Mem­o­ries to last a life­time

Maryland Independent - - Sports - Jamie Drake jamiedrake­out­doors@out­

There’s prob­a­bly no bet­ter way to spend a cou­ple of your leisure hours than tak­ing a kid fish­ing.

The shrieks, squeals and laughs make the ex­pe­ri­ence some­thing ev­ery­one will re­mem­ber for a long time, and the pho­tos you can look back on years later are a pre­cious re­minder of time spent with those near and dear.

Many fam­i­lies made their own fish­ing mem­o­ries at Gil­bert Run Park in Dentsville on May 6 as Charles County De­part­ment of Recre­ation, Parks and Tourism spon­sored the an­nual Spring Fishin’ Bud­dies Derby.

The weather didn’t get the memo that it should have been sunny and warm. But the heav­ier rains held off and, even though the tem­per­a­ture never got above 54 de­grees, the spring derby was a big suc­cess for the young an­glers who braved the driz­zle and gray skies.

Many of the young­sters who fished in the derby are al­ready fast on their way to be­com­ing life­time recre­ational an­glers. Sev­eral teams were re­peat win­ners from the fall derby of 2016.

Pa­trick and Mi­randa Wat­son might be the most well-rounded an­glers in South­ern Mary­land. They com­peted in the in the 11- to 15-year-old age bracket and caught both the most bass and the most crap­pie that day. That’s note­wor­thy con­sid­er­ing they led last year in the bluegill cat­e­gory. I’d like to know the se­crets to their suc­cess.

In the 6 to 10 age range, Kevin Earle and Mike Buon­i­conti were re­peat win­ners, too, with the most bluegill from a boat.

Con­grat­u­la­tions to all of the young an­glers who took home a tro­phy for their fish­ing ef­forts.

Seventy teams caught a grand to­tal of 344 fish in just a few short hours, in­clud­ing al­most 200 bluegill, a pair of crap­pie and even a few left­over trout from spring stock­ing. The largest bass mea­sured an im­pres­sive 20 inches.

And a spe­cial thanks to both man­agers of Gil­bert Run Park, Casey Jones and An­thony Han­cock, who put in a lot of hard work to make the derby such a suc­cess.

The fish­ing, right now, is very good in our lo­cal fresh wa­ters. All it takes is a rod, a cou­ple of hooks and bob­bers, and a cup of nightcrawlers to turn a Satur­day morn­ing into a fish­ing

me­mory that will last a life­time. South­ern Mary­land lakes

and ponds — An­thony Han­cock, as­sis­tant man­ager of Gil­bert Run, re­ports most of the bass are done spawn­ing and will bite on a va­ri­ety of lures like spin­ner­baits, crankbaits, jigs and soft plas­tics. Most catches are on the small side but ev­ery now and then a 5-pounder hits the net.

Crap­pie are play­ing hard-to-catch in Wheat­ley Lake, but some will take a white curly tail grub or a live minnow un­der a bob­ber. Pan­fish at St. Mary’s Lake will take a nightcrawler or minnow fished un­der a bob­ber. Crap­pie have

moved off into deeper wa­ter now. Patux­ent River — Joe from the Tackle Box in Lex­ing­ton Park (301863-8151) re­ports the croaker are still not hot and heavy, but a few have shown up at Solomons Pier.

White perch are all over the creeks and are ac­tive early in the morn­ing and

late in the evening along the shore­lines.

Po­tomac River — Life Out­doors Un­lim­ited guide Ken Pen­rod (240447-2206) tells an­glers to stay off the up­per Po­tomac for the next few days as the wa­ter lev­els are dan­ger­ous. The full moon this week is driv­ing bass to spawn through­out the river de­spite the high wa­ter lev­els.

Reel Bass Ad­ven­tures guide Andy An­drze­jew­ski (301-932-1509) rec­om­mends us­ing shal­low-run­ning crankbaits worked over the tops of grasses on flats dur­ing the full moon high tide this week and then fol­low­ing up with a plas­tic craw or nine-inch worm. Shal­low boat docks in mari­nas are also giv­ing up bass to fi­nesse worms or a flipped or pitched jig. Ch­e­sa­peake Bay — It’s still hit or miss for tro­phy rock­fish sea­son. Re­cent char­ters have been catch­ing fish, but not a lot of keep­ers. Tro­phy sea­son is near­ing its end with less than a week left be­fore catch lim­its and bound­aries change.

Joe from the Tackle Box said an­glers are still pluck­ing off stripers trolling near the power plant and gas docks. Shore an­glers have been lay­ing into perch along with some stripers mixed in at Point Look­out. At­lantic Ocean — The weather this past week has made for tough ocean fish­ing con­di­tions. Larry Jock of the Coastal Fish­er­man re­ports blue­fish are all over the bay. The floun­der fish­ing is still slow but a few keep­ers have been caught on Gulp in the Tho­ro­fare.

Tip of the week

Un­for­tu­nately for many lo­cal an­glers, this week­end isn’t shap­ing up to de­liver the rock­fish or croaker we ex­pect this time of year. But right now the cat­fish in the Wi­comico River are a sure thing.

Bush­wood Wharf, Chap­tico Wharf and Wi­comico Shores Pier are all pub­lic fish­ing fa­cil­i­ties and great des­ti­na­tions if you want to be guar­an­teed to feel a tug at the end of your line.

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