By Elaine Donnelly
Extending sexual misconduct to combat units
Independent voices from the TWT Communities
Atlantic croakers finally have decided to show up in Southern Maryland waters. The species is a warm-weather favorite for thousands of local saltwater anglers who use two-hook bottom rigs, baited with pieces of (very expensive) bloodworms, peeler crab, or more reasonably priced squid and small, uncooked grocery store shrimp.
Now that the catching of 18-inch striped bass is legal anywhere south of the Hart-Miller dike in the northern Chesapeake Bay, most Maryland boaters are delighted simply because the large trophy stripers that had to measure at least 28 inches have not been the easiest fish to find of late. Incidentally, the 18-inch rockfish also are legal in Virginia's Bay waters.
If you're among the hundreds of boaters trying to troll up a 28-inch-or-longer striped bass during Maryland's current trophy rockfish season, don't be upset if you come back to port without the fish you're after.
During the current open season for trophy striped bass in the lower portions of the Potomac River and Maryland's part of the Chesapeake Bay, conflicting reports are heard from boaters who are out by the hundreds looking for big rockfish.
The rains finally arrived, and even though we prayed for the wet stuff, a lot of anglers feared a lengthy downpour would raise and muddy water levels. It didn't happen.
In some parts of our region fishing could not be better, but biologists are concerned that the shortage of precipitation might affect spawning activities of certain fish, including smallmouth bass in such rivers as Virginia's Rappahannock and Maryland's Potomac.
The upper tidal Potomac River currently delivers unbelievably great bass fishing. The past week has seen a veritable explosion of largemouth bass that are willing to strike a variety of lures. It's the talk of the day among tidal river fishing fanatics.
Although local meteorologists say that January 2012 and the beginning of February aren't even close when it comes to warm winter month records, every fisherman in the Washington area wouldn't mind if things stayed that way at least until April arrives.
Every New Year's Day, come sun, fog, rain, snow or ice, we go fishing. We've done it for more than a quarter century, but compared to years gone by when ice occasionally had to be broken before we found the water, the first day of 2012 could not have been more accommodating.
Thousands of automobiles roll past it every day, their occupants — some could be fishermen from other locales - blissfully unaware that the large, rock-strewn cove known as the Spoils might very well be the most consistently productive cold-weather fishing spot on the upper tidal Potomac River. It's but a stone's throw from the I-295 exit lanes that take motorists from Maryland across the Wilson Bridge into Virginia.
Not everyone in town and in the suburbs is going to stay indoors and devour turkey, dressing and pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving Day.
The time has come when many of our area's warm-weather fishermen begin to stash away their boats and tackle. However, hard-nosed anglers who prefer to seek their quarry in the Chesapeake Bay, the tidal rivers of Maryland and Virginia, as well as the not-too-distant Atlantic Ocean, are not giving up - not by a long shot.
What a glorious time of year to be a dyed-in-the-wool sport angler. It's November, with cool nights and fairly warm days, and in the case of the Potomac River, crappies are biting big-time in a number of its tidal portions.
Outstanding catches of striped bass and occasional hookups with spotted sea trout are possible over many areas of the Chesapeake Bay.
As local anglers face a variety of autumnal options, they can begin by choosing to fish in the mountains or the tidal Potomac and Rappahannock rivers in the Maryland and Virginia flatlands this week.