Charles County, Maryland, October 30, 2009
October was about to turn into November and as the occasional chilly morning became the uncomfortable norm it was time to once again to troll for migrating striped bass on the Potomac River with Paul out of Cobb Island.

We set out in the morning under a grey overcast sky. Visibility was excellent and we could see
Ragged Point several miles away as we dodged crab pots in the Wicomico River on our way out to the main stem of the Potomac River. Our plan was to quickly motor down to Point Lookout, where the Potomac meets the Chesapeake Bay, then troll back to Cobb Island. There was very little river traffic as we zipped past Piney Point and the Black Panther U-boat but as we neared Point Lookout the private and charter boats were out on the water trolling or running a chum slick.

We quickly dropped several lines in the water running a variety of lures--
umbrella rigs, Mann's magnum stretch deep divers and parachutes. Fish were stacked along the channel edge from 25-45 feet down. We noticed bird activity but no breaking baitfish so we concentrated on slow trolling a zig-zag pattern as we began to work the schools of fish as they headed out to sea on their annual Fall migration.

We marked lots of fish, but the hours ticked by without a bite. However Paul made some killer roast beef sandwiches for lunch so the trip wasn't so bad. We continued to troll and swap out lures. Different lures and color combinations, variation in lure running depth, trolling speed and direction made no difference. We could easily see the fish on the sonar, but getting them to bite was becoming frustrating. Finally around 1:40pm the starboard outboard rod began to scream and within a few minutes Paul boated a very nice striper that was going to be the main course for dinner. Of course, because we were running most of our lures 25 feet deep or more, this striper decided to hit a shallow running chartreuse parachute lure tipped with a large
Storm Wildeye swimming shad as we were passing over very deep water (over 65 feet) on our way to troll along the opposite channel edge. There were no fish showing on the finder at the time.

After the fish was secured I borrowed a chartreuse parachute lure from Paul and swapped out my Mann's 30+ deep diver. We continued to troll for several more hours but that one fish was about all the action we would get for the rest of the day.

EQUIPMENT: We used a combination of heavy trolling rods and reels and tried many different lures throughout the day to find something the fish would eat. It seems that they liked something chartreuse that was running slow and shallow today. We marked lots of fish between 25-45 feet down and a few that were running shallow at 12-15 feet but most of the big ones were down deep.

DIRECTIONS: It's the lower Potomac River. You need a boat. There are many marinas scattered throughout Maryland and Virginia that will allow you to launch (for a fee) but at this time of the season you might want to try the launch facilities at Point Lookout State Park in Maryland which puts you at the mouth of the Potomac River and the lower Chesapeake Bay. If you want to try your luck near Cobb Island try Shymansky's marina. They have launch ramp facilties and boat rentals where you have access to the Wicomico and Potomac Rivers.
An anchored charter boat running a chum slick for striped bass near Piney Point, Maryland.