Fish­ing still rock­ing de­spite fall­ing temps

Maryland Independent - - Sports - Jamie Drake

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.”

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