The fall pattern continues to present itself as we are getting more and more reports of fish over 28″ being caught all over the place. While most of these fish are on the move out of the rivers and staging to head to their wintering grounds, the mouths of the rivers have been red hot!
The Magothy River has been particularly productive on light tackle jigging and trolling. Anglers in 30′ to 35′ of water have found schools of hefty fall stripers moving through. If you want to try your hand at some light tackle jigging, grab some 3/4 oz Hard Head Custom Baits jig heads in candy corn or chartreuse. Use these along with some 7-inch Striper Snipers, Bass Assassins or Bust ‘Em Baits in a vibrant color. There are ALWAYS fish around the Bay Bridge throughout the year with some bigger fish in the mid 30’s being pulled off around the eastern rock pile and pilings in deeper 35′-45′ of water.
With the weather changing over to cooler/rainier days, we’ll start to see the migratory stripers moving south from Jersey. While the hope is that we will see some fall cows within the next couple weeks, unless a severe cold front comes through up north pushing bait south, don’t expect those 50″ fish just yet! Although anything’s possible!
As far as trolling goes, small boat spreads of six to nine rods have been killing it either trolling white double drop umbrellas 6-8 bars back on 8 to 12 oz of lead or 6” tandems on light lead 12-16 bars back. As far as location, look for channel edges around the mouths of rivers or if its calm enough to see breaking fish just look for birds. As far as a chum bite goes, it remains constant as it usually does throughout the year. The only problem you may find is finding some alewive, but if you do, set up in about 30 feet of water around Hackett’s or Tolly’s off a ledge on a good Ebb tide, crack a beer, and enjoy!
The rivers are still holding some hefty white perch. A good chart and depth finder to show you where the oyster reefs or hard bottom is can be key to getting on top of these fish. Having said that, 25 to 28 feet of water on hard bottom using sting silvers bouncing bottom, or 3 inch Berkley gulp minnows on a bottom rig or a drop shot more or less is producing some decent fish on up to 14″. Or, if you don’t want to fool with artificial baits, and just want to take the kids out, bottom fishing for a bit, grab some bloodworms, razor clams, or frozen peelers, drop an ounce of weight on a bottom rig with number 6 hooks and anchor up on the same reefs.
This is the time of year for pickerel as the white perch have moved out of the shallows leaving nothing but pickerel to be the top dogs around grass beds, jetties and other shallow structure. Mepps spinners, Rooster Tails, Captain Bert’s Perch Pounders and 3″-4″ swimbaits are a sure fire way to have some light tackle fun in the creeks. Just be aware they are not a schooling fish, meaning where you catch one, there may not be another one around for quite a ways. So, if you got a trolling motor or a kayak to navigate in and around creeks you are in the money!
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