Do some fishing this Fourth
This weekend there will be fireworks booming all over Southern Maryland along with several displays on Tuesday night to commemorate our country’s independence and every American’s right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
Some of us will have the opportunity to pursue that happiness on the Fourth of July by pursuing fish in any of Maryland’s waters, tidal or non-tidal, without a fishing license.
A very wise man once wrote, “Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that’s the stuff life is made of.”
That wise man was Benjamin Franklin, author of Poor Richard’s Almanac and one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. His advice is especially prescient for this Fourth of July, for this coming Tuesday also marks Maryland’s last free fishing day.
Our founding fathers fully expected the Fourth of July to be a day of remembrance and celebration. They’d certainly approve of the pyrotechnics and backyard barbeques, patriotic music and the red, white and blue decorations. Something else they would approve of is taking a kid fishing.
You and the kids can fish anywhere you like this Tuesday and nobody needs a license. Anyone and everyone can fish for, catch and possess all the legal fish that find their way onto your hooks in any of Maryland’s waters. You still have to obey all the other rules and regulations.
I guarantee you’ll find smiles, laughter and genuine happiness on the banks of a pond or out on the river if you take Franklin’s advice and make some fishing memories with your son or
daughter this Tuesday. Southern Maryland lakes and
ponds — Most of the lakes and ponds in our area offer up good fishing for bass and bluegill and even some crappie. Chain pickerel are a possibility at St. Mary’s Lake, located on Camp Cosoma Road just south of Leonardtown. Early morning or late afternoon is a good time to head out to your favorite spot. During the middle part of the day, when the sun is at its highest, not much is biting.
Patuxent River — Expect some good fishing this coming week as bottom-fishing is really starting to heat up. The Solomons Charter Captains Association fleet (www.fishsolomons.com) has been enjoying good catches of large spot mixed with nice eating-sized white perch.
Potomac River — Reel Bass Adventures (301-932-1509) guide Andy Andrzejewski said there’s a strong buzz bait bite along marsh banks when you match the beginning of an outgoing high tide with low light conditions.
Spinnerbaits buzzed in the same areas also draw strikes and when worked in open areas of grasses on flats will produce quality bass. A creature bait, like a Berkley Power Hawg, can be irresistible to bass when flipped into grasses. Isolated patches of wild celery also hold bass.
Bluegill are in shallow bays and respond best to dark-colored fly rod poppers. Juniata and Susquehanna
rivers (Pa.) — Life Outdoors Unlimited guide Matt Greene (717-5763735) said the first week of bass fishing on the lower Susquehanna was “nothing short of remarkable” with smallmouth coming over the rail nonstop on chatterbaits and spinnerbaits.
LOU guide John Stygler (717-368-3802) reports the fish are scattered but very aggressive above Riverfront Campground and recommends targeting heavy current around islands, shorelines and ledges. His top baits are Snagler Tackle Gold Snag Booster spinnerbaits for clear water and Susquie Gold River Thump spinnerbaits when the water has a bit of color.
Deep Creek Lake — This is going to be a busy weekend with jet-skiers and recreational boaters, so you’ll need to get up real early to beat the crowds. Look for bass around the many floating docks and along grass edges. Topwater lures or a Texas-rigged plastic craw pitched near docks
or weeds will be hard for bass to resist.
Lake Anna (Va.) — Jim Hemby of Lake Anna Striper Guide Ser vice (540-967-3313) reports that bass are in their summer patterns and early in the morning it’s hard to beat working primary points near deep water with topwater baits like Spooks, Chuggars and Prop Baits.
When the sun gets bright, bass will retreat back to the depths using stumps, rock and brush piles, bridge pilings and ledges as cover. Hemby recommends throwing a 9-inch Texas-rigged worm into deep cover to catch fish that are pressured with conventional baits.
Chesapeake Bay — SCCA captains report some success trolling for rockfish near Calvert Cliffs power plant. Bluefish and Spanish mackerel should be in our area soon.
Crabbing has been good so far this year, with reports of crabbers catching a bushel in just a few hours. Razor clams are the best bait for trot lines and traps, but chicken necking is a good option for recreational crabbers.
Speaking of crabbing, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources has changed the commercial harvesting of Chesapeake Bay female
hard crabs to Nov. 20, according to a news release announced Tuesday, and bushel levels for the month of November will be reduced compared to the previous harvest year.
Atlantic Ocean — Flounder fishing in the East Channel has been good lately, according to Larry Jock of the Coastal Fisherman. Bluefish are hitting bucktails and tautog are taking crab in the South Jetty.
The first blue marlin of the year was landed by Sasha Serpa on “Maryland Pride” last weekend. It was hooked on a ballyhoo in 1,000 feet of water south of the Baltimore Canyon. The same day, a second blue marlin was caught on a green stick and released by anglers on “Primary Search” in the Baltimore Canyon.
At Cape Henlopen State Park in Delaware, just a short drive from Ocean City, spot, croaker and
kings have been caught on bloodworms from the fishing pier.
Tip of the week
From LOU guide Ken Penrod (301-447-2206): There’s plenty of Potomac River to fish that’s worth a short drive from Southern Maryland.
The upper Potomac is a wonderful destination for anglers and boaters, but it’s starting to get wadedepth so now’s the time to get out there and fish. Because the water still has some color, 8-pound monofilament is a good choice on medium action spinning tackle like the Ardent Edge or C-Force.
Bass are in their summer pattern, so have an assortment of lures on hand to try during all sunlight conditions like the Whopper Popper, Obie Buzzbait, Case Magic Stik, Case Salty Shad, and Case Lil’ Magic Swim.