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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Quick report because I've been awake for almost 40 hours straight...

I'm a firm believer that the "42 degree shutoff" for CBBT is a thorough urban legend, or at least that whatever experience it was based on doesn't adequately represent the fish behavior patterns now. We had some great days last year in January and February when water temps were wll below 42 degrees.

Today we made the suicide run, departing Odenton at 2:30 and having lines in the water just after first light. The temperature was 37-38 degrees today, and we caught LOTS of fish, but none over 28 inches. We had LOTS of fat and healthy 27 inch fish that were eager to strike 6" and 10" BKDs, storms, and tidalfish lures. Also saw Wild Bill and Giant Tuna out there, picking steadily at mostly the same grade of fish.

We found fish where I've found them CONSISTENTLY for the last several trips... in 40ish feet of water about 12-30 pilings North of the 4th island on the ocean side. We also found them on pilings between the 2nd and 3rd.

Didn't have any bird activity today, and didn't do too much searching for bigger fish because of the strong front moving in (and small craft advisory)... we wanted to stay relatively close to the ramp.

Anyway - just a quick report to say they're there, and they're feeding. Couldn't find any big fish, however.

I'll be back down there several more times through February.

Josh
 

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Hi Josh-

We saw your Sea Hunt and figured it was a TF boat but did not make the connection.

Just got home myself. Simon and I fished the ocean Thurs and Fri, running as far as 101 miles. We did catch a nicer grade fish along the coast but not great numbers. There were plenty of gannets sitting, flying and diving but you had to move to the little pods of fish and drop on them. A long drift was not productive as in past years.

Today with the call for a big weather change, we fished the bridge with steady catching on typical bridge fish in the morning. Chuck had a 29" which was probably the biggest at the bridge. When the tide and weather changed about 11 AM, we packed it in.

Some things to consider with the water temp. Boat gages differ. We measured mostly 40 to 41.5 degrees this morning at the bridge, which agrees with today's buoy data. Secondly, there is a cutoff point for stripers at the bridge, but I am not sure eactly what it is. It is about four degrees colder this year than last for this date. That does not seem like much but is huge. Time will tell what that cutoff is but I think we are very close to it now. Hopefully the water temp does not go much lower.

You have to go pretty far south to get warm water inside the three mile line. Today I heard of fish being caught at Corolla and 40 miles north. Not sure the fish north were inside three miles.

We caught plenty of fish but had none over 40" and took no pics this trip.
 

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Stumbled across this post and figured I'd chip in my thoughts. Surface temps can vary several degrees from subsurface temps. If I remember correctly, water is most dense at 50 degrees and becomes increasingly less dense as it gets colder and approaches freezing. You get thermoclines as a result. The colder water stays at the top and warmer water below. This is especially true during periods of cold weather like we have experienced the last few weeks... surface temps drop quickly, but bottom temps are more stable. As mentioned, there has been little bird activity at the CBBT and from my observation all the fish are stacked in extremely tight schools from 25-50' below the surface. I believe that the fish are holding in that warmer water and not pushing the bait up because of the colder surface temps. Just something to consider - surface temps don't tell the full story.

Chris
 

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Stumbled across this post and figured I'd chip in my thoughts. Surface temps can vary several degrees from subsurface temps. If I remember correctly, water is most dense at 50 degrees and becomes increasingly less dense as it gets colder and approaches freezing. You get thermoclines as a result. The colder water stays at the top and warmer water below. This is especially true during periods of cold weather like we have experienced the last few weeks... surface temps drop quickly, but bottom temps are more stable. As mentioned, there has been little bird activity at the CBBT and from my observation all the fish are stacked in extremely tight schools from 25-50' below the surface. I believe that the fish are holding in that warmer water and not pushing the bait up because of the colder surface temps. Just something to consider - surface temps don't tell the full story.

Chris
I think you make an excellent point. We tend to forget that the water temps are never the same all of the way to the bottom. Just dive in a lake in the middle of the summer and hit that cold water down deeper:eek2:.
 

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Water is most dense at a temperature much closer to 39.8*F.This would be the temperature associated with initiating 'fall turnover'(along with wind),which would be a phenomenon not so prevalent in bay waters,but well represented in f/w lakes and reservoirs.If you have further info on that 50* density claim,I would love to know it,Chris!Thanks for the discussion on temp limits.
 

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As well,Jim,maximum density water at the surface(39.8*F) can begin a process whereby the water column homogenizes,and in many cases does in fact blend the water to eliminate stratification,so,there are times when the surface and bottom readings can be quite similar.In warmer seasons the calmer the body of water,the more it contains stratified water temps,while the introduction of wind,current and in the case of the ocean,varied temps of water from different sources,completely change the dynamic. I've looked at temp charts from the Great Lakes and such which indicate strata of water(summertime)which have been stood on end and arranged into temperature progressions ACROSS the surface.That being said,the temperature on the bottom is colder than the surface much of the year in most waters,it just isn't precisely 'stratified' all the time,and in more complex environments(the Bay) one can observe water temp dynamics outside what one might expect from more inland waters or the ocean.
 

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Hi Guys,

Of course there are exceptions to every 'rule'. And, as Bill said, I have seen rpts where guys say the water temp is xx and mine read 4 degress higher and the wx temps agreed. some gauges differ 3-4-5 degrees.
And sure we know that the temp we are reading is surface, that is the constant that we use because that is the tool that we have (on our tranducer).

Also, it depends on what 'striper' you are talking about catchin. Schoolies or biguns.
A number of people are not gonna make the long trip to catch 25 inch fish.

In general I think it is the biguns that is being referred to, especially, at the 41-42 degree mark.

As to the reasons of temp chge/thermocline/water turnover/etc, I don't understand any of it.
But, I will agree with the others that have been fishing there for 5-7 yrs, that the 41-42 degree surface temp is around the mark that biguns are gonna be few and far between.

Glad that you all are having fun. Hopefully my boat will be in the water down there next year and I will be having fun also.
go getum. :clapping2::D
 

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As well,Jim,maximum density water at the surface(39.8*F) can begin a process whereby the water column homogenizes,and in many cases does in fact blend the water to eliminate stratification,so,there are times when the surface and bottom readings can be quite similar.In warmer seasons the calmer the body of water,the more it contains stratified water temps,while the introduction of wind,current and in the case of the ocean,varied temps of water from different sources,completely change the dynamic. I've looked at temp charts from the Great Lakes and such which indicate strata of water(summertime)which have been stood on end and arranged into temperature progressions ACROSS the surface.That being said,the temperature on the bottom is colder than the surface much of the year in most waters,it just isn't precisely 'stratified' all the time,and in more complex environments(the Bay) one can observe water temp dynamics outside what one might expect from more inland waters or the ocean.
Good info. I guess it's never as simple as it seems. I would also imagine it could be warmer on an incoming tide if the surrounding Ocean temps were slightly warmer. Anyhow, it's cold any way you slice it.
 

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Josh - Good fishing. Also, good report to stimulate an interesting discussion.

There were a few nice fish in the upper Bay in February last year when the rivers were iced and water temps were mid 30s. I had to go deep and downsize lures to get them, 50+, same areas where the perch are wintering over. That said, the bigger fish last weekend at the CBBT were also deep, around 50'. I haven't got anything over 30 inches in depths less than 25 feet there since mid December. I think Jim's right that the incoming warms it up.
 

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Incoming,Outgoing ,Deep,Shallow I'm not sure any of that matters once the temps get below 40. In years past the fish were always heading south for warmer water once the temps hit 40. Check the OI reports where the water is warmer and there still catching 30-40lb class fish. If you want the bigguns head south that's where they are. Or you could come to Florida for some really big fish.:D
 

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Water is most dense at a temperature much closer to 39.8*F.This would be the temperature associated with initiating 'fall turnover'(along with wind),which would be a phenomenon not so prevalent in bay waters,but well represented in f/w lakes and reservoirs.If you have further info on that 50* density claim,I would love to know it,Chris!Thanks for the discussion on temp limits.
I just got off the water and read your post. Actually, we are both wrong. I got confused and was thinking 50 degrees instead of 40, but that is only for freshwater. Sea water is actually most dense just above it's freezing point of 29. Of course, the salinity at the CBBT is lower than sea water. Theory being thrown out the window, all I know is that after a cold spell, the fish hold near the bottom at the CBBT. The reason in my mind is that the water must be warmer down there.

As a rule of thumb, I figure that if there are several days of cold weather, surface readings will be colder than the actual temperature 25 to 50' below the surface. The point is that surface readings are a tool, but often an inaccurate tool during times of extreme changes in air temperature.

Best bet is fish whenever you can. You don't know if you don't go!

Chris
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Lots of interesting discussion here, which was my goal.

I will say that all of these schools of fish we've encountered have been TIGHTLY packed on the bottom, which supports the theory shared above. I was regularly getting false readings on my sonar... we were in 45 feet of water and it would say 27 feet.

Although we only found 28 and under on this trip, on monday when MY meter was reading 39 degrees we did find some nicer fish.

So here's a question to Bill and others - do I keep my boat at Stingrays another month, or do I bring it home and get some maintenance done? I don't want to run farther south to fish, but I don't think there's much of a reason to bring it back to Baltimore right now either.
 

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Lots of interesting discussion here, which was my goal.

So here's a question to Bill and others - do I keep my boat at Stingrays another month, or do I bring it home and get some maintenance done? I don't want to run farther south to fish, but I don't think there's much of a reason to bring it back to Baltimore right now either.
Excellent question Josh-

Just got off the phone with a friend of mine (Mike) who is an excellent fisherman and also connected to several charter Capts out of Rudee and OI. He fished the bridge hard Sunday afternoon and into the night. He said the fish left the bridge and he could not mark anything. He has a 10" color machine and knows how to use it. The three of them caught one fish. He said the outgoing tide brought colder water to the bridge and the fish moved out. It was calm and he ran the entire span looking.

Unless we get a warming trend, the bridge fishing could be very tough. You and I may have hit the last of it for a while. Last year we caught big fish the first week of March when they were on the return north. It was a great trip but the small fish never left the bridge either.

Mike and I are both going to fish out of Rudee and head south, the first good weather window we get after the Super Bowl.

I would be delighted if someone goes down there the before any warming trend and catches fish at the bridge. I would love to be wrong.
 

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Not worth a full report, so I figure I'll just add it here.

We fished the bridge Sunday 1/25 and caught and released about 100 fish between two of us - 90% were 20-21 inch fish, with only about a dozen larger than that. Largest was 26". We were only able to find one school all day, but managed to stay on them for a few hours. Fish were glued to the bottom in 40' of water near the fourth island. Water temp was 39.5 at the fourth and 38.1 closer to the high rise.

I think it's my last trip down there this winter.
 
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