- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 8, 2011

If you leave the house before the roosters crow and get on the water as quickly as possible, you’ll do very well this weekend. Above-average temperatures in the air and the water will dictate where and how you catch your fish.

It begins in the Chesapeake Bay, where a number of charter fishing captains already have begun their night fishing trips to the Middle Grounds to find croakers for their customers. The biggest specimens seem to strike the baits just before darkness sets in; after that, lots of smaller (but legal) “hardheads” will jump on the hooks.

Rockfish have been plentiful from the waters at the Virginia/Maryland state lines up toward the Cove Point area, where chummers have scored, but trollers also connect clear up to the Routes 50/301 Bay Bridges and beyond. Some anglers find action on the stripers by casting spoons and poppers near the mouth of St. Jerome’s Creek and the Calvert Cliffs when the wind doesn’t blow.

In the lowest parts of the Chesapeake, the Bay Bridge-Tunnel area is home to cobias, black and red drum, as well as increasing numbers of bluefish and flounder.

Things finally are getting back to normal on the tidal Potomac River between Washington and western Charles County, Md. The huge FLW bass tournament that was headquartered at National Harbor is over. Professional bass angler Luke Clausen, of Otis Orchards, Wash., last Sunday caught a five-bass limit that weighed 19 pounds, 4 ounces. It earned him $125,000 at the conclusion of the Walmart FLW Tour event on the Potomac. Clausen’s 4-day total tournament catch of bass was only two ounces shy of 70 pounds.

Although I do not propose that we entertain massive bass tournaments on the tidal Potomac River at any time, I am glad that at least one Maryland fishing pro, Bryan Schmitt, of Deale, placed fourth and won $25,000 with a four-day weight total of 64 pounds, 12 ounces. I’m sure he can use it.


(all listed distances begin in Washington)

POTOMAC RIVER: 0-35 miles – In the District around Fletcher’s Cove (202-244-0461) the fishing conditions will be good for rock hoppers and boat renters. A smattering of striped bass is still around, plus you’ll be sure to hook some hefty catfish, maybe even a snakehead and a few well-fed bass. Below D.C., the mega FLW bass tournament that was headquartered at National Harbor for four days finally ended Sunday. On the last day, professional bass angler Luke Clausen, of Otis Orchards, Wash., caught a 5-bass limit weighing 19 pounds, 4 ounces to win $125,000 in what was called the Walmart FLW Tour on the Potomac River. His 4-day total catch of bass was only two ounces shy of 70 pounds. Although I do not propose that we entertain massive bass tournaments on the tidal Potomac River at any time, I am glad that at least one Maryland fishing pro, Bryan Schmitt, of Deale, won $25,000 with a 4-day weight total of 64 pounds, 12 ounces. Schmitt placed fourth. So now the bass fishing for Maryland, D.C., and Virginia residents who care little about these cast-for-cash events can resume. Bass guide Andy Andrzejewski (301-932-1509) says if you stick to fishing the edges and the open inside pockets of weed and spatterdock beds in feeder creeks and main stem with fat worms, spinnerbaits, Chatterbaits and early morning topwater poppers, you’ll score. Catfish and white perch are well distributed and they’re hungry.

WICOMICO RIVER: 55 miles – Quade’s Store in Bushwood agrees that hardheads — the favorite word for croakers in Southern Maryland — will bite, especially at and after sunset. White perch and plentiful catfish can drive bait dunkers batty. By the way, if bloodworms are too expensive for your croaker fishing, try strips of squid or small whole, raw shrimp. Yeah, a pound of little grocery store shrimp is cheaper than a dozen bloodworms.

MATTAWOMAN CREEK: 40 miles – The water now is warm enough to see successful anglers launch their boats as early as possible. Outside creek bends along marsh banks and spatterdock fields can be great for early or late hour surface lures, especially blunt-nosed poppers. Plastic worms are always good, but I prefer wacky-rigging a Zero or Senko worm without any added weight and slowly jerking it through the vegetation or sunken brush.

SO. MARYLAND LAKES: 40-50 miles – At Gilbert Run Lake (Route 6, east of La Plata) you’ll soon see the summer crowds as children get out of school and they’ll be paddle-boating here. Stick to the earliest hours or fish above the roped-off lake sections where the little darlings can’t take their noisy activities. Scattered bass and plenty of sunfish are available. At St. Mary’s Lake (Route 5, south of Leonardtown to left turn at Camp Cosoma Road) you’ll find bass, crappies and fat sunfish. Flyrodding for bluegills has been a blast.

WSSC RESERVOIRS: 20-30 miles – Triadelphia and Rocky Gorge lakes in the Prince George’s/Montgomery/Howard counties will deliver bass, sunfish, catfish and some decent-size crappies. A 1/16-ounce white/red shad dart fished 3 or 4 feet below a bobber can be deadly on crappies and large bluegills when fished around shoreline brush and sunken wood.

PATUXENT RIVER: 25-60 miles – From the Tackle Box store in Lexington Park, Ken Lamb said, “Trollers using small bucktails are catching rockfish in the river on high tides close to the shoreline.” If it’s white perch you want, 1/8-oz. Beetlespin lures or regular spinnerbaits, as well as straight in-line white spinners, such as a Roostertail, will find action in the feeder creeks wherever there’s a shore lined with grass or fallen brush and trees.

OCCOQUAN RESERVOIR: 25-30 miles – Ranger Smokey Davis reports, “The first hour of the most recent Fountainhead Bass Club’s tournament was good for those who decided to use topwater baits. Carl Martin and his partner, Mike Isner, both from Manassas had their 6-fish limit early and that formed the basis of their tournament-winning weight of 23.37 pounds. They went on to catch a couple of 5-pound kickers on deep-running crankbaits in crawfish colors later in the day.” Smokey added that flyrodders continue to score well on bedding bluegills and now channel cats are getting ready to spawn. A few crappies are taken, but numbers and sizes are not very good. The water remains slightly stained; surface temperatures range from the high 70s to low 80s.

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