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By James Drake

This has been one of the better sports years to live near Washington, D.C.

If you’re a baseball fan, you’ve got to be really happy with the Washington Nationals and its great pitching plus no truly weak spots in the entire offense. All that Bryce Harper hustle is just another bonus reason to watch them play.

Then, Robert Griffin III, or RG III, came to town to get all the football followers tuned in again to the Washington Redskins. He seems to be worth the price, too.

I’ve even got an idea to fix our awful defense. I’m pretty sure Darrell Green, Ken Houston, Sam Huff and Bruce Smith are all still alive. Have these former Redskins defensive greats come to every game to give a little pep talk to the current defensive unit.

Close the doors, keep out the press and maybe something good will rub off when they start smacking heads.

Now, if you’re a fishing freak, the time to be wetting a line is right now, in-between football or baseball games of course.

We’ve got willing fish out there brokenhearted with loneliness because not enough fishermen seem to be interested in them, according to Ken Lamb of the Tackle Box in Lexington Park.

Think of it this way: How would the Redskins and Nats feel about playing before mostly empty seats in the stadium? It’s the same thing with the fish. Let’s get out there and do something about it.

Lastly, a memo to NFL owners: You lose, bring the real referees back. The games are just getting too ridiculous and somebody soon is going to get really hurt because of the replacement’s incompetence.

Southern Maryland lakes and ponds The good fishing has begun. I spoke to one angler a few days ago who did a little recent pond tour and he related how “they tore ‘em up” on a variety of baits. I recommend topwaters to start, and then just start going through the tackle box throwing anything that strikes your fancy. On any given day, any given lure might entice the bass, as well.

Mattawoman Creek During low water times, the advice from the guides with Life Outdoors Unlimited (301-937-0010) is to head into the way-back sections of the creek and toss flashy spinnerbaits and buzzbaits into the generally stained water you find there. The wood cover in Marsh Island Cove is also a good bet using Mizmo tubes and Big Mouth spinnerbaits. Nearby, the grass beds in Chicamuxen Creek are usually worth some of your time.

Upper Potomac River Ken Penrod with LOU thinks all the floating grass will be passing soon, but you still have to fight it right now. At Whites Ferry, go upstream and make sure you have a fully charged battery, for there are few current breaks. Work the Maryland side of Harrison Island throwing tubes to start.

Around Lander, Penrod said, “It's topwater time,” and he’s talking about how to begin your fishing day there. Once the sun is well up in the sky, switch next to tubes.

Tidal Potomac River Andy Andrzejewski with the Reel Bass Adventure guide service (301-932-1509) reported that grass is still the strongest pattern despite dropping water temperatures.

Poppers are a good first choice and then maybe switch to wacky-rigged worms, swim baits, spinnerbaits, chatter baits or Texas rigged plastics. When the grass pattern fades, target docks, wrecks and other hard covers. Dark colored tubes and medium diving crankbaits are the baits then, and you might be surprised with a few visiting rockfish and redfish.

Penrod also reported that a little stain in the upper tidal sections and says the salt wedge has moved a bit downstream. Around the Woodrow Wilson Bridge, start your casting at either Smoot Bay or Belle Haven Cove.

Lower Potomac River Franco Foraci from Cobb Island told me some really nice white perch are being caught from island piers. His daughter started fishing at the beginning of the Redskins game last Sunday and had 24 on ice well before halftime. Foraci also said trollers working bucktails in shallow water are having a ball on small rockfish. Topwaters will work, too, but so many of these fish are undersized.

Lamb reported that some anglers making “excellent” catches of rock, puppy drum and some trout around holes and creek mouths throughout the entire lower river, almost anywhere from the Gov. Harry W. Nice Memorial Bridge to Point Lookout. With cooling water temperatures, he expects trollers working the Virginia side to quickly see improving catches.

Patuxent River Right by the mouth, there have been decent catches of striped bass, trout, puppy drum and bluefish in the shallows. Working up river, look for birds to show you the breaking schools or cast around creek mouths for perch.

Deep Creek Lake The speed boats and skiers are long gone and serious fishermen now have the lake to themselves. LOU guides Brent Nelson and Bret Winegardner said the topwater bite remains strong and the grass bass are really in a cooperative mood.

Lake Anna This past week, the catfish hounds were grinning wide, for that action just suddenly turned awesome. Losing count of the total numbers was happening for almost everyone.

Stripers are seen breaking daily anywhere from The Splits to the dam, but this only goes on for an hour or so right at daybreak. Bass are becoming more active while feeding in the major creeks.

Chesapeake Bay If you long for the great bluefish action of so many years ago, perhaps it’s finally on the way back. Blues seem to be plentiful everywhere this fall, although the better ones are hanging out in the Mud Leads below the Target Ship.

Speaking of those better ones, a 37-inch, 19-pounder was brought into the Tackle Box to be measured a few days ago. I’ll bet most dental school students would be real interested in seeing that bad boy’s mouth.

Lamb reported rockfish breaking in the mornings around the mouth of the Patuxent from Little Cove Point to Cedar Point. Small bluefish are also around Cedar Point and you might find some decent keeper rockfish down in the water below them.

Lamb also said that sea trout, rockfish and puppy drum are being taken shallow in the mouths of creeks over on the eastern side. Nice catches have been made anywhere from the entrance to the Honga River up to Smith Island.

Atlantic Ocean Sue Foster at Oyster Bay Tackle in Ocean City reported that flounder are continuing to cooperate in the back bays and now some tautog have also moved in close to the city.

Sheepshead are positioned around the South Jetty and surf fishermen have been having a ball on snapper blues, kingfish, spot and small puppy drum. There have even been reports of small rockfish invading the Ocean City shoreline. The marlin bite offshore has been very good.

zbasser@aol.com