- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 7, 2008

Although I don’t care for trolling, there are times when it can be productive. Right now, for example, trollers find good numbers of Chesapeake bluefish, Spanish mackerel and keeper rockfish. A lot depends on the location, but some kind of trolling action can be had from the northern Bay portions down to the most southern parts.

Charter fishing captain Billy Pipkin (www.captbillyscharters.com) of Ingram Bay Marina on the Great Wicomico River in the Northern Neck of Virginia agrees that trollers have done well throughout the lower tidal rivers and the Bay.

“Schools of surface-feeding bluefish mixed with Spanish mackerel have been located right out my back door in Ingram Bay,” he says.

He says good trolling is found near Buoy 62, on the flats below Tangier Island, Smith Point bar, the Rappahannock River near Windmill Point and at GW 1 off the Great Wicomico River.

Pipkin says diving seagulls often point boaters to the action in his area, but that is true of the entire Bay, even as far north as the Bay Bridges.

However, for some the bottom fishing is best during hot weather. Pipkin says inshore oyster beds can turn up jumbo Norfolk spot but adds that the croakers he has seen lately have been small.

From Maryland’s part of the Bay, Christy Henderson of Buzz’s Marina in Ridge says, “The rockfish are scattered, but they are picking up a few by live-lining spot in mouth of St. Jerome’s Creek.”

Henderson also says rockfish are being hooked around Point Lookout and that the flounder fishing really has picked up in the usual spots, such as the lower Potomac’s Cornfield Harbor.

“You have to weed through the smaller ones, but big ones are there,” she says.

Henderson also says big croakers still are caught behind Buoy 72 and the Middle Grounds, especially at night.

“We had one customer catch several red drum Tuesday, along with bluefish, croaker and flounder, while he was chumming and bottom fishing,” she says.

If it’s bluefish and Spanish mackerel you want, Henderson says trollers use small Clarke spoons for best results. Buzz’s Marina, by the way, was chosen as one of the 10 cleanest marinas in Maryland, according to the Department of Natural Resources.

Elsewhere, bluefish and some rockfish are found by trollers and occasionally even topwater lure casters from the Calvert Cliffs area up toward Thomas Point Lighthouse and across the Bay to the Gum Thickets and above.

Despite heat, river bass bite - With the water temperature in the 80s you would think the tidal Potomac River’s largemouth bass would be lethargic and not prone to striking lures, but the opposite is true some days. If you’re an early bird who can parlay a nicely receding tide with the “cooler” morning hours, you will catch bass along the edges of creek marsh banks, on sunken wood and along weed beds.

The action lately has come from places like Broad Creek, not all that far from Wilson Bridge, and from the Pomonkey and Chicamuxen creeks, but that doesn’t mean the other feeder creeks can’t deliver the goods. The bass are everywhere. Throw early hour topwater lures followed by 4-inch soft plastic worms, and if there’s enough open water near the fish-hiding obstacles, go for a shallow-lipped crankbait.

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