- The Washington Times - Friday, December 14, 2001

It happened a little too late to be included in last Friday's fishing report, which is written on Thursday, but on that very day Arlington angler Mike Kingree latched onto a whopping 53-pound blue catfish in the Potomac River that broke the Maryland record for the species.
Kingree fished not far from the Marshall Hall boat ramp in Charles County in a place known as the Greenway Flats. He apparently knew what he was after, using generous slabs of cut bait on a weighted bottom rig and strong gear.
The 42.5-inch-long fish had a girth of 30 inches. It beat the standing 39-pound, 4-ounce record, caught in the Potomac in 1999, by 13 pounds, 12 ounces.
The huge blue "cat" was weighed at Holiday Sports in Temple Hills. Later that day, Maryland Department of Natural Resources biologists Ross Williams and Tim Groves verified the species and exact weight on a certified scale at Chuck's Butcher Shop in the town of Bryans Road, a short distance from the Marshall Hall launch site.
Incidentally, DNR biologist Angel Bolinger tells us if you would like to learn more about this and other state record fish, you can visit the DNR Web site, www.dnr.state.md.us/fisheries/fishingreport/record.html. (Wow! Now that's a Web address.)
Elsewhere on the tidal Potomac, guides from Reel Bass Adventures (301/932-1509, 301/934-9062) say they are continuing to catch large numbers of bass in the Potomac's tidal waters. The ledges and underwater grasses in the vicinity of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge are capable of turning up bunches of bass as long as anglers use small crankbaits, white spinnerbaits, plastic worms, grubs or dropshot-rigged finesse worms. Some of these tidal bass are in the 4-pound class.
The crappie bite is strong, with many of the speckled fish weighing a pound or more. They seem to prefer Mann's Sting Ray Grubs on 3/8-ounce jig hooks, small Berkley Power Shads on dropshot rigs or 2-inch Power Grubs fished plainly with a 1/8-ounce jig hook. The crappies are in 10 to 18 feet of water along various river ledges on the Maryland side. Yellow perch are possible in the grass beds above the bridge, and they might attack anything you throw at them, including small crankbaits in firetiger patterns.
Virginia lakes give up bass From Buggs Island Lake (Kerr Reservoir) comes word that the water level is still nine feet below full pool, with water temperatures in the mid-50s. Bass catches are made in the main lake around long, jutting points where mixed depths are present. Despite colder weather, some of the bass strike topwater Zara Spooks, as well as crankbaits and spinnerbaits. Striped bass in the 8- to 12-pound range are found above the Clarksville sector and in Nutbush Creek, but they prefer mostly live shiners and shad. Kerr Reservoir's crappies are showing up big time now in flooded bushes and docks. For catfish fans, a 42-pound, 12-ounce blue cat was caught this week in the vicinity of Grassy Creek.
At the adjacent Lake Gaston, the Tackle Box store says if you can find some live bait shad, you are sure to hook landlocked stripers. Gaston's crappie fishing has been pretty good as water temperatures cling to the 57-degree mark. However, largemouth bass hunters have had to work for their catches, but bass are available.
Now check out the following: At southwestern Virginia's Smith Mountain Lake comes word of a buddy bass tournament that was won by Melvin Jennings, of Altavista, and Carlos Arragon, of Concord, with a five-bass catch that weighed 21 pounds. That's a super weight for five fish. Imagine bringing back a catch in which the average bass weighs more than four pounds.
Smith Mountain's crappies are schooled up, and they are cooperative now. Only the striper action has slowed down.
Not far from Fredericksburg, Lake Anna anglers are doing quite well on chunky bass and stripers. As the day and night temperatures chill down the water even more, the striper fishing will get better and better. Lately, some rockfish have shown up in the Route 208 bridge area, but many are far up the lake, some as far as Terry's Run. The crappie fishing, meanwhile, is holding up well if you concentrate on beaver huts and sunken brush piles.

*Look for Gene Mueller's Outdoors column every Sunday and Wednesday and his Fishing Report every Friday, only in The Washington Times. E-mail: gmueller@washingtontimes.com.

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