Do some fish­ing this Fourth

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

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.

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