Trolling along the shipping channel edges continues to be the most popular way to fish for the large trophy-sized striped bass. Most boats are trolling a mixed spread of large parachutes and bucktails dressed with large sassy shads in white and chartreuse. Umbrella rigs are also a common part of each trolling spread.
The west side of the shipping channel from Thomas Point south to Chesapeake Beach, Breezy Point and Parkers Creek is a popular area to troll.
Trolling spreads are often a mix of large parachutes and bucktails dressed with sassy shads in tandem, and umbrella rigs with medium-sized trailers or larger offerings. White tends to be a productive color. White has been edging out chartreuse as the most productive color for parachutes and bucktails dressed with sassy shads of matching colors.
There are other ways to fish for striped bass and those who love their light-tackle jigging are finding action. White perch have moved into their summer locations in the region’s tidal rivers and creeks and provide fishing opportunities off of docks and shoreline structure.
The first croaker, spot, speckled trout, and bluefish are making a presence and there was even a report of a Spanish mackerel caught in the lower bay. Large red drum are being caught as well as flounder.
Those looking for a trophy striped bass are trolling along the steep shipping channel edges in front of Cove Point, Point Lookout, and the steep channel edge near St. George’s Island in the lower Potomac River. Large parachutes and bucktails dressed with equally large sassy shads pulled in tandem behind planer boards or as a flat line are effective; white has been a favored color. Umbrella rigs are usually part of every spread and are often fished deeper with heavy inline weights. Some are placing large spoons into their trolling spreads for the large red drum in the area.
Jigging with soft plastics for striped bass has been good along channel edges and structure.. Most of the striped bass caught by jigging are between 19 inches and 26 inches. A few boats are chumming and are attracting medium-sized striped bass along with catfish, although this also attracts cownose rays.
Fishing for white perch has been very good in the tidal rivers and creeks. Most are casting small spinnerbaits and beetle spins near shoreline structure. Using bottom rigs baited with grass shrimp or pieces of bloodworm near docks and piers or deeper areas is also a good option. Croakers, spot, and speckled trout can now be part of the mix when fishing with bait. The mouth of the Patuxent River and the lower Potomac River near Piney Point are two places showing the best catches of croaker.
Speckled trout have moved into the region and although some can be caught near Point Lookout, the area of Pocomoke and Tangier sounds is producing the most action. Casting swimshads and similar soft plastics with light jig heads or small jerkbaits in the shallow areas has been working well for speckled trout. Drifting peeler crab baits at the mouths of small tidal creeks draining from the marshes has also been an excellent way to catch speckled trout.
Large red drum are being caught by drifting peeler crab baits at creek mouths and some are within the 18-inch to 27-inch legal slot size. Flounder continue to be found along channel edges and drop-offs near shallow flats in the Pocomoke and Tangier sounds. White or pink Gulp baits or squid have been working well.
Recreational crabbing is slowly gaining speed, there is currently the first shed of the season occurring. The best crabbing is being seen in the lower Eastern Shore this week. The 2020 Blue Crab Winter Dredge Survey results were recently released and are available online.