- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 25, 2007

There are several fish-catching possibilities this weekend even if it’s blustery, cold and just generally miserable. The first is that rockfish can be caught along a mighty stretch of Atlantic coastline from North Carolina to Maryland and probably into Delaware and New Jersey.

The second involves blue catfish. They are biting big-time in Virginia’s James River and, believe it or not, the tidal Potomac River not far from the District. (Look for a feature about the Potomac’s blue “cats” in Sunday’s editions of The Washington Times. You will be amazed.)

A third possibility includes the tidal water largemouth bass, crappies and yellow perch in the Potomac’s Spoils Cove, Mattawoman Creek and Aquia Creek.

“There are big fish everywhere, though the biggest are off the [Virginia] Eastern Shore,” said Ken Neill, of the Peninsula Salt Water Sport Fisherman’s Association down around Virginia Beach and Norfolk.

He added that large numbers of stripers also have been schooling south of Virginia Beach’s Rudee Inlet and that plenty of rockfish are still inside the Chesapeake Bay.

“But this cold weather is encouraging more of them to head out into open waters,” Neill said.

If you care to go after the tautog, a delicious bottom feeder, the catching is good around all inshore wrecks, as well as the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel. The wrecks are still attracting bluefish, and people who are fishing for sea bass sometimes see only half of their fish come to the surface. The toothsome blues snatch the other half.

To show how good the striped bass fishing is, Neill took 11-year-old Hunter Southall fishing. Hunter, the son of the PSWSFA member Charles Southall, latched onto a 471/2-inch rockfish that weighed 423/4 pounds. He also released two 44-inchers as Neill trolled in the waters of the Eastern Shore near Smith Island Light and points north. Hunter’s dad hooked a 50-pound striper that was released, while Neill landed one of more than 40 pounds. On the run home, young Southall took a well-deserved nap, Neill said.

Carolina saltwater license — This year, anyone planning to fish in the ocean, saltwater bays, sounds and tidal rivers of North Carolina must first secure a new recreational saltwater fishing license. North Carolina figured it might as well follow what Maryland and Virginia have done in the case of the Chesapeake Bay and other waters.

Nonresidents can buy the saltwater license three different ways: a 10-day visitors permit that will cost $10; a yearlong license for $30; or a lifetime license for $500. The licenses can be bought at North Carolina license agents, tackle shops and such or through the Web. Go to www.ncfisheries.net. Also check the state’s Web site, www.ncwildlife.org, or call 888/248-6834.

Rapala buys Terminator lure company — From Minnetonka, Minn., comes word that the company that produces the famous line of Rapala fishing lures, the Rapala VMC Group, has signed a purchase agreement to acquire Terminator Fishing Lures, a Tulsa, Okla.-based manufacturer of fishing lures. Rapala will integrate Terminator into the Rapala family of brands. Founded in 1996, the company that makes the Terminator spinnerbaits was among the first to use titanium in the production of its lures.

Washington Boat Show coming — What is billed as the Mid-Atlantic’s biggest boating event, the Washington Boat Show, is coming to the Washington Convention Center from Feb. 15 to Feb. 19. You will see more than 500 boats: cruisers, runabouts, fishing boats, trawlers, motor yachts — you name it. There also will be hundreds of booths filled with nautical accessories, the latest electronics, clothing and boating gadgets. Tickets are $10 (children 6-12, $5; under 5, free). Information: www.washingtonboatshow.com.

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

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