- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 17, 2003

As we begin the more detailed warm-weather version of our weekly fishing reports, there is angling action galore all over the Washington area.

It begins with the report of a 10-pound, 1-ounce largemouth bass caught in the tidal Potomac River in the vicinity of the Wilson Bridge. Bass guide Steve Chaconas (703/380-7119) received a call from the angler, Gary Kincheloe, who lives in Fairfax. Kincheloe wanted the pro guide to take a look at a huge, live bass that inhaled a jointed Shad Rap lure tied to 12-pound-test Trilene XL. The fish was kept in an aerated tank, quickly weighed on the calibrated scale of a Virginia fast-food restaurant, then released.

Apparently, the two men either didn't know or didn't care that the bass would have broken the standing Maryland tidal water largemouth bass record by exactly one pound - a huge margin as bass records go. The old mark, a 9-pound, 1-ouncer has reigned since 1979.

The tidal Potomac up in Georgetown, at Fletcher's Boat House (202/244-0461), is in better shape now than it was last week. Ray Fletcher says he plans to have rental boats available and the herring, white perch and hickory shad will be more cooperative.

Don't forget, the trophy striper season begins in Maryland on Saturday and runs through May 15. Most of this type of fishing for big brood stripers will be done by trolling umbrella rigged Sassy Shads or parachute bucktails from boats in the middle and lower parts of the Chesapeake Bay. Thus far, charter fishing captains out of Chesapeake Beach, Deale, Solomons and the Point Lookout area agree that fish are available, but during test runs the catch-and-release anglers have said that strikes from the larger rockfish have been tough to come by. That might change by the weekend. In Maryland, your trophy rockfish must measure at least 28 inches. You may keep one a day. Virginia's trophy striper season runs May 1 through May 15. Starting May 16 anglers in both states can keep two rockfish of at least 18 inches.

Good news for croaker (hardhead) fishermen: "The croakers have moved into the lower Potomac," says Ken Lamb of the Tackle Box in Lexington Park. "Boat renters at Quade's Store in Bushwood caught croakers even in the rain last week, using bloodworms and squid. The fish have not schooled and stabilized yet, and are still lean, but some up to 18 and 19 inches are hooked."

In case you've never heard of Bushwood, it's in St. Mary's County by the shores of the Wicomico River, a Potomac tributary. The town has a free state-owned boat ramp and a public fishing pier. Nearby Quade's Store (301/769-3903) rents boats and sells bait. To reach Bushwood, take Route 5 south through Waldorf and Mechanicsville, then turn right on Route 238 in Helen; follow to Bushwood.

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