Now’s the time to get out on the wa­ter

Maryland Independent - - Sports B - Jamie Drake

It seems South­ern Mary­land just can’t es­cape the rain. But if we have de­cent weather this weekend, there are many finer ways to spend it than catch­ing up on all the yard work that’s been ne­glected be­cause of the rain. Mow­ing the lawn, clean­ing the gut­ters, and stain­ing the deck can wait.

The fish are bit­ing and now’s the time to get out there and en­joy the wa­ter. Life’s short and we ought to be spend­ing ev­ery minute we can with our loved ones do­ing things we en­joy. See you on the wa­ter.

South­ern Mary­land lakes and ponds — An­thony Han­cock, as­sis­tant man­ager of Gil­bert Run Park in Dentsville, said many smaller bass are be­ing caught on a va­ri­ety of baits in all depths of wa­ter. Swim jigs in green, pump­kin, or bluegill col­ors, large soft plas­tic baits and spin­ner­baits in bait­fish col­ors will catch both quan­tity and qual­ity bass. Top­wa­ter lures are also very ef­fec­tive, es­pe­cially early in the morn­ing and in the evening once the sun dips be­low the trees. On over­cast days, top­wa­ter lures will get bass strikes all day long.

The re­dear sun­fish are start­ing their sec­ond round of spawn­ing. Their beds are a lit­tle hard to find; look for ar­eas with a gravel or sandy bot­tom. Some bluegill are also spawn­ing. Small pieces of worm un­der a bob­ber, small jigs or flies will catch these feisty pan­fish. Crap­pie are be­ing caught in deeper wa­ter (10 to 15 feet) near wood cover such as beaver dams, lay­downs, and pier pil­ings.

Po­tomac River — Capt. Andy An­drze­jew­ski of Reel Bass Adventures (301-932-1509) re­ports that once the sun came out and the wa­ter tem­per­a­tures soared from the low 60s to the up­per 70s, the bass fish­ing did not re­spond ac­cord­ingly. Grass beds have been es­pe­cially stingy to give up bass, but some qual­ity bass can still be caught by fish­ing the out­side edges of grass beds with craw­fish im­i­ta­tors and down­sized spin­ner­baits.

Don’t get ex­cited about top­wa­ter ac­tiv­ity yet, it’s mostly carp and gar. Hard cover, like downed trees and hulks of old wrecks scat­tered about the river have been eas­ier to fish and have bass that will take a square bill crankbait bounced off the cover and then fol­lowed up with a fi­nesse worm or jig and craw.

Spat­ter­dock pads have small­ish bass and large snake­heads that will take spin­ner­baits or plas­tics worked just in­side the outer edge. Capt. Dale Coon of Fishama­jig Guide Ser­vice (240-587-8307) has been catch­ing a few snake­heads on rod and reel in the Po­tomac trib­u­taries by sight cast­ing to them in the weed beds.

Aqua­land Ma­rina (301-259-2222) re­ports that an­glers are do­ing well on eat­ing-size blue cat­fish us­ing cut bait while fish­ing from shore. Boat an­glers have been plagued with per­sis­tent rain, but some re­port catch­ing croak­ers at the power plant dis­charge in the evening. White perch so far are run­ning small, but that should change soon with warmer weather on the hori­zon.

Patux­ent River — White perch is a fa­vorite dur­ing the spring and sum­mer months in shal­lower wa­ters. As tem­per­a­tures rise, they’ll move into their sum­mer­time haunts over the next week. At the mo­ment, depths as shal­low as 10 inches hold pos­si­bil­i­ties for catch­ing white perch in the river and creeks. The best place to look for white perch is around tree branches that have fallen in the wa­ter.

Fishama­jig Guide Ser­vice Capt. Dennis Flem­ing (240-538-1260) re­ports catch­ing lim­its of stripers in the Patux­ent River area early and late in the morn­ing while throw­ing lures to struc­ture in shal­low wa­ter, which can be as sim­ple as a dock, rock wall, or point of land. Capt. Flem­ing will soon be mov­ing north to Ch­e­sa­peake Beach to where the bulk of the stripers have ap­peared to have mi­grated for yet an­other sum­mer.

Ju­ni­ata and Susque­hanna rivers (Pa.) — Nearly 100 miles of the main stem of the Susque-

hanna and 35 miles of the Ju­ni­ata are closed to bass fish­ing un­til June 18. Life Out­doors Un­lim­ited Guide Jason Shay (717-507-4377) re­ports that in the un­re­stricted ar­eas the fish­ing is good, but the fish need to be en­ticed to eat. Spin­ner­baits and wacky rigged case magic sticks have been work­ing best.

Deep Creek Lake — Keith Lock­wood of the Mary­land Depart­ment of Nat­u­ral Re­sources Fish­eries Ser­vice re­ports the small­mouth bass fish­ing has been very good. There are lots of re­ports of bass in the 14-inch size range bit­ing on tubes, stick worms and sus­pended jerk­baits near rocky shores and float­ing docks. Cast­ing small lures or fish­ing with live min­nows along deep grass edges will re­sult in a mix of

large yel­low perch, wall­eye, small­mouth bass, chain pick­erel and the oc­ca­sional rain­bow trout.

Lake Anna (Va.) — McCot­ter’s Lake Anna Guide Ser­vice (540-894-3540) re­ports that the sec­ond large­mouth bass spawn is un­der­way up- and mid-lake with many fish in shal­low wa­ter.

Up-lake is clear­ing af­ter mud­dy­ing from all the rain, so spin­ner­baits, soft plas­tic jerk­baits, top­wa­ters and buzzbaits are ef­fec­tive as sight fish­ing is still tricky. Fur­ther down the lake, sight fish­ing is pos­si­ble with small jigs like Dave’s Tour­na­ment Tackle fi­nesse jig, wacky-rigged worms, lizards and drop shot rigs.

Up-lake, crap­pie are in the wil­low grass lines in one to three feet of wa­ter. Other re­gions of the lake have crap­pie, but they are scat­tered and on deeper struc­tures like docks, brush and se­lect beaver huts.

Ch­e­sa­peake Bay — Lock­wood said the lower bay

re­gion still has plenty of striped bass ac­tion. Most trollers have changed their spreads to medium-sized of­fer­ings. A va­ri­ety of buck­tails and spoons are com­mon as well as um­brella rigs and swim shad type lures. The chan­nel edges in about 35 feet of wa­ter have been pop­u­lar places to troll. When schools of fish can be found with depth find­ers or un­der birds tar­get­ing bait­fish, try light tackle jig­ging. There’s no bet­ter way to have fun catch­ing a striper.

At­lantic Ocean — There has been some beau­ti­ful fish­ing weather in Ocean City. Surf fish­er­men couldn’t be hap­pier with all the striped bass ac­tion this past weekend. Bob Fos­ter at the Oys­ter Bay Tackle Shop (410-524-3433) said the crew at Oys­ter Bay Tackle weighed in a num­ber of keeper stripers caught by sur­f­cast­ers fish­ing the Ocean city beach, most with cut bunker.

Some good-sized floun­der

are be­ing caught from the thor­ough­fare to the back bays. White Gulp! is pop­u­lar this week with floun­der fish­er­men. Blue­fish up to 36 inches are be­ing caught by an­glers toss­ing Gotcha plugs, speck rigs and spoons from the North jetty, the U.S. 50 bridge and from boats drift­ing the in­let.

Tip of the week

From Capt. Kenny Pen­rod, the Fish­ing De­tec­tive (240478-9055): The top­wa­ter bite did not ma­te­ri­al­ize this past week, but the ris­ing wa­ter tem­per­a­tures and clearer wa­ter will help top­wa­ter fish­ing this week. My tip for peo­ple fish­ing the tidal Po­tomac is to move closer to cover and make short ac­cu­rate casts and pitches to cover with jigs and worms. This also works in grass where short pitches into holes al­lows you to keep your bait in small strike zones and cover wa­ter.

jamiedrake­out­doors@ out­look.com

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