rather than the evenings. Fishermen are also reporting that the striped bass they are finding chasing bait in the channels and deeper waters of the Choptank and Eastern Bay tend to be less than 18” and many are 12” to 14” in size. There are plenty of white perch in the lower regions of the tidal rivers and adjoining shoal areas out in the bay. When fishermen are finding the big ones holding over oyster bars and similar structure they have been jigging up some nice filleting size ones; “black perch” as some locals will call them.
Shoreline fishermen have been catching a mix of white perch and a few striped bass off the regions fishing piers and deep water points on bottom rigs. The white perch are being caught mostly on bloodworms and fresh cut spot has been a good choice for striped bass. Recreational crabbers reported fair to good crabbing recently as dropping water temperatures begin to hasten the end of the 2008 crabbing season. Jim Livingston sent in this picture of his last crabbing trip for the season and his catch from the West River. Notice has recently been received from the National Marine Fisheries Service that the summer flounder season for 2008 will officially close at 12:01 am on this Friday October 24th.
Lower Bay/Tangier Sound Region:
Fishermen report that the striped bass fishing in the lower bay has improved this week and they are catching them in a variety of ways including trolling, chumming, live lining, jigging and casting in the shallows. Recent northeast winds have made it tough to fish out in the more open waters of the lower bay and many fishermen found themselves trying to tuck into a lee somewhere in the tidal rivers. Boats have been trolling medium sized bucktails and spoons to catch a mix of striped bass and bluefish. A number of boats are trolling with planner boards and large parachutes and bucktails and continue to pick away at large fall migrant striped bass. Captains are anxiously waiting for an influx of big fish; a 16 day extension to the striped bass season was just approved by the ASMFC so that fishermen will be able to fish till December 31st.
Bluefish continue to dominate the region this week although a large number are moving south. Boats have been loading up by chumming at a number of locations including the mouth of the Potomac and the Southwest Middle Grounds. The blues generally are running around 1 to 2-pounds with blues in the 5 to 6-pound range at the Middle Grounds.
There is still good flounder fishing to be had along the channel edges in the Tangier Sound area and the Point Lookout area but fishermen should note that the flounder season for 2008 will close at 12:01 am on October 24th. The National Marine Fisheries Service has determined that Maryland has reached its quote for the 2008 season.
Fishermen are reporting good fishing this week along the shallow waters of the region for a mix of striped bass, bluefish, speckled trout and sea trout. The marshes of the eastern shore have been offering the extra bonus of speckled trout this week. White perch can also be found in the lower sections of the tidal rivers and creeks and can be caught by jigging; bottom rigs with bait or small crankbaits and beetle spins. Recreational crabbers are getting their last licks in on the 2008 crabbing season and report they are still managing to put together decent catches.
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