Bluefish and striped bass are at the top of the list for anglers in the lower bay region this week. Bluefish ranging from ¾-pound to about 3 pounds are being found chasing baitfish throughout the lower Bay, at times accompanied by striped bass. The striped bass have more of a presence in the lower Potomac and Patuxent rivers. The steep channel edge from St. Georges Island to Piney Point has been holding good numbers of striped bass and bluefish.
Keeping vigilant for breaking fish that are often marked by diving seagulls can pay huge dividends for those who enjoy casting with light tackle to breaking fish. Casting metal lures and jigs tends to be popular when toothy critters are involved; soft plastics often take a beating when bluefish are involved.
Trolling is another option, and pulling umbrella rigs with a small spoon or bucktail for a trailer is perhaps the most popular way to troll for a fall mix of bluefish and striped bass. Trolling single spoons behind inline weights is also an effective offering when trolling.
Shorebound anglers are enjoying good action with bluefish at the Point Lookout fishing pier and the causeway just north of the pier. The small pier under the Route 4 Bridge on the Patuxent River is another good place to fish from shore. Most are casting cut baits of menhaden or spot on a simple one-hook bottom rig with a floater cork to keep the bait off the bottom.
White perch are steadily moving into the deeper sections at the lower ends of the Lower Bay’s tidal rivers. Fishing with bottom rigs baited with pieces of bloodworm or dropper rigs with small soft plastic dropper flies will work well. There are still some spot around, but they are quickly disappearing in the region’s tidal rivers. A few large speckled sea trout are being caught on the eastern side of the bay.
Recreational crabbing continues to be a bright spot for those hoping for a fall crab feast or to pick crab meat for the winter months. The size of the crabs being caught is something to marvel at, with some weighing as much as a pound each. They are heavy and laden with meat so do not put all of that crabbing gear away just yet. The best catches are being found in 10 feet to 15 feet of water. Recreational crabbers report that chicken necks seem to be just as good as razor clams for bait.