Dealing with the rain
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.