Water temperatures are still high in the Chesapeake and its tributaries (63-65 degrees), and the fish are behaving much as they would in early October. Breaking fish are available everywhere you go, with calm weather days the best for spotting and catching these fish. I took part of my Saturday to give it a shot with my dad, and while we didn’t have a knock-out day, we caught fish.
We headed out to the Bay first thing from Solomons late in the morning, and immediately found bird activity along a rip line near the river channel. The birds would sit in massive flocks on the water, then pop up and fly around eagerly, sometimes plucking food from the surface. I spent a good 45 minutes scanning the area, and was not able to find any fish other than several large schools of menhaden in that same rip line.
With the wind picking up, we decided to head back into the river and poke around the shallows as the tide rose. Fishing my 5wt and a small clouser minnow yielded a few tiny fish, but nothing of note. We then drove North, bypassing St. Leonard Creek for Broomes Island. Fishing the shallows around the island, we took a few more small striped bass, but again, nothing of note.
Fortunately, as we prepared to leave, we saw a flock of terns feeding upriver in the channel. Fishing 1 oz jigs and large plastics (>6″), we proceeded to catch several nice striped bass, with the largest just shy of 27″. The school of fish was spread out perpendicular to the river channel, and we were able to drift from one side to the other, pulling fish from the scattered schools. It was not fast action (likely due to the large size of the lures we were using), but we were able to have a little fun on a pretty day.