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By Donald Lambro
Growth spikes are little more than trend-free anomalies
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Topic - Tackle Box Store
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.
Here's a surprise for all who suppose that this week's fishing will have to be postponed because of the aftereffects of Hurricane Irene. From nearly every corner of our region comes word that the water is fine, certainly good enough for fishing and, if anything, the catches might be better than usual. It happens frequently after strong storms blow through our area.
The proliferation of large blue catfish in the upper tidal portions of the Potomac River is astounding. In a river that not too many years ago wasn't even home to this tough piscatorial adversary, the Potomac already has given up several in the 60-pound range and, a few days ago, an angler up around Fletcher's Cove in Georgetown came to the concession building to show off a 55-pounder. It is believed that these catfish could have migrated north from Virginia's James and Rappahannock rivers.
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.
Much is happening in all the waters near and far from Washington. It begins with the clearing of the mountain rivers and the resumption of smallmouth bass and channel catfish catches from the upper Potomac to the Shenandoah and on to the Rappahannock rivers. But if heavy rains again arrive as they have all too often in recent weeks, all bets are off.
Some Chesapeake Bay boaters who haven't had an easy time finding rockfish while trolling are switching to chum ground-up menhaden baitfish and the catches can be quite good, especially in the waters below Hooper's Island Light and south of Cedar Point.
Be reminded that the Maryland season for 18-inch-and-up striped bass is open in the Chesapeake Bay and the tidal Potomac, Patuxent, Chester and Choptank rivers, and the fishing can be, oh, so good.
Who could have guessed that additional rainstorms and wind would alter some parts of last week's fishing report, so for this week's outlook we'll stay on the side of caution.
For thousands of area saltwater anglers, only one thing matters this Saturday: the opening day of the Maryland spring trophy season for striped bass. The official state fish of Maryland also is known as rockfish, striper and, whenever a 30-pounder breaks off five feet from the boat's transom, a few names not suited for a family newspaper.