Fish­ing bat­tles with the weather

Maryland Independent - - Sports B - Jamie Drake

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.

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