I made it out for a few hours today to fish Chesapeake Bay, looking for shallow water striped bass. It was a day with low winds, clouds, and frigid temperatures.
The last two days, saw night time temperatures in the upper 20’s, and the shallows of the bay have seen their temperatures plummet. Fishing along the islands east of Solomons, we found scattered striped bass to 22″ (which were covered in sea lice). The fish were fat, but a little lethargic. The region I fished had significant temperature gradients playing a role in where the fish would locate: Adjacent to the island, the water was 47 degrees, and with very few fish present. Moving two hundred feet from the island, the water became 50 degrees, and along that temperature edge, we caught good numbers of nice striped bass.
We left the shallows to fish breaking fish (we had passed them in the morning on the way to the Eastern Shore). The fish were still there, south of Solomons, and scattered. The fish were small, 10″ – 15″. After catching a dozen, we worked our way up the Patuxent, getting blanked in the shallows, but finding large numbers of fish under birds in the middle of the river. We fished large jigs, hoping for a nicer grade of fish, but they never came.
The river and bay temperature were around 57-59 degrees – ideal temperatures for bass to school up. If temperatures stay moderate, there should be a good creek fishery that develops toward the end of the month.