By Lenny Rudow
Way back in the late 80’s The Chesapeake had a writing contest which was won by yours truly, mostly because I managed to tell bigger lies than anyone else.
Little did I know back then that my nautical knowledge would turn out to be of more interest to people than any of the actual literature I’d attempt to write through the years.
So much for art.
Still, writing about how and where to fish, recreational boating, and marine electronics is still one heck of a good gig, so I was thrilled when I got a blast from the past and publisher Ken Rossignol contacted me to see if I’d be interested in writing an article for the new The Chesapeake.
Yeah I know—enough expounding, get on to the important stuff, Rudow. Okay, here goes: The striper season is drawing to a close (December 15 was our last legal day to chase stripers in the bay), but there were still plenty of red-hot opportunities as the season came to a halt. These tips will always help you land a big one.
Trolling spring trophy spreads of tandem rigs, parachutes, and daisy chains over deep waters in the main-stem bay is the ticket to fish over 30 inches; run east from Point Lookout until the water depth hits 40 feet, troll to the red #66 marker, turn north, troll up the edge to the red #72, then turn west and head back for the green 69A. When the bottom comes up under 40 feet, head south for the 66 again. That pattern is a proven late-season fish-producer.
Light tackle anglers will have a tough time targeting these cows. You can try open-water jigging, but it’s a long shot; look for gannets, not gulls or terns, which feed on larger baitfish and sometimes indicate bigger fish feeding near the surface. Use heavy metal jigs like Butterflies or Stingsilvers, drop ‘em deep, and consider yourself lucky if you catch one fish for every three or four that the trollers take. A better bet for light tackle guys is targeting 20” to 30” stripers, which will be corralling bay anchovies and young of the year bunker. You’ll find them under flocks of diving gulls throughout the mouth of the Potomac, in the open bay, and in the vicinity of the Gas Docks. Plan on run-and-gun fishing, and make sure you have a good pair of binoculars onboard to help spot the birds from afar.
Satisfied? I hope so, because now it’s time to shift gears.
In case you hadn’t heard, the Gregorian Fault in the Potomac went active again this summer.
The resulting tectonic changes have created a new underwater ridge, three miles due east of Ridge.
The Ridge Ridge, as local scientists have named it, has rapidly resulted in a rigorous realignment of rockfish resources. On an incoming tide the current sweeps along its base, gets pushed west, hits the drop-off at Butler’s Rock, and is forced back to the south-east. Essentially, it’s created a giant swirly.
This new “Chesapeake Vortex,” as local scientists have named it, has trapped a plume of warm summer water in place. The elevated temperatures have attracted countless baitfish and many of the bay’s summer-time predators, confusing them as they’re swept round and round the Ridge Ridge.
As far as I know no other anglers have taken advantage of this fishing phenomenon yet, but I was there just yesterday. In an hour of fishing I landed six stripers over 50 pounds, two king mackerel, and a snook.
Lucky for you, out of the goodness of my heart and nostalgia for the old days when I wrote for The Chesapeake regularly, I’ve decided to share this invaluable information with today’s The Chesapeake readers. Remember folks, you heard about it here first—and that’s nothin’ but the truth.