As one would expect recent rain has prompted officials at the Conowingo Dam to start releasing water recently. Fishermen will find high water and cloudy water at times this week if not from runoff then from the strong winds that pounded the upper bay earlier in the week. Tides were reported to be 2’ above normal on Friday/Saturday so adding that with strong winds on Saturday; fishermen should be on the lookout for floating debris this week. Fishermen have been finding striped bass in the very upper reaches of the bay and the lower Elk and Susquehanna Rivers; a percentage are small but there is some action to be had. Most fishermen are casting soft plastic jigs and swimming shads along channel edges; but a few have been chunking with fresh menhaden farther down the bay in the Pooles Island area with good success.
Fishermen have been reporting encountering schools of breaking fish throughout the upper bay region this week in between the windy days. The bluefish are thinning out and most of the larger ones have left for warmer waters so fishermen now have more options for jigging and trolling. Umbrella rigs with sassy shads will now become a popular trolling selection. Fishermen are reporting better fishing for striped bass at the mouth of the Patapsco and a number of popular shoal areas and channel edges. The Bay Bridge rock piles and piers as well as the sewer pipe have been a good location to jig for striped bass this week. There are also large numbers of white perch beginning to congregate around the rock piles at the bridge and fishermen are catching them by jigging. Dale Krupla holds a really nice filleting size white perch caught at the bridge’s rock piles.
Mid Bay Region:
Water temperatures are approaching the 60-degree mark this week and colder nights will do much to push them into the 50’s. Striped bass are schooling up in the middle bay region but the real action will begin to occur shortly as water temperatures continue to drop. Fishermen are reporting breaking fish out in the bay made up mostly of striped bass and small bluefish. Jigging with metal and dropper flies has been the most popular method of fishing. Inside the rivers there is a lot of bait and limited numbers of small striped bass in the 12” to 15” size category; most of the bait schools which can be quite large at times are going unmolested. That will change very shortly.
Fishermen are reporting that spot are becoming harder to find for live lining and that white perch are more numerous now in the shallower areas that supplied small spot all summer. Dr. Enrico Giangeruso was live lining a small menhaden near the Calvert Cliffs Power Plant rip when he caught this fine looking speckled trout.
A number of boats are trolling with mixed success at times this week for striped bass. Most boats are trolling along the shipping channel edges, deep over the top of ballast stone piles and steep edges near points. Spoons and bucktails have been popular but more sassy shads and Storm lures are coming out of storage as the bluefish numbers decrease. Soon umbrella rigs festooned with sassy shads and a trailer bucktail/sassy shad combination or storm lure will be the rig of choice. There has not been much talk this past week of large fall migrant striped bass, a number of boats have been trolling for them but without any reported success.
Shore based fishermen have been catching white perch and a few striped bass from prominent points and fishing piers this week. The white perch are also schooling up over oyster bars and similar deep structure and can be caught by jigging with small spoons and jigs. Recreational crabbers are still catching a few crabs but those who are looking for one more batch of crabs report a bushel is not always guaranteed.
Lower Bay/Tangier Sound Region:
Fishermen in the lower bay region report that they are still finding a few small spot in the shallows and tidal rivers and have been live lining them near the channel edges at Cedar Point to Point-No- Point and Buoy 72A with good success. A number of fishermen have also been switching to live lining small menhaden with equally good results.
Breaking fish are being spotted throughout the region most often at an ebbing tide and are made up of striped bass and small bluefish. Fishermen have been jigging underneath the surface action with metal jigs often accompanied with a dropper fly. The surface action can also offer some exciting action and a variety of lures can be used including spoons, bucktails and surface lures with the treble hooks replaced with single hooks.
Shore based fishermen have been getting in their licks from prominent points, river and creek mouths as well as fishing piers. Small bluefish are still hugging the shore lines and striped bass are roaming freely through the shallows chasing bait. Many fishermen are using bottom rigs baited with fresh menhaden or finger mullet but casting jigs and a variety of other lures work well also. Garrett Cook took a break from classes at St. Mary’s College to fish the mouth of St. Jerome’s Creek for a mix of bluefish and striped bass recently.
There has not been much talk at the docks recently of any large fall migrant striped bass coming into the docks but it is not for trying. Any day that the wind is not steaming fishermen have been out trolling large parachutes or bucktails along the shipping channel. The large bluefish in the 5 lb category have headed south for the most part so the environment for sassy shads and other soft plastics has been safer.
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