It’s a great time to fish

Maryland Independent - - Sports - Ju­ni­ata and Susque­hanna rivers (Pa.) — Lake Anna (Va.) — Ch­e­sa­peake Bay — At­lantic Ocean —

Maybe you’ve never once held a fish­ing pole or it’s been so long you can’t even re­mem­ber how to put a hook on the line. It’s not too late to get into fish­ing as this is a great time of year to give the sport a try or get your­self reac­quainted with the lo­cal wa­ters.

Tackle stores are ready to help you de­ter­mine ex­actly what kind of rod and reel to get and there are more than enough videos on the In­ter­net to help you learn to tie the very best knots. Once you’ve got the ba­sic gear ready, all you’ll need is some fresh bait, a cooler with drinks and sand­wiches and a fish­ing li­cense to get your­self started.

But as a mat­ter of fact, you might not need that li­cense right away be­cause the Mar yland Depart­ment of Nat­u­ral Re­sources has al­lo­cated three free fish­ing days this year. On June 3 and 10 and and July 4, you won’t need a fish­ing li­cense to fish in Mary­land’s wa­ter­ways.

Any­one fish­ing those days,

in­clud­ing an­glers with­out li­censes, must ad­here to size and catch lim­its and all other reg­u­la­tions. And, as al­ways, chil­dren 16 and younger are not re­quired to have a fish­ing li­cense.

South­ern Mary­land lakes and

ponds — An­thony Han­cock, as­sis­tant man­ager at Gil­bert Run Park in Dentsville, said the bass are ac­tive from the shal­lows to 15 feet of wa­ter and bit­ing all sorts of lures.

Dur­ing the day, soft plas­tic lures like stick baits and fi­nesse worms in brown and green col­ors are good choices, along with jigs, spin­ner­baits and crankbaits. On warm days, top­wa­ter lures early and late work well.

The re­dear sun­fish will likely be start­ing to bed soon mak­ing them easy tar­gets for fish­er­men with small pieces of worm un­der a bob­ber. Bluegill still have a cou­ple of weeks yet be­fore they start spawn­ing heav­ily but can be found in shal­low wa­ter cruis­ing the shore­line for their meal and you can en­tice them onto your hook with a nightcrawler, meal­worm or cricket.

Patux­ent River — The bound­aries for rock­fish sea­son have changed as the mouth of the river is open to rock­fish an­glers now through May 31. The new limit is now two fish per day 20 to 28 inches or one fish be­tween 20 and 28 inches and one fish over 28 inches.

Bunky’s Char­ter Boats (410326-3241) will open its pub­lic head boat up for bot­tom fish­ing on May 27. The fish­ing has been a lit­tle slow lately be­cause the wa­ter tem­per­a­tures are still cool, but they ex­pect the bite to start pick­ing up now that we’ve had a few warmer days.

Po­tomac River — The river is clear­ing nicely and the wa­ters have warmed into the 70s, but the bass fish­ing has been spo­radic, ac­cord­ing to Reel Bass Adventures guide Andy An­drze­jew­ski (301-932-1509). The bass can’t make up their minds. They are chas­ing baits in grasses one and the next day they pre­fer plas­tics on wood cover.

An­drze­jew­ski rec­om­mends

try­ing sev­eral pat­terns to de­ter­mine what the bite of the day will be, us­ing a va­ri­ety of baits from top­wa­ters to bot­tom bounc­ers. When all else fails, marsh run-offs dur­ing

the last few hours of an out­go­ing tide have been pro­duc­ing bass on shaky heads and Ned rigs.

The Life Out­doors Un­lim­ited guides re­mind an­glers that 31 miles of the Ju­ni­ata and 98 miles of the main stem of the Susque­hanna are

closed to bass fish­ing for an­other month. If the law isn’t enough to keep an­glers from tar­get­ing bass, the re­cent high wa­ter is cer­tainly a good de­ter­rent. The catch-an­drelease sea­son be­gins June 17.

Deep Creek Lake — LOU Guide Bret Wine­gard­ner (301-616-9889) said to look for schools of large­mouth bass around docks as home­own­ers are start­ing to re­turn them to the wa­ter for the sum­mer sea­son.

Small­mouths can be found on rocky points and shore­lines four to six feet deep. Ra­pala sus­pend­ing jerk­baits and

Mizmo tubes are the best choices for hook­ing into some small­ies now that the wa­ter is warm­ing up.

Not much has changed at Lake Anna over the past week, ac­cord­ing to Car­los at High Point Ma­rina (540-895-5249). Bass will chase faster-mov­ing baits such as crankbaits and swim­baits. Pick your fa­vorite ones and fish 4 to 10 feet deep over points, humps and ledges.

Stripers are all over, with the ma­jor­ity hav­ing been caught from the Route 208 Bridge up to Stubbs and Hol­i­day Bridges. Most stripers are in the up­per wa­ter col­umn but a few have been caught as deep at 35 feet in some ar­eas.

The guides from Fishama­jig Guide Ser­vice have had some good days fish­ing from Solomons with lots of schoolie-sized stripers and de­cent-sized speck­led trout in the shal­lows. Cur­rent, struc­ture and clean wa­ter are the nec­es­sary in­gre­di­ents for suc­cess.

The main bay out of Solomons has seen nice blue­fish un­der the birds. Good binoc­u­lars are a must for find­ing them. Con­tact Capt. Den­nis Fleming (240-538-1260) to get fish­ing while the ac­tion is good.

Black sea bass sea­son opened this week and the news from the char­ter boat fleet is many an­glers around the rail are catch­ing their 15-fish limit on squid or clams fished on ar­ti­fi­cial reef struc­ture.

Larry Jock of the Coastal Fish­er­man re­ports there are tons of rock­fish un­der the U.S. 50 Bridge. Nearly all of them are too small to keep, but it sure is fun catch­ing them.

Tip of the week

Did you know Mary­land has more than 20 des­ig­nated free fish­ing ar­eas that don’t re­quire a li­cense year-round?

In South­ern Mary­land, that lo­ca­tion is Friend­ship Land­ing, a county-owned pier and shore­line on Nan­je­moy Creek lo­cated on Friend­ship Land­ing Road just off Route 425. An­glers are still re­quired to ob­serve all fish­ing laws and reg­u­la­tions, but no li­cense is nec­es­sary.

Of course, noth­ing in life is com­pletely free. An on­line state regis­tra­tion must be filled out on­line via https://com­pass. dnr.mary­land.gov/dnr­com­pass­portal at no cost ex­cept a few min­utes of your time.

REEL RE­PORT Jamie Drake jamiedrake­out­doors @out­look.com

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