There is some scattered seagull activity over schools of bait with striped bass picking at them here and there. Most of the striped bass are holding close to the bottom in the deeper areas of the channels.
Trolling with heavy inline weights and umbrella rigs is a very popular way to target these deep-water fish; trailers are a mix of swimshads and bucktails. A single swimshad can also be pulled behind a planer and sometimes a tandem-rigged pair of swimshads or bucktails with a larger planer. Chartreuse and white tend to be the favored colors.
The shipping channel edge from the Gum Thickets south past Bloody Point to Buoy 83 and the Sharps Island Light has been an excellent place to look for striped bass recently. The western side of the shipping channel in front of Chesapeake Beach south to Parkers Creek has also been providing some action.
Jigging is a very good option for light tackle anglers and the deep channel edges are where most of the action is occurring. Most are jigging with large soft plastic jigs in white or chartreuse, but metal jigs are working well also. The fish are holding close to the bottom so jigs must reach the bottom.
There have been some white perch holding in 35 feet to 50 feet of water off Matapeake, and holding tight to oyster bottom in the lower Choptank River between Castle Haven Point and Horn Point. A bottom rig baited with pieces of bloodworm or a dropper rig with small flies or soft plastic jigs are the best ways to fish for them. The rock piles at the Bay Bridge often have large white perch holding deep in the current this time of the year. Those using dropper rigs have not come up with much except small striped bass, but hopefully that will change.
Anglers in the lower Bay are targeting striped bass by trolling and jigging. Those trolling are pulling umbrella rigs with heavy inline weights to get them down close to the bottom where the striped bass are holding. Those who are jigging are working the same deep channel edges.
Trolling along the deep channel edges is a very effective way to fish right now. Colder waters are causing many striped bass to move deep, looking for slightly warmer temperatures. The channel areas at the mouth of the Potomac River from Point Lookout to Smith Point are good to target. The western side of the shipping channel near Cove Point to Cedar Point and the eastern side of the channel from the HS Buoy south to the Middle Grounds have been good places to fish, whether trolling or jigging.
There is sporadic seagull activity being reported with striped bass pushing schools of bait to the surface. There are still some juvenile menhaden making their way through the region. The fish on top tend to be smaller striped bass, but larger ones often lurk deeper underneath the surface action.
Anglers who are light-tackle jigging are using a mix of large soft plastic jigs and metal jigs to reach the striped bass holding deep and close to the bottom. A watchful eye on a good depth finder is essential this time of the year. The classic colors of white and chartreuse tend to be the most popular colors for soft plastic jigs, and chrome and chartreuse for metal jigs.