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Reel Report: Fishing is fast and furious


Recreational angler Eric Packard was surprised to see this ribbonfish on the end of his line when he was fishing at Piney Point earlier this week.

The words fast and furious could describe the fishing this past week. Just about everything is biting just about everywhere.

There are rockfish for lure casters, cobia for trollers, spot and perch for bottom fishermen, musky in the Susquehanna River, bass and bluegill in local ponds and catfish that love hot weather and will take just about any bait.

As Ken Lamb of the Tackle Box in Lexington Park put it, “If I’ve left anything out, we’ve probably got that, too.”

Southern Maryland lakes and ponds — This is the time of year you want to either be up at the crack of dawn or out past your bedtime.

At first light, topwaters are your best bet. Switch to a plastic worm or try a crankbait or spinnerbait as the sun makes its way across the sky. The water is bathtub warm and midday is no time to be fishing.

Anthony Hancock, manager of Gilbert Run Park in Dentsville, shared this tidbit with me: If you’re having difficulty catching fish with small pieces of nightcrawler suspended under a bobber, try fishing them right on the bottom with small weights. Use just enough weight to keep the bait above the grass. This works great for bluegill and redear sunfish.

Recreational angler Eric Packard reports crappie are biting at the concrete structure at St. Mary’s Lake. Packard was vertical jigging with a 1/10 ounce Ned rig jig dressed in a blue/gray paddle tail.

Patuxent River — Lamb (301-863-8151) reports that rockfish are “remarkable” in the mornings and midday on high tides. Fish structure, under piers and on the rocks to find them.

Lamb said Bomber Wind Cheaters in blue silver and Hard Head Custom Baits popping rigs are what they’re eating. For trollers, the lure of choice is a white bucktail with a black head, known to old timers as an “eight ball.”

Potomac River — Life Outdoors Unlimited guide Capt. Kenny Penrod III (240-478-9055) said bass are hitting white finesse hollow body frogs, swimming worms and Bigmouth chatterbaits on lower tides at the edges of grass flats.

Snakeheads have been biting frogs and Zara spooks at low light on mid to low tides. You can find snakehead on fry — look for balls of golden-colored fry — and throw near them.

Lamb said spot are everywhere in the river, especially at Ragged Point.

Perch aren’t biting on low tides. Incoming on a half tide to flood is where it’s at. He recommends Bett’s Spin in root beer and the Beetle Spin in white.

Haven’t heard of any decent-sized flounder caught in Southern Maryland in years, but there have been reports of many undersized flounder in Cornfield Harbor, the place to find them from back in the day.

Juniata and Susquehanna rivers (Pa.) — LOU guide Capt. Ken Penrod (240-447-2206) reports that boating conditions have been consistently good. Topwaters like Whopper Plopper, Zara, Obie Buzzbaits and Ricos will catch bass during low-light hours.

Guide Scott Johnson of SJ Fishing Adventures (240-625-2550) caught a surprise musky and reminds us that topwaters aren’t only for bass.

Deep Creek Lake — Jacob Nazelrod at Bill’s Outdoor Center in Oakland (301-387-3474) said bass fishermen have been happy with the fishing lately. Topwaters — frogs the top choice — and chatterbaits have been working well near the state park.

Customers are also reporting decently-sized crappie and perch caught on mealworms and nightcrawlers.

Lake Anna (Va.) — Jim Hemby of Lake Anna Striper Guide Service (540-967-3313) reports main lake humps, points, roadbeds, brush, rockpiles and bridges hold bass. Deep-diving crankbaits and jigs tipped with worms are working well.

Hot spots include Rose Valley and the mouth of Contrary Creek. Using a depth finder is the key to locating schools of stripers. Some of the best catches have been on live bait.

Catfish are loving the hot water temperatures and can be caught just about anywhere you put your bait. Live bait has been producing some larger than normal catfish.

Chesapeake Bay — Mike Henderson at Buzz’s Marina in Ridge (301-247-7887) said the fishing has improved dramatically over the last two weeks.

You can catch all the Spanish mackerel you want. Try straight up the channel’s edge by Point No Point. Lots of speckled trout can be found in shallow water.

There are huge schools of spot for bottom fishermen, with some good-sized fish in the mix. Cobia are making their way to our area, trolling surgical eels, drifting lives ones or sight casting are all effective ways to catch them.

Atlantic Ocean — A decades-old Maryland state fishing record for common dolphinfish has been smashed.

Jeff Wright of Cambridge caught a 72.8-pound common dolphinfish (also known as mahi mahi) off the coast of Ocean City in an area above Poor Man’s Canyon. Wright was practicing for the upcoming White Marlin Open. I bet he’s hoping it’s a lucky streak that will stay with him for the tournament.

Lighthouse View Bait and Tackle in Lewes, Delaware (302-645-2722) has been advertising a strong spot bite and recommends coming by to fish around 6 p.m. to get in on the action. There have been plenty of keeper-sized flounder, with Gulp and minnows working equally well right now.

At the Jackspot, anglers are catching kingfish and false albacore. The Poor Man’s Canyon is seeing many white marlin releases this week.

Tip of the week

Penrod III said snakeheads were making fishing expensive by destroying his buzzbaits, until he switched to Bigmouth Lures’ buzzbaits made with titanium wire.

This past week, several snakeheads have involuntarily tested the durability and effectiveness of the Bigmouth buzzbait and reluctantly given it an A-plus.

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