The un­of­fi­cial end to sum­mer is here

The Calvert Recorder - - Sports - Jamie Drake jamie drake out­doors @out­

Is the dreary weather mak­ing you pine for just a few more hot, sunny days? Are the kids ready to go back to school? Have you squeezed ev­ery last drop of sum­mer fun out of June, July and Au­gust?

It’s Labor Day week­end, the un­of­fi­cial end to sum­mer, and while my fam­ily didn’t get to ev­ery­thing on our to-do list, we crossed off a lot of items.

Last week, all of us took a “sick day” and spent one fi­nal and glo­ri­ous af­ter­noon on the Patux­ent River and Ch­e­sa­peake Bay, en­joy­ing the sun­shine (this is true since it hap­pened to be per­haps the only sunny day in Au­gust) and catch­ing fish.

We caught a mixed bag of short stripers, mack­erel and blue­fish with Capt. Bernie Shea aboard his spa­cious and com­fort­able ves­sel the Shea-D-

Lady (301-672-3282).

Capt. Shea worked the ar­eas un­der birds and found schools on his finder, and we did the hard work of reel­ing in the fish. Among our spoils were some large spot caught as af­ter­noon turned to evening and we switched to bot­tom fish­ing.

Capt. Shea just fin­ished 25 years as a fire­fighter on board Naval Air Station Patux­ent River. Yes­ter­day was his last day.

I think he’s feel­ing a lit­tle con­flicted about re­tir­ing from fed­eral em­ploy­ment, and that he’s wor­ried he might miss his old job.

If you see him, you might want to in­quire if he’s feel­ing wist­ful for the red tape of gov­ern­ment bu­reau­cracy or if the joy of skip­per­ing a boat on the

bounty of South­ern Mary­land’s wa­ters is worth the switch. Although, I think I know what his an­swer will be.

South­ern Mary­land lakes and

ponds — An­thony Han­cock, as­sis­tant man­ager of Gil­bert Run Park in Dentsville, re­ports the bass are bit­ing early in the morn­ing and late in the evening on top­wa­ter lures.

Dur­ing the day­time hours, the bass will hold near the de­fined grass edges and any wood cover near drop-offs. If you can find a spot where wood and grass cover are mixed to­gether, that’s even bet­ter. Baits of choice are stick­bait-type soft baits, ji­gand-craw com­bos, shal­low crankbaits and spin­ner­baits. Sunny days make it eas­ier to

tar­get the de­fined grass edges when wear­ing po­lar­ized fish­ing glasses.

Bluegill and re­dear sun­fish are bit­ing best fur­ther out past the weed­line edges, although there are still pan­fish swim­ming near the shore­lines as well. A small piece of worm or nightcrawler un­der a bob­ber is tough to beat and is a great way to in­tro­duce kids to fish­ing.

Patux­ent River — Ac­cord­ing to Ken Lamb of the Tackle Box in Lex­ing­ton Park (301863-8151), rock­fish are in the river on struc­ture in the shal­lows at dusk and dawn. Only about one of ev­ery 20 is

the min­i­mum 20 inches to keep. The big fish bite bet­ter at day­break for lure cast­ers and jig­gers.

Potomac River — Black fly treat­ment in the form of spray­ing “Vec­to­bac 12 AS” will com­mence on por­tions of the river in Wash­ing­ton County near Wil­liamsport and from Harpers Ferry to Brunswick. If you see the plane over­head, pre­pare to get

doused in it.

Rel­a­tively mea­ger catches and a sig­nif­i­cant chunk of pros and co-an­glers blank­ing on the first day char­ac­ter­izes the FLW Costa Tour­na­ment that wrapped up last week­end.

Life Out­doors Un­lim­ited guide Ken Pen­rod (240-447-2206) cau­tions an­glers not to read too much into the re­sults. The com­bi­na­tion of a cold front, high baro­met­ric pres­sure, un­fa­vor­able tide and the gen­eral

Au­gust malaise cre­ated less-than-ideal tour­na­ment con­di­tions.

Real Bass Ad­ven­tures guide Andy An­drze­jew­ski (301-932-1509) said chang­ing weather pat­terns are con­tribut­ing to the dif­fi­culty of catch­ing a good limit of bass. Search­ing vast grass beds takes time, but once a prime spot is lo­cated, stay put and fish it thor­oughly with a va­ri­ety of baits.

Pop­ping grass frogs are a good search bait, and once bass are lo­cated, work small spin­ner­baits, chat­ter­baits, swim jigs and fi­nesse worms. Hard cover is still the most con­sis­tent pro­ducer when fished with slow-rolled spin baits. Marsh run-offs are al­ways good for a few bass when tar­geted with down-sized crank baits, small jerk baits, and fi­nesse worms.

LOU Guide Capt. Kenny Pen­rod (240-478-9055) rec­om­mends stay­ing in

key ar­eas and fish­ing them thor­oughly through a va­ri­ety of tides. Try­ing dif­fer­ent pre­sen­ta­tions might en­tice picky eaters to bite. Where you nor­mally flip plas­tics, throw a Big­mouth Big Shakey. Where you throw a drop­shot, try a swim­bait.

Con­cen­trate on bridge pil­ings, rip-rap, grass near drop-offs with cur­rent and docks. Watch for bait­fish swim­ming near the sur­face. If you see them, bass will show up sooner or later.

Ju­ni­ata and Susquehanna rivers (Pa.) — LOU guide Matt Greene (717-5763735) said that with the re­cent cooler evenings, top­wa­ter ac­tion has picked up and when that is not work­ing, a spin­ner­bait or swim­bait jig can do the trick.

Lake Anna (Va.) — Cooler nights mean large­mouth are mov­ing into the creeks and hold­ing on struc­ture, stumps and brush­piles, ac­cord­ing to

Car­los from High Point Ma­rina (540-895-5249). He rec­om­mends us­ing the Ra­pala Scat­ter Rap, a lure that mim­ics the fran­tic, eva­sive pat­tern of scat­ter­ing bait­fish. The new lip gives the bait a vi­o­lent, sweep­ing ac­tion and runs at a 6- to 9-foott depth.

Fish are also mov­ing in and out of grassy ar­eas where spin­ner­baits are pro­duc­ing nice catches. Most of the striped bass ac­tion has been around Day’s Bridge in the Pa­munkey Branch and Rose Val­ley in the North Anna. Dur­ing the day, you can catch them by all man­ner of fish­ing. Trolling, cast­ing, jig­ging and live bait all work.

Ch­e­sa­peake Bay — Lamb re­ports Span­ish mack­erel in great num­bers and most can limit out (10 per day) on these tasty fish us­ing num­ber two plan­ers and size 0 drone spoons, sil­ver on bright days and gold on cloudy.

Lamb rec­om­mends stay­ing away from break­ing fish since you’ll catch mostly un­der­sized rock­fish and look in­stead for bait balls on the depth finder. Troll around fast and the mack­erel will re­spond. This goes for the Ship’s Chan­nel from Smith Point to the Bay Bridge.

Capt. Kyle John­son of Solid Rock Char­ters (240538-5180) ze­roed in on the big bull reds be­low the Tar­get Ship last Fri­day and landed 17 fish from 20 to 50 pounds, both sight cast­ing and trolling big spoons for the huge chan­nel bass.

Co­bia are part of the daily catch in the lower bay from 72A to Tang­ier Is­land. Blue­fish are scat­tered about and mea­sure mostly snap­per-sized in the 14- to 20-inch range. Some big­ger blues close to four pounds showed up at Hooper’s Is­land for trollers us­ing small sur­gi­cal eels.

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