- The Washington Times - Friday, January 4, 2002

HILL TOP, Md. — To celebrate the first day of 2002 we did just as we've done for a number of years: We went fishing. It beats sitting at home nursing a New Year party hangover.
Tidal river fishing guide Andy Andrzejewski (301/932-1509), who's done the New Year's fishing thing for more than a quarter century, asked me to join him for an outing on Southern Maryland's Nanjemoy Creek. "We'll put the boat into the water around 9a.m. Things should warm up a little by then," he said.
They warmed up, all right. When we arrived at the launch ramp the temperature was stuck on the 28-degree line and the wind blew steadily at 15 to 20 mph. However, thanks to the Nanjemoy's many bends and high-banked creek sections it was possible to hide from strong breezes.
We wore warm clothes, brought baked-ham sandwiches and several thermos bottles filled with hot coffee and tea. We fished with plastic grubs surrounding 1/8-ounce ball-headed jig hooks. The always popular 3-inch Mann's Sting Ray grubs, 2-inch Berkley Power Grubs and Berkley Power Tubes were our baits of choice. Since the water was so cold that tough braided lines would only gather moisture and freeze, this day we favored monofilament lines ranging from 8- to 12-pound test. Even at that, we had to knock ice from the rod guides now and then.
As bald eagles soared in bright, cold skies, the two of us hooked a dozen or so resident yellow perch and even lost several heavyweight fish that, after considerable discussion, were judged to be fat, tidal-water carp.
The outing was an unqualified success and in the next several weeks we're planning to do a Sunday story about Andrzejewski's winning winter fishing methods. His advice and helpful tips merit a separate column. Watch for it. This guy is amazing when it comes to finding fish during a time of year when most people prefer to sit in front of a roaring fire.
Striper bite at power plant There's some scuttlebutt that rockfish have been caught at the Potomac River's Morgantown power plant, hard by the Maryland side of the Route 301 bridge in Charles County.
Colonial Beach, Va., striper guide, Steve Riha (804/224-7062), says he's found stripers on the business end of 4- and 6-inch Sassy Shad lures. In fact, several times now he's had a couple that exceeded 30 inches in length. But the fishing is an iffy affair. One day they'll bite, another day they won't. With steady cold temperatures settling into our region, it should take no time before baitfish schools begin to congregate in the warmer water by the plant's discharge channel and the rockfish will be there cashing in on the bounty.
The boat launching situation at Aqualand Marina, close to the power plant, is not clear. One person says you can launch during winter, another says you have to have a winter season-long launch permit.
We do know that you can't keep any stripers now. The season for them is over, but catch-and-release fishing is OK. Be sure to flatten or pinch down the hook barbs so a fish that's been caught can be easily released by simply grabbing the head of the jig hook that holds the Sassy Shad, then allowing the fish to slide from the hook back into the water. No harm will come to the fish. In fact, the only time any harm will come to the striped bass at the Route 301 bridge is when the commercial netters string out their mesh. Those rockfish will end up on a bed of ice in a neighborhood market.
Harrisburg show in February The Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show, at the State Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg, Pa., will have a Feb.2-10 run this year. This is one of the biggest outdoor shows in the country, and if you're interested in the latest hunting, fishing, camping and related outdoor equipment this show is for you. There'll be everything from fishing tackle to binoculars, and from tree stands to deer, turkey, duck, goose and elk calling contests, as well as a decoy painting competition and duck decoy head carving contest.
Tickets cost $10 ($17 for a two-day pass); children 6-12 pay $4, and kids under 6 get in free. Senior citizens pay $8.50. For more show information, or to order tickets by mail, call 800/511-8376, or go the Web, www.easternsportshow.com.

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