Cooler water temperatures have shifted many of the lower Bay fisheries into a fall pattern. Striped bass are moving freely throughout the lower Bay and tidal rivers, and in many cases they are holding along steep channel edges as they wait for schools of baitfish to be flushed out of the tidal rivers. The numbers of spot are diminishing quickly, the bluefish are gone for the most part.
The lower Potomac River from the Route 301 Bridge south and along the steep edges from St. Clements Island to Piney Point are great places to jig or troll for striped bass. Anglers also report breaking fish, which is always exciting. Ebbing tide currents can pick up a lot of speed along these steep channel edges, which will often sweep small bait fish along. The striped bass can easily navigate these currents and set up to ambush bait.
Soft plastic and metal jigs heavy enough to reach the striped bass present a fun and exciting way to fish for striped bass. Trolling is another option, but heavy tackle must be used to be able to control heavy inline weights and umbrella rigs that must descend to the depths where the striped bass are holding.
Many areas along the lower Potomac, Bay shores, and Tangier and Pocomoke sounds offer fun fishing in shallower waters for a mix of striped bass, speckled trout, and slot size puppy drum. Casting paddletails, swimbaits, jerkbaits, and other favorite lures is a fun way to fish in these areas during low light conditions.
Anglers who are bottom fishing with bait are still catching a few spot and a mix of sea trout, kingfish, and black sea bass. Some anglers who are jigging near reef sites are also catching black sea bass. Those that fish for them with Gulp baits or strips of squid or spot are catching a few keeper-size flounder near Point Lookout, the mouth of the Patuxent River, and Tangier and Pocomoke sounds.