- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
By James DrakeNext week weíll be celebrating the Fourth of July and it falls on a Wednesday this year.
Thatís going to be some creative stretch to include this holiday in a long weekend. So, since most of us are only going to have a one-day celebration, why not include a little fishing in your plans before the fireworks and fried chicken?
Sure, think of it as the four Fs: Fishing, fried chicken, fireworks and freedom.
To sweeten that pot just a little, Marylandís Department of Natural Resources has designated July 4 as a Free Fishing Day.
Adults wonít need a license of any kind to legally wet a line in any Maryland water. You do have to obey all the other rules and regulations, but the license requirement is waived.
Enjoy your free day and Happy Birthday America.
Southern Maryland lakes and ponds Unless we get some cooler, overcast days coming up, itís pretty much an early morning/late evening deal right now if you want a reasonable chance for success.
At Gilbert Run Park in Dentsville, the bass donít usually run too big, but park manager Casey McClure heard of an 8-pounder caught in there a few days ago. Itís still happily swimming, for at Wheatley Lake itís strictly catch and release only for the largemouths.
McClure also saw several smaller bass caught off the pier behind the boathouse by fishermen throwing yellow Mister Twisters. Crappie and bluegill are also active in most all our smaller waters now.
Mattawoman Creek The water temperatures are really climbing and the bass fishing has suffered. Between the state park and the main river, the Life Outdoors Unlimited guides (301-937-0010) told me itís not near as fruitful a stretch of water as before. Still, they managed a fair number of bass by using Case Magic Stiks along the grass bed edges.
Upper Potomac River Itís the beginning of summer and the upper river is clear and low just like most every other year. These arenít the best conditions but the smallmouth fishing remains pretty good.
Ken Penrod, boss guide with LOU, recommended that you get up here early or plan to stay late and take advantage of the low-light hours.
ďOtherwise, youíre just exploring,Ē Penrod said.
At Lander, the guides suggest teaser tubes and said that youíd better keep a low profile because of the clear water. Around Edwards Ferry, look for rocks and ledges for your casting targets.
Tidal Potomac River ďItís grass frog time,Ē said Andy Andrzejewski with the Reel Bass Adventure stable of guides (301-932-1509).
Work popping frogs over grass and expect some quality bass to not be able to resist. White spinnerbaits are also getting some hard hits when worked in and around those same grass beds. If the mats are too thick for that, punch a creature bait into any opening.
If itís just numbers youíre after, Andrzejewski suggested a four-inch blue glitter worm rigged on a 1/8-ounce jig head worked around the creek drops and especially those in front of marsh run-offs to do the trick.
Some of the LOU guides have been doing pretty well around the Woodrow Wilson Bridge in Smoot Bay and Bulltown Cove tossing Magic Stiks and Mizmo tubes.
Lower Potomac River There are rockfish in the lower river from Ragged Point to Sandy Point, said Ken Lamb from the Tackle Box in Lexington Park. He also said that theyíre just itching to hit small trolled bucktails. If you discover them breaking, then itís all the better.
Some really nice croaker have moved upriver and Iím talking fish up to 20 inches. Lamb said that thereís a good population around the mouth of the St. Maryís River going all the way up to St. Maryís College of Maryland.
White perch are a distinct possibility everywhere. Franco Foraci loaded up on perch from around Cobb Island a few days ago throwing small spinnerbaits with chartreuse Power Gulps! to the rocks.
Foraci also ran a trotline in Cuckold Creek but struggled with undersize crabs, catching maybe three bushels of throwbacks to the 30 keepers they took home. Some flounder can be found down in Cornfield Harbor.
Patuxent River Lamb believes the spot should be filling the mouth of the river soon and he knows they sure like bloodworms. Perch are hitting little spinners and these guys will also happily sample your bloodworms, peeler, shrimp or squid offerings.
Lamb also told me that there are lots of small red drum around. These fish with the big eye on their tails are also sometimes called channel bass or reds, but know youíve got to let the small ones and really big ones go.
The Maryland rules allow you to only keep one per day and it must measure between 18 and 27 inches to be a keeper.
Deep Creek Lake You can figure itís always between 10 and 15 degrees cooler out here in the mountains, so when you canít stand the temperatures around here, there is a solution.
Early morning surface poppers are taking smallmouths and largemouths alike. After the sun gets high, the LOU guides recommended that you head to the boat docks and skip tubes and Magic Stiks for more action.
Lake Anna Bright sunshine and rising water temperatures here almost demand an early morning and late afternoon outing if itís bass or stripers you seek.
If those hours donít work for you, then grab some chicken liver at the supermarket and target catfish. The whiskered ones will keep you busy all day long. Target fairly deep water now and set up in at least 20 feet.
The weekend boat traffic is horrible. Itís going to be interesting to see what happens next week with the big holiday smack dab in the middle of the workweek.
Chesapeake Bay Plenty of croaker are around and although the general size is smaller than what you might find up in the rivers, the numbers are excellent and the night fishing has been great.
If you happen to have some live spot aboard, the live-liners have been doing real well on rockfish near Buoy 82 at Chesapeake Beach and the Gas Docks have plenty of fish, too. A mix of speckled trout, bluefish and stripers is available from the Honga River south to Tangier.
Lamb also said that thereís a huge school of striped bass that have been hanging around for weeks now about two miles below the Bay Bridge and heís hoping they move south soon. Those guys range in size from 18 inches to some 20-pounders. Bluefish are also in the Mud Leads and trollers connected dragging surgical eels.
Atlantic Ocean Sue Foster at Oyster Bay Tackle in Ocean City reported an improved flounder bite in both Delaware and Maryland waters. At Ocean City, some stripers are taken day and night around the inlets, while surf fishermen are getting mostly sharks and rays with a few croaker and spot sometimes showing.
Out in the canyons, the offshore fleet is finding a nice mix of yellowfin and bluefin tuna plus a few white marlins.