- The Washington Times - Friday, July 26, 2002

The lowest parts of the Chesapeake Bay between Cape Charles and the Bay Bridge tunnel have turned up fantastic fish catches recently. It started with a Virginia state record cobia of 104 pounds a week ago, hooked on the Latimer Shoals, then was followed this week with more catches of these super-strong fighting fish, at least one of them in the 90-pound range.

Just across the land spit at Cape Charles, in the waters of the seaside town of Oyster, a 60-inch-long tarpon was caught and released; plenty of flounder and sea trout are available there. Back inside the Chesapeake, add impressive numbers of big flounder from around the bridge-tunnel complex as well as Cape Henry, or fat croakers, spadefish and spot from all around the lower bay, and you can see why this region should be the place of choice for discriminating sport fishermen.

Closer to home, if you're an early riser, try to make it to the breakwater of the Patuxent River mouth's Cedar Point Lighthouse and bring Sassy Shad lures, or bucktails and spoons. The rockfish have been hanging around there before the sun climbs, and they haven't been bashful about snatching up artificials cast with medium action rods and reels. Quite a few of the stripers are in the 20- to 28-inch range, says Ken Lamb of the Tackle Box in Lexington Park.

Boat renters at Quade's Store in Bushwood (St. Mary's County) say the Wicomico River still turns up 20 to 25 croakers per angler, plus a few sea trout and Norfolk spot. Farther up the adjacent Potomac River, from the Nanjemoy Creek up to the Mattawoman, early-hour topwater lures will draw strikes from largemouth bass in weed beds or spatterdock fields. As the sun rises higher, switch to short, stubby plastic worms.

Maryland flounder anglers are reminded that the fishery for summer flounder is closed, but it will reopen Monday, Aug.12. On the subject of flounder, Martin L. Gary, a biologist with the Department of Natural Resources' Fisheries Service, wants to make saltwater fans aware that the DNR has a volunteer sportfishing survey for summer flounder. It hopes to collect valuable data on recreational summer flounder fishing trips. In short, the DNR wants to know if you did (or did not) catch flounder on outings aimed at this species, no matter where in Maryland you fished for them.

Data will be used to augment information received from a National Marine Fisheries Service survey and to compare Chesapeake Bay flounder catches to those made along the Atlantic and costal bays. Interested in helping? There are two ways to participate in the survey: online at www.dnr.state.md.us/fisheries/survey/sfsurveyintro.html or via a form available from bait and tackle stores and from the DNR. (Call Angel Bolinger, 410/260-8294, or Gary, 410/260-8289.)


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