1. Eric Packard, Recreational Angler
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posted on: November 27, 2023

Striped Bass on the Patuxent

Type: Tidal
Region: Southern
Location: Patuxent River

I spent 11/26 on the Patuxent River fishing with a couple of friends. We launched from under the Thomas Johnson bridge at 8:30, and started looking for birds. We took our time launching and getting started because the tide was slack.

Finding a few birds here and there but they lacked fish below them. Believing the large number of Loons on the river are pushing bait and causing motion just below the surface. And the seagulls are working the areas. And when I say there are a lot of loons, they were everywhere and in large numbers.

We moved north, finding a small group of birds, stopping and looking for fish, zip… then repeat. We did this a few times before we head further up river. We ended up off Sheridan Point. Drifting over 9 to 13 foot of water seeing a fish here or there. Then we started catching, well the other guys did, they were like eight fish up before I got bit. They were using much lighter rods than I was. I adjusted and started catching.

The bite was slow and the rain moved in… we were 20 some fish in. We started to move back down river. More birds, zero fish. Then we spotted a big grouping of birds, taking a cast, I hooked up. We were on fish, following the birds/school in 13-20’ of water, we ended up with 58 striped bass for the day. Plus the single striped bass hybrid.

We wrapped it up and headed in. We were catching on 1 and 1.5oz jig heads with a five or six inch Bass Assassin eel and BKD.

DNR note:
This fish has the general appearance of a hybrid striped bass- either a striped bass/white bass or striped bass/white perch cross. However, Maryland DNR has not stocked hybrid stripers since the 1980's and those were in impoundments, and the only way to determine the strain/origin of this fish is with genetic DNA testing. Department biologists from the Freshwater division recaptured some hybrid striped bass up into the mid 1990's but they have not seen any since then. However, Mel Beaven, who was the first freshwater fisheries biologist for the Southern region of Maryland, grew up on the Patuxent River in Solomons. He had seen hybrid stripers in the Patuxent while growing up and believed they were natural crosses, possibly striped bass/white perch hybrids. That being said, in the 1990's there were more striped bass/white bass hybrids found in the Upper Bay, and striped bass biologists saw a few stray fish with hybrid striped bass characteristics in commercial checkstations into the early 2000s. Those last few fish observed from the commercial checkstations were not genetically tested.