A lot of good news to pass along
Lately a lot of positive news releases have been coming out of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources for our local anglers and crabbers.
Underwater grass abundance in Maryland’s portion of the Chesapeake Bay has increased 10 percent this past year, and these important grasses provide habitat and protection for all the species that use the bay as a nursery in the summertime.
More grasses mean more fish and crabs. It’s that simple.
And if that’s not enough good news, the results from the blue crab winter dredge survey reveal that while the total overall crab population decreased a small bit this year, the number of spawning-age female crabs spiked 31 percent, the highest level ever recorded in the 28 years the survey has been recorded. the bass are biting well. It’s not uncommon to catch 20 or more bass in a single fishing trip to the lake, but most of the catches are in the 10- to 13-inch range.
By targeting isolated cover such as stumps or laydown trees and working the cover slowly with plastics, jigs and other slow moving lures, tempting larger bass is a possibility. Early and late in the day topwater lures are drawing strikes.
Bluegill and redear sunfish are cruising the shallows looking for their next meal. Nightcrawlers and crickets will get you some takers.
Patuxent River — Ken Lamb at the Tackle Box in Lexington Park (301-863-8151) reports those croaker brought in last week were the first and only so far this season. One of Lamb’s buddies who is an experienced perch fisherman tried his luck Saturday on a creek off the Patuxent with not a single bite in any of his favorite holes. The fronts, rain and general cooling off in the forecast mean bottom fishing probably won’t pick up for a while.
Potomac River — Reel Bass Adventures guide Andy Andrzejewski (301-932-1509) said the topwater bite is strong with bass hitting poppers when fished over grass beds and along spatterdock fields. Grass beds are the foremost pattern
where good numbers of quality bass favor wackyrigged stick worms, Texas-rigged creature baits or swim jigs.
Crappie are thick in the shallow coves and any small crappie bait will catch them, some of which are 2 pounds or larger. Large yellow perch are a by-catch for bass anglers fishing along grass beds with spinners and small cranks.
Aqualand Marina (301-259-2222) has seen a steady catch of “eater-size” blue catfish from both the shore and the rental boat fleet. Quade’s Store on the Wicomico concurs that the catfishing is excellent right now.
Lake Anna — Carlos at High Point Marina (540-895-5249) reports the first batch of spawners have finished and the females are feeding heavily, especially from mid- and down-lake and the extreme upper end. Grass beds at the Splits and up-lake in the North Anna have been producing some great catches, with ver y good topwater action early and late in the day with buzzbaits, poppers and Whopper Ploppers.
Now is a good time to catch stripers on top water in low light conditions on lures like Pencil Poppers, Redfins and Spooks. Hit main lake points early and late in the day for explosive strikes. Trolling action will start to heat up as water temperatures warm.
Chesapeake Bay — Lamb reports that he and his crew at the Tackle Box have been getting fish checked in all week, but trophy rockfish season still hasn’t hit its peak or even a significant bump yet. The best results are coming from Little Cove Point to the Power Plant in the bay on the eastern side of the ship’s channel. Lamb said more experienced captains are getting their limits in the northern regions of our area.
Capt. Dale Coon of Fishamajig Guide Service (240-587-8307) reports good catch and release fishing for under 28-inch fish in the shallows of many of the local rivers along the Eastern Shore with some speckled trout mixed in.
Atlantic Ocean — Bluefish and the occasional tautog continue to be the big draw this week. Larry Jock of the Coastal Fisherman reports cut bunker is working for shore anglers in the East Channel off the 3rd Street Bulkhead and off the beach at Fenwick Island and lots of places in between.
This past weekend, the first yellowfin of the season was brought in by the “Tunafowl” and the charter boat “Wrecker” had the first bluefin tuna and mahi catches of the year.
Tip of the week
St. Mary’s Lake is a good destination for panfish such as bluegill or crappie. Try a little piece of nightcrawler, about a three-quarter inch section, threaded onto a small hook about two or three feet under a bobber. Toss that out from shore, not too far, and wait for the strikes. Lamb recommends