- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 22, 2006

Although the Maryland Department of Natural Resources says it has not yet seen the official entry or the fish and cannot confirm the catch, it appears Lanham angler Chris Flurer has broken the Maryland Chesapeake Bay Division largemouth bass record.

According to Flurer, he was fishing for yellow perch in the Manokin River on May 20, using only 6-pound testline and a live worm, when he hooked and managed to land an 11-pound, 8-ounce largemouth. That would be a whopping record, beating the old mark by more than two pounds. Flurer sent us a copy of the official entry blank in the Maryland Sport Fishing Tournament, which was co-signed by an employee at the tackle shop where he had the fish weighed. The simple fact that Flurer, who is deaf, used only 6-pound line proves he wasn’t after trophy bass, which will distress many of our town’s bass-crazed “expert” anglers.

The Manokin, south of Salisbury, is not known for its bass population. It is a generally shallow body of water inhabited by perch, crabs and other more typical tidal water species. If approved by the state, here’s a salute to Flurer. We hope your record will stand for a long, long time.

Yet another Virginia record blueline tilefish has been caught east of Virginia Beach in the Atlantic, the sixth such record this year. The latest, pending approval by the Virginia Sport Fishing Tournament, is a 17-pound, 5-ounce whopper caught by Darren Foster on his boat, the Graceland II. Washington area fisherman Rodney King held the state record briefly with a 15-pound, 14-ounce tilefish.

Then there’s a pending Maryland Atlantic Division cobia record. Pete Heppner of Frederick, fishing in the Assateague Island surf last weekend, latched onto a 51-pound, 12-ounce cobia. Admittedly, it’s a long way from the recent 109-pounds-plus cobia in Virginia’s portion of the Chesapeake Bay, but Heppner did it standing in roiled surf waters and fighting the fish for 40 minutes. It was quite an angling feat.

E-mail Gene Mueller at [email protected]

AREA 1: D.C. AND VICINITY

POTOMAC RIVER: 0-35 miles (***) — At Fletcher’s Cove (Georgetown, off Canal Road; 202/244-0461), Ray Fletcher said, “We have some pan-sized rockfish that measure anywhere between 15 and 24 inches, plus catfish galore and a few smallmouth bass.” From the District downstream, guides Andy Andrzejewski (301/932-1509) and Dale Knupp (301/934-9062) have been catching bass without effort. The early morning hours are very productive if you use topwater poppers inside the creeks and in the main stream wherever you see grass beds and open pockets. All the creeks have been good. The Pomonkey Creek is receiving extra attention from the Maryland DNR because young snakeheads were caught twice inside the creek in addition to bass.

WICOMICO RIVER: 55 miles (***) — From Quade’s Store in Bushwood (301/769-3903) on the St. Mary’s County side of the river comes word that boat renters find touch-and-go croaker fishing. If you can locate a tightly bunched school, you will fill your coolers while others hook only a few. A catch of 40 Norfolk spot was made by a boater last weekend, which means the spot fishing should be excellent by July 4, when this kind of fishing usually grinds into high gear.

MATTAWOMAN CREEK: 40 miles (***) — We had some outstanding topwater lure fishing for bass Tuesday. They struck blunt-nosed poppers along the edges of spatterdock fields, especially on the corners of small coves. The tide was dropping, and the fish were feeding. Short plastic worms dabbed with a little Smelly Jelly were the ticket later in the day, especially along marsh dropoffs above the slow zone. The Mattingly Avenue boat ramp has not yet been completed.

SOUTHERN MARYLAND LAKES: 40-50 miles (***) — Gilbert Run Park’s Wheatley Lake (Route 6, east of La Plata) is good for redbreasted and occasional shellcracker sunfish. Small bass come along and now and then a crappie or two. At St. Mary’s Lake (Route 5 south of Leonardtown, on Camp Cosoma Road), the low water continues. Early in the day, you will find bass striking small poppers even as you walk along the edge of the lake.

LITTLE SENECA LAKE: 30 miles (***) — Black Hill Regional Park (off Route 117 near Boyds, 301/972-9396) and nearby Seneca Creek Lake (Clopper Road, Gaithersburg, 301/924-2127) have some respectable bass that like 4-inch Power Worms or medium-depth crankbaits and spinnerbaits when fished along grass edges and in sunken wood. Kosta Agapaloglou caught and released a tiger muskellunge in Little Seneca. Tiger muskies can grow to huge sizes.

WSSC RESERVOIRS: 20-30 miles (***) — (Triadelphia, off Route 97 or Route 650 in Montgomery County; Rocky Gorge, off Route 29 in Montgomery County) Rocky Gorge continues to give up bass, crappies, sunfish and catfish, but you must be there early or late. Mid-day hours are far too hot to fish.

PATUXENT RIVER: 25-60 miles (***) — The Tackle Box store says rental boats out of Bunky’s in Solomons find croakers from inside the Southwest Marker down to Sandy Point. You also will hook Norfolk spot that are now showing up in the mouth of the river, but the best catches are made after 5 p.m. every day. Meanwhile, trollers continue to catch rockfish in the river up and down the dropoff edges from Benedict down to the Route 4/2 bridge. The fish range from less than the legal 18 inches up to 24 inches. Even the shallows around river points can deliver stripers in the early morning and late evening hours. White perch are biting in the creeks. Use small Beetlespin or Tiny Trap lures.

OCCOQUAN RESERVOIR: 25-30 miles (***) — At Fountainhead Park (Route 123, Fairfax County) and vicinity, you will find good bass action on topwater lures early in the day, but be sure to switch to scented plastic worms when the sun climbs over the trees. Crappie fishing can be good if you can locate a small bunch inside a sunken brushpile or tree. Plenty of sunfish and catfish are available.

BURKE LAKE: 29 miles (***) — (Ox Road, Route 123, Fairfax County) Check this place out. It’s rated as the top largemouth bass impoundment in Northern Virginia. More 15-inch-and-over bass are available here than in any other lake, according to Department of Game & Inland Fisheries personnel who did an electro-shocking study in all public access impoundments.

AREA 2: CENTRAL, WESTERN MD.

UPPER POTOMAC RIVER: 35-100 miles (***) — Low, wadeable waters up around Knoxville and above Brunswick turn up surprisingly good smallmouth bass action. Tube or curly tailed baits in chartreuse with black specks (known as pepper tubes or pepper grubs) fished with a 1/8-ounce jighooks can deliver the goods. The same holds for boaters working the Point of Rocks area downstream toward Dickerson and Whites or Edwards ferries. Occasional topwater popper action is possible.

DEEP CREEK LAKE: 179 miles (***) — Guide Brent Nelson (410/799-9326 office or fishdeepcreek.com) finds bass while skipping pumpkin or junebug color tube lures under boat docks. Evening hours can be fine for walleye as boat drifters use Erie Dearie rigs with live minnows on the hooks. Yellow perch and fat sunfish are in the coves.

SUSQUEHANNA RIVER: 65-100 miles (***) — Tidal Susquehanna bass will look at a smartly cast spinnerbait at the edges of sunken trees or milfoil weed beds. Plastic worms always are good from Port Deposit down to Havre de Grace and out on the Flats. A few rockfish are hooked on the Flats, with chartreuse Bass Assassin jerk baits favored.

AREA 3: CHESAPEAKE BAY

MARYLAND: 45-75 miles (***) — From the Tackle Box in Lexington Park, Ken Lamb says, “It has been an up-and-down week for fishermen as tides were slack at prime fishing periods and the heat changed the water. Several good catches of croaker were made by boaters in the bay, but some of the night fishermen on party boats were disappointed in their catches. Chummers are doing very well for rockfish in the Triangle, south of Point Lookout.” Christy Henderson of Buzz’s Marina (301/872-5887, www.buzzsmarina.com) on St. Jerome’s Creek in St. Mary’s County says, “This past weekend was really not good for fishing. The only people who did well were the trot liners, and they cleaned up on big crabs in the creek.” One of the captains who keeps a boat at Henderson’s marina, “Walleye” Pete Dahlberg, has been fishing around Buoys 68 and 70 and was doing great with breaking fish, including stripers and bluefish. Trollers score with spoons, bucktails or small umbrella rigs from the Bay Bridge’s 35- to 40-foot water ledges down to Chesapeake Beach and across to the eastern side from James Island up to Bloody Point. It’s a matter of finding the right depth; then, the fish come along automatically. White perch are caught by bottom bait users from above the Bay Bridges south to West River and all the coves and rivers in between.

VIRGINIA: 75-150 miles (***) — The cobia bite is going great. Many large cobias have been caught in the area of Bluefish Rock and York Spit, and that includes one 109-pounder, which now is undergoing the process of becoming the latest state record. Close to the Maryland border, chum boats are going after rockfish and croakers, but the past week has been awful.

AREA 4: EASTERN SHORE/MD.

CHOPTANK RIVER: 120 Miles (***) — (Route 50 east to Cambridge) White perch and croakers are in the mouth and up toward Cambridge’s fishing bridge. Largemouth bass are possible between Denton and Greensboro, but don’t expect action like you will find when fishing the Potomac.

POCOMOKE RIVER: 140-170 miles (***) — (From Snow Hill down to Shad Landing) Good bass fishing for early birds in the Snow Hill to Milburn area. Catfish and sunfish are plentiful.

NANTICOKE RIVER: 120 miles (**) — (Sharptown ramp off Route 313 or use the Federalsburg ramp of the Marshyhope Creek) Fishing has been slow for the typical bass boater, but fish are available up toward Seaford in the spatterdock and around channel drops.

AREA 5: CENTRAL VIRGINIA

LAKE ANNA: 82 miles (***) — (Route 208, Spotsylvania County) Early Times Kentucky Whisky, the sponsor of professional tournament angler Kevin Wirth, is holding a tagged bass challenge at Lake Anna during July. The distillery is tagging 50 bass, including $1,000 tagged bass, a big cash largemouth worth $25,000 and bass that are good for merchandise prizes. Anyone 21 years and older who catches a tagged bass and registers it at earlytimes.com will win a prize pack that includes gear from Tru-Tungsten and Pure Fishing. The fishing here has been fair to good, with morning hours recommended for topwater lure casters seeking bass, but the rest of the day belongs to plastic worm users.

RAPPAHANNOCK RIVER: 47-100 miles (***) — (Fredericksburg to Leedstown) Upper-river smallmouth bass are willing early or late in the day. Topwater lures and plastic grubs and tubes can be deadly anywhere above Fredericksburg. In tidal water, there are scads of catfish and unusual numbers of bowfins, but where are the good numbers of bass that were seen when fisheries biologists electro-shocked the river?

LAKE BRITTLE: 59 miles (***) — (Route 793, off Route 29) Crappies will bite readily if you can find a small pod of them. Sunfish and catfish will bite. Bass are a little harder to come by, but they’re there, and a smartly fished plastic worm will find some around sunken obstacles.

LAKE ORANGE: 75 miles (**) — (Concessionaire: 540/672-3997; look for left turn sign on Route 20 before entering town of Orange) Catfish like clam neck or liver baits, but if it’s bass you’re after, work with early morning topwater baits, then switch to 4-inch scented worms.

LAKE GASTON: 179 miles (***) — (Route 46, Gasburg) Bass catches have been fair to good in some of the lake’s feeder creeks. Spinnerbaits, poppers and plastic worms are all you will need.

KERR RESERVOIR: 185 miles (***) — (Route 58, Clarksville) Huge blue and flathead catfish are available; so are stripers if you want to troll diving lures early and late. Bass like soft plastics in sunken brush and around lake points.

CHICKAHOMINY RIVER: 160 miles (**) — (Williamsburg area) Few decent bass are seen, but catfish, crappies and sunnies are easily caught.

JAMES RIVER: 115 miles (***) — (Tidal Richmond area and downstream) Blue catfish in the 20- and 30-pound range are plentiful from Dutch Gap down to Colonial Heights.

AREA 6: WESTERN VIRGINIA

SHENANDOAH RIVER: 75-85 miles (***) — The Route 340, Front Royal, Luray and Bentonville areas provide some smallmouths and largemouths, but the fishing could be a lot better.

SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE: 210 miles (**) — (Route 122, east of Roanoke) Scattered striped bass action is reported, but the bass fishing should be much better. Some largemouths are caught, but we haven’t heard of any decent smallmouth bass catches lately.

UPPER JAMES RIVER: 130 miles (***) — (Route 6, south of Charlottesville, Scottsville) Good fishing for smallmouth bass is reported. Soft white jerkbaits, such as a Zoom Fluke, will do the job.

AREA 7: ATLANTIC OCEAN

MARYLAND: 153-175 miles (***) — (Route 50 to Ocean City) Surf fishermen are excited to know about the pending state record cobia, a 513/4-pounder caught in the Assateague surf by Frederick’s Pete Heppner last weekend. However most surf fishermen now look for more typical summer species, such as kingfish, snapper blues, various small sharks and skates. The Ocean City inlet delivers a few large sea trout during the evening tides. Expect also some bluefish action in the inlet. Flounder fishing has improved. Offshore headboats find seabass and flounder. Farther out, it’s big bluefish and sharks, including a huge 800-pound-plus tiger shark caught by shark tournament angler Jeff Jones. Jones’ shark could not be brought back to the Ocean City weigh station in time, so he missed out on nearly $25,000 in prize money. The offshore waters also deliver a mix of tunas, dolphinfish and a chance for billfish.

VIRGINIA: 210 miles to Virginia Beach (***) — From the Virginia Beach area, Ken Neill of the Peninsula Salt Water Sport Fisherman’s Association, reports, “Offshore, the yellowfin tuna bite has taken a bit of a breather. Bluefin tuna are plentiful on the Fingers, as are some hungry mako sharks. Spadefish are still biting at the Chesapeake Light Tower, the Cell and Wolftrap Light. Hordes of chopper bluefish are roaming the inshore lumps. There are some king mackerel around if you can get away from the bluefish. There are some bluefin tuna out there with archival tags in them that the researchers would like to have back. These fish have a green streamer tag near their dorsal fin and a light stalk sticking out of their belly. If you catch one of these fish, it is worth $500. They want the entire fish. If you catch one of these tunas, contact Jon Lucy at the Virginia Institute for Marine Sciences, 804/684-7166, or e-mail [email protected]” For charter boats, call the Virginia Beach Fishing Center, 757/422-5700.

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