Water temperatures in the upper bay have dropped down to 45-degrees making it pretty chilly for fishermen and fish alike. The walleyes below the Conowingo Dam don’t seem to mind and fishermen have been catching them on small tubes, swim shads and grubs. They also have been catching striped bass on the same lures and others who are targeting striped bass are drifting small live gizzard shad and eels. The water releases from the dam have been erratic lately and at times there has hardly been any water coming through the dam.
Fishermen are picking their days to troll the shipping channel and others for large fall migrant and school sized striped bass. Most are finding the best catches are coming off planer boards at a depth of about 25’. Parachutes, bucktails, diving plugs and spoons are being used in medium and large sizes. School sized striped bass are also being caught in some of the deeper holes in the tidal rivers and are beginning to be found close to warm water discharge pipes in the lower Patapsco. The Bay Bridge piers continue to be a good place to try trolling or jigging deep near the base of some of the piers. White perch are holding in deep holes at the mouths of the region’s tidal rivers and can be caught on bottom rigs baited with bloodworms.
Middle Bay Region
As water temperatures dip to 48-degrees most fishermen have settled into trolling the shipping channels for the large fall migrant striped bass. Large parachutes and bucktails dressed with equally large sassy shads are the standard for this type of fishing but an increasing number of fishermen are trolling large spoons, J plugs and deep diving crankbaits. Whatever is trolled it needs to get down to a depth of 25’ to 35’ and that usually means inline weights, downriggers or planers. When the sun is out and the water clear white tends to be the best color for parachutes and bucktails and fishermen are reporting most fish are being caught off of planer boards. Scott Lange holds up a nice striped bass he caught while trolling a diving Rapala near the Bay Bridge. Scott also mentioned that he lost a really big fish when his line parted earlier in the week and a buddy of his successfully caught the same fish the nest day with his diving plug hanging from it’s mouth. It weighed 50lbs without the lure and measured 53” long.
Medium sized lures are still being used in the trolling spreads since striped bass under 28” are still being caught. Everyone is keeping an eye on the horizon for diving birds and constantly watching depth finders for tell tale signs of bait or big fish. The traditional locations from Brick House Bar (Buoy 88), Thomas Point, Bloody Point and south to Buoy 83 and the western side of the shipping channel to the Calvert Cliffs Power Plant have all been productive areas to troll. Weather and tide have been the only limiting factors for fishermen. The tide can be scheduled but the weather can’t and this can be a very unforgiving time to be out on open water so be careful and pick your days if you’re in a small boat. This is a fine time of the year for a warm cabin and plenty of hull beneath you; if you’re lacking in that department give your favorite charter boat captain a call; most have open dates.
The light tackle jigging action is just about done in the lower sections of the regions tidal rivers and the bay also; the water is just becoming too cold for striped bass under 28” to actively feed. White perch are schooled up in the deeper holes at the mouths of the tidal rivers and if one is patient enough they can be caught on bottom rigs baited with bloodworms or grass shrimp.
Lower Bay/Tangier Sound Region:
The forecast for the end of the week and through the weekend looks promising and no doubt many fishermen will be out if they can for the last hurrah of the 2009 striped bass season which ends on the 15th. Crisscrossing the shipping channel with trolling spreads containing a mix of large and medium sized lures has been the name of the game. Large parachutes and bucktails dressed with sassy shads, diving plugs and spoons have all been part of the mix of lures being trolled. The best depth to troll these lures has been about 25’ to 35’ and a lot of fishermen are saying that their best catches are coming off their planer boards.
The sides of the shipping channel out in front of the Gas Docks, Hooper’s Island Light, Buoys 72 and 72A have all been good places to troll. The lower Potomac River has been a good place to troll lately along the channel edges out in front of Ragged Point, Piney Point and St. George’s Island. The channel edges on the western side of Tangier Sound and Kedges Straits have been offering some opportunity for boats leaving Crisfield.
White perch are holding in some of the deep holes at the mouths of the tidal rivers within the region. Bloodworms or grass shrimp on a bottom rig will offer the best chance to catch some of them. Water temperatures are below 50-degrees so the perch are not very
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