- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 14, 2006

There’s good fishing almost everywhere — especially in the Chesapeake, according to reports from the Tackle Box in Lexington Park.

Ken Lamb says anglers who favor the Chesapeake Bay, particularly the lower Maryland and Virginia’s Northern Neck portions, will run into large schools of surface-feeding fish, usually consisting of small bluefish and stripers. For example, this week the Cedar Point area of the Patuxent River had active breaking fish in the mornings, even continuing to a lesser degree during the day.

Mixed in with these normally small specimens can be larger blues and rockfish. They are under the surface feeders, which makes them difficult to reach with a lure because the younger fish attack anything that moves.

Lamb added that some 19- to 24-inch-long rockfish have been hanging around the sandbars and rocks at Cedar Point, and inside parts of the Patuxent where evening hours can be great for casters of topwater poppers or Rat-L-Traps. The stripers now are reacting to the cooler nights and days that have made it appear as if October has arrived.

Sadly, the flounder fishing has been down since Tropical Storm Ernesto arrived. Some are caught, but consistent catches are off.

Lamb also mentioned that spot fishing is down.

“They seemed to have taken the [recent stormy weather] as a sign to head back to the ocean,” he said. “There are some spot and croaker to be caught, but the heyday of the summer season has passed.”

Bigger bluefish can be found between Point No Point and Buoy 72. You will score trolling surgical tubing, spoons, bucktails — it doesn’t matter.

Christy Henderson ([email protected]) said charter captain “Walleye” Pete Dahlberg came in a few days ago with blues, stripers, drum, speckled trout and flounder. Henderson says large croakers can still be hooked, but catches have slowed. The flounder are hanging around the dropoffs around Buoy 72 and the Southwest Middlegrounds, where 4- to 5-pound bluefish are possible.

Henderson, who slings lures along with her husband, added, “Michael and I fished around Point Lookout and got into the biggest school of breaking rockfish either of us has ever seen.”

You can expect the same kind of surface action by young bluefish and stripers up and down the Chesapeake currently.

If it’s largemouth bass you’re after, the tidal Potomac is the place. Topwater lures, small crankbaits, spinnerbaits and, most importantly, plastic worms, will find them around sunken wood, weedbed edges and man-made piers in all the feeder creeks and in the main stem between Washington and western Charles County.

In the upper mountain rivers, including the Potomac, James, Rappahannock and Susquehanna, smallmouth bass are eager to strike grubs, worms, spinners, spinnerbaits and even fly-rod streamers. Dick Fox, an angler from Front Royal, Va., was on the Shenandoah River several times this week and latched onto numbers of smallmouth bass, some of them more than respectable as far as size is concerned.

The Occoquan Reservoir beckons, Fountainhead Park ranger Smokey Davis said.

“Topwater baits on main lake flats, lipless crankbaits along the sides of long points and pig’n’jigs in the mouths and inside points of major coves have produced nice bass this past week,” Davis said. “The reservoir is full, clear, and surface temperatures are in the low 70s. Channel catfish up to 10 pounds have been taken on chicken livers off the pier and boardwalk.”

Davis added that a flathead catfish in excess of 50 pounds was caught over the weekend and that the crappie are starting to gang up in brush piles and old beaver lodges and can be taken on small minnows or shad darts under a bobber. Bluegill are readily available.

From Garrett County, Deep Creek Lake guide Brent Nelson reported, “Water temperatures are in the high 60s, and the water level is dropping. Plenty of bass are located under the docks and pontoons where most fishermen are skipping Senkos, tubes and jigs when the sun is high. This week, we were pleasantly surprised as we found some big fish over deeper milfoil beds. Use plastics and jerkbaits over the weeds in 8 to 10 feet of water.

“The walleye fishing has picked up. Troll a Hot-N-Tot crankbait near grassbeds. McHenry Cove, Beckmans Point and Penn Point North show active walleyes now. Perch and big bluegills are biting near rocky points that contain some weed clumps.”

Catfish record now official — The State Record Fish Committee of the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries has certified a state record blue catfish caught last month by Archie Gold of Jetersville. Gold landed the 95-pound, 11-ounce behemoth in the tidal James River downstream of Richmond, easily breaking the previous blue catfish record of 92 pounds, 4 ounces that came from Kerr Reservoir in the summer of 2004. What makes Gold’s whiskered record so special is that it was caught at 10 p.m. during a local catfish tournament. Gold was able to keep the fish alive through the night, had it weighed and certified by a state fisheries biologist the next morning, then let it go alive and ready to do battle again with someone at a future date.

Look for Gene Mueller’s Outdoors column Sunday and Wednesday and his Fishing Report on Thursday, only in The Washington Times. E-mail:[email protected]washingtontimes.com.

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