The lazy days of sum­mer

Maryland Independent - - Sports - Jamie Drake

Th­ese are the lazy days of sum­mer.

If you want to be a suc­cess­ful sum­mer­time an­gler, you can’t af­ford to daw­dle in the morn­ing and still catch big fish, un­less you’re a night owl and want to do your fish­ing un­der the cover of dark­ness. Get­ting to your fa­vorite fish­ing spot be­fore the sun is high in the sky is key this time of year. The fish are ev­ery­where in South­ern Mary­land, so set your alarm nice and early and go fish­ing.

South­ern Mary­land lakes and ponds — An­thony Han­cock, as­sis­tant man­ager of Gil­bert Run Park in Dentsville, said the bass are bit­ing ag­gres­sively early and later in the day on top­wa­ter lures. Dur­ing the day­time, the bass are hold­ing on drop-offs in 5 to 10 feet of wa­ter. Shallow div­ing crankbaits, swim-jigs, spin­ner­baits and fi­nesse worms are all catch­ing bass. The wa­ter is stained, so soft plas­tics should be dark col­ors like red­bug, junebug, green pump­kin and blue fleck. Crankbaits and spin­ner­baits with a lit­tle char­treuse are also work­ing well.

Bluegill are bit­ing strong. The big­ger bluegill are hold­ing close to the bot­tom in wa­ter around 10 feet deep. Smaller bluegill are cruis­ing the shal­lows par­tic­u­larly early in the morn­ing and late in the day look­ing for their next meal. When the sun is high it is wise to fish un­der low, over­hang­ing tree limbs. The bluegill will be there wait­ing pa­tiently for what­ever falls to the sur­face.

Patux­ent River — Ken Lamb from the Tackle Box in Lex­ing­ton Park (301-863-8151) re­ports plen­ti­ful hard­head all over South­ern Mary­land. Croaker will bite on over­cast days, but they go deep and are un­re­spon­sive in bright sun un­til dark. Seek them out dur­ing a mov­ing tide. At night you will find them in shallow wa­ter where they are search­ing for a crab and grass shrimp din­ner.

The white perch are big and are hit­ting tiny spin­ners and Mepps style lures. You will find them in clean, mov­ing wa­ter ab­sent of sea net­tles at high tide. Bot­tom fish­er­men can catch them on blood­worms, squid and shrimp in the deeper rivers.

Hawk’s Nest in the mouth of Cuck­old Creek in the Patux­ent has perch and croaker al­most ev­ery day. Trollers on deep wa­ter on the oys­ter beds are finding rock­fish over the 20-inch min­i­mum us­ing spoons and buck­tails. Trolling gear with braid line, in-line weights (5 to 6 ounces) and 10 feet of fluoro­car­bon leader is the ticket. He­len’s Bar north to Sheri­dan Point and all the ar­eas in be­tween are hold­ing good-sized fish.

Po­tomac River — Life Out­doors Un­lim­ited guides re­ported that com­mer­cial fish­er­men have been haul-sein­ing spawn­ing area grass­beds in Broad, Chick­a­muxen, Mat­ta­woman and Pis­cat­away creeks. Th­ese trib­u­taries are vi­tal nurs­eries for bass, and a healthy black bass pop­u­la­tion can’t be cul­ti­vated when grass beds are ru­ined and young of the year are killed.

LOU guide Capt. Kenny Pen­rod (240-478-9055) re­ports a good week on the tidal Po­tomac. The Washington, D.C., sec­tion of the river has been pro­duc­ing not only bass but a va­ri­ety of other fish species. A War Ea­gle Fi­nesse spin­ner­bait has been very ef­fec­tive thrown right against the Kennedy Cen­ter wall.

The Washington Chan­nel holds bass and pop­pers very early in the morn­ing and worms when the sun is high are good choices. In the Belle Haven area, try the Woodrow Wil­son Bridge pil­ings with a drop­shot on out­go­ing tides. The grass is ex­cel­lent in the Aquia area of the river and Pen­rod rec­om­mends throw­ing frogs at lower tides. Cat­fish are part of the mix.

Striped bass fish­ing is re­ported to be fair to good in the Charles County sec­tor of the Po­tomac River, ac­cord­ing to Capt. Den­nis Flem­ing from Fishama­jig Guide Ser­vice (240-538-1260). An­glers who choose to fish shallow wa­ter struc­ture early in the morn­ing or late in the evening can scratch out enough keep­ers to keep it in­ter­est­ing. Flem­ing sug­gests throw­ing jerk­baits with smashed down barbs to re­lease un­der­sized fish un­harmed.

Aqua­land Ma­rina (301-2592222) re­ports a strong cat­fish bite with an­glers putting up good num­bers of the whiskered fish us­ing cut bait and shrimp. There are some de­cent white perch at Lower Cedar Point over the oys­ter bar as well. Croak­ers con­tinue to be hit or miss. Ju­ni­ata and Susque­hanna rivers (Pa.) — LOU guide John Sny­gler (717-368-3802) has been fish­ing his low wa­ter spots with suc­cess. Morn­ing and evening are the best times for a good bite. He rec­om­mends Sna­gler buzzbatis in natural or gold col­ors.

LOU guide Ja­son Shay (717507-4377) re­ports spin­ner­baits in sexy shad and swim­baits in smoke blue have been work­ing in ar­eas with good cur­rent flow. The fish are on cur­rent edges in the morn­ing and hold­ing on the front of ledges dur­ing the day. The wa­ter tem­per­a­tures are warm, so take care to get any fish you catch back in the wa­ter as quickly as pos­si­ble. Deep Creek Lake — LOU guide Bret Wine­gard­ner (301-6169889) said the lake is busy with va­ca­tion­ers, so the smart an­glers will be hit­ting their fa­vorite fish­ing spots in the early morn­ing hours or quite late. Mid­day fish­ing in coves where there are no jet skiers and re­cre­ational boaters can ex­tend the fish­ing hours. Top­wa­ter lures near rocky points and shores are catch­ing small­mouth. When the sun is high, the bass can be found in grass beds and near float­ing docks.

Lake Anna (Va.) — Jim Hemby of Lake Anna Striper Guide Ser­vice (540-967-3313) re­ports that an­glers are catch­ing good num­bers of stripers on live bait. His guides have been us­ing blue­back her­ring rigged on down­lines af­ter lo­cat­ing a school. The ac­tion is fast and fu­ri­ous, of­ten hav­ing sev­eral fish hooked up at once.

Hemby rec­om­mends con­cen­trat­ing your ef­forts two miles on ei­ther side of the Route 208 bridge. Bass are in their sum­mer pat­terns and the main lake has been pro­duc­ing good catches. Although most an­glers look for struc­ture in 10 to 20 feet of wa­ter, he’s been catch­ing nu­mer­ous bass in much deeper wa­ter. Crap­pie are on ev­ery bridge on the lake, hold­ing in the shade at depths of 15 to 35 feet. Ch­e­sa­peake Bay — Lamb re­ports that blue­fish have ar­rived in the lower bay in the 5- to 6-pound range. The big blues were break­ing on the Mid­dle Grounds east of Buoy 72 and just east of the Tar­get Ship.

The toothy blue­fish took cast lures such as buck­tails, spoons and sassy shads. Wire lead­ers are a must as their ra­zor sharp teeth and pow­er­ful jaws can wreak havoc on monofil­a­ment and fin­gers. The big ones can be found on the eastern edges from the Kedges Straights to the mouth of the Honga. Two- to 3-pound blues are in the 10 to 12 foot edges from Parker’s Creek to Ch­e­sa­peake Beach.

Rock­fish are schooled up in huge quan­ti­ties from Ch­e­sa­peake Beach to the Bay Bridge. Th­ese fish are big, some mea­sur­ing up to 30 inches and weigh­ing 12 to 15 pounds.

At­lantic Ocean — Bob Fos­ter at Oys­ter Bay Tackle in Ocean City (410-524-3433) re­ports that although floun­der fish­ing was off to a slow start, it gets a lit­tle bet­ter day by day. The best bite has been from the in­let to the Fron­tier­town camp­ground and around the south jetty. There have also been re­ports of some nice keeper flat­ties caught from the 9th Street Pier and the bulk­head.

The U.S. 50 bridge has been good for small blue­fish and short stripers at night and a few floun­der dur­ing the day. The off­shore reefs and wrecks are pro­duc­ing de­cent catches of floun­der and sea bass.

Tip of the week

Bass are in their sum­mer mode now. Dur­ing the heat of the day they seek cool shade, usu­ally near deep wa­ter and are lethar­gic most of the day. Find mov­ing wa­ter and you might find some bass. When the wa­ter heats up and holds less dis­solved oxy­gen, the fish like to hang out near cur­rents to stay oxy­genated. In the evening and early morn­ing hours, you’ll find them in the shal­lows feed­ing. This is a good time to break out the top­wa­ter lures such as buzzbaits, chat­ter­baits, crea­ture baits and pop­pers.

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