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May 26, 2013

Live-Baiting for Stripers

Live-line a peanut bunker for Chesapeake Bay striped bass.

Striper Live-Lining Hot Spots

The hottest spots change from season to season, but some areas are perennially reliable. In the upper Chesapeake, such a spot is the mouth of the Magothy River. Most seasons, you'll find stripers in search of peanut bunker just outside of the river to the north of Podickery and also inside the river near Dobbins Island near the green No. 1 marker, where the bottom drops to 12 or 14 feet. Other upper-bay hot spots for live-lining bunker are the mouth of the Chester River and the Love Point area. Any of the humps south of Rock Hall (commonly called the Entrance Lumps) are a good bet, and the large northernmost underwater section of Love Point, where it drops erratically from 15 to 35 feet, is another place you'll want to check out.

Middle-bay anglers with a well full of peanuts will want to head for the mouth of the South and West rivers, an extremely productive area where the rivers join just before entering the open Chesapeake. The long contour between the red No. 6 and No. 4 markers in the south is another spot that produces year in and year out.

If you have access to Eastern Bay, check out the drop off the southern edge of Parson's Island, where the water goes from a couple of feet down to 25 feet. Tilghman Point and the north and west sides of Poplar Island are other hot spots that produce in Eastern Bay most seasons. Slide a little farther south, and the Diamonds, just outside the Choptank River, produce reliable action year after year. But the waters on the north side of the Gas Docks, a liquid-gas unloading facility just north of the Patuxent River, are as close as it comes to a sure bet for live-lining. And the Middle Grounds, just east of Point Lookout and north of the Virginia line, is where southern-bay anglers should give this technique a try.

Upper Chesapeake

Magothy River
Dobbins Island drop-off: 39° 04.807' N, 76° 27.319' W
North of Podickery: 39° 02.606' N, 76° 24.173' W

Chester River
Entrance Lumps: 39° 04.984' N, 76° 14.760' W
Love Point Bump: 39° 03.829' N, 76° 16.397' W

Middle Chesapeake

South/West River Mouth: 38° 52.554' N, 76° 29.135' W
South River: No. 6 to No. 4 contour: 38° 54.694' N, 76° 28.836' W

Eastern Bay
Parson's Island: 38° 53.721' N, 76° 15.591' W
Tilghman Point: 38° 51.334' N, 76° 16.802' W
Poplar Island north: 38° 47.311' N, 76° 22.670' W

Lower-Middle Chesapeake

Choptank River: the Diamonds: 38° 36.956' N, 76° 20.174' W
Gas Docks (north of): 38° 25.177' N, 76° 24.230' W
Middle Grounds: 38° 01.166' N, 76° 10.608' W