MARYLAND: Catching Striped Bass by Casting Surface Poppers

This truly is the best of times and seasons for Maryland outdoorsman; it is all right there for us to enjoy this month.

Everything from trout fishing, smallmouth and largemouth bass to striped bass and bluefish in the bay to red drum and offshore species in the ocean; kind of makes a guy confused as to what to fish for first.

Cooling water temperatures are creating some exciting fishing opportunities near the Conowingo Dam and lower Susquehanna River for a mix of striped bass, walleye and smallmouth bass. Fishermen are having good success catching striped bass by casting surface poppers from shore and small boats. Smallmouth bass and walleye are being caught on crankbaits, tubes and jigs. Anyone wishing to launch at the Lapidum boat ramp should take notice that the ramp will be closed from October 9th through December 1st for sediment removal from the launch area and construction of a sediment barrier. Anyone who has tried to use the ramp at low tide knows about the silt that was deposited there by Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee.

Many fishermen in the upper bay region use this time of the year to stock up on the plentiful white perch that can be found in the region. White perch are beginning to school up on shoal areas found in the deeper parts of the tidal rivers and bay. Often the larger white perch can be found in slightly deeper areas than their smaller brothers and bottom rigs baited with bloodworms are the first choice by fishermen.

Fishermen are finding plenty of striped bass action in the upper bay this week in the form of roving schools of sub-legal fish with just enough legal sized fish to keep it interesting. The smaller fish are spread out throughout the region and are providing a lot of fun for light tackle fishermen casting surface poppers and other topwater lures. As one gets closer to the Bay Bridge the odds of finding larger fish increase either on the surface or underneath the surface action. Most savvy striped bass fishermen know that working a jig deep underneath a school of breaking small fish is worth a try. If it doesn’t work out one can always look for another school to work and so it goes when striped bass are in a fall pattern of chewing up bait schools headed out of the tidal rivers. The bridge piers of the Bay Bridge are always a good place to check since they are a favorite place for striped bass to hold in the current waiting for bait to be swept by.

Keith Lockwood

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