Early and late in the day is the key
The Bassmaster Elite series tournament wrapped up on the Potomac River this past weekend and on the final day Justin Lucas caught five bass totaling 1913 to win. His four-day total was 72-14, more than four pounds greater than the second-place angler’s final total.
Lucas’ secret fishing spot? It was no secret at all. He fished a parking dock adjacent to Blue Plains wastewater treatment plant that had aquatic grass growing around it. It’s a community fishing hole that’s often overlooked for being just too darn obvious.
His attention paid off. Lucas fished a drop shot rig with a hand-poured 6-inch purple and brown worm each day and brought in and impressive 20-4, 19-14, 12-15, and 19-13 pounds of bass over the four days. It ended up being the best spot he’s ever found in a tournament.
It’s a good lesson to learn in fishing or in life. Sometimes a different or novel approach is all it takes to make something average into something great. I think Lucas that looking at the situation with a fresh set of eyes and exchanging the standard lures for a drop shot rig instead made all the difference for his big win. Southern Maryland lakes and ponds — Anthony Hancock, assistant manager at Gilbert Run Park in Dentsville, wants to know when it’s going to cool off enough to spend an hour outside and not be drenched in sweat by the end of it. The humidity is making the air not just “soupy” but downright “chowdery” outside.
The fishing conditions haven’t changed much because the weather is still so hot. Early morning and late in the day are the best times to hit the water. Hancock’s advice to fishermen is to get to the park right when it opens and don’t waste time fishing past noon.
Fishing slower-moving finesse baits like jig and craw combos and Senko-style worms will get the most strikes. Slowly swimming a big white spinnerbait or deep diving a crankbait in natural baitfish or crawdad color will work, too. The bluegill are extra-finicky as of late but fishing with a small bobber and nightcrawler or mealworm under low hanging limbs might entice a few to bite.
Patuxent River — Allen Rayes at the Tackle Box in Lexington Park (301-863-8151) reports anglers are catching croaker and spot off the fishing pier under the bridge to Solomons. The spot are small and far and few between this year. Fishermen are still picking up stripers in the 16- to 18-inch range, with a lot of throwbacks before finding that keeper. Snakeheads can be found above Benedict.
Potomac River — Life Outdoors Unlimited guide Ken Penrod (240-447-2206) advises anglers to get out on the water early or late, but keep moving and don’t
spend too much time in one spot. Penrod’s rule of thumb is to give the fish 15 minutes to bite, then move on if there are no takers. Mattawoman Creek has some areas with bass that will attack a Case magic stik fished on light line. The docks have bass but require persistence and very accurate casts.
Reel Bass Adventures guide Andy Andrzejewski (301-932-1509) reports grassbeds are most productive with the low end of the tide. Andrzejewski recommends topwaters early and switching to creature baits, craw imitators, drop shots, chatterbaits and small square bills later in the day. Bridge pilings and boat docks are giving up bass to slowly-fished finesse worms.
Capt. Dale Coon of Fishamajig Guide Service (240-587-8307) is dialed into rockfish and his clients are catching fish up to 26 inches on the Potomac. Early and late in the day is key during this hot weather.
Aqualand Marina (301259-2222) reports that their rental boat fleet is bringing in some nice croaker and perch catches from either side of Lower Cedar Point, also known as Morgantown Bar by the locals. The big news is there have been lots of sightings of bull sharks in the river near Dahlgren, Va. Juniata and Susquehanna
rivers (Pa.) — LOU guide Jason Shay (717-507-4377) is happy to report the fishing was good this week. In fact, the evenings have improved quite a bit.
The first big white fly hatch of the season took place on Thursday. Everything was active and feeding, from fish to birds. During the day,
spinnerbaits and “walk the dog” style bait have been productive. Fish are keyed on ledge fronts in the morning and shade lines and high current flow areas when the sun is high. Sight fishing with a Case magic stick has been working well during mid-day.
Deep Creek Lake — This lake is a destination for many recreational boaters from Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Maryland. Lots of species live in this lake, which has giving up many statewide records, but in the summer the lake is a zoo after lunchtime. Anglers need to be on the water bright and early or when the sun is going down, or else confine themselves to coves with grassbeds where skiers dare not go.
LOU guide Bret Winegardner (301-616-9889) said the lake has a fine population of smallmouth and largemouth that love grassbeds, boat docks, and rocky points and shorelines. Topwater lures are best early but finesse plastics like Case magic stiks are the ticket when the sun is up.
Lake Anna (Va.) — The water temperature has been in the upper 80s and even in the 90s. The hot weather has broken up the schooling stripers and sent the fish deep and holding in cooler waters.
They are not very active and will not chase baits.
Persistent anglers have to get their baits right in front of them. Trolling Redfins, Manns and XPS or jigging toothache spoons are producing some fish. Deep-diving crankbaits and jigs tipped with worms are catching bass. Chesapeake Bay — Rayes reports anglers are catching bluefish and mackerel in the bay near the Target Ship and the Middle Grounds by trolling with small spoons in either gold or silver. One angler caught a nice Spanish mackerel on a metal spoon with light tackle casting into schools of breaking fish. It’s still possible to pick up a few cobia chunking them up on fresh alewives.
Pocomoke River — Penrod calls this the prettiest, fishiest of all the Chesapeake Bay tidal rivers on the Maryland side of the pond. It’s a fickle river, though, because anglers fishing high tide would swear there aren’t any fish at all. Pick a trip with a low tide in it and work the spatterdock, cypress roots and drop-offs.
A buzzbait is Penrod’s lure of choice. Mizmo tubes and Case magic stiks are deadly, and so is a long white or pink floating worm. There are good opportunities between Pocomoke City and Snow Hill as well as Nassawango Creek.
Atlantic Ocean — Bob Foster at Oyster Bay Tackle in Ocean City (410-524-3433) reports the offshore reefs and wrecks are starting to produce decent catches of flounder and a few triggerfish. Some keeper flounder were caught in the East Channel north of the U.S. 50 Bridge and in the channel between the airport and Castaways. White Gulp swimming mullet continues to be the hot bait for flounder.
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