- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 1, 2007

Among Washington area anglers, the arrival of the yellow perch is a sure sign spring is on its way. Some of the gold-hued perch, including roe fish, have been hooked inside the Occoquan River, as well as in Aquia Creek, with small numbers also noted in the Mattawoman and Nanjemoy creeks.

However, the spawning run has not yet begun. It will happen when water temperatures climb into the mid to high 40s.

Expect increasing bass action in the tidal Potomac, around the Spoils and some of the feeder creeks. Scent-sprayed or smeared Mann’s Sting Ray grubs and Silver Buddy blade baits are turning up slowly increasing numbers of largemouth bass.

The entire Potomac River fishing scene will bust wide open within the next two weeks, especially if day and night temperatures remain reasonable. Only a severe, steady cold front could slow the fishing efforts.

Tilefish bite begins — Ken Neill of the Peninsula Salt Water Sport Fisherman’s Association reported he and some friends have started hooking deep-water tilefish in the Atlantic Ocean near Virginia Beach.

“We caught tilefish two at a time until we just got tired of cranking those things up, and we had more fish than we wanted to clean,” Neill said. “We did not catch any monsters, but we did weigh three citations, including Steve Martin’s 141/4-pound fish.”

Club member Bob Manus soon will be referred to as “Sponge Bob” because he has discovered that menhaden oil-soaked cubes of yellow sponge will catch sea bass quicker than expensive bait. Neill said Manus even hooked the tasty sea bass on plain cubes of sponge without the fishy flavoring. The offshore sea bass action is terrific right now.

By the way, striped bass are still being hooked along the coast from False Cape up to Cape Henry. Local fishermen around the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel say the big stripers either have begun leaving their usual coastal hangouts to re-enter the Chesapeake or they have never left the bay. Either scenario is possible.

Virginia flounder rules set — Virginia’s 2007 flounder regulations have been set, and they will be viewed with surprise by many flounder drifters. An 181/2-inch minimum size, five-fish bag limit will be enforced. Flounder fishing will be closed from January through March and from July 23 to 28.

Baltimore Antique Arms Show — Serious collectors and students of antique arms and militaria will enjoy the Baltimore Antique Arms Show on March 17-18 at the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium. The antique arms show is regarded as one of the best of its type. It features 1,000 tables of arms and related material for exhibit and sale. Arms produced through 1945 are permitted for display and sale, but no modern hand guns are permitted for sale at the show.

The show’s Web site, www.baltimoreshow.com, provides additional details.

Alabama angler scores big — Boyd Duckett made history Sunday on Alabama’s Lay Lake. The 46-year-old from Demopolis, Ala., became the first angler to win the prestigious Bassmaster Classic — and its $500,000 prize — in his home state.

Previously, no Classic winner had been from the state in which the event was held.

Duckett, 46, had a three-day total of 48 pounds, 10 ounces of bass, using Berkley Powerbait plastics and crankbaits to lure in his fish. He finished six ounces better than California’s Skeet Reese, who was participating in his seventh Classic.

Two-time winner Kevin VanDam of Kalamazoo, Mich., finished third with 451/4 pounds. Amateur angler Terry McWilliams of Indiana finished fourth with 45-3. Gary Klein of Texas finished with 44-5.

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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