- The Washington Times - Friday, June 28, 2002

Despite the heat, surprisingly good catches of rockfish, blues, flounder, croakers and sea trout are possible in the Chesapeake Bay. For serious flounder fans who don't mind traveling a bit, the various support structures and islands around the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel in the lowest parts of the bay beckon. The bridge-tunnel has given up a number of flatfish in the 6- and 7-pound range, while the eastern side of the span, not far from the town of Cape Charles, Va., has been good for cobias some weighing 50 pounds. Now add sea trout, bluefish, spadefish and stripers and you'll understand why this area is an anglers' paradise.

Closer to home, chum boats that work the Middle Grounds and other parts of the lower Maryland portions of the Chesapeake find good evening action on croakers, stripers and bluefish, but trollers throughout the Bay also have great fun with wildly striking Spanish mackerel and bluefish. Small silver spoons, trolled far behind the boat with little else than a light inline sinker some 15 or 20 feet from the lure, do the job.

Meanwhile, have you heard about the Asian snakehead fish that was caught (and unfortunately let go again) in a Crofton gravel pit? The northern snakehead, as it's known, is a voracious eater of other fish, plus it can leave its home waters and actually crawl to another water body if it isn't too far away. Maryland Department of Natural Resources officials fear that this "foreigner" could reach the nearby Little Patuxent River and really present a problem to indigenous fish species.

The snakehead bears a slight resemblance to a prehistoric species survivor in our country, the American bowfin (also known as grindle or mudfish). It has an almost body-long dorsal fin and a rounded tailfin, but unlike the bowfin, snakeheads generally do not grow longer than 18 inches. Bowfins get much larger than that. If you know anything about the illegal release of this fish in Crofton, call the DNR at 410/260-8320.

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