- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Despite warnings of soon-to-arrive colder weather, the weekend promises fish in a variety of places. You might want to give a Christmas gift rod and reel a workout.

Let’s begin with Virginia’s Lake Anna, west of Fredericksburg, where a few big bass are hooked along lake point dropoffs and inside the various creeks’ channels. Jig’n’ pig combinations, Silver Buddy and Cicada blade baits, heavy spoons and such can be jigged vertically along the drops.

While on the lake, be sure to have a spare rod ready that has a minnow-like 4- to 6-inch Rapala or Rebel jerkbait at the business end of the line because the freshwater stripers might surface near you.

If they do, try not to get too close and frighten them with motor noise. Execute long casts and work the lure back to the boat in rapid left-right reeling motions.

Locally, the tidal Potomac and some of its feeder creeks continue to deliver bass, crappies and scattered yellow perch. One disappointing outing came in the Occoquan near the railroad bridge, where in years past late Decembers always produced yellow perch that hung out in deep holes.

Farther down in Virginia: — Blue catfish are all the rage at the Chickahominy and James rivers. Cut slabs of shad, herring or white perch fished from weighted bottom rigs will find the blue “cats,” some of them in the 30- and 40-pound range. The Chickahominy also sees some smiling bass anglers, with a number of striper hunters in the James River finding rockfish near Richmond.

On the Virginia/Carolina border, at Kerr Reservoir (Buggs Island Lake), the water is slowly dropping after some high lake levels caused by recent rains. However, anglers in the creeks find decent-sized bass and crappies. For example, several fishermen have reported crappies are in submerged brush in at least 15 feet of water.

Lower Chesapeake Bay: — Trophy stripers continue to be caught in the lowest parts of the bay. Some trollers, even casters, are making contact with them from Buoy 40 south to Cape Charles. Many stripers are in the 30- to 40-inch range.

From Ken Neill, of the Peninsula Saltwater Fishermen’s Association, we hear that the tautog bite continues to be very good in the lower Chesapeake and over the various coastal wrecks, but he gets really excited when he tells of fishing for tunas in North Carolina.

“We were down at Morehead City fishing for giant bluefin tunas with captain Richard Bartlett aboard the Empty Wallet [757/876-5376],” he said. “Dr. Julie Ball was our [top] angler. She caught a 300-plus-pound fish in about 35 minutes.”

No surprise here: — Scientists are now saying there is a shortage of stripers 7 years old and older. Those are the large spawner fish, nearly all of them females. What does that mean to future reproduction? It’s not good. You ought to make an effort to release the biggest rockfish, not keep them if you want the great striper fishery to continue as it has.

More deer days in Maryland — An additional two days of regular gun deer season will be allowed in Maryland, Jan. 7-8 in Region B, which is pretty much all of the state except Garrett and Allegany counties.

The bag limit for the extra two hunting days simply will be a continuation of Region B’s total firearms deer season limits. Two antlered and 10 antlerless deer may be taken during the entire Region B firearm season. In other words, if you’ve already shot a buck, then you must take two antlerless deer next before a second antlered deer can be pursued.

Look for Gene Mueller’s Outdoors column Sunday, Wednesday and Thursday, only in The Washington Times. E-mail: gmueller@washingtontimes.com

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