Early and late in the day is the key

Maryland Independent - - Sports - Jamie Drake

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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