Fishing success for large striped bass has been pretty slim in the upper bay region this past week for boats trolling in and around the shipping channel. More than a few fishermen reported marking big fish in the deep channel but could not get them to bite. A few boats that have been launching out of Sandy Point have been trolling from the Bay Bridge south to the Bloody Point area and picking up a few nice fish there. Water temperatures in the upper bay have been holding at 39 to 40-degrees this week which is getting pretty cold for striped bass and fishermen. The cold water is causing the striped bass’s metabolism to slow down and our resident striped bass are more prone to be holding in some deep water that is a bit warmer and waiting out the coming winter months.
Fishermen have been catching white perch in a number of locations throughout the region; often in the deeper holes near river or creek mouths. Most fishermen are using bloodworms on a bottom rig but grass shrimp can often provide a cheaper bait alternative.
Mid Bay Region:
Trolling for large striped bass over the deeper areas of the shipping channel continues to be good this week for fishermen. The big striped bass have been hitting on large parachutes and bucktails dressed with 9” sassy shads trolled in tandem, single or behind an umbrella rig. Wind has been a limiting factor as one would expect this time of the year and fishermen must pick their days. Many have been putting up with frigid morning temperatures but large waves can be another matter; especially when one thinks of safety. The bay can be very unforgiving this time of the year when water temperatures in the middle bay are holding at about 40 to 42-degrees. This is a very good time of the year to employ the services of a charter boat that comes complete with plenty of water line and a heated cabin. Walt Zielezinski was fishing out of Breezy Point when he caught this 41” striped bass on a single parachute.
Fishermen are reporting seeing less bait this week on their depth finders which may be a result of chillier waters but do mention that they are marking large striped bass. The steep channel edge on the western side of the shipping channel out in front of Breezy Point and Chesapeake Beach has been producing good fishing lately as has the Bloody Point area. The Bloody Point area provides a very steep channel edge and an exit from Eastern Bay for baitfish. Kelly Greenhawk provided this bathometric picture for us to illustrate the channel contours in this area. One can see how large fish find a convenient area to ambush bait being sweep by currents out of the Eastern Bay area and into the stiff current of the deeper channel.
Lower Bay/Tangier Sound Region:
Fishermen in the lower bay region continue to experience outstanding fishing for large striped bass in a number of traditional locations by trolling. Planner boards, large parachutes and bucktails are the order of the day along with rough and cold conditions frequently; but most fishermen will be quick to reply that it is well worth the effort. Vince Forte sent in this little short report and a picture that explains why fishermen are braving cold temperatures. This 50 inch rock was caught aboard Reelapse out of St Jerome’s Creek by Greg Forte of Kensington, MD with the help of his nephew Chris Forte of Washington, DC at 3:00 PM Sunday afternoon December 14, 2008. The fish measured 50 inches and weighed 47.5 pounds. She was caught on a tandem bucktail rig trimmed with 9" white shads just outside of Point No Point. They also caught a 38 inch rock weighing 19 pounds and a 33 inch fish weighing 15 pounds. Not a bad outing!
When the wind blows it can be a real adventure to get there no matter if one is cruising from the Crisfield area or western shore ports; so often fishermen have to pick their days. The charter boat fleet offers a great option this time of the year offering plenty of waterline and heated cabins and putting a group together certainly makes this option affordable. Boat owners coming out of ports on the lower Potomac have had the opportunity to troll along the river channel and find some protection from the wind. Fishing there has been good and offers a great alternative for small boat owners when they face wind blown conditions out on the open waters of the bay.
The focus of many boats heading out into the open waters of the bay to troll has been the area between the HS Buoy south past Buoys 72 and 70. That particular area has been accounting for a lot of the big fish that have been caught this past week. Captains are reporting that the best action has been occurring in the early morning hours off the planner boards and white parachutes and bucktails tend to out fish chartreuse. Large Crippled Alewife spoons have also been effective but tend to require a lot of vigilance when being fished in a large array of lines. This bathometric image provided by bay researcher Kelly Greenhawk helps to show why the channel contours that direct water currents and schools of bait make this such a productive area to fish.
We usually get a lot of photos this time of year, if you submitted a photo and don't see your picture in the regular report please look in the photo gallery that we run this time year. Click here for this week's gallery!
Click here for information concerning harmful algae blooms
Click here to view recent bay satellite images at mddnr.chesapeakebay.net/NASAimagery/EyesInTheSky.cfm
The link below has some very valuable
information for Chesapeake Bay Anglers. DNR's "Eyes on the Bay" website
has data coming in from remote sensing stations in the Chesapeake Bay and
tributaries. It is well worth checking this out. Click on the map below.
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