Fishing still rocking despite falling temps
We got hit harder than was forecasted last weekend, but nothing like those to the south of us.
I’m heading to a wedding in South Carolina on Saturday, and it might be postponed because some of the roads have washed out and the venue still does not have electricity. The wedding will be outside, but this isn’t quite the rustic ambiance my sister-in-law was hoping for when she was planning her wedding.
One surprised South Carolina resident found a cluster of Civil-War era cannonballs unearthed by the storm on Folly Beach in Charleston on Sunday morning. Experts were called in to detonate the ordnance on location and several were transported to a nearby Navy base to be detonated there.
I’ve known a few people who have found similar cannonballs in Southern Maryland. It’s important to remember they can still be live rounds and, for safety’s sake, don’t touch or remove them. Finding old cannonballs can certainly be exciting, but leave them for the experts to handle.
In Southern Maryland, there was so much wind last weekend that hardly anyone was out fishing. Capt. Dennis Fleming of Fishamajig Guide Service (240-538-1260) was the exception. He reports that despite the wind and rain, the light tackle striper bite was on.
“The more it rained and the more the wind blew on Saturday, the more the fish were biting,” he said.
Hopefully the fish will bite just as much under sunny skies this weekend. Rockfish love the cooler temperatures and will continue to school up and feed. Although there are plenty of undersized rockfish in the Patuxent and Potomac rivers, keepers are out there and it just takes a little patience and a bit of skill to hook one. Southern Maryland lakes and ponds — Mattias Falcon at the Tackle Box in Lexington Park (301-863-8151) said now that the temperatures are dropping, all the fish at St. Mary’s Lake are in a rush to eat everything they can find and that means excellent fishing for the next couple weeks.
St. Mary’s Lake has crappie, sunnies, bass and pickerel. The pickerel are aggressive and will hit anything they see such as small jigs, minnows and worms.
Patuxent River — Ken Lamb at the Tackle Box (301-863-8151) reports perch are active in the creeks. They’ll hit beetle spins and other tiny lures in just about every hole and submerged structure. There are still some spot taking bits of bloodworm and puppy drum up to 16 inches taking perch lures. A slot for red drum (18 to 27 inches) is in effect and anything smaller or bigger has to be thrown back.
Fleming suggests throwing your favorite topwater poppers on prominent points and creek
mouths. Don’t be afraid to work them aggressively and be ready for explosive strikes.
Potomac River — Life Outdoors Unlimited guide Capt. Kenny Penrod III (240-478-9055) said fishing has been excellent lately. One of his clients caught the first ever “grand slam” last week in the Washington, D.C., sector consisting of a smallmouth, largemouth, striper, catfish and walleye.
Stripers have been favoring a higher incoming tide, largemouths a low outgoing tide and smallmouths a mid-tide, so really anytime is a good time to get out on the Potomac. Penrod recommends walking topwater lures near points, using spinnerbaits near grass edges and throwing drop-shots on bridge pilings. Juniata and Susquehanna rivers (Pa.) — LOU guide Matt Greene (717-5763735) reports now is a good time to take a break from the tree stand and do some fishing instead. The action has remained consistent up and down the river with the topwater bite not giving up yet. Even when it does slow,
the spinnerbait does the trick.
Deep Creek Lake — Brent Bowsher from Bill’s Outdoor Center in Oakland (301-387-3474) said the water level is down, but the fishing is certainly up. Perch are starting to school up, and along with walleye, are eager to bite on shiners. Jerkbaits and crankbaits are good for walleye, too.
Smallmouth are under the docks that are left and largemouth are still hanging near weedlines. Topwaters in the morning and plastics under the docks are what he recommends.
Lake Anna (Va.) — High Point Marina (540-8955249) reports the stripers are on the move, heading uplake following the bait run. The best action is around the splits and upper bridges. This is a good time to start using the multi-bait rigs, with sassy shads or seas shads.
You’ll find plenty of willing largemouth bass in the creeks near the docks or other kinds of structure. A 1/4-ounce tiger shad spinnerbait in the “Lake Anna special” format or a lipless crankbait like the Rat-L-Trap work well retrieved around docks and grass.
Chesapeake Bay — Lamb reports there are lots of rockfish in all the tidal rivers and the bay. Most are still undersized, but recently some skilled anglers have been catching rock in the 30-inch class throwing artificial plastics. The fall migrants might be showing up a little early this year now that the overnight temperatures are dipping low. It appears the bluefish were chased out of our waters last week by all the rain.
Atlantic Ocean — There has been a good flounder bite near the U.S. 50 Bridge with some keeper-sized fish in the mix. Bridge anglers are getting into some goodsized bluefish in the 5- to 6-pound range and some short stripers, too. Sheepshead are biting well around the South Jetty.
Tip of the week
From LOU guide Jason Shay (717-507-4377): The smallies in the Susquehanna River are aggressive this time a year now that the temperatures are cooling down. Feeding smallies are in packs and often when one is hooked, two or three others follow it to the boat. It’s a good idea to have a follow up bait like a Case magic stik ready for the “chasers.”