- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 3, 2003

So many Spanish mackerel are in the Chesapeake Bay that now and then they will outnumber the striped bass and bluefish. Our friend Ken Lamb of Lexington Park’s Tackle Box says you can see the “Spanish,” as saltwater anglers refer to them, thrash and break on the water’s surface from Maryland’s Point No Point clear down to Virginia’s Smith Point and even in the mouth of the Rappahannock River. They’re normally caught trolling small silver or gold spoons with light inline weights some 20 feet up from the lure, but chummers report getting their share.

The catching of rockfish seems to present few problems, but finding one or two that will meet the minimum required 18 inches is another story. Lots of juvenile rockfish are hooked on spinning tackle with rattle baits or small bucktails the favored lures. Some days you could catch and release a bunch of little stripers from as far up as the Potomac River’s Route 301 bridge down to Point Lookout or north of there at the Patuxent River’s Cove Point and the Cedar Point Hollow. We do hear of a few whoppers from the Cedar Point area of the Patuxent River. The lower Patuxent, by the way, is still filled with fat Norfolk spot.

The mountain rivers where waders and boat drifters look for smallmouth bass might be an iffy proposition this weekend. We’re hedging a bit because strong thunder showers and sometimes torrential downpours visited the upper Potomac, Rappahannock, Shenandoah and James rivers in some sectors, while other parts of these rocky waterways never got a drop. The weekend could be a washout for some.

However, in the upper tidal waters of the Potomac, between the District and western Charles County, the fishing is fine for largemouth bass, smallish white perch and dawn-hour rockfish. I wish I could say the same for the upper tidal Patuxent or Rappahannock rivers, but the bass catches there haven’t been much to get excited about.

You can reach us via e-mail at gmueller@washingtontimes.com.

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