A lot of good news to pass along

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

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

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