- The Washington Times - Friday, August 16, 2002

Launch a boat (or walk the docks) at Smallwood State Park's tidal Mattawoman Creek before the sun rises. Bring a fishing outfit that can handle a blunt-nosed popper. Cast it around the edges of the many water-weed patches that dot the water from the marina launch ramps clear out toward the mouth and the Potomac River. Cast that popper, let it lie, twitch it a bit, let it lie, pop it, make it gurgle, splash and hiss a little across the pre-sunrise water. Oh, yeah, and hang on because a bass will slurp it up.

Two of us did the bass popping thing Tuesday, and we had 13 largemouths on topwater lures alone some of them absolute beauties. Any brand popper in 3-inch lengths will do the job, especially if the tail section hangs low in the water and the treble hook sports some feathers or bucktail hairs. Colors don't seem to matter. But when the sun starts baking the water, you might as well drop a few plastic worms into the same surroundings for an hour or so. Then go home and cool off with a tall glass of iced tea.

Meanwhile, in the salty waters of the Chesapeake Bay, surface eruptions by massive schools of young bluefish, now and then even rockfish, are the order of the day from as far up as Kent Island on Maryland's Eastern Shore and as far down the Bay as the mouth of Virginia's Rappahannock River. Look also for Spanish mackerel that like small, trolled spoons, and sea trout that prefer the crab or chum baits of striper anglers. One thing is certain: There's action galore in the saltwater. Also, prepare yourself with slowly declining numbers of croakers. As the summer season wanes, the croakers will head out of the Bay, but they'll do it slowly.

Yes, this is a fishing report, but many of our anglers are also hunters who've e-mailed us about upcoming resident Canada goose seasons that are just around the corner. In Virginia, five Canadas per day will be allowed from Sept.2 through Sept.25.

Maryland is still thinking about its dates. The little state always is the last along the entire East Coast to announce its waterfowl seasons. Thus far, it has Nov.15 through Nov.29, and Dec.12 through Feb.12 dates "under consideration." The resident geese hunt would be primarily for a number of counties west of the Chesapeake Bay. We'll keep you posted when the hunt is finalized.

You can reach us via e-mail at [email protected].


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