- The Washington Times - Friday, October 26, 2001

If local weather forecasts prove accurate which would be a pleasant surprise the weekend will be colder than it has been in some time. But the cooler temperatures will bring smiles to the faces of bass fishermen who like to be alone on the lakes, mountain rivers, or backwater feeder creeks of the tidal Potomac, Patuxent or Rappahannock.

Why? When surface temperatures chill, the bass will slowly seek underwater ledges where depths change quickly. There they'll lay seeking a comfort zone that will never be far from whatever food supply the river or freshwater lake has to offer. That means long, jutting land points that provide quickly declining water depths on at least one side.

In the tidal creeks that are so popular with local bass boaters, you can find action along a gravel shore or marsh bank where the water falls from as little as one to nine or 10 feet.

Start using crankbaits that imitate a local baitfish or crawdad. Don't forget plastic grubs that are dipped in fish attractants, or a type that comes with its own scent, such as Berkley Power products. This is also a time when short, odd-looking plastic worms, such as the Senko, will receive a hard look from bass that intend to fatten up a bit because the winter isn't far away and times may get lean. About the Senko, one of the hottest soft-plastic baits in the world right now (don't let its homely looks dissuade you), Mike Guy of Guy Brothers Marine in Clements (St. Mary's County), Md., says he's got a fresh supply of the precious Senko worms. Visit him at the marine store on Route 234.

I hunted for whatever would bite this week in two Southern Maryland waterways, the Nanjemoy and the Port Tobacco, both in Charles County. With a 2-inch chartreuse Berkley power grub on a 1/8-ounce jig hook I found bass, some fat yellow perch, a few crappies, even a fat catfish.

Stripers and blues galore From the Tackle Box in Lexington Park (St. Mary's County) comes word that before the cold front arrived, rockfish, bluefish and gray sea trout delivered plenty of action in the lower Maryland parts of the Chesapeake Bay. Trollers, chummers, jig bouncers and surf casters scored in a variety of places. But strong downward temperature changes might put a crimp into anglers visiting the fishing grounds. The fish, however, will be there, because it takes awhile before the water cools down so much that the bluefish think of leaving. The stripers and sea trout don't mind cold weather.

Until midweek, surface eruptions by keeper rockfish and bluefish of various sizes were common during the early and late hours at the Patuxent River mouth's Cedar Point, and heading south on the bay at Point No Point, as well as in the mouth of the Potomac River on the Virginia and Maryland sides. In fact, live bait drifters, using Norfolk spot, found tremendous action in the Smith Point area all week. Dr. Peter Malnati and friends fished with the live bait, drifting along with the tide between Smith Point Inlet and the Smith Point Light. They caught a fine assortment of fat rockfish and bluefish.

If you're looking for the bigger striped bass, the ones that have been arriving from the waters of the Atlantic, they're out there but it will take a bit of diligent trolling with umbrella rigs in white or chartreuse. Ken Lamb, who owns the Tackle Box, says he has custom umbrella rigs all set to go, ready to put overboard, so check him out.

Point Lookout beach and pier fishermen have done well during the night hours. Cut bait or bloodworms have turned up decent catches of rockfish, a few flounder, bluefish and scattered sea trout. Meanwhile, striper fans can score inside the Patuxent River, casting Rat-L-Traps and other shallow water lures, but also sassy Shads on lead-headed jig hooks, to rocky shorelines near Sotterly and the mouth of St. Leonard's Creek.

Striped bass world championship More than $40,000 in cash and prizes are up for grabs in the fourth annual Striped Bass World Championship that runs from Thursday through Dec. 31.

You can fish from a charter boat, your own craft, from the surf, a pier you name it and if you hook a state-record rockfish, you make $25,000. That's only for starters. The fishing can take place anywhere, from Virginia Beach to the Eastern Shore, from Newport News to Chesapeake, Yorktown, even to Richmond on the James River.

There'll be prizes galore. For a free striped bass rules book, call 800/822-3224, or try the Web at www.StripedBassWorldChampionship.com.

Blue crab meetings Public meetings to discuss options concerning the plight of the Chesapeake Bay blue crab population will be next week at various Maryland locations. Each meeting will begin at 7 p.m.: Monday, Wicomico Youth and Civic Center, Salisbury; Tuesday, Anne Arundel Community College's Cade Building, Room 219, 101 College Parkway, Arnold; Thursday, Holiday Inn, Solomons.

Also, here's a reminder that crabbing season ends Wednesday for recreational and commercial crabbers, but for sport crabbers it means that the last crabbing day is Tuesday.

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