- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 14, 2003

The shad are still biting in the upper tidal waters of the Potomac River and many of them are white shad, the larger and harder fighting member of the shad family. Not only that but white perch, catfish, some striped bass and largemouth bass are in the same stretch of river water. That means get to Fletcher’s Boat House off Canal Road in Georgetown. You can fish from the rocky shore or rent a boat, buy snacks, bait and D.C. fishing licenses. Fletcher’s is a great place to spend a day.

As far as the Chesapeake Bay is concerned, rockfish, hardheads (croakers), even some Norfolk spot are being hooked. The fishing is fine, although trophy-sized rockfish aren’t nearly as plentiful as some would have you believe. However, some of truly big spawners are now leaving the bay and it is not unheard of to tie into a 40- to 45-incher. Trolled parachute rigs and such attract enough attention from the hungry rockfish that a charter boat outing is well worth it in most bay sectors. From the Tackle Box in Lexington Park (St. Mary’s County), Ken Lamb reports, “Rockfishing continues to be excellent from Cove Point south to the Virginia line.”

The best news this week might just be all the croakers that are hooked. Lamb mentions good numbers of the hardheads, as Marylanders refer to the Atlantic croaker, are taken from the Point Lookout State Park pier. Bloodworm pieces, squid strips and razor clams work well to bring these tasty fish to the hook. The croakers, in fact, are biting very well clear up to the Route 301 bridge in the Potomac River, as well as throughout the lower Patuxent, Choptank, Nanticoke, Rappahannock and James rivers.

Locally, tidal water bass fans can score nicely with plastic worms and lizards, as well as shallow to medium depth crankbaits. What has bothered us so far this spring is the bass’ unwillingness to take spinnerbaits; that and their continued preference for sunken wood more so than new aquatic vegetation. It could just be a coincidence, but it was the case on three outings in the past several days.

You can reach us via e-mail at gmueller@washingtontimes.com.

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