Don’t give up de­spite dis­ap­point­ing start

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

The open­ing of tro­phy rock­fish sea­son was a dis­ap­point­ment. But be­fore we get to the nitty-gritty from last week­end, I’d like to share a pos­i­tive story from the Mary­land An­gler’s Log.

Rod­ney But­ler of Owings Mills took his wife fish­ing for the first time this year last week. She hadn’t been out fish­ing with him in sev­eral years. She’d just bought her fish­ing li­cense that day. On the first day of her new li­cense, she caught the first fish of the year on her first cast at Lib­erty Reser­voir. That’s a lot of firsts, but I bet it won’t be her last for 2017.

Two weeks ago, Ken Lamb of the Tackle Box in Lexington Park put forth his predictions for this year’s striper sea­son. Un­for­tu­nately, open­ing week­end fell short of all the ex­pec­ta­tions.

Lamb re­ports that most of the Ch­e­sa­peake Bay trollers came up empty-handed on the first day, with a few lucky boats tal­ly­ing one or two fish. Sun­day was a little bet­ter, with some char­ter cap­tains reporting landing, at most, a half-dozen stripers. In pre­vi­ous years, that many fish would have been caught in an hour. Po­tomac River fish­er­men fared even worse. Most were skunked.

Let’s see what next week brings. As Lamb points out, the rock­fish didn’t hit their stride un­til the sec­ond week of the 2016 sea­son. He thinks we might be in for a re­peat of that pat­tern this year.

There’s al­ready been a slight

im­prove­ment as the week has pro­gressed. Over the week­end, not one of the $20 gift cer­tifi­cates the Tackle Box gives out to the first 10 an­glers to bring in a rock­fish for a pho­to­graph had been awarded. By Wed­nes­day, four lucky an­glers had claimed theirs. South­ern Mary­land lakes and ponds

— It’s now or never if you want to do any spring trout fish­ing in South­ern Mary­land.

Just last week in Calvert County, 200 trout were stocked in Calvert Cliffs Pond and 500 in Hutchins Pond. In Charles County, Hugh­esville Pond got 300 trout and Myr­tle Grove Pond got 900. Wheat­ley Lake al­ready re­ceived its trout in March.

I stopped by Calvert Cliffs Pond the day af­ter it was stocked and there wasn’t enough el­bow room for one more an­gler to squeeze in along the shore. The ac­tion was slow early that morn­ing, but a cou­ple will­ing bass kept things in­ter­est­ing.

An­thony Han­cock, as­sis­tant man­ager at Gil­bert Run Park, said trout are still be­ing caught with some con­sis­tently, in­clud­ing a nice 23-inch rain­bow caught on Sun­day morn­ing.

Patux­ent River — I drive up and down Route 235 nearly every day and have yet to see the sign out­side the Tackle Box an­nounce the first croaker of

the year. There’ve been un­of­fi­cial re­ports of croaker caught off the pub­lic fish­ing pier un­der the Gov. Thomas John­son Bridge. The per­son who brings in the first croaker of the year will get a $25 gift cer­tifi­cate to the Tackle Box.

Po­tomac River — Reel Bass Ad­ven­tures guide Andy An­drze­jew­ski (301932-1509) re­ports the wa­ter tem­per­a­tures have reached 70 de­grees in the creeks and many good bass have been caught.

Big­ger bass are in grass beds in bays at the mouths of creeks and along the main river. Hard or soft jerk­baits, wacky-rigged Senkos, shal­low-run­ning or li­p­less crankbaits, as well as plas­tic worms and crea­ture baits are catch­ing fish. Ledges in front of spat­ter­dock fields yield bass when fished with plas­tics or grubs.

Crap­pie have moved into shal­low bays with depths of two to three feet and will take typ­i­cal crap­pie ar­ti­fi­cials or a min­now sus­pended a foot below a bob­ber.

Cap­tains Den­nis Flem­ing and Dale Coon of Fishama­jig Guide Ser­vice (240-538-1260) re­port fish­er­men in the Charles County sec­tion of the Po­tomac con­nected with some 30- to 38-inch stripers throw­ing baits in wa­ter 5 to 15 feet deep on the flats. Fur­ther down­river, trollers caught keeper stripers just south of the Morgantown Bar.

Fletcher’s Boathouse has been on ev­ery­one’s lips this past week. Ac­cord­ing to Mark Bin­stead, vice-pres­i­dent of the Na­tional Cap­i­tal chap­ter of Trout Un­lim­ited, Thurs­day and Fri­day of last week will prob­a­bly be re­mem­bered as the best Po­tomac River shad fish­ing of the past 50 years. Shad darts in all col­ors are work­ing, and when the shad bite ta­pers off, white perch will take over.

Lake Anna — The guides at McCot­ter’s Lake Anna Guide Ser­vice (540-8949144) re­port that large­mouths are mov­ing to shal­low wood cover in the mid-and down-lake re­gion to spawn. Soft plas­tics like the NABZ V-Craw, Flippin’ Craw, or Wacky Worm are rec­om­mended along with any of your fa­vorite crea­ture-style baits.

Amanda Gargano went out with her fa­ther on Satur­day morn­ing and caught a 6.5-pound large­mouth live-lin­ing with min­nows. Ch­e­sa­peake Bay — The fish­ing is hit or miss this past week. The best re­ports are com­ing from near Kent Is­land, with keeper rock­fish caught off Thomas Point Light­house and south of Love Point. White is al­ways a good color choice for lures and trolling a com­bi­na­tion of buck­tails and para­chutes has been suc­cess­ful.

At­lantic Ocean — The fish­ing has been good all spring, with an uptick in floun­der this past week near the Route 90 bridge. White Gulp! is al­ways a good choice when go­ing for flat­ties. Larry Jock of the Coastal Fish­er­man rec­om­mends look­ing for them around the Duck Blinds in the bay be­hind As­sateague Is­land, past the Ocean City Air­port.

Short stripers have been caught by shore an­glers off As­sateague with some black drum mixed in. Tau­tog are off the 3rd Street Bulk­head.

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