Father-son duo ready for Bassmaster Classic
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.