- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
By James DrakeThis time of year we usually expect breaking schools of fish to become more common and itís happening right on schedule with acres of water now sometimes boiling everywhere with activity.
Lots of bluefish and even a few cobia have showed up in local waters and bottom fishermen are finding their prey almost everywhere. I even heard trot-liners were doing better on crabs, although many of the potters are still struggling.
Even with all that good news though, some of us have our eyes on the calendar patiently waiting for a whole other season to begin. Thereís help for that, too.
Bass Pro Shops at Arundel Mills in Hanover will host its annual Fall Hunting Classic on Aug. 3 to 19 with all kinds of seminars, deals and demonstrations going on daily. If you need a new bow, theyíll give you a great deal for your old trade-in on a new model from Aug. 3 to 8, and you can even sign up to win a free mule deer or antelope hunt in Utah.
Yeah buddy, now even some of the surly crowd can start to smile. Go fishing or start planning for hunting season or better still, sample both.
Southern Maryland lakes and ponds School is again on the horizon for out little ones and this is a perfect time of year to still get outdoors together for a little bluegill fishing.
At Gilbert Run, park manager Casey McClure told me they had a lot of bluegill activity this past week. There was a special camp for autistic children there one day and many of those children got to fish for the first time in their lives and all the willing bluegill made for many happy smiles.
This is hardly the best time of year to find big bass in our smaller waters, although Iíve heard reports of fairly decent bass action at St. Maryís Lake. Why not make it simple and just do a little bluegill outing with the kids? Iíll bet everybody in the family will be glad you did.
Mattawoman Creek This area of the Potomac River has lately been most productive and you should score flipping the pads up in the 6 mph zone. The guides from the Life Outdoors Unlimited stable of guides (301-937-0010) recommended that you try to be there during low water times for best results. Any wood cover you come upon is also definitely worth some exploring.
Once youíre outside the Mattawoman proper, try working the many grass beds between there and Mallows Bay and donít forget there are two sides.
Upper Potomac River The river is actually up just a little and thereís mainly a good stain to the water. Smallmouth fishing ranges from good to excellent. Teaser tubes and Case Magic Stiks in green-pumpkin are best fished in calmer pockets with a 3/0 hook. From the Brunswick launch, work upriver ledges. At Edwards Ferry, head straight to Harrison Island and around Whiteís Ferry, the LOU guides like the Virginia side upriver.
Tidal Potomac River The salt wedge is pretty far up because of the general lack of rain. Thunderstorms are keeping us going, but we really need a few all-day soakers to make a significant dent in the deficit.
LOU guide Keith Barker has found bass and snakeheads up in town in the Washington Channel on mid-diving crankbaits such as a DT-6 and Thugs in a firetiger pattern. Pomonkey Creek and Pohick Bay are also worth a day, especially during falling water. Big Mouth spinnerbaits and Case Stiks will do the job.
Lower Potomac River Rockfish can be anywhere on any given day. Of course, that also implies they might not be where you are looking for them. My buddy Franco Foraci told me the rockfish now can almost always be found around rockpiles and have been caught as far up as the Nanjemoy Creek. Some very nice catfish are around there, as well.
Rat-L-Traps are a good choice for the stripers, especially in the waning hours of daylight. A nice school of bluefish was recently sighted downriver, just south of Smith Creek. Bottom fishermen are getting a good mix all through the lower river on a variety of baits.
Patuxent River The area around the mouth is home now to a lot of baitfish and you can bet the predators have noticed. Ken Lamb of the Tackle Box in Lexington Park said rockfish, bluefish and yes, now even Spanish mackerel are beginning to congregate. Lots of spot, perch and croaker are found throughout the lower river along with plenty of small, tiny redfish you must throw back.
Deep Creek Lake Jimmy Nichols at Billís Outdoor Center told me water temperatures are around 76 and both smallmouth and largemouth can be caught next to and under many of the floating docks. If you find a grass bed that goes from shallow to six or seven feet of water, start looking for yellow perch there in the deeper areas.
If youíre looking for those really big bluegill, that fishing has slowed down a bit. Still, if you find docks in eight to 10 feet of water with a rocky bottom all around, no grass, you should discover a few nice ones.
Lake Anna Many anglers just experienced a tough week of fishing. Hey, it happens, but some nice catfish will almost always save the day if youíve got a little chicken liver aboard.
Trollers are looking for the stripers dragging big, deep-diving crankbaits. If they come with three hooks, remove the last one and replace it with a little bucktail on about 18-inches of leader. And, if you can find any of those bucktails with both the green and white hair, youíve acquired a real winner.
Chesapeake Bay Lamb reported bluefish having moved into our area and hitting trolled surgical eels and spoons off Point Lookout about a mile east of the fishing pier. Up around Chesapeake Beach, many of the charter captains from the Rod ĎNí Reel Dock are bringing back coolers icing down rock and blues they have been finding anywhere from Blood Point to the Little Choptank. Most of the bluefish are ranging from one to four pounds and some now getting close to 24 inches.
Down the bay, anglers have discovered Spanish mackerel around Buoy 68 and Lamb said that there are red drum in the 30- to 50-pound class cruising around Buoy 72 and being caught on big, colorful spoons.
Drone spoons in flashy colors are working well along with a white No. 18 Tony. Maryland rules for red drum limit anglers to keeping one fish per day and it must measure somewhere between 18 and 27 inches. All the others must be released.
The Gas Docks give up keeper rockfish for live-liners and big cobia were caught by chunkers in the Middle Grounds, some 40-pounders. Bottom fisherman have found spot, croaker and perch everywhere.
Atlantic Ocean Sue Foster from Oyster Bay Tackle in Ocean City said wind is the determining factor whether youíre going to catch keeper flounder or not in the back bays. If itís not blowing, surfcasters are also taking kingfish and snapper blues.
The near shore wrecks continue to give up sea bass and flounder and some of the party boats are really getting into those flounder. Well offshore, itís marlin and tuna time.