It’s that time of year again! It’s officially fall and soon ROCKTOBER! Time to break out your top water, sub surface, and metal jigs for light tackle fishing and grab your trolling gear for the big stripers that will be making their way back in the bay. Report came in from New York and North Jersey of stripers moving down the coast but not in heavy numbers. We should see the typical run of the big stripers coming in during mid-October to late November
It seems that all the stripers are moving all over the place now that we have cooler temperatures and the bait fish are moving down the Bay. There has been a mix on the size of breaking fish north of the Bay Bridge from North Point, seven-foot knoll in the mouth of the Patapsco river, and Baltimore Light House in the mouth of the Magothy river. Love Point, Eastern Bay and Severn River are good places to look for breaking fish in the north to middle area of the Bay. Most of the fish in the north to middle area of the Bay seem to be around 15 to 24”. There is a mix of blue fish in with the stripers. Some of the blues in the middle bay area range from 12 to 18-inches. The lures of choice for the past two weeks have been 5 to 7 inch soft plastics, one of the most effective soft plastic bait has been the so called indestructible Z-MAN StreakZ on baby bass, and smokey shad colors paired on a contrasting color jig head from 1/2 oz to 1oz. Also epoxy jigs on white, green, and silver colors from 3/8 to 1oz on weight.
Chumming in the area is still good. The best areas to target are Podickory Point, Love Point, Thomas Point, the Dumping Grounds, Hacketts, and the Hill. Most of the guys are using chunks of fresh alewife with chum. Remember that a good tide flow is key to having a good chum slick. There are a mix of Stripers, Blues, and there has also been reports of some Red Drum . A 5/0 to 6/0 hook size from j hooks to circle hooks with a fluro or mono leader from 20 to 36 inches in length and 20 to 30lb test is all you need with a 1 to 3oz weight to hold bottom.
Now on to live lining. Live lining is a good effective way to catch Stripers but people have been encountering Bluefish which causes some problems. Those yellow eyed devils will chop off the tails of your spot when they are in the area making live lining impossible. One way to try to solve that problem is to run a stinger hook from your main 5/0 hook with either a small wire or 80lb mono to a size 1 hook that you can hook on the tail of the spot. Some of the spots where you can live line are most of the same areas you will chum (Bay Bridge pilings, Love Point, Podickory Point, The Hill, and Thomas point).
If you are looking to catch a big striper, trolling is your best bet. There is a mix on the size of the fish caught while trolling ranging from 18 to some fish over 35 inches. Most of the guys trolling are using planners from size 1, 2, and 3 with Drone spoons. Drone spoons will also give you a chance to catch a mix bag of blue fish, Spanish mackerel, and stripers. In order to catch the Spanish mackerel, you need to speed up and troll from 6mph to 9mph and you’ll also get some blue fish mix in. Aside from smaller spoons, bucktail tandem rigs and umbrellas have also been producing good sized Rockfish.
Last but not least, the shore fisherman can expect a mix of White Perch, Spot, Stripers, and some Croaker in the area but not many of them are left in the upper to middle bay area. Most of these species have been concentrated in the southern portion of the bay. Some of the good areas that have been producing good bottom fishing from the shore/piers have been Ft Smallwood, Matapeake, Sandy point, and point lookout in southern Maryland.