Richard Novotny, executive director of the Maryland Saltwater Sportfishermen's Association, is an advocate of making the striped bass a sports gamefish. He also has expended years of time and effort catching them, with the bulk of his fishing coming above the Bay Bridges.
As Maryland recreational fishermen prepare to enter their first striped bass fishery in five years, Novotny offers this advice:
"If you fish for rock [striped bass] like they always did in the springtime, few fish will be caught," Novotny said. "This is a different season. The rock will not be mixed in with the blues, and you will not be able to troll as you did in the spring.
"This is a time for bottom-bouncing trolling with small bucktails and baits like that. It is a science. You just can't go out there and expect to catch fish.
"What you are trying to do is match the bait that the fish are feeding on at this time of the year -- small silversides and anchovies that are in the bay rather than the large alewives that are in here during the spring."
A prime requisite, Novotny said, is a depth/fish finder.
"You have to go where you know the fish are going to be," Novotny said. "You might catch a few fishing blind, but, to do well, you have to have a good depth finder and know what it is telling you. I won't put a line in the water until I see fish in the depth finder."
* Bucktails from 1/0 to 3/0, dressed with plastic Mister Twister tails.
* Two-and-a-half- to 3-inch Sassy Shad in pearl, chartreuse and chartreuse with black back, and white with blue or black back.
* Small spoons, such as Crippled Alewives, in the 1/0, 2/0 and 3/0 sizes.
A trolling rig with about an 18-foot leader with a drop weight on a 30-inch line. The drop weight will vary between 10 and 20 ounces depending on the tide, current and depth of water.