Bass ac­tiv­ity heats up around the re­gion

The Washington Times Daily - - Sports -

Ear­lier this week, there was snow — OK, it wasn’t enough to make a snow­ball — but that was fol­lowed with May-like tem­per­a­tures, which con­fused more than a few lo­cal an­glers, but the fish didn’t care. With the ex­cep­tion of some area wa­ters that be­came dis­col­ored dur­ing re­cent rains, re­sult­ing in a slow “bite,” as bass fish­er­men call it, there is plenty of catch­ing be­ing done near and far.

For ex­am­ple, you can cast and re­trieve medium-depth crankbaits along rub­ble-edged shore­lines from the Po­tomac River’s Fox Ferry Point down to the front of the Spoils Cove, then on to the fallen logs and me­tal “junk” found within a stone’s throw of the Wil­son Bridge’s Mary­land shore. All of these ar­eas have turned up large­mouth bass that went af­ter crankbaits dur­ing mov­ing tides. If the fish ig­nored the firetiger-col­ored, wob­bling, lipped lures, a broad-tailed 3-inch grub slith­er­ing across the bot­tom will be looked at.

The bass hookups con­tinue across the up­per, ti­dal Po­tomac in such places as the Belle Haven Ma­rina’s down­stream coves and the Hog Is­land area. Again, care­fully re­trieved crankbaits, oc­ca­sion­ally a slow-rolled spin­ner­bait, or an avo­cado-col­ored plas­tic grub known as the Sting Ray, will draw strikes. Be ex­tra care­ful around the Hog Is­land stretch be­cause there are hun­dreds of bot­tom snags in the shal­low water that typ­i­cally is found here.

If it’s a mix­ture of bass, yel­low perch, crap­pies and cat­fish you want, the far in­sides of Virginia’s Oc­co­quan River are a good bet. So are the Quan­tico, Po­tomac and Aquia creeks, along with Mary­land’s Chi­ca­muxen Creek. For yel­low perch, stick with the Nan­je­moy, up­per Mat­ta­woman, Wi­comico (around Allen’s Fresh), and var­i­ous pock­ets of the Susque­hanna River be­tween Port De­posit and Havre de Grace. Don’t over­look the up­per Patuxent River near Hill’s Bridge where yel­low perch have been caught. You might en­counter dis­col­ored water in some parts, caused by re­cent rain runoffs, but that isn’t the most im­por­tant con­cern. The ti­dal stage and water tem­per­a­ture, how­ever, are cru­cial.

A few days ago, when we fished for yel­low perch in Charles County’s Nan­je­moy Creek, we couldn’t buy a hit as the tide com­pletely ebbed. When the flood tide be­gan, the perch bit very well, and some of them were whop­pers. Re­cently, La Plata’s Dale and Nancy Kupp fished for yel­low perch in the Nan­je­moy, and they no­ticed that the water tem­per­a­ture had fallen into the 40-de­gree range. That isn’t good.

All the same, the two fish­ing ex­perts found plenty of buck perch but few fat fe­males. If the water tem­per­a­ture rises to 46 or 48 de­grees, many more perch will jump on bait or ar­ti­fi­cials.

Crap­pies found by Face­book friend: Mary­land fish­er­man Johnny Ken­ney said he doesn’t mind shar­ing fish­ing in­for­ma­tion. He must not, be­cause he shared it with me (and who knows how many oth­ers) on Face­book. As con­cerns his photo of a fine catch of fat crap­pies, Johnny wrote, “The crap­pies were caught in Mal­lows Bay. It has been slow [but] I have been catch­ing nice fish. They were hit­ting min­nows and jigs [un­der a] bob­ber.”

Gil­bert Run Park’s trout are will­ing: Charles County’s Gil­bert Run Park (Route 6, east of La Plata) of­fers freshly stocked trout in the park’s Wheat­ley Lake. The Mary­land DNR added more rain­bows sev­eral days ago.

El­iz­a­beth River turns up sea trout: From our friend Dr. Ken Neill comes word that the lower Ch­e­sa­peake Bay’s El­iz­a­beth River has been giv­ing up won­der­ful catches of spot­ted sea trout. Virginia Beach res­i­dent Larry Lusk, for ex­am­ple, was fish­ing with son David in the river’s Hot Ditch and within three hours caught trout, in­clud­ing one that weighed 6.5 pounds. For this species, that’s a whop­per. Neill also men­tioned that the Ch­e­sa­peake Bay Bridge-tun­nel wa­ters al­ready have given up a few floun­der.

Sea stripers mov­ing into the Ch­e­sa­peake? The fish­ing den­tist, Dr. Julie Ball (www.dr­jball.com), says in­ter­est in the At­lantic’s striped bass is drop­ping. Even diehard rock­fish an­glers who con­tinue to tar­get the stripers in ocean wa­ters say the catches are not very good. Ball says it’s pos­si­ble that the fish are mak­ing their way to the spawn­ing grounds up in the rivers of the Ch­e­sa­peake Bay. Get ready. It might take a few weeks, but the tro­phy stripers will be in Mary­land wa­ters be­fore you know it.

If the wind al­lows Virginia’s off­shore boats to make a trip, tau­togs up to 15 pounds are avail­able on the var­i­ous ocean wrecks. Tau­tog fish­er­men use clams or frozen crabs as bait. Even some cod are hooked. The tau­togs also are found on lower Ch­e­sa­peake Bay wrecks, but for some rea­son, these ‘togs usu­ally are smaller. The new min­i­mum size is 16.5 inches, which can make things tough for Ch­e­sa­peake Bay an­glers..

Virginia floun­der reg­u­la­tions set: This year, there will be no closed sea­son, and four floun­der of 16.5 inches or more per day can be kept.

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