Baby, it’s hot outside.
Our neighborhood swimming pool is starting to feel a lot like a sauna, so you’ve got to figure the local waters are feeling the burn, too.
One thing is for sure, when the water temperature is warm, catch-and-release fishing can mean unintentional death for fish put back in the water, especially large fish like the iconic striped bass.
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources recently unveiled its new advisory system in effect for July and August that aims to reduce the number of dead discards in the Chesapeake Bay.
Here’s what you need to know. When air temperatures are 95-degrees or hotter, DNR recommends anglers don’t fish for striped bass after 10 a.m. When air temperatures are forecasted to be 90- to 94-degrees, anglers are asked to use extreme care when handling striped bass, ideally not even removing them from the water to release them. Finally, under 90-degrees means fish normally, following catch-and-release best practices.
For more information, check out DNR’s resources online at http://dnr.maryland.gov/fisheries/Pages/Catch-and-Release.aspx.
Temperatures are forecasted to be near 90 for the holiday weekend, so plan your fishing trips accordingly.
Southern Maryland lakes and ponds — Anthony Hancock, manager at Gilbert Run Park in Dentsville, said bass, bluegill and redear sunfish are biting early in the morning and late in the evening. Your best bet for bluegill and redear sunfish is to dangle small pieces of worm under a bobber.
Fishing around the shade of docks and low-hanging limbs has been the best course of action during the heat of the day. Get there early to catch bass. The park opens at 8 a.m. Monday through Friday and 7 a.m. on weekends. Topwater lures and soft plastics in natural colors have been working best when fished around wood cover or submerged grass.
Recreational angler Eric Packard reports good action at St. Mary’s Lake this week where the water temperatures are in the mid-80s. Bass and pickerel were biting on plastics on a shaky head, fished in about 8 feet of water.
Patuxent River — “Spot fishing in the mouth of the Patuxent has taken off like a bottle rocket on the Fourth of July,” reports Ken Lamb of the Tackle Box in Lexington Park (301-863-8151).
You can find them concentrated near the O’Club, Sandy Point, Drum Point, Green Holly and Point Patience.
Capt. Bernie Shea on the “Shea-D-Lady” (www.sheadlady.com) wore his party out in a couple of hours catching spot two-at-a-time this past Saturday morning.
Further up the Patuxent at Helen’s and Gatton’s Bar and at Broomes Island you can find smaller spot, perch and a boatload of 8-inch rockfish.
Capt. Dennis Fleming of Fishamajig Guide Service (240-538-1260) reports that bottom fishing has turned on. Bloodworms will produce a nice mess of perch, spot and smallish croakers. For light tackle anglers, throwing beetle spins in the creeks at high tide is prime for white perch action.
There are catfish mixed in with the perch in the creeks that will take a beetle spin and can weigh up to 4 pounds.
Potomac River — Reel Bass Adventures guide Andy Andrzejewski (301-932-1509) reports bass fishing remains good around grass beds. Andrzejewski recommends working grass frogs on top in low-light conditions or using your favorite plastic creature baits and chatterbaits to entice bass to bite. Hard cover will give up bass when targeted with finesse worms and ned rigs.
The snakehead bite is the best it has been in recent years. They can be found along shallow marsh banks and will hit grass frogs and whopper ploppers.
Aqualand Marina (301-259-2222) reports rockfish have arrived in the Potomac near the Gov. Harry W. Nice Memorial Bridge. Catfish abound for the rental boat fleet and perch fishing is picking up on oyster bars.
Lamb said there are spot, perch and some small croakers, enough to satisfy bottom fishermen. Catfish are retreating up the rivers seeking less salt as the bay heats up and salinity rises. You can find plenty at St. George Island Bridge, Colton’s Point and the Bushwood Pier.
Juniata and Susquehanna rivers (Pa.) — Life Outdoors Unlimited guide Capt. Kenny Penrod III (240-478-9055) said the pattern for summer fishing is to find faster moving water, shade or underwater ledges. But, more importantly, fish early.
“Wake up early and be on the water. Every second you sleep in after first light is a missed opportunity,” Penrod said.
Chesapeake Bay — Jiggers at the Gov. Thomas Johnson Bridge can find stripers on the change of tides when the water’s not rushing, according to Lamb. Cobia are creating a lot of excitement in the lower bay.
Capt. Kyle Johnson on the “Rock Solid” (240-538-5180) running out of Point Lookout is venturing about two hours’ running time into Virginia waters at Windmill Point to sight cast to the big fish gathered there on the surface.
The fish are working their way up the bay and some have been taken below the Target Ship on the Middle Grounds. Speaking of the Middle Grounds, two big red drum were caught there last Sunday. The bull redfish run is set to begin anytime.
Atlantic Ocean — At the Oceanic Pier (www.oceanicpier.com) the fishing has picked up considerably over the past week with croakers, trout, flounder, rockfish, blues, and even a few Spanish mackerel in the mix.
At Cape Henlopen in Delaware, folks are catching white perch doubles off the pier, up to two dozen in a half hour. Great tasting and makes good bait, too.
Yellowfin and mahi are willing targets in the canyons.
Tip of the week
Often anglers will secure one of their lure’s hooks to a line guide so line and lures don’t get tangled around the rod. Instead, attach it to the foot of the line guide. That way, you won’t be putting tiny scratches within the guide and those scratches then won’t be weakening your line.