Fishing at the Bay Bridge is providing another good week for anglers looking for striped bass near the deeper water bridge piers. When the tide is running, many anglers are drifting back to the pier bases with live or fresh-cut spot, small white perch, eels, menhaden or peeler crabs. Jigging close to the pier bases is also a good option and whether live-lining or jigging, the best fishing success is in the morning hours. At the shallow waters of the western side of the bridge a mix of spot and white perch are being caught on pieces of bloodworm or peeler crab on bottom rigs.
Striped bass are being found along some of the channel edges in the middle Bay and anglers are either live-lining with spot or eels, or chunking and drifting cut bait when they can locate fish suspended close to the bottom. Trolling with umbrella rigs sent deep with inline weights is also a good option along channel edges and anywhere a mix of striped bass and bluefish can be found working over schools of small menhaden and bay anchovies.
Jigging is becoming more of an option for striped bass fishing and will really gain momentum next month, as cooler water temperatures push juvenile menhaden and bay anchovies out of the tidal rivers. The shallow water fishery for striped bass has been extremely popular. The lower Choptank River, Eastern Bay, the Little Choptank, the Severn, West River and Thomas Point are all good places to cast poppers, crankbaits and paddletails. At times speckled trout, bluefish and red drum can be part of the mix.
There are still roving schools of Spanish mackerel mixing it up with bluefish and striped bass in the middle Bay, but the Spanish mackerel are beginning to move south. If you wish to get one more shot at the Spanish mackerel, you better do it soon. Trolling small gold Clark spoons or Drone spoons behind planers is the most popular way to fish for them, but casting into breaking fish with epoxy jigs or heavy chrome spoons is a fun option. Jigging under breaking fish can at times result in legal-sized striped bass or even large red drum.
White perch are in play in the region’s tidal rivers and creeks, and some of the best action is in the deeper waters where the perch are holding close to oyster bars. They can still be found holding near docks, rock jetties, and shoreline structure in the mornings and evenings. A simple bottom rig baited with grass shrimp, pieces of bloodworm, or peeler crab will work well when fishing off docks near pilings. Casting small roadrunner type lures, jigs, and spinners work well along the shallower shoreline structure areas.
There are plenty of channel catfish in the region’s tidal rivers to entertain anglers; they are not hard to catch and provide plenty of fun fishing. Blue catfish can show up almost anywhere, but the Choptank River tends to hold the greatest concentration of them. Currently, the blue cats tend to be in the middle to lower section of the river from Cambridge to the town of Choptank. It is hard to beat fresh menhaden for bait and many anglers report chumming helps attract them to the party.
The lower Bay offers some of the best opportunities for Spanish mackerel this week. Cool nights are causing water temperatures to decline and giving the Spanish mackerel an incentive to begin heading south for warmer waters. Trolling along the east side of the shipping channel from Buoy 76 south to the Middle Grounds can yield a mix of Spanish mackerel and bluefish. Small gold Clark spoons and Drone spoons pulled behind planers at a fast clip is a good way to fish for them, as is casting into breaking fish with epoxy jigs and chrome spoons. Bluefish will most likely stick around a little longer than the Spanish mackerel and it will be more common to see striped bass and bluefish going after schools of small menhaden and bay anchovies.
Anglers are reporting good success jigging close to the bottom, under the surface action of breaking fish, and finding large red drum lurking underneath as well as striped bass and the occasional speckled trout. The large red drum are still in the general region but some of the best catch-and-release action is in the area near Cove Point, Smith Point, the Target Ship, the Mud Leads, and Tangier and Pocomoke sounds. Jigging with large soft plastics or fishing with cut spot, menhaden, or soft crab are favored methods when schools can be spotted by slicks and backed up by depth finders.
The shallow-water fishery in the lower Bay is quickly developing into a productive and exciting opportunity this week. The shorelines of the Bay, tidal rivers, creeks, and sounds are holding a mix of striped bass, bluefish, speckled trout, gray trout, and small red drum. Casting poppers, soft plastic shrimp, or paddletails under a popping cork or casting a variety of soft plastic jigs in the morning and evening hours is a fun light-tackle way to fish.Recreational crabbers are enjoying success in many tidal river waters of the middle and lower Bay. Many are enjoying the heavy and extra-large crabs that September usually brings. The best crabs tend to be deep in waters 12 feet to 20 feet, and most of the sooks are headed down the Bay, so baits tend to last longer. This is a great time to catch the best crabs of the season.