Fishing battles with the weather
A keen interest in weather is something I’m happy to have inherited from my father.
Normally I keep abreast of the weather by checking my phone, but with all the election hoopla recently, I’ve scrolled through the news channels and passed over The Weather Channel a few times the past couple days.
Just the other night as I was passing by The Weather Channel, the word La Plata caught my attention and I had to go back to see how my hometown got to be on national news.
As it turns out, April 28 was the 14-year anniversary of the tornado that swept through the town and dramatically changed its landscape.
I could hardly believe my eyes when I drove through La Plata a few months after the tornado. It looked so different. Even today, when I drive down Route 6 and out to U.S. 301, it just doesn’t feel like the same town, where I was born and graduated high school (far too many years ago to keep track at this point).
We’ve had a few thunderstorms in the recent bout of wet weather all across Southern Maryland. And the threat of severe weather is never something to take lightly. Let’s hope all the rain in the forecast will be just rain.
Southern Maryland lakes and ponds — Anthony Hancock, assistant manager at Gilbert Run State Park in Dentsville, said the fishing has been a little “off” the last week, especially with the cold front over the past weekend. Some fish that were likely ready to spawn had to put those ideas on hold with the cold front. The warmer afternoons the past few days have provided some better fishing as the bluegill and bass in particular move up into the shallows as the sun breaks out.
Bass fishing has been especially slow in the morning, but an afternoon bite is a good bet. Fishing soft plastic baits slowly through wood cover or near docks or rocks has had good results lately. The finesse presentation often tempts reluctant fish to bite.
The bluegills are roaming the shallows in the afternoons looking for a snack and a small piece of worm under a bobber is a great way to lure them in. Most of the crappie are getting ready to spawn and we just need a few warm days to get them up into the shallows where they will readily take a small minnow under a bobber, small white curly tail grubs, or a small white streamer fished on a fly rod.
Trout are still being caught here and there, but not consistently anymore.
Potomac River — Reel Bass Adventures guide Capt. Andy Andrzejewski (301932-1509) reports that cool nights have dropped water temperatures into the 60s, but a lot of good bass are being caught on a variety of patterns.
Grass is still the favorite where a bluegill chatterbait or spinnerbait and a chartreuse and blue Baby 1 Minus will take a good bass. Wood cover, spatterdock pads, boat docks and bridge pilings are all holding bass that will strike any of your favorite baits.
Large yellow perch are in the grass beds and along marsh banks, and they will hit a down-sized bass bait. More and more snakeheads are showing up and anxious to destroy a bass lure. Catfish are everywhere and will hit artificials as well as cut bait.
Patuxent River — Ken Lamb of The Tackle Box (301-863-8151) said catfish are readily taking fresh alewife baits. The best action has been in Benedict and further north. The first croaker of the season was brought in by Tony Forbes. The 10-inch Atlantic croaker took a bit of bloodworm in the evening at Hog Point in the mouth of the Patuxent River.
Juniata and Susquehanna rivers (Pa.) — Life Outdoors Unlimited (LOU) guide John Stygler (717-368-3802) reports that the fishing has been great the past few weeks. Fish can be taken on small Rapala jerkbaits and pop-r type top water lures. The spring
bass season on the lower Juniata and Susquehanna ended last Saturday and is closed until June 11, so targeting smallmouth bass until mid-June is not allowed. Guides are still taking trips above the restricted areas.
Deep Creek Lake — LOU guide Bret Winegardner (301-616-9889) reports that schools of largemouth bass can be found around floating docks until the water warms enough for them to go to the bank to spawn. Big mouth compact jigs and magic sticks seem to work best. Smallmouths can be found spawning on rocky main lake shorelines in three to six feet of water. Tubes and small craws work best for them.
Chesapeake Bay — Lamb reports that the rockfish blitz is continuing. Capt. Bernie Shea on his charter boat “Sheady Lady” (301-672-3282) was out early in the morning last week in the middle of setting up his spread when seven of his lines went down. He landed all seven fish, all over 40 inches. This kind of action has been common in the bay.
Most of the charters out of Solomons and the Patuxent have found fish both north and south of Cedar Point. Further south the action is just as good at Buoy 72, Point Lookout and the Middle Grounds. Tandems (white is hot lately), single lures such as mojos, parachutes, umbrella rigs, and big bucktails dressed with 7- or 10-inch shads are all catching fish.
Atlantic Ocean — Bob Foster of Oyster Bay Tackle (410-524-3433) said post-spawn stripers are streaming out of the Chesapeake Bay. The big stripers are making a turn to the north and should be arriving off the coast soon.
Surfcasters are finding a few stripers, black drum and big bluefish scattered from Assateague to Cape Henlopen. Tog fishermen had a decent week with keepers and shorts coming from the U.S. 50 bridge, the Second to Fourth street bulkhead and the North Ocean City jetty. The offshore tog fishing has been good when the weather allows it. Warm and sunny days are needed to get the flounder going.