Wrap­ping up the Reel Re­port for 2016

Maryland Independent - - Sports - Jamie Drake

The Mary­land Depart­ment of Nat­u­ral Re­sources has un­veiled a new web­page called “Changes to Fish­ing Reg­u­la­tions” to stream­line ac­cess for the pub­lic to pro­pos­als that are be­ing con­sid­ered for the next sea­son. The web­page can be found at http://dnr2.mar yland. gov/fish­eries/Pages/reg­u­la­tions/changes.aspx.

DNR is ac­tively seek­ing feed­back from the pub­lic as part of their scop­ing pro­cess. Some of the pro­posed changes in­clude list­ing co­bia as “in need of con­ser­va­tion,” list­ing cownose rays as “in need of con­ser­va­tion” and cre­at­ing daily catch lim­its, dou­bling the daily creel limit for cer­tain non-tidal species, and re­mov­ing sev­eral oys­ter har­vest re­serve ar­eas and re­vert­ing them back to open har­vest bot­toms.

One proposal that caught my eye is re­quir­ing fish­er­men to har vest horse­shoe crabs by vessel and pro­hibit their har­vest from shore. This will pro­tect spawn­ing horse­shoe crabs. I’ve walked a lot of beaches this sum­mer and have seen only a hand­ful of these once pro­lific funny-look­ing crea­tures.

It’s easy for the pub­lic to com­ment via the web­page. Com­mer­cial fish­er­men have a pow­er­ful voice. The finned and clawed and shelled an­i­mals don’t get to share their in­put and de­pend upon the av­er­age cit­i­zen to bal­ance the scales. Make sure your opin­ion is heard and let DNR know what you think about the pro­posed changes.

Take a trip to Mal­lows Bay Park in Nan­je­moy on Oct. 29 to cel­e­brate Hal­loween “birder style.”

Walk with the South­ern Mary­land Audubon So­ci­ety and learn about the ship­wrecks that com­prise the ghost fleet, ar­chae­o­log­i­cal sites, and wildlife all sit­u­ated on the beau­ti­ful Po­tomac River. The trip will in­clude a bird walk on the park’s one-mile trail to look for mi­grants, catch a fi­nal peek of our sum­mer bird friends and wel­come our win­ter res­i­dents. There are nu­mer­ous ospreys and bald ea­gles to view as well.

RSVP un­til 10 a.m. Oct. 29 at com­stockel@aol.com or 301751-8097. Young bird­ers are wel­come.

This is the last Reel Re­port of the year. It will re­turn next spring. In the mean­time, I’ll keep you in­formed of any good fish­ing reports as part of Fri­day’s Out­doors col­umn. South­ern Mary­land lakes and

ponds — Ac­cord­ing to An­thony Han­cock, as­sis­tant man­ager of Gil­bert Run Park in Dentsville, the bass are co­op­er­at­ing for those an­glers who put in the time to find them. Drop-offs in 5 to 10 feet of wa­ter, es­pe­cially with wood cover, are hold­ing fish that will re­spond to slowly fished plas­tic lures. Mid-af­ter­noon, when the wa­ter has warmed up a bit, bass can be caught on spin­ner­baits and

crankbaits fished over shal­low ar­eas. Patux­ent River — Travis

Haf­fer at the Tackle Box in Lex­ing­ton Park (301-863-8151) said the river is red hot for rock­fish, speck­led and some weak­fish. Rock­fish are vary­ing sizes; you’ll

catch some 18- to 19-inch throw­backs be­fore you’ll catch a keeper. A good size right now is 28 to 33 inches with dive-down crankbaits work­ing well. Most of the croaker and blue­fish are gone, but there are still reports of perch.

Po­tomac River — Reel Bass Ad­ven­tures guide Andy An­drze­jew­ski (301932-1509) said float­ing grass and de­bris have been cre­at­ing pre­sen­ta­tion problems so he rec­om­mends con­cen­trat­ing on hard cover that is clear of dy­ing grass.

Square-bill crankbaits and wacky-rigged stick worms are a good bet to make con­tact with bass. The mouths of feeder creeks and marsh run-offs con­tinue to pro­duce on the last part of the out­go­ing tide. He reports the striper bite is strong and sug­gests

fish­ing cur­rent breaks around points, bridges and docks. Swim­baits and li­p­less rat­tle baits are work­ing well.

Fishama­jig Guide Ser­vice’s Capt. Den­nis Flem­ing (240-538-1260) reports a good striper bite when the wind is not blow­ing. The fish are still shal­low and re­spond to jigs, jerk­baits and top­wa­ters.

Aqua­land Ma­rina is a good jump­ing off point to find fish. Don’t be sur­prised to catch a 16- to 20-inch puppy drum too. Weak­fish are in good num­bers in the lower river. Re­mem­ber only one fish 13 inches or greater is al­lowed while the stock is re­build­ing.

Recre­ational fish­er­man John Boyles shared the de­tails of a north­ern snake­head he caught last Fri­day in a creek near Leonard­town on the

Mary­land An­gler’s Log. It mea­sured 29 inches and weighed 7.2 pounds, and it made for a tasty din­ner that night. Boyles caught the snake­head on a fall­ing tide with a small chartreuse spin­ning lure.

Deep Creek Lake — An­thony Las­caris at Bill’s Out­door Cen­ter in Oak­land (301-387-3474) reports the wa­ter is around 60 de­grees and clear so the fish­ing is bet­ter on over­cast days right now. The perch are start­ing to school up and the wall­eye fish­ing is pick­ing up. You’ll find the wall­eye at mid-depth and he rec­om­mends deep div­ing crankbaits this time of year. Small­mouth fish­ing is con­sis­tent with rocky ar­eas be­ing the best spots to tar­get.

Lake Anna (Va.) — The news from High Point Ma­rina (540-895-5249) is that the wa­ter tem­per­a­ture has cooled rapidly this week. Stripers are ac­tive from the Splits up to the first two bridges and around the power plant. Fish are be­ing caught shal­low in low light and early morning, then grad­u­ally they are mov­ing deeper in the af­ter­noon. Pad­dle­tail baits such as NABZ Swim N Minna, Sassy Shads and Sea Shads are work­ing well cast­ing.

The bet­ter qual­ity large­mouth bass have moved into deeper waters but sunny af­ter­noons will bring them up in the shal­lows to feed where you can catch them on jigs and shakey heads. Also, baits that cover a lot of wa­ter such as spin­ner­baits and li­p­less crankbaits are catch­ing fish in the up­per flats. Crap­pie are get­ting big­ger and big­ger by the day. You can find them hold­ing on docks, brush piles, rocks, and bridges.

Ch­e­sa­peake Bay — Haf­fer said the blue­fish have moved on and an­glers

are con­cen­trat­ing on rock­fish now. Trolling with heavy gear such as um­brel­las and tan­dem rigs is pick­ing up. Live-lin­ing spot is a sure­fire way to slay some rock. Hot spots in­clude the power plant, gas docks, and south of Point Look­out. Shore fish­er­men are hook­ing up with 20- to 22-inch rock caught from shore on cut bait such as alewife, bunker and men­haden. But Haf­fer’s bait of choice, if you can get a hold of it, is fresh or live peeler crab.

At­lantic Ocean — The re­sults are in for the 24-Hour Bahia Ma­rina Rock­to­ber­fest Tour­na­ment that ended last week­end. Most of the ac­tion took place around the U.S. 50 bridge but some fish were caught around the South Jetty as well. Big Bird Crop­per caught his 4-pound 9-ounce first-place floun­der on a Gulp ar­ti­fi­cial bait. There are lots of red drum around the South Jetty and plenty of short stripers mixed in. Small blue­fish are ev­ery­where, but mostly cen­tered around the U.S. 50 and Route 90 bridges.

Tip of the week

From Han­cock: Wheat­ley Lake at Gil­bert Run Park should have about 600 to 900 trout stocked this week. Power­bait nuggets fished near the bot­tom is the most widely-used tech­nique to catch these put-and-take trout. Small, ul­tra-light spin­ners like Mepps and Rooster Tails in bright flashy col­ors are also pop­u­lar. Fly-fish­er­men should give wooly bug­gers and small nymph pat­terns a try, es­pe­cially af­ter the trout have been in the lake for a few weeks and be­gin feed­ing on bugs.

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