Don’t give up despite disappointing start
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.