- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 8, 2006

From the Tackle Box in Lexington Park, proprietor Ken Lamb reported that trolling for newly arriving big ocean rockfish in the Chesapeake Bay and lower Potomac River was spotty this past week.

“We had fish brought in to be weighed, measured and photographed but not many,” he said.

Lamb said he hears tales of fish every day from up and down the ship channel and in the lower Potomac, but there is no consistency in the fishing because there simply aren’t any sizeable schools of the large fish just yet.

Lamb believes recent high pressure weather systems that included strong winds did not make for ideal trolling situations. Lamb and many other rockfish fanatics know overcast skies and misty cool weather are what turn on the sea-run stripers that now are entering the Chesapeake from the Atlantic.

Meanwhile, medium-sized rockfish continue to be caught on a variety of lures in almost every sector of the bay, from up around the Bay bridges near Annapolis down into the Northern Neck of Virginia. Even bridge-bound casters at the Cambridge fishing bridge over the Choptank River have been scoring on keeper rockfish. They used 4-inch white or chartreuse Sassy Shads, cast them out into the river and retrieved them steadily, varying their retrieval speeds.

Patuxent River stripers — Medium-size rockfish jump onto lures now and then for trollers and casters in the Patuxent River from Sheridan Point to Captains Point. Most productive have been small, white bucktails dressed with sparkling green curly tail grubs. Size 15 Tony Accetta spoons in chrome or gold also have worked. Forget using the big umbrella rigs with large lures. You will be wasting your time if you do because the fish you’re after aren’t big enough for that type of fishing.

If you want white perch, check out the deep trench that stretches from Point Patience to the Solomons Bridge in the Patuxent. One pair of anglers reported catching 80 perch in two hours of fishing with double-hook bottom rigs baited with bloodworms.

Tidal bass on the Potomac — Fishing guide Andy Andrzejewski said, “Cold nights and cool days continue to cause water temperatures to drop. As a result, we are finding most of our fish on creek and main river ledges or wood and rock that is in deep water. Our most effective lures for the week were a small plastic worm in blue fleck, red bug or black/chartreuse, as well as a Mann’s Sting Ray grub in avocado color or a small crankbait that digs down to eight feet of water.”

Andrzejewski also said plastics in crawfish or brown/chartreuse colors have produced well, particularly when fished in outside creek bends that show eight to 12 feet of water.

“An ample amount of Smelly Jelly attractant has helped entice sluggish bass,” he said, pointing out that the crawfish or garlic-scented Bass Feast flavors have been best.

The river guide bets the bass will move to shallow water in the afternoon as temperatures rise today and tomorrow. Don’t expect them to venture far from deeper water.

Tidal Rappahannock bass bite — Andrzejewski and a friend also fished the tidal Rappahannock River from Port Royal to above Hicks Landing earlier in the week, and they did quite well.

“We had a dozen nice bass, including a smallmouth of about 21/2 pounds,” he said. “Four-inch Berkley rib worms or Power Hawgs, as well as Mann’s grubs did the trick. Shoreline wood and ledges near 14 feet of water was the pattern.”

Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel action — Peninsula Salt Water Sport Fisherman’s Association member Dennis Lane passes along the following: “Mac McCormick and I went out on his boat, the Bayrunner, to the Bridge-Tunnel. We started out casting to the pilings [without much success], then switched to [heavier lures], and it took half the day to pick up a couple of 22-inch rockfish. Then, ‘Wham,’ we had a 28-incher slam a 3/4-ounce jig with a curly tail grub. We ended our day with one 28-incher, one 25-incher and two 24-inch rockfish.”

Lane said they threw back numerous 23- and 24-inch stripers. He also noted that some of the bigger fish had sea lice in their gills — a sign they came from the ocean.

Come meet a river legend — Northern Virginia’s New Horizon Bass Anglers invite the public to spend a few hours with Jim Cummins, the Director for Living Resources of the Interstate Commission on the Potomac River, tonight at 8 at Neighbor’s Sports Bar & Restaurant, 262D Cedar Lane in Vienna. Cummins will present “The Potomac, a Backyard River,” a program of the environmental history of the river and the hugely successful shad restoration project that Cummins directed — often single-handedly. He also will answer any questions you might have concerning the nation’s rivers.

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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