Deal­ing with the rain

Maryland Independent - - Sports -

The rainy weather has been not very co­op­er­a­tive for area fish­er­men lately. Over­cast and cloudy days can be some of the best times to hit up lo­cal lakes and ponds.

There’s usu­ally not a crowd and you don’t need to re­mem­ber to bring along the sun­screen. As long as the driz­zle doesn’t turn into a thun­der­storm, you might have just as much luck fish­ing un­der gray skies as you do when it’s sunny.

The rain stopped just long enough May 7 for the sun to shine down on the an­nual Spring Fishin’ Bud­dies Derby at Gil­bert Run State Park in Dentsville. Over 80 teams con­sist­ing of one adult and one child com­peted from both boats and shore and the fish were bit­ing.

In less than four hours, 62 bass, 26 crap­pie, one cat­fish, five trout and an as­ton­ish­ing 235 bluegill were landed. And there were quite a few mother/child teams on the ros­ter. I can’t think of a bet­ter Mother’s Day gift than fish­ing and spend­ing time to­gether out­doors.

Tro­phy rock­fish sea­son is al­most over and, start­ing May 16, the size limit short­ens to 20 inches and an­glers can keep two per day, only one over 28 inches. Next week sur­f­cast­ers, trollers who switch to smaller lures, jig­gers and lure­cast­ers in the shal­lows will all be en­joy­ing some de­li­cious fresh-caught rock­fish din­ners and stock­ing the freezer with plenty of fine rock­fish fil­lets.

South­ern Mary­land lakes and ponds — An­thony Han­cock, as­sis­tant man­ager at Gil­bert Run State Park, re­ports that the Spring Fish­ing Bud­dies Derby saw some no­table catches last week­end. A 4 1/2-pound large­mouth bass, a 14inch cat­fish, a few sun­fish in the 10-inch range and a hand­ful of crap­pie be­tween 11 and 11 1/2 inches were some of the high­lights of the derby. Fish were caught with both live and ar­ti­fi­cial bait from shore and from boats.

When the weather warms up the crap­pie will be­gin to spawn, fol­lowed by re­dear sun­fish and then bluegills.

Over­all, fish­ing re­mains good for all species, al­though the trout are few and far be­tween and on the small side, about 10 to 11 inches. Most crap­pie are hold­ing in about 10 feet of wa­ter with a few in shal­lower wa­ter wait­ing for sunny days to be­gin their spawn. The bass are be­ing caught in wa­ter from a few feet deep to over 10 feet so it pays to ex­per­i­ment at var­i­ous depths. With all the rain lately the wa­ter re­mains clear, al­though it is more than a foot higher than nor­mal.

Po­tomac River — Reel Bass Ad­ven­tures guide Capt. Andy An­drze­jew­ski (301-932-1509) re­ports that in the tidal Po­tomac the wa­ter tem­per­a­tures are in the low 60s and the top wa­ter bite has slowed ac­cord­ingly.

The bass fish­ing has been pretty steady with grass beds be­ing the pop­u­lar spots where chat­ter baits, swim jigs and crea­ture baits will all catch bass. Marsh banks in the creeks have bass that like a float­ing jerk bait, a Mann’s Baby1 Mi­nus, or a 1/4-ounce spin­ner­bait waked just un­der the sur­face. An­drze­jew­ski rec­om­mends fish­ing over the same area with a wacky rigged stick worm. Some of the boat docks have qual­ity bass where a pitched jib and craw combo will catch them.

The up­per Po­tomac is off lim­its right now due to the re­cent rain­fall. Al­ways check the river lev­els be­fore head­ing out. When lev­els are at cau­tion, fast mov­ing wa­ter and changes in cur­rent can chal­lenge even the most ex­pe­ri­enced boaters. When lev­els are at dan­ger, the con­di­tions are ex­tremely haz­ardous and can pos­si­bly en­dan­ger your life.

Patux­ent River — Ken Lamb of The Tackle Box (301-863-8151) said the cat­fish con­tinue to bite and are fol­low­ing the fresh wa­ter from the rains into many lo­ca­tions closer to the bay. Kyle Briscoe brought in a batch of cat­fish from Bene­dict near the bridge to Prince Fred­er­ick on Sun­day in­clud­ing a 30-inch, 14-pounder. Fresh cut bait such as men­haden is the key to en­tic­ing some hard fight­ing cat­fish to bite.

Ch­e­sa­peake Bay — Lamb hap­pily re­ports that fish­ing for the big tro­phy stripers over 35 inches con­tin­ues with good re­sults. The ac­tion was su­per hot be­fore, but the cold, re­lent­less rain last week slowed the ac­tion. Last week­end many trollers found the fish ea­ger and hooked up af­ter only a few min­utes of lure pre­sen­ta­tion. Chartreuse might edge out white as color of choice with over­cast weather still in the fore­cast for the next sev­eral days. The fish are eat­ing from schools of men­haden, so spoons are al­ways a good op­tion for trolling, too.

jamiedrake­out­doors@out­look.com

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