- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 21, 2004

There’s not much happening on the fishing front, but that shouldn’t surprise anyone. We’ve been steadily looking at early morning temperatures in the teens, plus wicked wind-chill factors, so the whole deal can only be described as one gigantic, “Brrrrrrrr.”

Some of our local boat launching ramps have had ice and there is sheet ice on the water. Am I a wuss about all this? Not really, but I’d prefer not to slip and slide into the water when I launch a boat. How about you?

Meanwhile, in a place where the temperatures are obviously more conducive to fishing, at Lake Texoma, on the Oklahoma-Texas border, the Associated Press says a 27-year-old angler might have broken the world record for blue catfish.

Cody Mullennix used a 3-inch-long dead threadfin shad on an 8/0 Gamakatsu circle hook tied to 20-pound monofilament line when a 121-1/2-pound blue catfish inhaled the offering. What an awfully small bait for a fish whose mouth could easily open wide enough to swallow a young pig.

If verified by the state and then accepted by the International Game Fish Association, it will be a fine world record, beating the old mark by Charles Ashley Jr. in 2001 in the Arkansas portion of the Mississippi River. Ashley’s behemoth weighed 1163/4 pounds.

Closer to home, nothing has changed as far as Virginia’s tidal James River is concerned. If you can take the cold, the blue catfish parade continues anywhere from the Dutch Gap area down to the Appomattox. Don’t be surprised if you get a jolt on your line at the Dutch Gap warm water area and find a fat rockfish on the hook, while in a James River tributary, the Chickahominy River near Williamsburg, you can expect to find a few bass, fat crappies and resident yellow perch.

No fishing success stories are heard from Kerr Reservoir and Lake Gaston on the Virginia-North Carolina line. All we know is that Kerr’s water levels have dropped by nearly five feet.

Not far from Washington, if you can get permission to reach the backwater lagoons of Lake Anna (west of Fredericksburg), you’ll score on some bass, crappies and stripers, but the overall catch rate isn’t anything to crow about.

Ohio angler is PVA champion — Mike Vanderveen of Dayton, Ohio, won a Ranger bass boat with a big Mercury outboard as he took top honors in the Paralyzed Veterans of America Grand National Championship, a Bass Anglers Sportsmen Society-sanctioned event. The three-day contest, held for people with disabilities, was on Lake Havasu, Ariz., and ended Jan.11.

Thirty-five anglers from across the U.S. qualified to fish in the championship. A first-time winner, Vanderveen said, “It was awful cold, but I’m elated and proud to be able to represent the PVA in the upcoming fishing tournaments.”

The contest was narrowed down to the top five anglers on the final day and Vanderveen’s winning weight was 6.11 pounds of bass. A former Marine, Venderveen served in Vietnam where he suffered an amputation of both legs. He now works as a delivery driver. More tournament details can be had by visiting pvabasstour.com.

Turkey harvest is down — Maryland hunters hoping to find a turkey in the state’s three western-most counties during the fall managed to shoot only 164 of the big birds last year. The week-long October hunt showed a 30 percent decline over a similar outing in 2002 when hunters shot 235 wild turkeys.


• Western Maryland fishing and boat show — Tomorrow through Sunday, Washington County Agricultural Center, Sharpsburg Pike, near Hagerstown. Seminars, fishing and hunting exhibits, boats, SUVs. Sponsored by the Western Region Bass Anglers. Admission: $5 (under 16, free). Information: 301/797-8289, 240/291-0004.

Capital Sportsmen’s Show — Jan.30 through Feb.1 at Dulles Expo Center, Chantilly, Va. Information: osegsportsmens.com.

Trout Unlimited chapter meeting — Feb.5, 7:30p.m., at Vienna (Va.) Volunteer Fire Department. Virginia fisheries biologist John Odenkirk will talk about trout. Information: nvatu.org.

Saltwater Sportsman seminar — Feb.7, 9a.m. to 4p.m., Annapolis High School’s Performing Arts Theater, 2700 Riva Road. A one-day, six-hour seminar that addresses where and how to catch fish in our area. Registration: 800/448-7360.

Bass fishing flea market — Feb. 7, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., Hillendale Firehouse, Dale City, Va. Admission: $2; under 12 free.

Baltimore Antique Arms Show — March20-21, 9a.m., at Maryland State Fairgrounds, Timonium. No modern handguns. Information: baltimoreshow.com; 301/865-6804.

Look for Gene Mueller’s Outdoors column every Sunday, Wednesday and Thursday, only in The Washington Times. E-mail: gmueller@washingtontimes.com.

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