Cool temps equals fish­ing heat­ing up

Maryland Independent - - Sports - Jamie Drake

Capt. Den­nis Flem­ing of Fishama­jig Guide Ser­vice is re­nam­ing this month Rock­to­ber.

Ken Lamb from the Tackle Box in Lex­ing­ton Park is declar­ing the hol­i­day week­end the Great Fall Fish­ing Week­end. His pro­nounce­ment comes with a caveat though … The weather will have to co­op­er­ate. But if we some­how dodge the big storm, he con­tends, fish­er­men will be in Rock­fish Heaven.

Yes, it’s a beau­ti­ful time of year in South­ern Mary­land, folks. As the tem­per­a­tures cool down, the fish­ing is heat­ing up.

Striped bass are start­ing to dom­i­nate the local saltwater fish­ing scene. Take your pick, the rock­fish are ea­ger in the Potomac River, Patux­ent River and Ch­e­sa­peake Bay. Not the enor­mous ocean-run­ners in the 40-inch-and-over-size class, but keeper-sized fish (20-inch min­i­mum) are be­com­ing more com­mon.

Let’s all say a spe­cial prayer for ev­ery­one in the storm’s path in the south­ern states from Hur­ri­cane Matthew and keep our fin­gers crossed we avoid any ma­jor ef­fects here in South­ern Mary­land. I hope to see you out on the wa­ter en­joy­ing some fine fall fish­ing this hol­i­day week­end. South­ern Mary­land lakes and ponds — An­thony Han­cock, as­sis­tant man­ager of Gil­bert Run Park in Dentsville, re­ports the re­cent rains have raised the wa­ter lev­els and bass in par­tic­u­lar have been mov­ing to newly sub­merged cover. A nice 5-pound bass was caught by a staff mem­ber and an­other 5 1/2-pounder was caught by a reg­u­lar.

Fish­ing low hang­ing limbs and shore­line cover is a good way to pick up num­bers of bass and also a gi­ant from time to time. Shal­low-run­ning crankbaits, spin­ner­baits and soft plas­tic lures area all good choices to test out along the newly flooded shore­line cover. Top­wa­ter pop­pers are also an ex­cit­ing op­tion to try. The first stock­ing of trout is sched­uled to be­gin next week in many local wa­ters.

Patux­ent River — Flem­ing (240538-1260) re­ports light tackle fish­ing from Solomons to be ex­cel­lent for stripers and blues. The fish have moved shal­low and are more than will­ing to hit top­wa­ter lures, even long af­ter the sun has come up. He sug­gests look­ing for bird shows at the mouth that will in­di­cate where the schools are.

Lamb (301-863-8151) fore­casts that perch fish­ing in the creeks will be ex­cel­lent in the up­com­ing days. Lure cast­ers us­ing bee­tle spins, tiny crankbaits, rooster tails, and Mepps spin­ners will find ea­ger white perch. Cat­fish are big and abun­dant in the north­ern reaches of the Patux­ent.

Potomac River — Reel Bass Ad­ven­tures guide Andy An­drze­jew­ski (301-932-1509) said that de­spite heavy rains,

wa­ters are fairly clear and bass are still ex­cited about top­wa­ter baits in­trud­ing on their ter­ri­tory. Rico pop­pers in dark col­ors and square bill crankbaits have been draw­ing ag­gres­sive strikes. It pays to fol­low up with an 8-inch rib­bon tail worm or jig­ger craw in the same ar­eas. Some sub-le­gal stripers have been ac­tive along grass lines in the creeks and will hit bass baits.

Aqua­land Ma­rina (301-259-2222) re­ports the river has plenty of stripers as “Rock­to­ber” kicks off, but not many fish­er­men. Cast­ing lures and trolling gets the job done on points and humps lo­cated near the Gov. Harry W. Nice Me­mo­rial Bridge. While you are out, flag down a local crab­ber for a good deal on the best crabs of the year.

Blue cat­fish are plen­ti­ful and will­ing this time of year. Now is the time to stock up your freezer with these mild fish fil­lets for a taste of sum­mer on a cold win­ter’s day. Ju­ni­ata and Susque­hanna rivers (Pa.) — The much-an­tic­i­pated rise for the Susque­hanna from last week’s rain turned out to be merely a bump. The mod­est 3-inch rise means the river is still low and boat-bang­ing, ac­cord­ing to Life Out­doors Un­lim­ited guide Matt Greene (717-576-3735). His baits of choice are top­wa­ter and spin­ner­baits.

LOU guide Ja­son Shay (717507-4377) re­ports crankbaits are work­ing well too, with the best bites at first and last light. He rec­om­mends fish­ing shal­low gravel flats dur­ing low-light hours and ledge fronts dur­ing mid­day.

Deep Creek Lake — The lake is at its low­est level right now. There hasn’t been much rain and the draw down is dis­rupt­ing the bass fish­ing along shore­line structure. An­thony Las­caris from Bill’s Out­door Cen­ter in Oak­land (301-3873474) said with the dip in tem­per­a­ture, the fish­ing is really pick­ing up. Hun­gry small­mouth can be found around docks. Walleyes are hit­ting nicely in deeper wa­ters and one lucky fish­er­man caught a 39 ¼ inch pike this week.

Ch­e­sa­peake Bay — Lamb said the rock­fish are get­ting closer to the 20-inch min­i­mum and now about one in five caught by lure cast­ers at Cedar Point are le­gal. Stripers are in the rip most of the time, but the ma­jor­ity of them are still throw­backs. The big­ger fish are in smaller schools and can be found on sonar.

Blue­fish and the last of the Span­ish mack­erel are chas­ing bay an­chovies and the break­ing schools at­tract birds which can lead you to the fish. An oc­ca­sional red drum while jig­ging down deep is still a pos­si­bil­ity. While the sea­son is open year-round, don’t for­get there is a slot in ef­fect. You can keep one fish daily and it must mea­sure be­tween 18 and 27 inches. Any­thing else has to go back in the wa­ter. Tip of the week

Oys­ter sea­son kicked off a week ago. In the month of Oc­to­ber, many peo­ple turn their at­ten­tion to eat­ing these de­li­cious bi­valves and blue crabs take a back­seat even though they are fat, heavy, and plen­ti­ful this time of year. Recre­ational crab­bing is ex­cel­lent right now and mak­ing the ex­tra ef­fort to pick crabs and freeze the meat will pay off when you want a crab cake or some stuffed rock­fish this com­ing win­ter.

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