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Sea trout show up

- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 24, 2008

Gray and speckled sea trout are showing up in several parts of the Chesapeake Bay, which delights anglers who fish the waters of Virginia's Northern Neck and Southern Maryland.

Charter fishing captain Billy Pipkin (www.captbillyscharters.com), who owns Ingram Bay Marina on the Great Wicomico River in the Northern Neck, said he has been finding trout among the schools of croakers he's after.

But as far as targeting trout is concerned, Pipkin says, "The mouth of the Rappahannock River has been a little more consistent for weakfish this week, but many are undersized."

Pipkin also mentions that trout activity between Indian Creek and the Great Wicomico River has been good.

But now add Ken Lamb, the proprietor of the Tackle Box in Lexington Park.

"Both speckled and gray sea trout have been responsive to trolled bucktails this week," Lamb says. "Speckled trout are mixed with some fine rockfish from the Point No Point Light to the Targets [along] the 40-foot edge on the western shore side."

Lamb adds that some of these sea trout measure from 18 to 27 inches, with the rockfish they're swimming with going up to 32 inches.

"Small bucktails trolled slowly on the bottom is the key to catching these fish," he says.

There also are sea trout in the mouth of the Patuxent River around Point Patience.

"Trollers using small white bucktails discovered the trout late last week," says Lamb, who urges anglers to present their lures directly over the bottom in about 40 feet, which can be tough inside the river because of strong tides. Slack tides are best for this kind of fishing, the tackle shop owner says.

Rockfish trollers, chummers, live-liners and sight casters have been scoring from Calvert County's Gas Docks up to Bloody Point and beyond. However, these fish often are on the move, and northern Bay boaters report greatly varying degrees of success. The Gas Dock crowd, however, gets limits of fish every day.

Don't forget the flounder. The season for them is closed in Virginia until July 30, but it remains open in Maryland. The flat fish have been hooked at Buoy 76 on the Eastern Shore side of the Bay in at least 25 feet of water. Remember when you drift with live minnows, the flounder has to measure at least 16 1/2 inches.

In the lower Chesapeake, near or at the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, Ken Neill reports that spadefish are being caught at the bridge-tunnel, at the Cell and at the Tower Reef. Some large sheepshead are also available at the bridge-tunnel, while large red drum roam the shoals at the mouth of the bay. They can be caught anchored, fishing bait on the bottom or by sight-casting to schools of the redfish.

"Big black drum are swimming around the islands of the bridge-tunnel, and cobia can be caught on a chum slick or by sight-casting," Neill said.

World record spadefish? - Virginia Beach's Julie Ball used 4-pound test line to subdue a variety of spadefish around an offshore wreck a few days ago, including a 7-pound, 6-ounce whopper that might become a 4-pound test line class world record. Ball has applied for the record with the International Game Fish Association.

Occoquan shows action - Ranger Smokey Davis says the bass fishing is fine. Local bass club contestants find the majority of their fish using Brush Hogs or creature baits pitched into deep mainlake blowdowns.

"The hot weather has made channel catfish more active. Chicken livers and clam snouts are prime baits," says Davis, who adds that the crappie bite has slowed a bit but pier anglers enjoy some success with small minnows that are fished under a bobber.

Critical perch meeting - If you are a yellow perch fishing fan, please try to attend a special Maryland DNR meeting Monday from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Tawes Building in Annapolis. Commercial fishermen are trying to get a bigger share of the perch fishery, and sport anglers must show the recreational community deserves the lion's share. Maryland fishery managers say they want to hear from you, so don't disappoint them. Recreational anglers should attend this meeting and tell the DNR managers what they want. Contact Rick Morin at rmorin@dnr.state.md.us or call 410/260-8272 by mid-morning Monday if you plan to attend, so there will be enough handouts and chairs.

About our fishing reports - Some of our readers say they can't find the large, detailed fishing report at www.washingtontimes.com/sports. It runs every Thursday under "Weekend Fishing Report" and stays up through the weekend. The version that appears in our print editions is also on the Web site, but it usually mentions the name "Gene Mueller" along with a headline suggesting what kind of action is best this week.

cLook for Gene Mueller's Outdoors column Sunday and Wednesday and his Fishing Report on Thursday, only in The Washington Times. E-mail: gmueller@washingtontimes.com.