Weather matters a great deal when fishing
Well folks, we’ve made it to the last Friday of October and that means the Reel Report is retiring for 2018.
There are still plenty of good fishing days left in the year, and you can bet whenever there’s a notable report, I’ll be including it in my regular column.
Before this edition went to print, Maryland Department of Natural Resources started stocking the lakes and ponds in Prince George’s County. Southern Maryland can’t be far behind.
You can get the latest updates by email by signing up at http://dnr.maryland.gov/fisheries/Pages/email.aspx. Southern Maryland lakes and
ponds — Anthony Hancock, manager at Gilbert Run Park in Dentsville, said the bass were biting well last week after the
lake returned to more normal levels and the water began to clear.
Hancock witnessed two 5-pound bass get pulled out of the lake last week. Fishing shoreline cover with soft plastic lures, shallow-diving crankbaits and chatterbaits works well with the stained water. Wood cover is productive this time of year, especially if the cover is near a drop off.
Many of the bluegill and redear sunfish have moved to deeper water but will still bite small pieces of nightcrawler or mealworms. Adding a few pieces of split shot and allowing the bait to rest on the bottom will usually do the trick.
Angler Eric Packard hit up St. Mary’s Lake earlier this week
and caught 10 largemouth bass on topwaters and spinnerbaits. Packard recommends that you don’t overlook the discharge pond at the bottom of the dam — he caught 7 of the bass there.
The next day, a cloudless day with bluebird skies and no wind, proved to be a tougher challenge at Myrtle Grove in Charles County. The pond on the property gave up one largemouth.
Weather matters a great deal when fishing. Cloudy or overcast days are best for pond or lake fishing.
Patuxent River — David Correll at the Tackle Box in Lexington Park (301-863-8151) reports that perch are keeping anglers busy this month. They are everywhere in the creeks and river and can be caught on bloodworms and peeler crabs if you can still find some around. Of course, the old standby the beetlespin works, too.
Potomac River — Scott Johnson of SJ Fishing Adventures (www.sj-fishing.com; Facebook and Instagram: @SJFishingAdventures) said fall has set in quickly on the upper Potomac and caused a rapid drop in water temperature, but the river is at a good level and the fish are still biting.
While they’ll hit a variety of lures, Johnson recommends using spinnerbaits at current
seams and over submerged ledges and trying jerkbaits or soft plastics such as tubes along the seams of larger eddys. During fall, fishing around wood and lay downs can produce nice smallmouth.
As for the tidal Potomac, Life Outdoors Unlimited guide Kenny Penrod III (240-478-9055) has this advice to pass on: There are only a certain number of channel bends, drop-offs with cover and other areas that are capable of holding a population of bass as the water becomes colder and most are not secret.
Penrod recommends patience, multiple casts and dead sticking to tempt pressured fish to take the bait. And finally, check these spots at different times during the day on various tides. Juniata and Susquehanna
rivers (Pa.) — Johnson reports that most of his catches this week came by slow-rolling spinnerbaits. Fish are spread out still and covering a lot of water is crucial.
Johnson recommends you concentrate on wood and lay downs, shoreline points and current seams.
The key to catching is retrieving the spinnerbait as slowly as possible so that you can still feel the blades thumping. And with colder water temperatures, remember to always wear a PFD while on the water.
LOU guide Matt Greene (717-576-3735) said clients have been catching smallmouth on tubes and jerkbaits at a steady pace this week. In addition to the many smallmouth bass, one of Greene’s guests caught a 45-inch musky. Now, that’s a beast.
Lake Anna (Va.) — McCotter’s Lake Anna Guide Ser vice (www.mccotterslakeanna.com) said they are poised to enter the next phase of annual fishing patterns on the lake now that fall is upon us. When water temperatures drop into the 60s, fish will be on the move. There will be vast areas of no fish and small areas of big schools of fish.
Find those hot zones and you’ll have excellent fishing. For stripers, the hot zone will soon be above the second bridges in both branches in the upper portion of the lake. Right now you can still find them from The Splits up to the first two bridges and around the power plant.
Largemouth bass will be feeding heartily in the shallows during the mid-afternoons. Currently you can consistently catch bass pitching worms and creature baits to docks in the mid- and up-lake regions and along willow grass lines in the upper section.
Chesapeake Bay — Correll reports that anglers are still catching a variety of fish with nothing slowing up except for croaker. Rockfish are everywhere with the mouth of the Potomac and water near Solomons putting out a lot of fish. Still, catches are mostly small with bigger fish getting pulled up from deeper in the water.
At Point Lookout, anglers are catching rockfish on anything from storm shads to bloodworms, and topwater bomber wind cheaters are a popular choice as well. Fall rockfish season will be in full swing soon. Bluefish are biting on cut alewives.
Atlantic Ocean — There’s a lot of variety to catch this time of year with lots of blues, flounder and stripers inshore. Surprisingly, the flounder fishing has been downright excellent.
Capt. Monty Hawkins on the Morning Star (410-520-2076) reports his clients are catching limits of sea bass on 100 percent of his longer trips and the fluke bite is easily the best October bite he’s ever seen.
Surf fishermen are catching a mix of kingfish, bluefish and red drum on bloodworms and cut bait. When wind and/or rain isn’t a factor, dolphin and marlin are available offshore in the canyons.
Tip of the week
Maybe you read the Reel Report each week and would love to give your luck a try, but you’re not an experienced angler and you don’t even own a rod. You’ve got about two months of prime rockfish season left this year, so don’t let the opportunity to catch some fish slip away.
You can view various charter options out of Solomons online at http://fishsolomons. com/fishing-charters. html. You’ll have to email or call to book a trip since the online option doesn’t work (hey, these guys are skilled at reading the electronics on their boats and can find the fish, but they make no claims of being webmasters).