Friday, October 23, 2020

 A mix of striped bass, bluefish, speckled trout, white perch, and spot are entertaining lower bay anglers this week. Striped bass are being found in the bay and tidal rivers, as are bluefish and speckled trout. Spot and white perch are being found in the lower sections of the region’s tidal rivers and sounds. 

Trolling is good along the shipping channel edges in the main part of the bay and the channel edges in the lower sections of the Potomac, Patuxent, and Tangier Sound. Most are trolling with umbrella rigs behind inline weights with bucktails for trailers. Trolling bucktails, spoons, and hoses are also effective choices. When breaking fish or slicks can be spotted, trolling around the perimeters is a great way to target striped bass and bluefish. Many of the striped bass in the lower bay are undersized but there are enough fish 19 inches and larger for anglers to take a fish home. 


Jigging is good for striped bass where they can be found suspended along channel edges in the bay or tidal rivers. Often larger striped bass can be found suspended close to the bottom under breaking fish –which are usually 2-year-old striped bass in the 16-inch to 18-inch size range — and bluefish. Speckled trout can also be a bonus when jigging close to the bottom. Both soft plastic and metal jigs are equally productive choices for jigging. 


The shallower waters along the edges of the bay, Tangier Sound, and the lower sections of the tidal rivers are offering good shallow-water action this week. Topwater lures tend to do best in the shallower areas over grass, and jerkbaits, crankbaits, and paddle tails work well in slightly deeper waters around shoreline structure. A mix of speckled trout, striped bass, bluefish, and a few small puppy drum are all part of the mix.

 

Those wishing to catch some spot are enjoying the best the season has to offer, as the spot are at their season’s best in size and abundance. Spot are a wonderful eating panfish and if large enough can be filleted and they make a wonderful fish sandwich. Pieces of bloodworm on a bottom rig is the most popular bait and method to catch them. The lower Potomac and Patuxent rivers are full of them as is the Tangier Sound area. White perch and speckled trout can often be part of the mix. 


Recreational crabbers are still catching blue crabs in the middle and lower bay regions, with a half to a full bushel being common per outing. In the upper bay there are still crabs being caught, but catches are usually being reported to be a few dozen per outing. Trot lines are still effective and many are reporting catching crabs in 6 feet to 10 feet of water. Collapsible traps offer a good way to crab in deeper waters. Razor clams have been the best bait to use, and they may be cheaper in price now that many commercial crabbers have switched to oystering. 

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