- The Washington Times - Friday, November 16, 2001

Potomac River bass anglers have been scoring from the tidal waters near Wilson Bridge clear down to western Charles County's Nanjemoy Creek.
La Plata-based fishing guide Andy Andrzejewski reports that several days this week his clients caught more than 20 bass in one relatively small area near the span, while one of the Charles County feeder creeks turned up two dozen bass for us Monday. Avocado color Mann's Sting Ray grubs did the job.
Then comes Maryland's freshwater fisheries chief, Bob Lunsford, who also is in charge of the state's tidal bass population. Lunsford says the largemouths in the tidal Patuxent are willing if you are, as are the bass in the Choptank and Nanticoke rivers over on the Eastern Shore. In all these upper tidal waters, the chance for resident yellow perch and crappies is also good.
Rockfish please Southern Marylanders St. Mary's County trollers who worked the waters of the lower Potomac River and the adjacent Chesapeake Bay this week were happy to report catches of whopping rockfish. The news comes from Ken Lamb of the Tackle Box in Lexington Park, as well as fishing captains Eddie and Steve Davis (301/872-5871), who keep their charter boats in Smith Creek, a Potomac tributary close to Point Lookout.
Lamb says, "Big rockfish are caught daily when the wind permits it. We've had good reports from the mouth of the Potomac, the lower bay from the Target Ship to Smith Point, and the northern reaches around Breezy Point. Many of the fish are over 40 inches. Umbrella rigs are the most popular trolling lures, but big spoons, bucktails, and parachutes also work well."
Lamb says the Potomac has seen rockfish in the 40-inch class around the St. George's Island area. The Davis father-and-son charter fishing team says a number of 40- and even a 43-inch rockfish was taken by them as they trolled umbrella rigs loaded with Sassy Shads.
Meanwhile, the Patuxent River turns up rockfish close to Sandgates. These fish tend to be from 22 to 28 inches long and prefer small, white bucktails, trimmed with white pork rind strips.
Shallow water rockfish continue to be hooked by shore casters and boaters alike in a 5-mile-long Patuxent stretch, from Town Creek to Fishing Point in the river's mouth.
Low water slows mountain anglers Fans of the smallmouth bass and freshwater trout are having a tough time, what with the mountain rivers and streams so low that in many instances a duck could walk across them without getting its belly wet.
Even some of the big reservoirs are noticing serious water level declines. Nearby Lake Anna (west of Fredericksburg) is down nearly three feet, which isn't much, but when you hope to cast to a water-logged beaver hut that used to hold eating-size crappies, you now might hook a late-season grasshopper as it sits on a branch. We need serious rainfall in the Middle Atlantic states.
Still, fish can be caught.
South-central Virginia's Kerr Reservoir (also known as Buggs Island Lake) shows water levels down by nearly 9 feet, and many of the huge lake's boat ramps are unusable. But the bass fishing has been fine even in waters from 1 to 4 feet deep. Rat-L-Traps and medium depth crankbaits have done well. If the fish are found in deeper layers, switch to Carolina-rigged plastic worms.
Kerr's crappies famous all over the U.S. for their large size are taking small jigs or live minnows in 10 to 15 feet of water around boat docks, rocky areas, stumps and sunken brush. The lake's stripers are hitting live shiners or Sassy Shads from Goat Island up to the mouth of Bluestone Creek.
At the neighboring Lake Gaston, your best bets are the crappies inside the creeks and the main lake body's rockfish between the mouth of Pea Hill Creek and the island. Only the largemouth bass have been very finicky this week.
At southwestern Virginia's Smith Mountain Lake, low water continues to be a problem, but from the lake's Campers Paradise comes word that good striped bass action is found in the upper reaches of the lake where live bait fishing has been effective. One group caught 16 stripers and kept 10.
Virginia's tidal rivers show 'cats Blue catfish are hungry in the tidal Chickahominy, near Williamsburg. One Lanexa angler had a blue cat that weighed 331/2 pounds, while a Williamsburg regular caught a 33/4-pounder. Both fishermen used eels. Other catches included blue catfish in the 17- to 20-pound range. The crappies are also biting, with 2-pounders not unheard of.
In the river that the Chickahominy flows into, the tidal James, the Fin and Skin Shop in Varina reports that 10-year-old Michael Jenkins of Glen Allen hooked and landed a blue catfish that weighed 47 pounds, 6 ounces. In the Dutch gap area south of Richmond, fishermen are hooking striped bass, big crappies and catfish.
E-mail: gmueller@washingtontimes.com.

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