Spring fish­ing is in full swing

Maryland Independent - - Sports B - Jamie Drake

Spring fish­ing is in full and many peo­ple have al­ready been out on their boats this sea­son.

This week is Na­tional Boat­ing Safety Week and all boaters are urged to wear life jack­ets on the wa­ter. Even ex­pe­ri­enced boaters can fall vic­tim to boat­ing ac­ci­dents. And the law re­quires chil­dren 13 and younger wear them.

Now is a good time to re­mind boaters of the dan­gers of spring­time wa­ter tem­per­a­tures. The sun­shine (if we ever get any) can be de­cep­tive. Although air tem­per­a­tures can be warm or even hot in the spring­time, the wa­ter can still be down­right frigid and just a few min­utes in cold wa­ter can be deadly. Wear­ing a life jacket can pro­vide some in­su­la­tion and give res­cuers valu­able time.

Across the United States, nearly 85 per­cent of all drown­ing vic­tims were not wear­ing a life jacket. Many peo­ple think that in an emer­gency they will have time to grab their life jacket and put in on, but the re­al­ity is ac­ci­dents hap­pen in the blink of an eye.

Life jack­ets only work when you wear them. And there are lots of op­tions these days that make it eas­ier than ever to wear a life jacket, such as those new ver­sions that in­flate when im­mersed in wa­ter. They are com­pact so they don’t in­ter­fere with your move­ments and are so com­fort­able you might for­get you have one on.

South­ern Mary­land lakes and ponds — An­thony Han­cock, as­sis­tant man­ager at Gil­bert Run State Park in Dentsville, said the rain and cool tem­per­a­tures trans­late to slower fish­ing for this time of year. The bass are still ac­tive from shal­low wa­ter to deep, how­ever with cooler wa­ter they do not have to feed as much so the bites are slow.

After­noons are of­ten best, es­pe­cially when the clouds sub­side and the sun makes a rare ap­pear­ance. Small white spin­ner­baits, shal­low div­ing crankbaits and nat­u­ral-tone soft plas­tic stick­worms are all great baits to tempt even in­ac­tive bass. The grass has not de­vel­oped yet with all the cloudy days, so bass are re­treat­ing to wood and rock cover. A slow and me­thod­i­cal ap­proach is best when us­ing soft plas­tics to coax bass into bit­ing.

The crap­pie are still hold­ing in deeper wa­ter. Wa­ter depths of 10 to 15 feet are best and us­ing a slip blob­ber/shiner com­bi­na­tion is of­ten the best way to catch them. Small soft plas­tic grubs or jigs can be fished un­der a bob­ber as well.

The bluegill and re­dear sun­fish can be found in wa­ter depths of five to 10 feet and catch­ing them is best with your bait near the bot­tom. A gar­den worm on a small hook with a few split shot to keep it down is what would work best.

Po­tomac River — Reel Bass Ad­ven­tures guide Capt. Andy An­drze­jew­ski (301-9321509) con­curs that colder than av­er­age sea­sonal tem­per­a­tures are keep­ing a damper on things. The wa­ter tem­per­a­tures in the Po­tomac are in the low 60s.

Grass beds are still where you’ll find the most bass. A weed­less spoon fished slowly through the thick­en­ing grasses and dropped down into open­ings will en­tice the bass to bite. A swim jig or chat­ter­bait worked through the thin­ner grass will also get some ac­tion.

A craw­fish im­i­ta­tor worked in the clumps pro­duced some good bass this past week, the best be­ing a solid six pounds. Wood cover and boat docks also hold bass that will take plas­tics or jigs.

Spat­ter­dock pads have bass and some snake­heads that will strike a quick mov­ing crankbait. Plenty of cat­fish are in the creeks and will in­ter­cept bass baits, too.

Patux­ent River — Ken Lamb of The Tackle Box (301-863-8151) re­ports that croaker have been caught from the pub­lic pier at the boat ramp un­der the bridge to Solomons Is­land. White perch are in the creeks and plen­ti­ful. For rock­fish, the river is open up to Point Pa­tience and all of the

Patux­ent will be open come June 1.

Ju­ni­ata and Susque­hanna rivers (Pa.) — About 100 miles of the Susque­hanna and 30 miles of the Ju­ni­ata are closed to bass an­glers through June 17. Ja­son Shay of Life Out­doors Un­lim­ited (717-5074377) re­ports that above the clo­sure the bass fish­ing is awe­some. In the past week his trips have racked up three 20-plus-inch bass

on char­treuse spin­ner­baits at a medium re­trieve.

Deep Creek Lake

— LOU guide Bret Wine­gard­ner (301-616-9889) re­ports large­mouth bass are cruis­ing and spawn­ing in shore­line cover. Magic sticks, swim baits and small craws are work­ing best. Some small­mouth can be caught on top­wa­ter early. Pop­pers worked very slowly will get a few bites. He said it’s go­ing to be tough fish­ing un­til the weather fore­cast im­proves.

Lake Anna — McCot­ter’s Lake Anna Guide Ser­vice (540-894-3540)

re­ports that the spawns are fin­ish­ing up and they are ex­pect­ing a feed­ing frenzy in the com­ing weeks. The wa­ter up-lake is clear­ing af­ter mud­dy­ing from all the rain so spin­ner­baits, soft plas­tic jerk­baits, top­wa­ters, and buzzbaits are most ef­fec­tive for bass.

Sight fish­ing is pos­si­ble mid-lake with small jigs like the Dave’s Tour­na­ment Tackle fi­nesse jig, wacky-rigged worms, lizards, and drop shot rigs. Down lake, bass can be tar­geted with wacky-rigged worms, soft plas­tic jerk­baits and top­wa­ters. Some crap­pie are still spawn­ing and they can be found in the wil­low grass lines in one to three feet of wa­ter.

Ch­e­sa­peake Bay — There are plenty of rock­fish to be had. With the reg­u­la­tions on striped bass now two fish per day, 20 inches min­i­mum length with only one over 28 inches, smaller trolling pre­sen­ta­tions are in or­der. Lamb said jig­gers and lure­cast­ers will find 20- to 30-inch fish around the mouth of the Patux­ent from Fish­ing Point to the rocks at the old Cedar Point Light­house site.

Keith Harwood of the Depart­ment of Nat­u­ral Re­sources Fish­eries Ser­vice said most of the large post-spawn striped bass are gone now, but the lower bay re­gion of­fers the best chances for those who are late to the party to catch a big­ger fish. Trollers are cov­er­ing var­i­ous depths with a mix of um­brella rigs, tan­dem para­chutes and buck­tails dressed with sassy shads or spoons.

At­lantic Ocean — Wa­ter tem­per­a­tures are in the mid-50s, which is a bit cool for this time of year. Bob Foster of Oys­ter Bay Tackle (410-524-3433) re­ports that big stripers are con­tin­u­ing to stream out of the Ch­e­sa­peake Bay. Big blue­fish have been re­ported crash­ing baits in­tended for floun­der around the Route 90 bridge. An­glers cast­ing spoons and buck­tails have been catch­ing school-size blue­fish from the Ocean City in­let jetty.

King­fish have fi­nally shown up and are be­ing caught by sur­f­cast­ers us­ing blood­worms and Fish­bites. The floun­der fish­ing has been slow. Last week­end I was out on a char­ter and only one 21.5inch floun­der was landed. Not too shabby of a fish, but the bites were slow and far and few between. Sunny days have seen more ac­tion than over­cast.

Tip of the week

Snake­head op­por­tu­ni­ties in the Po­tomac are very good. They are more likely to hide in slightly shal­lower wa­ter than bass, but they will hit the same lures. Pop­pers, crea­ture baits, and my per­sonal fa­vorite, Booyah Pad Crasher im­i­ta­tion frogs, are all good choices. Aim for the muddy shore­lines and don’t for­get to set the hook as they can put up a good fight.

jamiedrake­out­doors@ out­look.com

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