Good year for fishing
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.