Break­ing records in the wa­ter

Maryland Independent - - Sports - Jamie Drake

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.

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