The current water temperature near the mouth of the Susquehanna River is 55-degrees. Fishing for striped bass has been relatively good in the area around the channels leading to the river and up to the dam. Fishermen have been catching striped bass by casting crankbaits, swim shads and jigs in the river and the channels that lead to it. Herbert Ferguson was fishing in the Port Deposit area last Friday when he caught this whopping 40-1/2” striped bass.
Striped bass are being found in a variety of locations in the upper bay this week and fishermen are consistently on the lookout for diving birds in the form of sea gulls or checking out traditional locations where bottom structure often hold fish. The Patapsco River/ Baltimore Harbor area has been offering very good fishing lately, as well as the various knolls and shoals, such as the Man O War Shoals, the 6’ Knoll and the Love Point area. Most fishermen have been jigging with metal jigs or soft plastic jigs. The bluefish are gone so once more soft plastic shads and similar lures are safe to use on jigs or umbrella rigs. The Podickory Point area and the Bay Bridge piers have been good places lately to jig for striped bass that are often holding there. It can take some skill to position a boat and drop jigs to reach those golden spots at the base of the piers but the fish are there. Becca Smith was jigging a 2-ounce diamond jig in about 40’ to 65’ of water near the rock piles at the Bay Bridge when she caught this striped bass.
White perch are big part of the action this week in many of the same locations fishermen are jigging up striped bass. The white perch are schooling up over deep structure such as oyster reefs, rock piles and shoals. Jigging is usually the preferred method of catching them and it is a good idea to put a small dropper fly or jig above the heavier metal jig. It usually takes anywhere from 1-ounce to 2-ounces to work the bottom effectively depending on current and wind. Many seasoned fishermen prefer to have a mess of white perch fillets in their freezers than striped bass and everyone would agree filleting size white perch are hard to beat as table fare. Keith Tiedemen sent in this picture of a nice white perch caught in the channels leading to the Susquehanna/ Northeast River area.
Recreational crabbers are still catching some of the season’s heaviest crabs in the tidal rivers of the upper bay region. Catches are slacking off but the crabs are some of the nicest looking crabs one will see. The water temperature in the upper bay region is generally holding around 57-degrees so the crabbing can’t last much longer. The Patapsco, Elk and Magothy have been some of the better tidal rivers to catch this season’s last.
Middle Bay Region
This is a great time of the year for fishermen looking for some light tackle action with striped bass close to port. Good striped bass fishing extends throughout the entire middle bay region this week with some of the best fishing occurring in the tidal rivers. Fishermen are finding striped bass by keeping a lookout for diving sea gulls or by looking for slicks, resting birds and marking fish on their depth finders. Often tidal currents have a lot to do with when and where the action is occurring and sometimes the fish are spread out over a wide area and picking and other times pushing bait to the surface and charging through the bait schools. The weather always plays a big part in the fishing scene this time of the year and recent strong winds and rain did not make fishing very pleasant over the weekend. This is the time of the year when those with flexible schedules get to enjoy some of the finest fishing to be found on a quiet weekday afternoon or for a few hours after work. David Yost got just such a last minute phone call from his friend Mike Schenk and they headed out at 4:30 and found good fishing in the South River as the sun began to set.
The Choptank River has been particularly hot since last week’s northeaster and at times the fish have really been packed in tight. The word certainly got out locally last week and everyone has been enjoying good light tackle jigging action into this week. The fish seem to be more spread out this week and at times marked fish refuse to bite but anglers report that can change in a heartbeat. Metal jigs around 2-ounces have been one of the more popular lures, although many still like bucktails of soft plastic jigs such as BKD’s or various other types of soft plastic jigs and swim shads. Braided lines on a conventional bait caster or spinning outfit with a top shot of fluorocarbon or monofilament offer the most sensitive connection to the fish below while jigging close to the bottom.
Often when the action seems to have subsided and boats are on the prowl for the next blow up of diving birds and breaking fish; fishermen who can’t stand the inaction will slow troll a small crankbait behind the boat off their spinning or conventional setup such as a diving Rapala or Rat-L-Trap and often enough come up with a fish or two. Others have been going straight to trolling along traditional locations such as channel edges and doing quite well. Steve Legacy and Greg Adleman were trolling an umbrella rig with a 6” Storm as a trailer near Buoy 83A when they caught this nice 33” striped bass.
White perch have been schooling up on many of the deep water shoals and oyster bars in the lower sections of the regions tidal rivers. Jigging metal with a dropper fly has been a popular way to catch them. A bottom rig baited with bloodworms or grass shrimp will certainly do the trick also. Recreational crabbers are enjoying some of the best crabs to be caught all season; they are large and heavy. Most crabbers are reporting coming up short of a full bushel per outing but everyone has been happy to just be able to catch one more batch of these heavy crabs before the season is over for good. Jim Livingston sent in this picture of some beauties he caught in the West River using collapsible crab traps.
Lower Bay/Tangier Sound Region:
Fishermen in the regions will be shaking off another bout of miserable weather this week; which may have some lingering northeast winds. The fish are out there and when it is not raining and the wind is not blowing fishermen are finding striped bass in the lower sections of the regions tidal rivers and out in the bay. Bay anchovies and young of the year menhaden are what are on the dinner menu and cooling water temperatures have the striped bass on a feeding binge. Most fishermen take this time of the year to enjoy the good light tackle jigging over fish holding to deep structure or under those breaking water. Diving birds are on everyone’s minds when they leave the dock and all eyes are scanning for distant signs of congregations of sea gulls. Many of the traditional hot spots such as Cedar Point, out in front of the Gas Docks, Point Lookout and the Hooper Island Straits usually do not let fishermen down this time of the year when they are looking for fish.
Light tackle jigging with metal, bucktails of soft plastic jigs is perhaps the most popular way to enjoy the action. Braided line with a top shot of mono or fluorocarbon is a real asset when jigging to deep fish. Trolling is certainly a good option, especially when the fish are spread out and umbrellas with shads and some type of swimming shad lure as a trailer are a top choice. November approaches and most captains are now putting out a couple of large parachutes or bucktails dressed with a sassy shad; either in tandem or behind an umbrella looking for the first of the large fall run striped bass. Time will tell what kind of fall migrant fishery we have this year for large striped bass.
Casting to shoreline structure is an effective and pleasant way to catch striped bass this time of the year. The marshes of the lower eastern shore are wonderful places to fish shallow waters as are the shorelines on the western side of the bay at the mouth of the Patuxent and north to Calvert Cliffs.
Fishing for white perch in the lower sections of the regions tidal rivers is very good this time of the year as the perch school up near deep water shoals and oyster reefs. Jigging with a metal jig with a dropper fly is popular as is fishing with a bottom rig baited with bloodworms or grass shrimp. Recreational crabbers are getting their last licks on this season’s crabs and as would be expected the jimmies are large and heavy.
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