Fa­ther-son duo ready for Bass­mas­ter Clas­sic

Maryland Independent - - Sports - Jamie Drake jamiedrake­out­doors@out­look.com

There are lots of fa­mous fa­ther-son duos in sports.

In the rac­ing world, the name An­dretti car­ries a lot of cache, and for good rea­son. Mario, the pa­tri­arch of the fam­ily, is the only driver ever to win the Day­tona 500, In­di­anapo­lis 500, and the For­mula 1 World Cham­pi­onship. He has an as­tound­ing 111 ca­reer wins to his name.

Mario’s son, Michael, fol­lowed in his dad’s foot­steps and had some pretty big shoes to fill. He didn’t do too shabby him­self, although he never achieved vic­tor y at the Indy 500 despite rac­ing in it 16 times. He’s had five fin­ishes in the top five.

Marco, Michael’s son, is now the third gen­er­a­tion of An­dret­tis to race. Marco placed sec­ond at the 2006 Indy 500, rac­ing along­side his dad who came out of the re­tire­ment for the chance to race with his son.

The An­dret­tis were in the first and sec­ond spots in the last laps of the race. Sam Hor­nish squeaked by Michael and passed Marco for the win in the last 400-feet of the race. Hor­nish won by just 0.0635 sec­onds.

Sec­ond and third are still pretty re­spectable, and it was a fine day for the An­dretti fam­ily. Michael was ex­cep­tion­ally proud of his son’s rookie per­for­mance.

Now I’m en­vi­sion­ing an on-the-edge-of-your-seat sus­pense, a lit­tle like Michael and Marco’s Indy 500 ex­pe­ri­ence, for an­other fa­ther-son duo, this time in the world of cham­pi­onship bass fish­ing.

Al­ton Jones Sr. and Al­ton Jones Jr. are go­ing to be fish­ing to­gether — and com­pet­ing against each other — in the 47th Bass­mas­ter Clas­sic that’s tak­ing place later this month (March 24 to 26) on Lake Con­roe. The elder is a for­mer Bass­mas­ter Clas­sic cham­pion, and the younger is a 24-yearold Bass­mas­ter Elite Se­ries rookie. I hope it ends up be­ing a real nail-biter.

When asked to de­scribe the sit­u­a­tion, the elder Jones said he felt, ac­cord­ing to an Out­door Wire press re­lease, “blessed.” All par­ents hope to raise a happy, healthy, suc­cess­ful child, and if that child can make a liv­ing bass fish­ing, well, that’s about the best out­come any­one could wish for.

“As par­ents, you want to see good things hap­pen to your chil­dren,” Jones said in the Out­door Wire press re­lease. “It’s a bless­ing for our whole fam­ily. It would be just as much of a dream come true for me to see him win a Clas­sic as would be to win an­other one my­self.”

They are only the fifth fa­ther-son duo to fish a Clas­sic to­gether. Bill and Greg Ward, Guido and Dion Hib­don, Denny and Chad Brauer and Woo and Chris Daves are all big-name fa­ther-son duos that have com­peted in the event.

And if Guido’s vic­tory in 1988 and Denny’s 10 years

later is any in­di­ca­tor of how things will go down in Hous­ton, the elder Jones has a good chance of win­ning his sec­ond cham­pi­onship, es­pe­cially since he’ll be fish­ing on home turf.

We might see some very big bass at weigh-in time in Hous­ton. Since 1986, Texas Parks and Wildlife has been pro­mot­ing the catch-an­drelease of large fish to cre­ate a world-class fish­ery. The bi­ol­o­gists use bass that are 13 pounds or heav­ier for se­lec­tive breed­ing, pass­ing down those big-bass genes and cre­at­ing some real lunkers in Lake Con­roe.

Of the 17 dou­ble-digit bass that have been caught there, five were taken dur­ing the month of March. It could be the first 13-pounder in the Clas­sic’s 47-year his­tor y and would eas­ily break the ex­ist­ing record, an 11-pound 10-ounce bass caught in Florida in 2006.

Get your cam­eras out

The cooler weather last week meant I fi­nally had a chance to catch up on some read­ing.

The win­ter edi­tion of the Mary­land De­part­ment of Nat­u­ral Re­sources mag­a­zine had a nice re­cap of 2016’s new state (and world) fish­ing records and sev­eral pages about white-tailed deer man­age­ment. But what re­ally caught my at­ten­tion were the pho­tos in the back.

DNR has hosted an an­nual photo con­test for the past 20 years. And 2016’s win­ners didn’t dis­ap­point. Sub­ject mat­ter ranged from but­ter­flies to herons, robins to blue crabs, and one ex­cep­tion­ally beau­ti­ful land­scape of fall in Western Mary­land in be­tween.

The grand prize photo shows a pair of snow egrets spar­ring at As­sateague State Park, taken by Mitch Adolph. Ever y year a “Fan Fa­vorite” is left up to Facebook fol­low­ers, and for the sec­ond year in a row, a pho­to­graph of a bald ea­gle clutch­ing a shad in its talons taken at Conowingo Dam earned that top honor, and for good rea­son. It’s just breath­tak­ing.

2017’s con­test is al­ready open now through Aug. 31. Am­a­teur and pro­fes­sional pho­tog­ra­phers alike are in­vited to sub­mit up to three en­tries with the $10 entr y fee. More en­tries are per­mit­ted for an ad­di­tional fee. Win­ning pho­tos will be fea­tured in the mag­a­zine and adorn the 2018 DNR cal­en­dar. And the best over­all photo win­ner re­ceives a mon­e­tar y award of $500, among other prizes.

Nearly 250 pho­tog­ra­phers sub­mit­ted a record of 1,421 pho­tos to last year’s con­test and en­tries spanned the en­tire state, but none of the win­ners were from South­ern Mar yland lo­cales.

Let’s get our cam­eras out and see if some­one lo­cal can get the unique nat­u­ral beauty of our re­gion rec­og­nized in next year’s win­ners. More in­for­ma­tion can be found at http://dnr.mar yland. gov/Pages/pho­to­con­test.aspx. Fish­ing up­date

Reel Bass Ad­ven­tures guide Andy An­drze­jew­ski (301-932-1509) has been out fish­ing the ti­dal Po­tomac River and says the fish­ing has been as ir­reg­u­lar as the weather pat­terns. Look­ing at the fore­cast, I guess we can ex­pect more of the same.

On warm days, many bass can be found in shal­low wa­ter along river and creek ledges near hard cover as well as in grass beds and flats.

An­drze­jew­ski rec­om­mends try­ing out your whole tack­le­box arse­nal to find what works as he’s had suc­cess on grubs, tubes, plas­tic worms, li­p­less as well as shal­low- and deep-run­ning crankbaits, chat­ter­baits, and swim­baits.

Crap­pie have been hit-or-miss. One day they are ac­tive and will hit crap­pie tubes and tiny traps, but the next day the same area seems void of any sign of fish. Large schools of small­ish bluegills can be found in 10 to 14 feet of slack wa­ter and can be caught on a small drop shot.

Capt. Den­nis Flem­ing of Fishama­jig Guide Ser­vice (240-538-1260) said Charles County an­glers have been treated to a real treat in re­cent weeks as the rain has stayed away, the wa­ter is clear, and the yel­low perch will­ing.

There was a bet­ter than av­er­age run in Al­lens Fresh last week, Mat­ta­woman Creek fol­lowed up with a good run this week and the many creeks off the Patux­ent River had some de­cent fish­ing as well. Her­ring are al­ready in the creeks, so ex­pect the white perch any day now.

Mor­gan­town Power Plant is shut down com­pletely, while the catch-and-re­lease striper fish­ing at Calvert Cliffs Nu­clear Power Plant has been spotty. Ex­pect that to im­prove in the com­ing weeks.

Lake Anna would be a great des­ti­na­tion for fish­ing this week­end. If last year’s catches in March are any in­di­ca­tor of what’s in store for this March, ex­pect a ban­ner cat­fish month.

Jim Hemby of Lake Anna Striper Guide Ser­vice (540-967-3313) re­ports some huge blue cats are in the cur­rent and Dike 3 and al­ready this month a 42-pounder was caught there.

Stripers are lit­er­ally ev­ery­where from the dam all the way up the rivers, main lake and backs of the creeks. Gulls will ad­ver­tise where schools are and give an­glers a good place to start fish­ing.

The trick is to ap­proach qui­etly, turn­ing off your big mo­tor at least 100 yards away and us­ing the trolling mo­tor to sneak up on the feed­ing fish. Hemby rec­om­mends throw­ing spoons and work­ing them all the way back to the boat.

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