- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 19, 2002

Those fabled, heavyweight ocean stripers that invade the Chesapeake Bay this time every year showed up briefly and now appear to have left. That normally doesn't happen until the end of the month or, during warm winters, later in January.
"I've called my customers who'd booked trips and told them to stay home," said charter fishing captain Eddie Davis, who heads a small fleet of charter boats in Smith Creek, near Point Lookout. "The water got too cold too quick." Davis has switched to guiding goose hunting clients on his St. Mary's County fields.
Davis' lament concerning the disappearing rockfish is shared by another charter boat captain, the Northern Neck's Ferrell McLain. This Reedville, Va., skipper also has canceled previously booked charters, as have many of his fellow captains. If you're interested in bringing home a waterfowl dinner, however, call Davis at 301/872-5871.
Down around the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, only a hop away from the Atlantic Ocean, schools of large striped bass are seen almost daily. Most of them are now heading south into Carolina waters. These big ocean stripers are chasing bait, and wherever the bait goes so will they. With a little luck, the baitfish will come into the shallows along the beaches of the Outer Banks. When it happens, watch out, because things will get hectic among the surf rodders on Hatteras Island's Cape Point. The point is the eastern-most land mass of the United States after West Quoddy Head, Maine and it can attract a veritable smorgasbord of fish because of its close proximity to warm Gulfstream currents. Already some trophy stripers and a few sea trout are cooperating as you read this.
If you recall our recent Sunday feature about the James River rockfish that seem to stay in this historic river every December and January, not far from Richmond, be advised that they're still charging up and down the waterway. The Hopewell area, including the mouth of the Appomattox River, has been visited regularly by the striped bass during the past week. The Barge Pit and the general Deep Bottom area also show flocks of seagulls diving for leftover baitfish pieces, giving away the schools of feeding stripers that will attack a Sassy Shad or Zoom Fluke lure as quickly as they will a live alewife baitfish.
Wilson Bridge area shows action Closer to home, the Wilson Bridge vicinity continues to produce largemouth bass, crappies and yellow perch. When the wind blows, all you need to do is get inside the Spoils Cove on the Maryland side, just above the bridge. Use a ⅛-ounce jighead and feed a chartreuse, brown or white curly-tailed Berkley Power Grub onto the hook. Two-inch tube lures also work. You'll catch crappies, bass and even perch on the small "bait."
However, the 3-inch Mann's Sting Ray grub in avocado fed onto -ounce ball-head jig and dabbed with a bit of Smelly Jelly fish attractant seems to draw strikes from the bigger bass. All you do is cast any of these lures out in river or cove areas that show some kind of structure or a quickly falling underwater ledge, allow them to sink, then gently retrieve them. Occasionally, hop the bait a little by popping the rod tip with a quick snap of the wrist. The fish will do the rest.
Lake Anna offers stripers The waters of Lake Anna, west of Fredericksburg, Va., are doing well with the fish scattered, but the best action coming from the 208 bridge to the Splits. Sea Shads, Sassy Shads and 3/4-ounce jigging spoons are effective. Most stripers are in shallow water down to 15 feet. Sea gulls are on the lake and betray the location of the feeding stripers. Brian Stup of Orange had a pair of stripers totaling 16 pounds, 10 ounces. Ronnie Colley of Spotsylvania had a 14-pound striper.
Going broke because of generosity The Virginia division of Hunters for the Hungry, the people who ask hunters to donate venison to feed the needy, is broke. The Big Island-headquartered organization says it had to stop accepting deer that would have to be properly processed by professional butchers because of financial limitations. To date, Virginia hunters have donated 250,000 pounds (1million servings) of venison, and the hunting season isn't over yet.
Said Laura Newell-Furniss, Hunters for the Hungry program director: "Our best estimate is that we would receive an additional 1,500 to 2,000 deer in the [remaining] three weeks of the season. At an average processing cost of $30 per deer, we would need $45,000 to $60,000 in funds to continue accepting deer. We just do not have the money we need."
How unfair. Good Samaritans go broke because they want to help the poor. For information on the HFTH group, call 800/352-4868.

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