The lower Bay offers some of the best striped bass fishing opportunities before the Maryland recreational striped bass season closes Friday, December 10. The Potomac River recreational striped bass fishery will be open until December 31, with a two-fish per day creel limit and a minimum of 20 inches total length. Maryland anglers are advised that only the main stem of the river is open to striped bass fishing until December 31. Tidal rivers on the Maryland side close for recreational striped bass with the rest of the Bay on December 10.
Trolling umbrella rigs weighted down with heavy inline weights is the most popular way anglers are fishing the last few days of the season. The deep edges of the shipping channel in 50 feet to 70 feet of water tend to be where the striped bass are suspended close to the bottom. Most are using bucktails dressed with sassy shads or twistertails for trailers on their umbrella rigs. A fair percentage of the fish being caught are coming up short of Maryland’s required 19 inches, but legal-sized fish are being caught. The west side of the shipping channel from Cove Point south to Point Lookout is a popular location to troll as is the eastern side from Hooper’s Island south to the Middle Grounds. The channels in Tangier Sound are also holding striped bass.
The lower Potomac River has been an excellent place to troll this week along the deeper channel edges. The channel edges in front of the Wicomico River and from Piney Point to St. George Island are good places to troll in the Potomac. The deep channel edges near Buoy 72 and south past buoys 70, 68, 65, and 64 are also great places to troll for striped bass.
Jigging is also an effective way to fish for striped bass, but one must go deep, which can be difficult in wind and current. Watching depth finders for concentrations of fish is essential. Most are using soft plastic jigs, but metal jigs are working well also and tend to be heavier for their size, which is important when lures must be very close to the bottom.