Heat is affecting the fishing
My husband loves oysters, so his favorite time of year for seafood is all the months that have an “r” in them. I won’t turn down oysters, but crabs are by far my favorite seafood of all to feast upon.
I recently had dinner with a second-generation waterman recently and asked if he ever got tired of eating crabs. He told me every time he sits down to eat them he prays, ‘Please don’t let this be that day.’
I’m reminded of a time my dad took my sister and her friend crabbing down at Chaptico Wharf. My dad got the lines all baited up and my sister took them down the pier and threw them out. Only after she tossed in the last one did she realize she never tied any of them to the pier. It was a rare bad crabbing day.
Crabbing with chicken necks has always been a favorite family activity. We don’t even bother to weight them down. After a few minutes they get water-logged and sink on their own if they haven’t already. We weren’t able to find any at the local grocery store and went with chicken backs this year instead. The crabs didn’t seem to mind much.
Chicken necks or chicken backs — either bait will put crabs in your basket. Just don’t forget to secure your lines. Southern Maryland lakes and ponds — Anthony Hancock, assistant manager of Gilbert Run Park in Dentsville, said he can count the number of fishermen he saw this past Sunday on one hand. The heat is surely affecting the fishing right now. Last week he taught a free fishing class for kids and they had a hard time catching even a few bluegill.
After the sun clears the trees, small swim jigs, finesse worms in natural colors, white tubebaits and senko-type baits fished slowly along the bottom in 5 to 12 feet of water, especially around drop-offs with wood or grass cover, are a good choice for bass. Wheatley Pond is a catch-and-release only bass fishing area.
Most of the bluegill near shore are on the small side, but a few big ones will bite early in the morning on pieces of live bait or small flies. It’s going to be tough fishing during the day until we get a few good rains. Plan on getting to the park right when it opens for the best fishing.
Patuxent River — Ken Lamb from the Tackle Box in Lexington Park (301-863-8151) reports the white perch are as plentiful as ever this summer. The early morning and evenings are good for anglers casting beetle-spins and small jigs. During the daytime sun, bottom fishing heats up.
The perch are competing with tiny redfish that love the hot weather and are steadily getting bigger, though most are still 10 to 12 inches. Lamb knows of only one that has been keeper-sized (18 inches) so far this season. Croaker fishing is almost exclusively an evening/ night fishery and they are being caught on peeler crab, shrimp,
squid and bloodworms.
Potomac River — Reel Bass Adventures guide Capt. Andy Andrzejewski (301-932-1509) reports that even though the heat has been unbearable, bass can still be caught. Grass frogs fished over thick grasses and large plastic worms fished outside grass lines will catch bass. A buzzed spinnerbait or rapidly retrieved chatterbait will take bass around isolated clumps. Jig worms fished along creek channel ledges can be a good way to collect a limit. Juniata and Susquehanna rivers (Pa.) — Life Outdoors Unlimited (LOU) guide Jason Shay (717-507-4377) reports topwater lures have seen the most consistent bite during early morning and evening hours. Spinnerbaits and non-weighted flukes have been working best during midday hours.
LOU guide John Stygler (717-368-3802) says the Juniata water levels are very low. Many areas are choked with grass and the algae is getting bad. He recommends targeting areas with ledges, grass islands, and shallow flats that create a strong current.
The LOU guides warn anglers that high temperatures mean more bacteria in the water. Don’t get the water in your mouth, use antibacterial wipes before eating, shower when you get home and treat abrasions with disinfectant.
Deep Creek Lake — Joe McClusky at Bill’s Outdoor Center in Oakland (301-387-3474) said the fishing is pretty good lately considering the water has heated up considerably the past week.
Bass and pickerel have shifted off the end of docks and the walleye and pike have moved off the points into deeper water where its cooler. Natural presentations like plastic crayfish and creature baits are working best as well as the old standbys minnows and nightcrawlers.
Lake Anna (Va.) — High Point Marina (540-8955249) reports bass are
in their classic summer pattern right now. Fish are being caught on the top of roadbeds in deep water, over the older fish structures that were put in the lake years ago and around bridge piling and docks.
Catfish love the warmer water this time of year and can be caught everywhere and on any kind of bait. Some larger than normal catfish have been caught over 25-foot deep flats on live bait.
Chesapeake Bay — No matter what you call cobia (brownie, ling, and crab-eater are a few names I’ve heard that come to mind), this gamefish has been making the fishing especially exciting lately in the lower bay region.
Lamb reports they’re being caught around the Target Ship, the Mud Leads and the Middle Grounds and south near Smith Point and the Cut Channels in Virginia. Chumming and chunking with alewives is a popular method and live eels are always a good bet to attract a slow-prowling cobia.
Atlantic Ocean — Bob Foster at Oyster Bay Tackle in Ocean City (410524-3433) reports trying to catch a keeper flounder in the back bays has been challenging. Bait-sized spot have moved into the bay and are around the Route 90 Bridge. Many anglers catch these small spot to use as bait for flounder and stripers. Surf anglers are catching lots of tasty kingfish on bloodworms and Fishbites.
Tip of the week
Recreational crabbing continues to be good this summer. Crab pots used by waterfront property owners must be fitted with a by-catch reduction device at every funnel entrance because diamondback terrapins are drawn to the same baits used to attract crabs. Without the excluder, turtles and other animals that enter the pot cannot escape and drown. The devices, sold in tackle shops, are easy to install and often cost less than $2.