By Rand Paul
Obama acts as though we no longer have a Constitution
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.
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.
A little more than a week ago, when water and air temperatures were unusually warm, there were fears that, like the largemouth bass, the striped bass of the Chesapeake Bay would arrive sooner than normal and begin their spawning run.
Over the past six days, local and distant sport fishing has gone into overdrive.
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.
There's no way to hide it. March is here, and even if day and night temperatures still can be on the cold side, the numbers of fish species that local and distant anglers now go after are increasing daily.
The upper, tidal Patuxent River between Hills Bridge and Jug Bay is giving up scads of pre-spawn yellow perch. On Monday, a group of us Southern Marylanders caught well over 80 roe perch and smaller "bucks," as the males are called.
As you read this, the air will tell what typical February weather should feel like, but the past six or seven days' spring-like temperatures have worked wonders on man and fish.
OK, so we're not having Arctic weather, but it will be cold again soon enough. When the mercury drops and the wind turns a 40-degree day into one that feels like it's 25, more than one of the Potomac's fishing insiders begins to take a hard look at the Occoquan River in Prince William and Fairfax counties.
Among American sport-fishing fanatics the striped bass (aka striper or rockfish) is second only to the largemouth bass in matters of popularity. That should come as no big surprise since an adult striper of 30 to 50 pounds can make a grown man's muscles feel like Jello and turn an expensive one-piece fishing rod into a two-piecer when you least expect it.
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.
"Sightings of cobia were confirmed last weekend as anglers began to catch [these] fish, with some pushing to over 50-inches," she said and added, "The prospect of red and black drum continues to draw anglers to the Eastern Shore side of the Bay.
VIRGINIA: 210 miles to Virginia Beach – Dr. Julie Ball (drjball.com) said if the weather allows you to go offshore, deep-dropping baits will result in a good catch of sea bass.