A per­fect rea­son to go out­doors

Maryland Independent - - Sports - Jamie Drake

Yes­ter­day was the first day of fall. Early hunt­ing sea­sons have al­ready be­gun and the best fish­ing of the year is upon us. Sat­ur­day is Na­tional Fish­ing and Hunt­ing Day, and it’s the per­fect rea­son to spend some time out­doors.

A re­cent Out­door Foun­da­tion re­port shows fish­ing is the sec­ond most pop­u­lar out­door ac­tiv­ity among adults 25 and older af­ter jog­ging, and the fourth most pop­u­lar for younger Amer­i­cans 6 to 24. But don’t take my word for it. Get out­side on Sat­ur­day, which should be a beau­ti­ful day, and see for your­self how much fun wet­ting a line can be.

Whether you’re hold­ing a fish­ing rod, shot­gun, pad­dle or binoc­u­lars, get­ting out­side is what’s im­por­tant. These gor­geous days aren’t go­ing to be around for­ever.

South­ern Mary­land lakes and

ponds — It’s no longer ex­clu­sively only an early morn­ing and late evening win­dow for good fish­ing times. With the re­cent rain and cool­ing tem­per­a­tures, the fish in our smaller wa­ters now know it’s time to put on the feed­bag. Bass and pan­fish can be found in shady spots and near any kind of sub­merged struc­ture, like fallen trees. Lately, the bluegill haven’t been able re­sist a meal­worm dropped about a foot or two be­low a small bob­ber.

Patux­ent River — Ken Lamb at the Tackle Box in Lex­ing­ton Park (301-863-8151) re­ports there are break­ing rock­fish on some days with big flocks of gulls feed­ing on the scraps left by the fish. Other days the fish are down and they can be found on depth find­ers and jigged. Good days re­sult in two per per­son over 20 inches. Bad days mean lots of ac­tion with un­der­sized fish.

White perch are very ac­tive in the creeks and rivers for lure cast­ers in the shal­lows and in the 30-foot depths for sinker dunkers. Un­der­size red­fish are ev­ery­where in the creeks. Some may be clos­ing in on the 18-inch min­i­mum.

Po­tomac River — Life Out­doors Un­lim­ited guide Kenny Pen­rod (240-478-9055) said the out­go­ing tides that co­in­cide with the late evening hours this week is go­ing to make for the per­fect con­di­tions for an evening fish­ing trip to tar­get big large­mouth and snake­heads that sta­tion them­selves at the edges of grass look­ing for bait­fish. The com­bi­na­tion of tide and low light hours can pro­duce ex­cit­ing strikes on buzzbaits and frogs.

Lamb said an­glers are re­port­ing ex­cel­lent fish­ing for medium-sized blue cat­fish in the lower part of the river from the mouth of the Wi­comico River to past the Gov. Harry W. Nice Memo­rial Bridge. Ju­ni­ata and Susque­hanna rivers (Pa.) — Many of the ar­eas that had poor fish­ing the past few years are on the re­bound with lots of smaller fish be­ing caught. LOU guide John

Sty­gler (717-368-3802) has been fish­ing the im­pound­ments be­low Harrisburg with suc­cess. LOU guide Matt Greene (717-576-3735) said the baits of choice (top­wa­ter and spin­ner­bait) haven’t changed, but what has is the fre­quency of catch­ing bass on top water dur­ing the mid­dle of the day.

Deep Creek Lake — LOU guide Bret Wine­gard­ner (301-616-9889) said the top­wa­ter ac­tion is re­ally good in the morn­ing for small­mouth bass on rocky shore­lines and stump points. Many of the docks have been pulled out, so those re­main­ing will be ex­tra good, and Wine­gard­ner rec­om­mends skip­ping plas­tics, such as wacky-rigged weight­less Senkos, un­der them.

Lake Anna (Va.) — High Point Ma­rina (540-895-5249) re­ports the water tem­per­a­tures are drop­ping quickly and the game­fish are re­spond­ing. Shore­line struc­ture is prime large­mouth bass ter­ri­tory. Pitch­ing small plas­tic worms to docks has been the go-to pat­tern right now.

Mid-lake, the bass are mov­ing to the back of creeks like Mar­shall, Pi­geon, Mitchell, Stur­geon and Con­trary. Each will have fish in them some­where, it’s up to you to be there early and leave late to bump into them.

The Septem­ber rock­fish are still on the skinny side. Big­ger fish will be­gin to bite bet­ter by the end of the month. Slip bob­bers and min­nows set at 5 to 8 feet are ir­re­sistible to crap­pie.

Ch­e­sa­peake Bay — Lamb re­ports co­bia and big chan­nel bass were caught last week by sight cast­ers, trollers and chum­mers from Buoy 72 to the Tar­get Ship. Rock­fish have been break­ing in the evening at Cedar Point. Trollers and lure cast­ers are catch­ing plenty of rock with some blues mixed in. Speck­led trout are in the Honga River and per­sis­tent fish­er­men have done very well in the back thor­ough­fares and cuts.

At­lantic Ocean — Char­ters are catch­ing floun­der and a few sea bass near the Bass Grounds on buck­tails tipped with strip baits. Sev­eral boats have been re­turn­ing with the limit of floun­der. The off­shore fish­ing fleet is find­ing the best white mar­lin fish­ing of the sea­son. The Wash­ing­ton and Nor­folk Canyon, Poor Man’s Canyon and the Rock Pile are putting out good num­bers of white mar­lin along with the oc­ca­sional wa­hoo, yel­lowfin tuna and mahi.

Tip of the week

It was just a few short months ago that spring trout were be­ing stocked in Mary­land’s man­aged wa­ters. Well, get ready for an­other round this Oc­to­ber.

If you want to be one of the first to find out when the fish have been put in, sign up on the Mary­land Depart­ment of Nat­u­ral Re­sources web­site at http://dnr2. mary­land.gov/Fish­eries/Pages/ trout/stock­ing.aspx to get emails sent di­rectly to your in­box as the wa­ters are stocked. jamiedrake­out­doors@out­look.com

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