Wake up early, stay up late for best results
Earlier this month, the B.A.S.S. organization announced that anglers in the Elite Series and those who qualify for the Classic are prohibited from obtaining any information that might give them an unfair advantage in any of bodies of water they’ll fish during tournaments.
The new rule is meant to level the playing field for rookies who can’t leverage the kind of support the more seasoned anglers have come to rely on such as guides and scouts.
Good ethics dictate this change, but if B.A.S.S. wanted to take this new rule a little further, deleting waypoints from fish-finding equipment before the start of tournaments would make things even more fair.
The anglers would have to “read” the water and rely solely on skill and talent and a little bit of luck. Now that would be exciting.
And now to today’s Reel Report.
Southern Maryland lakes
and ponds — The water feels like a warm bathtub and trying to catch something during a hot, sunny afternoon will be a waste of your time. You’ll have to set your alarm for when it’s still dark outside or plan on staying out past bedtime to find any fish in the mood.
Bass will react to topwaters at first light and you can switch to a plastic worm or spinnerbait a little later. The almost-foolproof Jitterbug is another option.
Patuxent River — Rockfish are back in the shallows for lure casters in the early morning and late evening, according to Ken Lamb of the Tackle Box in Lexington Park (301-8638151). You have your choice of poppers, swimming lures and bucktails to entice them.
Lamb said the rain last week and somewhat cooler temperatures the last few days has stimulated their appetites. Many are 26 to 30 inches.
Spot, perch and croaker are all biting in the deeper holes of the river and peeler crab, bloodworms, squid and even nightcrawlers will catch them. Bottom fishing continues to be excellent with his recommendation to hit the water during falling tides for best results.
Potomac River — Life Outdoors Unlimited guide Kenny Penrod (240-478-9055) reports good topwater action on frogs and poppers, even with water temperatures over 90 degrees. Later in the day, the frog got a surprising number of hits over thick grass beds.
Penrod recommends fishing current breaks such as bridge pilings, points and grass beds and stresses setting the alarm early and being first on the water. That can make a difference when high water temperatures and bright sunshine slow things down later in the day.
LOU guide Keith Barker (301509-2102) suggests using soft baits in a spot that combines two or more grass species and another element like driftwood, sticks or docks, and then
working points, pockets and guts in the grass. Barker recommends green pumpkin red Mizmo Tubes and green pumpkin gold Case Magic Stiks.
Capt. Dennis Fleming of Fishamajig Guide Ser vice (240-538-1260) reports a strong striper bite from Swan Point up to Buoy 15 above the Gov. Harry W. Nice Memorial Bridge. Fleming advises anglers to fish shallow in low-light conditions and have a spinning rod rigged with a topwater lure. Single hooks or pinched down trebles are recommended to conserve catchand-release fish. Puppy drum are making a showing as well.
Aqualand Marina (301259-2222) reports steady bottom fishing action over oyster bars. Shore fishermen are catching “eater” size catfish. Chesapeake Bay —
According to Lamb, Spanish mackerel and bluefish are in the ship’s channel from Hooper Island Light to Smith Point. Spanish like trolled spoons and eels on planers.
Lamb reports cobia south of Tangier Island in good numbers. You can also find smaller fish and fewer numbers on the lumps below the Target Ship, on the Middle Grounds and in the Mud Leads. Both chummers and trollers are getting cobia in the lower bay, but the ratio of catchers to non-catchers is about 10 to 1.
Tip of the week
From Lamb: There are plenty of hefty spot to be had in the deeper parts of the Potomac and Patuxent right now. They are tide driven and go dormant on slack tides. Make sure you check the tides before you head out and be there when the water runs.