Breaking records in the water
One little girl has a whopper of a fish tale to tell for many, many years to come, and she’s going to have proof to back up her claim that she really did catch the “big one.”
Emma Zajdel, a 9-year-old from Ocean City, set a new Maryland record while fishing with family and friends off the coast of Assateague Island. What started off as a trip to catch bluefish became a lot more serious and exciting when something obviously quite large — possibly a shark — was on the other end.
But it wasn’t a shark. Zajdel landed a 94.6 pound cobia, a new state record. It beat the old record set in 2014 by over 15 pounds. Congratulations, Emma, that’s one heck of a fish.
2016 must be a good year for breaking state records. Emory Baldwin III of Indian Head caught a new Maryland state record snakehead on May 20 when he and a friend were fishing on the Maryland side of the Potomac River near
Marshall Hall. Checking to see if there were any catfish in the grass, he instead got a massive 18.42-pound snakehead with a compound bow. Southern Maryland lakes
and ponds — Anthony Hancock, assistant manager of Gilbert Run Park in Dentsville, reports that the water quality is improving and there are lots of small baitfish cruising the shorelines, more than he has seen in recent years.
The bass are active all day long, however the largest bass often will feed the heaviest early in the morning. With all the small shad and shiners here it would be wise to throw small shad colored crankbaits, white double willowleaf spinnerbaits, silver topwaters and even small soft plastics with silver flakes in them. White or shad colored tube baits with light weights fished around boat docks and rock cover are very effective right now.
Crappie should be feeding on the abundant schools of small baitfish. Bluegill are still hungry for little pieces of earthworm or nightcrawler fished under a bobber close to shore.
Patuxent River — Ken Lamb from the Tackle Box in Lexington Park (301-863-8151) reports rockfish are eager to hit cast lures in the early morning and late evening all up and down the shoreline. Topwaters, crankbaits, bucktails and sassy shads will all bring strikes.
The rockfish are also schooled up from Sheridan Point to Marker 18 in the deep and will hit jigged lures. These rockfish have to be sought out, and if no action occurs after 20 or so casts in one spot, move to a new location because sooner or later you’ll hit pay dirt.
Lamb said croaker and white perch are dominating bottom fishing. Sunset is the best time to fish for hardhead. The 100-foot hold at Point Patience is filled with croaker in broad daylight, and if you can get an anchor set and put up with glares from passing boaters in this narrow, heavily-traveled area, the 13- to 15-inchers will bite. Sunset is the best time to
fish for hardhead from shore when they come to feed in the shallows.
The Town Creek Pier has croaker, rockfish and white perch at night. A moving tide gets them biting. From Benedict to the Chalk Point Plant, the catfish are very cooperative.
Potomac River —
Reel Bass Adventures guide Capt. Andy Andrzejewski (301-932-1509) reports frogs have been the hot bite during low and high tide periods. Floating worms and grass spoons are also producing bites. Along the outside, defined edges of grasses, a hard jerk bait, bladed jigs, swimbaits, crankbaits and swim jigs will all catch bass. Finesse worms work well around wood cover and dock pilings as well as drops in front of spatterdock fields in the creeks.
Large yellow perch will aggressively attack small crankbaits in grasses. The snakehead bite hasn’t been as prolific as in past years but bass anglers still catch a few.
Life Outdoors Unlimited guide Capt. Kenny Penrod (240-478-9055) reports good fishing for largemouth and smallmouth bass in the Washington, D.C., section of the Potomac River. A moving tide is essential and look for areas where the current is concentrated, which is where the bass will wait to ambush prey that is washed down to them.
Lamb said there are croaker, perch and rockfish aplenty, along with some catfish which are found stretched out from the Wicomico River to Mallows Bay.
Juniata and Susquehanna rivers (Pa.) —
LOU guide John Snygler (717-368-3802) said low water spots in the early morning and late evening are producing nice bass. During the heat of the high sun, fish are seeking shade and current to stay cool.
LOU guide Jason Shay (717-507-4377) reports that the best bite is by far in the early morning and right before sundown. Translucent-colored spinnerbaits and natural-colored swimbaits are catching fish.
Deep Creek Lake —
LOU guide Bret Winegardner (301-616-9889) said the largemouth are still in shoreline coves, but soon they should be moving to shallow boat docks and offshore grass beds. Wacky rigs are a good choice for fishing around docks and small swimbaits will do the trick in offshore grass. The smallmouth are in 6 to 12 feet of water near rocky points. Topwaters early in the morning and tubes after the sun comes up will catch plenty of bass.
Lake Anna (Va.) —
Jim Hemby of Lake Anna Striper Guide Service (540-967-3313) said plenty of schools of stripers are roaming the main lake regions, and a depth finder is key for locating the schools which are holding primarily over 25- to 35-foot flats. Anglers trolling deep-diving baits are catching plenty of fish.
The bass are in their summer patterns and holding up near deeper structures so deep-diving crankbaits are working well along with jigs tipped with worms. Topwaters are also catching nice bass in low light times of the day.
Plenty of crappie are by the bridge pilings and on brush piles in 10 to 20 feet of water. They can also be found at night on docks that have lights on them. The cats love the warmer water and can be caught ever ywhere and anywhere. Live bait fished near the bottom over 25-foot flats has been producing some extra-large catfish.
Chesapeake Bay —
Lamb reports cobia are in the lower bay from the Middle Grounds, the Target Ship, Smith Point and down to the Cut Channel. These big, subtropical fish are invading the bay in numbers not seen in decades. Savvy anglers are sight casting to them, chumming and chunking them up and trolling big spoons and artificial eels.
From Deale to the Bay Bridge and further north is still terrific for trolling and jigging for rockfish.
Atlantic Ocean — Bob Foster at Oyster Bay Tackle in Ocean City (410-524-3433) reports that flounder are biting in the back bay and inlet area. The throwback to keeper ratio for flounder has increased. Try using a 5” or 6” Gulp swimming mullet to target the larger fish.
U.S. Route 50 bridge fishermen are catching snapper, blues and a few flounder. And there have been a few croaker caught in the bay. The offshore wrecks and reefs are producing decent catches of flounder, sea bass, and a few triggerfish. The kingfish bite continues to be very good for surfcasters using bloodworms and Fishbites bloodworms. Surf fishermen tossing chunks of mackeral or bunker are catching sharks and big rays.
Tip of the week
From Lamb: The creeks in the Patuxent and Potomac are loaded with perch now and they are biting on smaller spinnerbaits, crankbaits, and small spoons. If you want to really drive them crazy, peeler crabs and bloodworms will bring instant results for bottom fishermen.