Plenty of catches were made at spring fishing derby
Last Saturday, 65 teams convened upon Wheatley Lake at Gilbert Run Park in Dentsville for the annual spring fishing derby.
While the weather was overcast with periodic mist, the rain held off long enough for everyone to enjoy some beautiful spring morning fishing.
In less than four hours, over 400 bass, bluegill, crappie, catfish and trout were landed by teams consisting of one child and one adult.
Earlier that week, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources stocked 600 bonus rainbow trout in the lake. Everyone who works at the park was hoping that would mean plenty of trout counted among the par- ticipants’ catches, but the trout must have either been not very hungry or had decided to sleep in late on Saturday morning, because only seven were caught.
The catfish must have gotten the same memo, for only one was caught by the team of Aliese Rice and Robert Rice Jr.
Other notable catches include Kayla and Krystle Fraser taking home the trophy for biggest bluegill (9 1/2 inches) in the 11to 15-year-old age group fishing from the bank. Tyvon and Law- rence Chase, in the 11-15 boat category, found a whole boatload of crappie, 27 to be exact.
I hope Miranda and Pat Watson are reading today’s Reel Report and send me an email with the secret to their success. That team caught an astounding 52 bluegill from shore and also caught the largest crappie (8 3/4 inches) and the largest bass (13 3/4 inches) in the 11-15 age group.
Congratulations to all the winners.
Southern Maryland lakes and ponds
— Anthony Hancock, assistant manager of Gilbert Run Park, reports that the bass fishing has improved significantly over the last week with many bass on their spawning beds in shallow water.
Although most of the bass that have been caught have been on the smaller side, Hancock said he’s seen a few bass on their beds in the 5-plus pound range so they are certainly around. The bass will bite many different lures, so experiment with both moving baits like crankbaits and
spinnerbaits and also with slower moving baits like jigs and soft plastic worms.
Crappie have been caught near shallow wood and rock cover and some measure around 12 inches. They’ll bite on small minnows fished under a bobber or with small jigs or tube baits slowly jigged
through shallow cover.
Bluegill and redear sunfish are joining in on the spawning action and can now be caught on small worms fished under bobbers.
Patuxent River — Ken Lamb of the Tackle Box in Lexington Park (301863-8151) has heard three unconfirmed rumors of croakers caught this past weekend in the mouth of the Patuxent. The Tackle Box has a $25 gift certificate for the first angler to bring in a croaker caught hook and line.
White perch are in the creeks now and catfish continue to be red hot in the Benedict area.
Upper Potomac River — Life Outdoors Unlimited guide Ken Penrod (240-447-2206) reports that the higher-than-normal levels that have been keeping anglers away have abated and the Upper Potomac is fishready now.
Between Seneca and Brunswick find cooperative smallmouth bass feeding near ledges and current breaks. Campground Special tubes on 1/8-ounce RAB jig heads is the No. 1 producer, but don’t overlook Mizmo or Zipper grubs. Tidal Potomac River —
According to Reel Bass Adventures guide Andy Andrzejewski (301-9321509), water temperatures have reached the 70s and bass and crappie are active. Andrzejewski recommends fishing wood cover with finesse worms and spinnerbaits.
Rocky banks hold bass that like square bill crankbaits and plastic worms. Buzz a spinnerbait through pad fields or use shallow-running crankbaits, chatterbaits and critterbaits over grass flats at the mouths of creeks.
Some large crappie, up to a pound or better, are in shallow creek bays. Swim a curly tail crappie grub through those areas.
Penrod said there are large groups of spawn-oriented bass between Washington, D.C., and Charles County. He rates the Mattawoman as No. 1 for now, but other areas are producing too.
Chesapeake Bay — Lamb said a steady stream of trophy rockfish were checked in this past week, with trollers catching fish by the handful for a day’s cruise. But, he cautions, there are still plenty of opportunities to get skunked.
There’s still hope for three or four days of fast action on the trophy-size fish when the spawn is done and the big fish head out to sea.