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Reel Report

James Drake

Whether you referred to this week as Indian Summer, St. Martin’s Summer or even All-Hallown Summer, it doesn't really matter, for it truly was just a lovely outdoors gift.

We’re getting back into more customary weather patterns now, but those unseasonably warmer temperatures were sure nice while they lasted.

Our leaves are just beginning to peak in color around us right now and the fishing has been really pretty decent with the lone exception of the upper tidal Potomac River. That’s been slow going for largemouth bass fans, but this too will pass.

Today will mark the last formal Reel Report of the year, although I still plan to keep you informed on Fridays for the next few weeks of any good fishing happening in our area.

A Maryland-record Chesapeake Bay sheepshead was recently caught from Hoopers Straight just north of Bloodsworth Island in Dorchester County that weighed in at a very respectable 13 pounds, 5 ounces.

Fall turkey season this year will run Oct. 27 to Nov. 3 in Garrett, Allegany and Washington counties only, and Maryland’s Youth Waterfowl Hunting Day is scheduled statewide for Nov. 3 with a bonus youth day to happen at the end of the season on Feb. 9.

A safety note: Mustang Survival is recalling some of its hydrostatic inflatable PFDs that were manufactured in Canada this past April and May. The defect is serious as they either have a delayed inflation or they don’t inflate at all. If you think you might have one of these Mustang Survival life vests, call 800-526-0532 and they’ll tell you exactly what to do.

On a sad note, deepest sympathy goes out to the family of Frank Clifton, who passed away a few days ago.

Frank was a well-known local crabber and fisherman with some truly great skills. He could fix most anything and caught nearly everything. I fished with him on many occasions and it was always a joy to be in his company.

Frank Clifton will be missed by many. Now, let’s get to the fishing report.

Southern Maryland lakes and ponds I visited two of my favorite farm ponds a few days ago with the intention of catching a mess of crappie. That plan soon changed when the largemouth bass just wouldn’t leave my baits alone.

A friend also sent me an email about visiting one of his beloved ponds and he said he caught 14 bass, three of them two pounds or better in just a little over two hours. Spinnerbaits and plastic worms accounted for most of the catch.

Anthony Hancock, assistant park manager at Gilbert Run in Dentsville, said that the bluegill, crappie and bass there are shallow and all are hungry. Hancock recommended that you target grass edges or deep drop-offs for the best opportunities. Wheatley Lake, Myrtle Grove and the Hughesville Pond in Charles County had a trout stocking Wednesday as did Hutchins Pond and Calvert Cliffs Pond in Calvert County.

Mattawoman Creek The creek has been “stingy,” said Ken Penrod with the Life Outdoors Unlimited guide service (301-937-0010). You might try scaring up a few bites in the 6 mph zone throwing frogs over the grass. Nearby Chicamuxen Creek now has more boats than bass Penrod advises.

Upper Potomac River At Whites Ferry, if you can make it upriver to the power plant, take advantage of the heated discharge water during the next few weeks, for it’s just starting to attract the smallmouths. Floating grass is still a problem throughout the upper river, making lure presentation difficult, but this will be a non-issue real soon as more and more of it finally flushes downstream.

Tidal Potomac River It’s been tough fishing over a rather broad area. Penrod reported that some rockfish up in town are available by trolling crankbaits adjacent to Fort McNair, but advised that you not to get too close to the wall.

There are also a few smallmouth to be found on the railroad bridge foundations and Blue Plains is attracting rockfish and a few bass.

The fishing has generally been awful around the Woodrow Wilson Bridge, but you should score downriver in the Pohick Bay area and by working the spatterdock and milfoil inside Pomonkey Creek. Farther downriver, you might want to plan a stop at the rip-rap near Leeslyvania.

Lower Potomac River Ken Lamb from the Tackle Box in Lexington Park told me that trollers dragging bucktails in 18 to 30 feet of water are taking rockfish around Ragged Point. Lamb also said that some keeper redfish were found by Cornfield Harbor and at night they roam the lower Potomac’s shoreline and especially the waters around the mouth of St. Jerome’s Creek looking for meals.

My buddy Frank Foraci reported that the white perch in the vicinity of Cobb Island have mostly moved to deep water and he had a decent catch of them off of Carter’s Lumps a few days ago.

Foraci also said that local trollers, dragging small bucktails on three-way swivel rigs are getting into some decent fish near Cobb Island and you’ll probably do best by tipping those bucktails with Mister Twister tails.

Patuxent River Spot are caught around the mouth in 30-foot depths and continue to provide plenty of bait for the live-liners. Lamb said that trollers working upriver are scoring on rockfish over a wide area. Those stripers are ranging from undersize to around 24 inches.

Deep Creek Lake The remaining grass is still key. Target the deeper ends for both bass species and the occasional walleye.

Lake Anna Carlos Wood at High Point Marina recommended that you look for bass in the creeks and get off the main lake. Fish any type of structure or dock. The stripers now have moved uplake above the bridges. Crappie continue to bite around some of the pilings and docks if you have at least 10 to 15 feet of water nearby.

Chesapeake Bay A mix of little and keeper rockfish along with some decent bluefish have been breaking at Cedar Point, Cove Point, Point No Point and Hooper’s Island, according to Lamb. Live-liners are also getting plenty of fish from the Gas Docks to the Gooses and all the way up to the Bay Bridge.

Lamb also said that blues in the 2- to 3-pound size are active at Point Lookout, taking cut bait in the surf, and you might even score a keeper redfish here.

Atlantic Ocean Sue Foster at Oyster Bay Tackle in Ocean City now calls the tautog bite “excellent” all throughout the back bays. Surf fishermen are finding plenty of puppy drum and snapper blues with occasional triggerfish and sharks. Fishermen are reminded that sea bass season is closed until Nov. 1.

A few flounder are still around the bays and offshore by the nearby wrecks. However, high winds have kept most of the fleet in port this past week.