An uptick in striped bass action has been reported with the cooling water temperatures. Breaking striped bass have been reported in about 15 feet of water in the mouth of the Patuxent River from the mouth of Town Creek to West Basin. Mackerel and striped bass were found by light-tackle kayak anglers in the lower Patuxent along with white perch, small blues, and cutlassfish.
Spanish mackerel, bluefish, speckled trout, red drum, white perch, and spot have all been providing good action in the lower bay during the past few weeks. If you are searching for mackerel, troll the edges of the shipping channel from the Virginia line north to the middle bay, the shipping channel edge from Buoy 72 south to Buoy 68, and the area from Point Lookout to Cove Point. The standard method is trolling #1 and #2 Drone and Clark spoons in gold behind #1 or #2 planers or heavy inline weights at about 7 knots. Some of the mackerel have been large, in the 25-26 inch range.
Anglers are encountering breaking fish along the edges of the shipping channel; these fish are mostly a mix of Spanish mackerel and bluefish feeding on bay anchovies. Small striped bass can also be mixed in at times. Anglers are also finding large red drum deep underneath the surface activity, and jigging with large soft plastics or spoons will produce catch-and-release action with these large fish until we get some major cold fronts and cooling water temperatures.
Bottom fishing for a mix of spot, white perch, and a few speckled trout has been excellent in the lower Patuxent River. The Cornfield Harbor area, Tangier Sound, and lower Hoopers Island are all great places to get in on the action. Pieces of bloodworm are the most popular bait but peeler crab can also work well. Flounder are being found on the shoal edges near channels in the Tangier and Pocomoke sounds. Gulp baits and live minnows are popular baits, and kayak anglers can get in on the flounder fishery.
Speckled trout are spread throughout the region with much of the best action found on the eastern side of the bay. Casting soft plastics in pearl and sparkle flash near prominent points, marsh edges, and creek mouths is producing good catches. Drifting peeler crab baits near structure and creek mouths will also catch speckled trout and small red drum.
Cobia fishing within the region has been slowing down with a few reported from south of the Target Ship on trolled hoses (surgical tube lures). The best catches of cobia are coming from Virginia waters closer to the mouth of the bay.
Blue catfish in the tidal Potomac River or the Nanticoke River offer good fishing for those wishing to anchor up or bottom fish from shore. The blue catfish are plentiful and offer good eating. Any kind of fresh oily cut bait works well, with gizzard shad and menhaden being common choices.
Recreational crabbers are enjoying some of the best crabs of the season and this will hopefully get better if salinities remain high. The crabs have ventured up the tidal rivers and as far north as the Sassafras River. Crabbers in the upper bay are reporting catches of a half-bushel to one bushel per outing. In the middle and lower bay, catches of a bushel per outing are common. Razor clams remain the bait of choice whether trotlining or crabbing with collapsible traps. Some of the best crab catches are coming from deep water in the tidal rivers. Catches of large crabs tend to pick up in early October in the rivers as far north as the Severn.