- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Every saltwater fisherman from New England to New Jersey by now has heard that a potential world record striped bass (aka rockfish or striper) of 81.88 pounds was caught by Greg Myerson, of North Branford, Conn.

The monster rockfish was hooked while Myerson fished from a boat in Long Island Sound. But after the fish was properly weighed and witnessed, Myerson turned strangely silent about his accomplishment. Instead of promptly applying for the world record with the International Game Fish Association, he chose to go into hiding.

It begins to make sense when you consider what happened to Al McReynolds, of Atlantic City, N.J., who holds the world mark for the 78.5-pound striper he caught in 1982 in New Jersey’s ocean waters. McReynolds was accused of cheating and received hate mail. Why? Just as there is a lot of money to be made with a world-record largemouth bass, the same is true of a world-record striped bass.

Endorsement contracts and instant cash or equipment rewards from tackle and boat companies can amount to large sums. Unsubstantiated charges that he cheated and family arguments over more than $200,000 in endorsement money made McReynolds eventually wish that he never caught the record fish. All that could be behind him now with Myerson’s catch.

Back in our world, the Chesapeake Bay is seeing good catches of Spanish mackerel, especially in the Point No Point area, east/northeast of the mouth of St. Jerome’s Creek. However, the “Spanish,” as Carolina fishermen refer to them, are fast travelers; they can show up almost anywhere. Several photos of weekend Spanish mackerel catches can be seen at www.genemuellerfishing.com.

The Chesapeake also has been good for rockfish from above the Bay Bridges to the eastern side of the Bay at the False Channel and Choptank River mouth, as well as south to Hooper’s Island Light, Buoy 72 and western Bay spots from the Gas Docks in Calvert County to Smith Point in Virginia’s Northern Neck. Most of the hookups come when anglers use live spot as bait.

Bass anglers looking for action in the currently heated waters of the tidal Potomac River are doing surprisingly well. Plastic worms, craw baits, vibrating Chatterbaits and early morning topwater lures have attracted the largemouths around weed beds and sunken wood or rocks from the Dogue Creek area clear down to Wade’s Bay, including the feeder creeks along the way.

Deep-sea fishermen from Delaware to Virginia are enjoying hookups with white marlin in the deep offshore regions, especially Washington Canyon. Inshore boaters are connecting on sea bass and flounder.

D.C. AND VICINITY

(All listed distances begin in Washington)

POTOMAC RIVER: 0-35 miles – In the District around Fletcher’s Cove (202-244-0461), Ray Fletcher said that his part of the river did not nearly get the amounts of rain that Southern Maryland received. “The river is in pretty good shape and the fishing points mostly to catfish. They’re biting, but that’s pretty much it.” Meanwhile, the licensed bass guide, Andy Andrzejewski (301-932-1509), has been visiting quite a few of the main river grass edges and rock piles and he’s been scoring on largemouth bass, using chartreuse/white Chatterbaits, craw claw-style soft baits in green pumpkin colors, and now and then even Rat-L-Trap lures. Some of the feeder creeks, especially the weedy Aquia, Quantico and the large Belmont Bay area on the Virginia side, along with Maryland’s Chicamuxen and Pomonkey creeks, can be good producers of bass and occasional snakeheads. By the way, if you’re interested in competing in a snakehead tournament, visit www.genemuellerfishing.com for all the information and entry details. In the lower Potomac, Norfolk spot are everywhere, but some croakers, small bluefish and stripers are also caught anywhere south of the Route 301 bridge in Charles County.

WICOMICO RIVER: 55 miles – There are croakers, spot and perch here that can be caught. Now and then a keeper rockfish makes a mistake and picks up a croaker angler’s bottom bait.

MATTAWOMAN CREEK: 40 miles – Surprisingly good fishing is reported by some of the creek regulars, including Goldie Glotfelty, who caught bass up to five pounds a few days ago. When I asked him how many he caught in a little more than a half day’s fishing, he said, “Thirty.” To top it off, Goldie uses a hand-made crankbait for many of his catches.

SO. MARYLAND LAKES: 40-50 miles – Gilbert Run Lake (Route 6, east of La Plata) has been slow as far as bass catches are concerned, but plenty of sunfish are available, which is good news for the youngsters and their worm-and-bobber rigs. Even at St. Mary’s Lake (Route 5, south of Leonardtown to left turn on Camp Cosoma Road) the normally fruitful bass fishing has seen a decline. However, don’t give up on this lake. It has plenty of largemouths and sunfish, although the crappies appear to have gone on holiday.

WSSC RESERVOIRS: 20-30 miles – Triadelphia and Rocky Gorge lakes in the Prince George’s/Montgomery/Howard counties show some discoloration in their respective upper ends, but early-bird anglers who know how to work a topwater buzzbait or popper around sunken brush or rock piles can score on bass. After the sun rises, switch to soft plastics and crankbaits wherever you can crank them back without picking up vegetation or debris.

PATUXENT RIVER: 25-60 miles – Stripers up to three and four pounds are possible inside the mouth during the early hours of the day. Now and then the rockfish even surface in a feeding frenzy during the day. Always remember that many of the stripers are less than 18 inches long and must be released. The river’s feeder creeks continue to deliver the goods as far as white perch are concerned, while pockets, dips and channels in the main stem hold croakers and plenty of Norfolk spot.

OCCOQUAN RESEROIR: 33 miles — Some of the johnboaters connect on bass during low-light hours when surface lures, such as the Rico or a 1/4-oz. buzzbait can attract a largemouth around waterlogged obstacles, such as sunken tree branches or weed

BURKE LAKE: 29 miles – A few bass and lots of sunfish are taken by shoreline and johnboat anglers. But the water is super-heated and it will take a while before things return to normal. In this lake “normal” means the fishing can be very good.

CENTRAL & WESTERN MD.

UPPER POTOMAC RIVER: 35-100 miles – The weekend looks definitely fishable unless monsoon rains arrive without warning. Smallmouth bass, channel catfish, occasional walleyes and fat redbreasted sunfish await visits from Washington County down to Montgomery County.

DEEP CREEK LAKE: 179 miles – Local bass hounds score on largemouths under floating docks and around stickups and sunken brush in the feeder creeks. Deep, rock-laden points and shores can give up feisty smallmouth bass and a few fat walleyes.

SUSQUEHANNA RIVER: 65-100 miles – Don’t overlook the large catfish that can hooked on cut fish pieces at the base of the Conowingo Dam. If it’s bass you’re after, a few hefty largemouths are taken in marina basins and in the outside portions of the mouth, around blowdowns and logs. Plastic worms and spinnerbaits are the primary lures.

CHESAPEAKE BAY

MARYLAND: 45-75 miles – The Chesapeake Bay is seeing good catches of Spanish mackerel, especially in the Point No Point area, east/northeast of the mouth of St. Jerome’s Creek. However, the “Spanish,” as some insiders refer to them, are fast travelers; they can show up almost anywere. Several photos of weekend Spanish mackerel catches can be seen at www.genemuellerfishing.com. The Bay also has been good for rockfish from above the Bay Bridges to the eastern side of the bay at the False Channel and Choptank River mouth, as well as south to Hooper’s Island Light, Buoy 72, Middle Grounds, and western bay spots from the Gas Docks in Calvert County and on to Smith Point in Virginia’s Northern Neck. Most of the hookups come when anglers use live spot as bait, but some catches are made by topwater lure casters when a sudden surface eruption of feeding fish occurs. Yes, trollers using small umbrella rigs find keeper stripers as well.

VIRGINIA: 75-150 miles – Dr. Julie Ball (www.drjball.com) said that large flounder are coming from the third and fourth islands of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. Live bait and jigs dressed with plastics or stripped bait does well around the structure. Flounder catches also made along lower Bay channels, deep water drop-offs, and near buoys 36A, 42, and the Cell. Cobias are beginning their late summer trend of favoring buoys and bridge pilings, and cruising on the surface in lower Bay waters and off the oceanfront. Channelbass provide endless casting action for anglers that occasionally locate large huge roaming schools of the redfish. Croakers are hooked throughout the lower Bay. “Sheepshead are still a sure thing along the Bay Bridge-Tunnel,” said Dr. Ball, “with more fish beginning to respond over the tubes. Smallish spadefish are still available along the Bridge tunnel and around the islands, but most folks are not interested.” The fishing dentist, Dr. Ken Neill, who runs a well-recognized boat out of Virginia Beach, the Healthy Grin, reported that he fished around several lower Bay buoys early this week and caught two small cobias at one marker, while another buoy shaded a third, larger cobia. “I didn’t hit any more buoys as I had to get home,” he said, “but the buoys in the Baltimore Channel [all are] holding cobias.”

EASTERN SHORE/MD.

CHOPTANK RIVER: 120 miles – Our friend Carl D. Brown frequently visits the Choptank’s mouth area and here is some excellent advice on how to find fishing action: “The spot are very accommodating,” he began in a note to me. “Just a pinch of bloodworm on a double-hook bottom rig, with spinner blades on the tiny hooks and a 1-ounce sinker and your’e in business. I caught about two dozen in an hour.” The little spot would serve as Mr. Brown’s live-lining bait in a search for rockfish. He anchored in a place known as False Channel. “We were in 24 feet of water, above a gravel or oyster shell bottom. We used a 3-foot fluoro-carbon leader, 6/0 hook and a half-ounce barrel sinker,” he wrote. “The rockfish turned on about 9:30 a.m. We weighed anchor at 11 a.m. to come in before the rain — and to clean fish.”

POCOMOKE RIVER: 140-170 miles – Low fishing pressure, hot water, recent rains did little to improve the bass fishing between Snow Hill and Shad Landing.

NANTICOKE RIVER: 120 miles – The normally productive Marshyhope Creek near Federalsburg has definitely seen better days as far as bass catches are concerned. The rest of the river isn’t doing any better.

CENTRAL VIRGINIA

LAKE ANNA: 82 miles – My lake reporter says the recent cooler nights and lots of rainstorms have already cooled the lake a few degrees. Low-light conditions, both morning and late afternoon, are again producing good topwater action for largemouth bass. Shaky-head worms also work, but be sure to stay on the main lake, targeting docks, willow grass and points. He added, “If you can get your hands on some live herring, striped bass find them irresistible. Trollers are also taking decent stripers from the downlake regions.”

RAPPAHANNOCK RIVER: 47-100 miles – The rains haven’t done any real damage. If anything, it helped put a little “color” into the upper river and perhaps raised much-needed water levels. The fishing for smallmouth bass should be good this weekend. Tidal parts have been very slow as far as largemouth bass catches are concerned.

LAKE BRITTLE: 59 miles – The summer doldrums have taken hold of these kinds of lakes. Bass catches are few and far between. Sunfish and catfish, however, are well supplied and they are willing to snatch up worm baits.

LAKE ORANGE: 75 miles – Darrell Kennedy runs the Angler’s Landing (540/672-3997) concession if you have questions. Slow going on bass, a little better if it’s channel catfish or bluegills you want. Haven’t heard of any walleye hookups this week.

LAKE GASTON: 179 miles – Our fishing pal Marty Magone agrees with Holly Grove Marina (434) 636-3455 and fishing guide Craig Karpinski regarding the good bass action currently. Topwater lures and Carolina-rigged plastic worms have been working very well over many parts of the lake. Magone has been whacking the bass in Hawtree Creek.

KERR RESERVOIR: 200 miles — Bobcat’s Lake Country Store (434-374-8381) can tell you the latest water conditions. Bobby Whitlow says that things have slowed down because of the hot weather, but a few bass are hooked on crankbaits and plastic worms rigged Carolina-style. Crappie fishermen are doing well at night. In fact, one fisherman caught a 3-1/4-pound crappie last week. That’s a monster. Bottom-fished cut baits or live sunfish produce catfish of note. The water temperature is well over 85 degrees.

JAMES RIVER: 115 miles – (Tidal Richmond and downstream) The fishing guide Mike Hoke, (804-357-8518) says that bass have looked at crankbaits and plastic tubes and worms in chartreuse or watermelon colors. Catfish catches have been fair as anglers suspend a live bluegills in 12 to 15 feet of water. Currently, the catfish anglers try to keep the baits off the bottom because of a presence of blue crabs.

CHICKAHOMINY RIVER: 135 miles – Check with River’s Rest (804-829-2753) for the latest conditions. The bass bite has been good this week, with plastic worms and shallow crankbaits doing the job.

WESTERN VIRGINIA

SHENANDOAH RIVER: 60-85 miles – Front Royal’s Dick Fox said, “The river has risen slightly what with all the rain we’ve had, and it is expected to rise more. The water has cooled to 82 degrees. The smallmouth bass fishing has been fair, with mostly small fish. The cooler water has made the bite better in the late parts of the day when the water [apparently] warms up. Use tubes, small plastics and in-line spinners.”

SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE: 210 miles – The bass hookups have steadily declined during this hot weather. Some can be caught on deep-fished plastic craws or worms during the day, and some even found close to shore at night when topwater lures can draw hits. Striped bass are ganging up in tight groups now and if you deep-jig and catch one, you’ll probably get into 10 or 15 of them.

UPPER JAMES RIVER (at Scottsville): 130 miles — The fishing guide L.E. Rhodes (434-286-3366) hopes that rains will raise water levels a bit. The smallmouth bass fishing, he says, is good as spinning gear users cast small topwater lures, such as the Tiny Torpedo, and small plastic tubes, grubs and worms. The flyfishing crowd does well with poppers and streamers.

ATLANTIC OCEAN

MARYLAND: 153-175 miles – Sue Foster of Oyster Bay Tackle in Ocean City says the water temperature in the resort city stands at 75.4 degrees, with a decent flounder bite possible for visitors who like to drift baits in the back bay. The anglers will also notice increasing numbers of snapper bluefish. In the close-in ocean waters, boaters find flounder (many of them too small to keep). The surf gives up kingfish, spot and sudden onslaughts of marauding, but small, bluefish. The far-off canyon waters give up some tunas, white marlin, dolphin (mahi-mahi) and wahoos, says Sue.

VIRGINIA: 210 miles to Virginia Beach – A. Dr. Julie Ball (www.drjball.com) reports

that trollers find plenty of willing Spanish mackerel off the oceanfront, from Cape Henry to Sandbridge. “Small gold and silver spoons are the best lures for these fish,” she said. Dr. Ball added, “Tarpon sightings and hook-ups on the Eastern Shore are always hush-hush, but scattered releases and a barrage of sightings are keeping a handful of anglers interested.” Amberjack are caught on a number of ocean wrecks and the Southern Towers. The bluewater fleet finds good billfish action with most of the catches coming from the distant canyon waters. Dr. Ball also said that dolphin (fish), wahoo and mako sharks are available.

• For additional outdoors news visit www.genemuellerfishing.com.