Much of the focus is toward striped bass and their shift into a fall pattern of behavior. Trolling a mix of spoons, tandem-rigged bucktails, and swimshads as well as umbrella rigs is popular along channel edges and near breaking fish. Most will be using inline weights to get lures down to where the fish are holding.
Jigging over suspended striped bass will be popular with light tackle anglers. Depth finders will be very important for locating suspended fish, and binoculars can be very helpful to spot distant diving seagulls. Surface slicks can also be a good indicator of feeding action under the surface of the water. Skirted plastic jigs can offer a larger profile to fish when jigging, and braided line helps with sensitivity. Jigging may even reward you with a speckled sea trout.
White perch are on the move in the region’s tidal rivers and creeks, there seems to be small white perch in the traditional summer habitat areas but the large white perch tend to be found in deeper waters over oyster reefs and similar bottom in the lower sections of the tidal rivers. The most effective way to target them in the deeper waters is with bottom rigs baited with pieces of bloodworm or peeler crab.
Fishing for striped bass is good along the shipping channel edges for those trolling umbrella rigs or jigging under breaking fish. The lower Potomac has been a great place to troll along the channel edge between St. George’s Island and Piney Point. Light-tackle jigging has also been a popular and effective way to catch striped bass this week wherever they can be found suspended over structure or under breaking fish.
Fishing for striped bass along the shallower shorelines of the lower Potomac, Patuxent, and bay shores is good this week. Casting topwater lures, paddle tails and similar soft plastics or crankbaits are all effective ways to catch them. In many areas, speckled trout and small to medium-sized red drum can be part of the mix. In Tangier Sound, fishing for speckled trout is very good along marsh edges and creek mouths. Drifting pieces of soft crab in the small marsh creeks on a falling tide can be a very effective way to catch speckled trout and red drum.
Bottom fishing for spot remains excellent this week in the lower Potomac and Patuxent rivers as well as Tangier Sound. Depending on the location, white perch, speckled trout, and small red drum can also be part of the mix. Pieces of bloodworm and soft crab are being used on bottom rigs for the best results.
Recreational crabbing fortunes in the tidal rivers has unfortunately dropped off in the past week. Everywhere one looks at commercial docks, the shade roofs are coming off workboats, oyster culling boxes are being set up onboard, and hand tongs are being readied for the upcoming oyster season. The colder water temperatures are driving the crabs deeper as they travel down the tidal rivers towards the bay. Trot liners have been reported crabs dropping off lines as they come up, so collapsible crab traps might be a good idea. Baits are attracting sooks and fortunately there are lots of them, which speaks well for the future of our blue crab resources.