Cool temps equals fishing heating up
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.