It’s that time of year again. The White Marlin Open is back in Ocean City for its 46th year and the tournament keeps getting bigger and bigger.
This year, there are a record 404 boats vying for a record $6.1 million purse, or at least a piece of that money pie.
Each boat registered in the tournament can fish three out of five fishing days, with tonight’s weigh-in the final chance for anglers to get on the leaderboard and claim their chunk of the prize money.
You can watch the action live at https://whitemarlinopen.com/ and I’ll have a breakdown of the winners right here next week.
Southern Maryland lakes and ponds — The bass and bluegill sure aren’t moving around much when the water feels like a hot bath. Your best bet is to be casting before daybreak or as the sun is setting. And if you’re not putting your fish on ice right away, get your catch back in the water quickly so it has a better chance of survival.
I’ve heard reports of some nice bass caught at St. Mary’s Lake recently. Recreational angler Eric Packard recommends targeting bigger fish with a spinnerbait cast around lay downs and other structures.
The crappie are at the dam’s concrete discharge intake.
Patuxent River — Ken Lamb at the Tackle Box in Lexington Park (301-863-8151) reports you can find big white perch in the creeks at daybreak on high tides.
Lamb also said stripers will hit swimming plugs and topwater lures and popping rigs at dusk and dawn. Trollers can find rockfish near the Navy Recreation Pier and in Kingston Hollow.
Recreational angler Lynne Wheeler (aka “The Perch Queen”) has been having good luck near Broomes Island, catching plenty of perch, spot and occasional croaker in 5 to 6 feet of water on bloodworms. Wheeler recently caught a perch that was a 12-incher.
Potomac River — Reel Bass Adventures guide Andy Andrzejewski (301-932-1509) reports bass fishing has been slow for most anglers, especially after the early morning topwater bite tapers off.
Andrzejewski recommends concentrating on areas of grass that have current flowing against them. Plastic craws and slowly-worked swim jigs will catch a few.
Marsh run-offs are always a good bet. Use small floating jerkbaits or finesse worms. Hard wood that isn’t choked with grass can turn up an occasional bass to anglers flipping or pitching plastics.
Fishing is good to excellent in the middle Potomac, according to Capt. Dennis Fleming of Fishamajig Guide Service (240-538-1260).
Bottom fishing has been good although croakers are small. Rockfish are plentiful for those who fish early or late. Take care when handling them in high heat. Single hook lures are a must. Live-lining spot results in bigger fish.
Spanish mackerel are plentiful downriver, and in-line planers and small spoons at 6 mph gets the job done. You might also find some small bluefish.
Aqualand Marina (301-259-2222) reports that the rental boat fleet has been returning with coolers of white perch and delicious blue catfish. Fish the oyster bars for guaranteed action.
Juniata and Susquehanna rivers (Pa.) — Life Outdoors Unlimited guide Capt. Ken Penrod (240-447-2206) said you better get up early if you want to catch bass. Topwater baits such as the Zara, Plopper and buzzbait can cover scads of water and locate fish.
Penrod noted that crawfish have been scarce, so Campground tubes should be better than ever fished slow.
Susquehanna Fishing Tackle located in Columbia, Pennsylvania is hosting Bassapalooza from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday. Come in and talk with some of the top pros in fishing and save 10 to 50% off select items in the store.
Four lucky winners will get to go fishing with one of the pros immediately after the event. For more information, call 717-397-1399.
Lake Anna (Va.) — Carlos at High Point Marina (540-895-5249) reports there’s been a good early morning topwater largemouth bass bite mostly on Pop-Rs and Chug Bugs around docks and points.
Those searching for stripers should troll around Pigeon Creek, Rose Valley/Big Ben and in front of the park in 25 to 35 feet of water. Live bait will also work well in the early morning hours.
Crappie fishing has slowed down the past week or two. You’ll have to stay deep and sort through some smaller fish. Try the up-lake bridge pilings and deep brush piles with 2-inch grubs or small minnows.
Chesapeake Bay — Lamb calls the Spanish mackerel in the lower bay on the Middle Grounds “phenomenal.”
You can find Spanish scattered from No Point Light to Deale in little schools mixed with some 18- to 22-inch bluefish. Good catches were made by the PR Buoy last weekend.
And chasing those mackerel are bull redfish and cobia. Trollers and sight casters are having mixed success. Spot are biting just about everywhere.
Atlantic Ocean — The East Channel has not disappointed many flounder chasers lately. Live bunker or spot and Gulp! will catch keepers up to 25 inches. Most are in the 19- to 21-inch size range.
Larry Jock of the Coastal Fisherman (www.coastalfisherman.com) reports cobia are still being caught off the Maryland and Delaware coasts. Look for them cruising the surface at Great Gull, Little Gull and off Bethany Beach.
The canyons have been busy all week with boats from the White Marlin Open.
Tip of the week
LOU guide Capt. Kenny Penrod III (240-478-9055) has a tip for bass fishermen on the Potomac: Fish the edge of hydrilla fields on lower tides.
The lower tides, the lower the better, bring the fish out of the hydrilla to the edges where they are more than willing to ambush your bait.
These grass fields exist in every tributary, but according to Penrod, big fields that are in drains are the most productive.