- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
By James Drake
Throughout Maryland, the open season for hunting whitetail deer with bow begins Sept. 7.
However, right now you can dig out an old spincast reel from the garage and easily rig up your bow for a little snakehead fishing.
Why not give the idea some consideration?
To maybe entice you a little more, a reader emailed me a note earlier this week relating how one recent bow fishing trip on the Potomac River resulted in a total of 13 snakeheads killed, four of which were 27 inches long or more and the real big one measured out at 39 inches and probably weighed in close to 20 pounds. And yes, he also included a picture.
Thatís a big fish in just about everyoneís book and these snakeheads also taste pretty good at the dinner table.
If you are successful yourself and forward your bow fishing information to Marylandís Department of Natural Resources online at its Anglerís Log, at www.dnr.state.md.us/fisheries, youíll very likely get a reply thanking you for helping to rid the river of a few of these invasives.
For the rod and reel crowd, white perch are now just about everywhere and some keeper flounder have finally showed up in local waters.
Lastly, did you hear about the Burmese python recently captured in Florida's Everglades?
This was a 164 1/2-pound monster that was 17 feet 7 inches long and when wildlife officials had a look inside, they found 87 eggs. Those are all records for length, weight and number of eggs.
What does a snake like this eat, you might ask? Anything it wants.
Southern Maryland lakes and ponds Itís not a real rosy picture for our smaller fresh waters. Itís going to be small bass during the day and bluegill for the bobber and worm crowd.
Gilbert Run assistant manager Anthony Hancock reported that bluegill there can be found around the grass edges from most docks and shoreline areas. Hancock also recommended that you get there before sunrise if you want a chance at any decent bass.
Mattawoman Creek The whole Mattawoman vicinity hasnít been exactly red hot lately. That said, the Life Outdoors Unlimited guides (301-937-0010) recommended that you fish shallow wood cover in here and scout a little looking for the healthier grass in clear water between Grinders Wharf and Stump Neck Cove.
Nearby, the Chicamuxen Bay is usually chock full of anglers but moving up and into the creek should increase your catch rate substantially. Over on the Virginia side, near Quantico is a good bet and downriver, Mallows Bay, while challenging, is worth some falling tide time.
Upper Potomac River Recent rains have added several inches to the flow and dropped water temperatures a few degrees, all good news for fishermen. The water stargrass continues to expand and in some areas has the surface chocked. Thatís bad for the fishermen but great habitat for bass and baitfish. If you encounter such situations, toss buzzbaits over and around the edges.
At Lander, up or down from the launch continues to be a plan, while at Whites, the advice from LOU is to go upriver and either work the center or the Virginia shoreline.
Tidal Potomac River Andy Andrzejewski with Reel Bass Adventure guides (301-932-1509) told me that early morning or any other low-light condition finds these pros fishing topwater baits along the grass line.
Poppers are good for quantity, while buzzbaits seem to get more quality. Small white spinnerbaits worked around grass, pads and wood will draw strikes as will a dark colored chatterbait or finesse worms fished slowly. Try a jig and craw combo for the big bites.
The LOU guides said that you might want to sample Gunston Cove, Pomonkey Creek and Hallowing Cove with Stiks and frogs and expect plenty of snakeheads to be interested, too.
They also advise you to always be on the lookout for healthy grassy habitat in clearer water and add in some strong tides and youíve probably found decent fish.
Lower Potomac River My buddy Franco Foraci from Cobb Island told me the bottom fishing is very good near the Gov. Harry W. Nice Memorial Bridge with a buffet of puppy drum, spot and perch. Foraci also advises if you seek croaker, donít leave the house until around 8:30 p.m. and look for moving water over 22-foot depths.
Skates seem to be everywhere and some big crabs are grabbing baits in the shallows. Plenty of keeper rockfish have also been found just north of Ragged Point with some throwbacks mixed in with the schools.
Patuxent River Ken Lamb from the Tackle Box in Lexington Park said the spot action is steady at Green Holly, Seven Gables, Sandy Point, Helenís Bar and around the mouth of St. Leonardís Creek. Plenty of them are small, but Lamb recommended that you just keep looking until you find a school of jumbos.
Deep Creek Lake Hereís some good news: For every Memorial Day heralding in the traditional boating season, thereís a Labor Day coming that puts it to bed. The boat traffic on this Western Maryland impoundment has been horrible since late May, but Labor Day is right around the corner.
Right now, the early morning smallmouth topwater bite is worth the price of getting up early and the LOU guides are also finding bass in deeper grass beds.
Lake Anna For the largemouths, the trick is to find active schooling areas such as rockpiles, ledges, old roadbeds, humps, deep points, etc. and throw poppers and walking baits early in the day switching over to drop-shot 3- and 4-inch minnows.
High Point Marina recommended the area around Lake Anna State Park for topwater action on stripers at first light and plenty of crappie continue to school on the deep water bridge pilings. Little spoons and tiny crankbaits thrown around the edges of deep water should scare up some white perch for dinner.
Chesapeake Bay Literally, acres of breaking rockfish are found now around Chesapeake Beach, but most are throwbacks in the 12- to 17-inch range.
Bluefish, decent snappers around 15 inches, have moved into the waters by Point Lookout and Lamb said anglers throwing from the big pier down there had at them earlier this week as fast as they could reel in.
Lamb also told me speckled trout and flounder are in Tangier Sound and there are enough keeper flounder around here now to get the dedicated guys excited.
For the live-lining crowd, the Gas Docks have been productive for keeper rockfish and more are taken to the north.
Lamb also said perch are everywhere and eating the bottom off the boats. Huge red drum have been reported out there in schools of 15 to 25 taking trolled spoons.
There are also reports of cobia now up to Point Lookout. For them, Lamb recommended that you chunk live alewives to draw them in and then use live eels or a whole or half section of peeler. They will also take cast bucktails if youíve got some yellow ones.
Night fishing for croaker has been excellent from Buoy 72 to 72A and some of the bigger bluefish are found from that same Buoy 72 out to the Mud Leads.
Atlantic Ocean Sue Foster at Oyster Bay Tackle in Ocean City reported that the flounder action in the back bays is still good, but just a bit down from previous weeks. Thatís not the story out by the near offshore wrecks where some huge flounder have been taken along with sea bass.
In the Ocean City surf, when the baitfish come close so do snapper blues, kingfish, spot, sharks and croaker. Way offshore, itís a mix of dolphin (the fish, not the mammal), tuna and marlin.