Good year for fish­ing

Maryland Independent - - Sports - Jamie Drake

It’s been a good year for fish­ing in Mary­land. New records for largest co­bia, snake­head and white perch all have been set in 2016.

James Stiars of Bel Air wasn’t dis­mayed though when his 1.70-pound white perch state record from 2014 was bro­ken. Stiars broke his own record with an even big­ger fish he caught on July 30. This one was caught in Loch Raven Reser­voir too, a 1.74-pounder he caught trolling Shad Rap crankbaits. And Stiars is sure there’s prob­a­bly an even big­ger one in there. That’s why he hits up his fa­vorite fish­ing spots about two or three times a week on av­er­age in the sum­mer.

And 10-year-old Ryan Tim­mons of Ber­lin broke the At­lantic record for white perch on Aug. 2 with a 1.65-pound fish caught in Ay­ers Creek in Worces­ter County. The pre­vi­ous record was also caught in Ay­ers Creek.

There are sev­eral hot spots on the Mary­land record list that have put out more than one win­ning fish, in­clud­ing Deep Creek Lake, Loch Raven Reser­voir and Lib­erty Reser­voir. There’s even a record set at Gil­bert Run Park in Dentsville for re­dear sun­fish back in 1985. You’d have to catch one greater than 2 pounds 5 ounces to beat it. South­ern Mary­land lakes and ponds — Bass are in a sum­mer pat­tern where they move into shal­lower ar­eas to feed at night, mak­ing it dif­fi­cult to catch them dur­ing the day when they are rest­ing in the cooler, deeper wa­ter. Fish the shal­low ar­eas at the crack of dawn or right be­fore sun­set with top­wa­ter lures. All types of struc­ture such as old docks, sunken wood and thick grass are good places to tar­get bass when the sun is up.

Bluegill are ac­tive at St. Mary’s Lake and tak­ing a bit of nightcrawler un­der a bob­ber when you lo­cate them in the shal­low wa­ter near shore in the early morn­ing or evening.

Patux­ent River — Ken Lamb at the Tackle Box in Lex­ing­ton Park (301-863-8151) re­ports jig­gers will find will­ing rock­fish around the pil­ings of the Gov. Thomas John­son Bridge. White perch are in the creeks and ea­ger to take cast spin­ner­baits on the high tides at dawn and dusk. They are in siesta mode for the bet­ter part of the day. Pre­ferred baits are blood­worms, squid and peeler crab.

Croak­ers are in the deeper wa­ter in the river dur­ing the day and come in­shore look­ing for din­ner at night. They will get more ac­tive when cooler weather trig­gers their ap­petite.

Po­tomac River — Reel Bass Ad­ven­tures guide Andy An­drze­jew­ski (301-932-1509) re­ports the bass fish­ing has slowed a lit­tle with the lower catch rates re­flected in both the size and num­ber of fish caught dur­ing re­cent lo­cal tour­na­ments.

Most an­glers are still con­cen­trat­ing on grass pat­terns with the stan­dard top­wa­ter baits and grass frogs. Chat­ter­baits, small crankbaits and swim jigs are also pop­u­lar. Grasses

with a good wa­ter flow in­crease your chance of suc­cess. Mari­nas con­tinue to put out a fair num­ber of bass when fished with shaky head worms.

Lamb said big rock­fish in the 30-inch class are on the bars and shore­line and strik­ing all man­ner of lures cast at first and last light. Boaters cruis­ing out of Bre­ton Bay and St. Cle­ments are get­ting their lim­its ev­ery evening us­ing top­wa­ter pop­pers and buck­tails. Ju­ni­ata and Susque­hanna rivers (Pa.)

— The re­cent rain has caused a small rise in the river, bring­ing with it cooler tem­per­a­tures and a lit­tle color to the wa­ter. Life Out­doors Un­lim­ited (LOU) guide Ja­son Shay (717-507-4377) says the small­ies were in­hal­ing spin­ner­baits ear­lier this week. Shad color spin­ner­baits with gold blades worked best. Fish were lo­cated mostly on ledge fronts.

Deep Creek Lake — LOU guide Bret Wine­gard­ner (301-616-9889) re­ports the bass fish­ing has been a lit­tle tough due to wa­ter tem­per­a­tures and weather. Early morn­ing and late evening con­tinue to be the best times. Buzzbaits and pop­pers in two to six feet of

wa­ter work best in the morn­ing. Big­mouth jigs are tak­ing large­mouth and small­mouth around shaded boat docks through­out the day.

Lake Anna (Va.) — High Point Ma­rina (540-895-5249) re­ports there are plenty of stripers school­ing and break­ing in the morn­ing around the state park, power plant and Dike III. These fish are mostly feed­ing on 2- to 3-inch threadfin so you must use small baits if you want to catch them. Fly fish­ing is pos­si­ble now for break­ing striper. Early morn­ings and just be­fore sun­set are the best times for top­wa­ter feed­ing.

The white perch fish­ing is ex­cel­lent. These tasty fish that school heav­ily can be found near the splits, the state park and at Dike III and will take 1/4-inch spoons and small crankbaits in 10 to 18 feet of wa­ter. Keep as many as you like be­cause there are thou­sands more and they make for a fine din­ner.

Ch­e­sa­peake Bay — Lamb re­ports rock, blues and Span­ish mack­erel are in a big thrash from Buoy 72A to be­low the Tar­get Ship. Many of the rock­fish are in ex­cess of 20 inches. Most of the Span­ish mack­erel are around 18 inches, but some are push­ing 30. Trollers have been us­ing plan­ers with small spoons pulled re­ally fast for the mack­erel, which are fan­tas­tic smoked.

At­lantic Ocean — Bob Fos­ter at Oys­ter Bay Tackle in Ocean City (410-524-3433) re­ports an­glers are pick­ing up some keeper floun­der in the back bay in the deep­est holes on the slack­ing tides. Surf fish­er­men are get­ting the usual spot and king­fish along with more and more re­ports of snap­per blues. U.S. 50 Bridge fish­er­men are catch­ing lots of snap­per blues at night throw­ing Gotcha plugs and speck rigs.

Tip of the week

Finger­nail clip­pers aren’t just for per­sonal groom­ing. Ev­ery tackle box needs a pair for cut­ting fish­ing line. They are safe for kids to use, too. And a float­ing key­chain isn’t just for your boat key. It’s a good in­vest­ment to have one at­tached to the finger­nail clip­pers. If you ac­ci­den­tally drop the clip­pers in the wa­ter, you can re­trieve them with ease.

And the key­chains usu­ally come in bright col­ors, which makes it eas­ier to find the clip­pers among the hooks and lures in your tackle box. My key­chain was a pro­mo­tional item given away free at a trade show, but you can pick them up for less than $5 at any boat­ing store.

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