- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Strong wind and heavy rain hurt some of our fishing plans this week, but believe me it’s not over by a long shot.

On Monday, for example, Maryland Natural Resources official Bob Lunsford and I checked to see whether the resident yellow perch in the upper Patuxent River had started to school. They had not, but we were delighted to find well-fed, healthy perch almost everywhere we stopped the boat and cast 3-inch Mann’s Sting Ray grubs in avocado green or 2-inch-long curly tailed Berkley Power Grubs in chartreuse to upper river shorelines. The trick was to find a river point or creek mouth with sharp drops that quickly fell from shallow to deep.

We used 1/4-ounce ballhead jig hooks on the Sting Rays and 1/8-ounce jig hooks on the smaller Power Grubs. Both were dipped in either garlic- or crawfish-flavored Smell Jelly fish attractant. The lure was cast into the shallows, dragged away and allowed to fall into deep water. Before it touched bottom, we often felt a soft tap at the end of the line and with a quick lift of the rod usually hooked a perch.

Potomac bass and crappies active — Potomac bass guide Andy Andrzejewski said he’s finding bass around rocky structure, in big coves and bays along the main river and in areas away from direct current. Drop-shot rigs with small finesse worms or Sting Ray grubs, as well as small, deep-diving crankbaits, can attract some fair-sized largemouths.

“I’ve been fishing in areas that had seven to 10 feet of water,” he said, adding that fish attractants on the lures definitely helped. He also said crappies continue to be plentiful around marina piers and bulkheads. Small plastic grubs rigged on 1/8-ounce ball jigs or shad darts suspended two to three feet under a bobber work well.

Off-and-on success in tidal Susquehanna — Tidal Susquehanna River guide Karl Bunch (410/459-7445) said bass fishing this and last week was good one day, poor the next.

“But even on the tough off-days the fish we’ve been getting were of good quality,” Bunch said. “The high north winds and the lunar cycle this last week produced some very low tides, which accounts for some of the off-and-on bite. The water temperature has finally gotten below 50 degrees, and this should help to get the fish to feed aggressively for the winter as they move to deeper water.”

Bunch is fishing shorelines and points with rip-rap and wood laydowns that go from shallow to deep water. He uses mostly crankbaits now but also has started to slow-roll a spinnerbait around wooded shorelines. As the fish permanently move to deeper water, he also will use drop shot rigs or Silver Buddy blade lures.

Some big rockfish still in bay — From his Tackle Box store in Lexington Park, Ken Lamb reported trolling for big striped bass is slow, especially in the northern region of the bay.

“[But] we had nine big rockfish checked in at the store over the weekend,” he said. “They were all huge fish, up to 50 pounds and 52 inches in length.”

Lamb said most of the trollers find only one decent fish an outing, which isn’t great, but the boaters in Virginia’s Northern Neck and down the bay to the Rappahannock River are doing better with up to seven good-sized fish a day. Lamb also mentioned a big school of small rockfish was under the Solomons Bridge in the mouth of the Patuxent River on Tuesday and lure casters caught as many as they wished, with some being of the legal 18 inches and longer. Not only that, white perch still are available in the deep holes of the river. Use bloodworm- or squid-baited bottom rigs.

Marina boss gets big striper — Christy Henderson of Buzz’s Marina (www.buzzsmarina.com) on St. Jerome’s Creek in St. Mary’s County said her husband, Mike, latched on to a 52-inch, 50-pounder in the Chesapeake last week. In the photos, the fish looked bigger than 50 pounds.

Henderson also mentioned one of their marina regulars went out to bottom-fish with bloodworms, earth worms and fresh spot. He returned with huge croakers, a bluefish and a small sea trout.

“He said he anchored in 70 feet of water and basically had to hit them in the head with the bait,” Henderson said.

Yes, most of the croakers are gone, but a few stragglers apparently still are in deep layers of the bay.

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

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