Late report here.
A few weeks back, I and a friend set out of Solomons MD to chase striped bass on the fly and light tackle. We found a massive school of dink (10″-14″) stripers spread out across the river entrance. Fishing large jigs and flies for a few drifts didn’t provide any action, but switching to dropper flies and tiny Clouser Minnows brought fish after fish into the boat.
Low on gas, we headed into Solomons, filling up the gas tank and our stomachs at the Charles Street Brasserie. A couple omelets and Bloody Mary later, we set off upriver. With strong winds blowing out of the Northwest, the river was choppy. We tucked into one of the tidal creeks near Solomons and caught a handful of 16″-18″ stripers in the gin clear water.
To fish these creeks, focus on sharp drop offs near shore, and find areas where leaves have accumulated. The same currents that accumulate debris on the surface accumulate baitfish under it, and the striped bass will be there, too.
The night before, I went down to a dock on one of these Patuxent River creeks with my 8wt, floating line, and a size 3/0 half-and-half fly. Every fall, the docks along this river collect striped bass at night, attracted to lights on the dock itself. I cast out from the end of the dock past the edges of the light, and retrieved my fly slowly – long, 3 foot strips, with a long pause. After a few casts, I hooked into a nice striped bass, working to keep it from shooting into the dock pilings.
After releasing that fish, the action stopped. The remaining dock lights were flooded with small striped bass and white perch, but that wasn’t what I was looking for. The water temperatures were still warm (in the 60’s) meaning from that night through Thanksgiving the night time fishing should hit its peak (with fishing ending once temperatures hit 48-50 degrees).