Controversy in Ocean City
You might recall that a couple of weeks ago, there was a little kerfuffle over the sale of “Blue Lives Matter” T-shirts at the White Marlin Open in Ocean City, which took place Aug. 8 to 12.
Now there is another, and much bigger, controversy afoot. This time it has nothing to do with T-shirts and everything to do with a $2.8 million payout for a 76.5-pound marlin caught by Phillip Heasely of Florida on Aug. 9.
It seems Heasely might not see that prize money after all. In big fishing tournaments, polygraph tests are standard routine before the awards ceremonies where the prize money is doled out.
The White Marlin Open rules state that lines cannot be in the water before 8:30 a.m. on fishing days, but there are some questions about the ship’s catch log, which were examined and showed the winning marlin may have actually been caught 25 minutes before the tournament began. Also, officials said Heasely’s answers were deceptive when he was asked if he reeled his catch in without assistance, per tournament rules.
Heasely and the entire crew of the Kallianassa were unable to pass polygraph tests, so the prize money has not been released and the organizers of the tournament are asking a judge to decide whether the money will go to Heasely or be divided among 13 other winners from the tournament. Southern Maryland lakes and ponds — Anthony Hancock, assistant manager of Gilbert Run Park in Dentsville, reports the fishing has been hit or miss the past few weeks. Bass are biting best early and late in the day, but patient anglers can be rewarded during the day by focusing on the bass holding tight to grass or wood cover waiting to ambush prey.
Slow fishing soft plastic Senko type lures and finesse worms in natural colors like pumpkin or watermelon has been reliable, although it pays to experiment. Spinnerbaits fished slowly in deeper water, along with jigs and deep-diving crankbaits, will entice the bigger bass holding on deeper offshore structure.
Bluegill are cruising the shallows ready to pounce on mealworms, nightcrawlers and crickets. Usually the biggest bluegill and redear sunfish hold in water depths of about five feet.
Patuxent River — Ken Lamb at the Tackle Box in Lexington Park (301-863-8151) reports croaker have been hard to find in the heat. They have slowed at the pier, but rockfish have been caught there in the 24-inch size. Rockfish are being caught in the mornings and evenings by trollers and casters on the bars and oyster beds. Perch are in the rivers in good numbers at depths of 30 feet or more. Catfishing is excellent near Benedict.
Potomac River — Reel Bass Adventures guide Andy Andrzejewski (301-932-1509) said the bass fishing remains area specific. Very few spots are
holding good numbers of bass and those places are no secret and therefore receive heavy fishing pressure. Take the time to find an isolated patch of grass with baitfish activity or a good population of crawfish.
Start with topwaters like grass frogs or poppers and follow up with swim jigs, chatterbaits and finesse worms. It takes patience as the action will not be fast and furious most days. Hard cover not choked with grasses hold bass as do the marsh run-offs in the creeks during the outgoing tide.
Life Outdoors Unlimited guide Ken Penrod (240-447-2206) fished the Washington, D.C., sector last week and reports the Key Bridge, Three Sisters, Kennedy Center and D.C. shoreline below
the Anacostia River to be good stops for smallmouth. He drove by the $100,000 dock and, as expected, it was teeming with local anglers.
Deep Creek Lake — This weekend is guaranteed to be a busy one. The best fishing continues to be early in the morning and late in the evening, which is the only time anglers can get a break from the recreational boaters and flotilla of jet skiers from sunup to sundown. Bass are holding near structure like sunken trees and floating docks. Chain pickerel and northern pike are also present.
Lake Anna (Va.) — High Point Marina (540-8955249) reports even with the heat, the fish are heading into shallower water and beginning to hang around stumps, docks and other structures for most of the day. In the early morning and late evening, topwater lures such as PopRs and
Chug Bugs should be your first choice. Medium-running crankbaits, five-inch grubs and shakey head worms are also working well.
Stripers are in the main lake from the power plant to the bridges. Topwater fishing in the early morning has seen a lot of action on Zara Spooks, Redfins and Paycheck baits.
Chesapeake Bay — Capt. Don Layton of Jeanies Catch Charters (301-7519114) reports he’s been chasing birds and breaking fish from the power plant to Hooper’s Island and catching lots of small rock and blues. There’s plenty of action, but not much in the box. There are reports of Spanish mackarel being trolled up at faster speeds.
Capt. Dennis Fleming of Fishamajig Guide Ser vice (240-538-1260) reports that the late summer pattern of blues/ rock/Spanish mackarel feeding on bay anchovies is in full swing from Solomons to Smith Point, Va. Most anglers are trolling, but Capt. Fleming has been having his clients throwing 1-ounce metal jigs and bucktails to breaking schools. Good binoculars are a must.
Lamb reports fast, high-jumping mackerel are mixed with blues and stripers in the Target Ship area in the south and all along the eastern shore from Punch Island to the False Channel into the Little Choptank River. The Solomons boats are finding keeper-sized rockfish under the birds and are catching the two-per-person daily limit.
Atlantic Ocean — Bob Foster at Oyster Bay Tackle in Ocean City (410-524-3433) reports fishing has picked up with snapper blues in the surf. The kingfish bite remains good with a few spot and croaker mixed in.
Lots of flounder in the bay but most of them are short, while the flounder bite offshore around the artificial wrecks and reefs continues to be good with some sea bass mixed in. Try jigging a Spro bucktail tipped with Gulp for the offshore flounder. A mix of yellowfin tuna, skipjack tuna, dolphin and wahoo have been caught at the 30-fathom fishing areas.
Tip of the week
From Lamb: Spot are now in the Patuxent as far as Sandy Point. These tasty summer visitors are usually here by the Fourth of July, but all the rain in June and other factors have delayed them until now. The headboats out of Bunky’s Charter Boats in Solomons made excellent catches over the weekend.
The spot may reach Kingston Hollow and Hawk’s Nest by the time you read this. The Town Creek Pier is now reopened after a tiff with authorities over permits. Spot love that area and the pier should produce good spot catches.