- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 15, 2007

Eager anglers who have waited a long time to wet their lines are greeting the wonderful temperatures, catching ever-increasing numbers of fish and celebrating spring even if it hasn’t officially arrived yet.

Taking advantage of the situation was Julie Ball, a Virginia Beach dentist and master angler who said she and her crew went out into the Atlantic on gorgeously calm seas and water temperatures that ranged as high as 50 degrees.

“We fished in water from 260 feet to 600 feet [deep and found] three deep-water wrecks. The dogfish were the worst we could ever remember, hitting every hook on every drop, even in 600 feet,” she said. “Although the ‘dogs’ were a nuisance, we returned to the dock with a respectable mess of jumbo black sea bass and nice blueline tilefish. The bait of choice was squid, cut bluefish and squid-flavored [artificial] Fishbites.”

Ball also passed along that she saw a new pending IGFA all-tackle world record blueline tilefish at the Long Bay Pointe Bait and Tackle in Virginia Beach. An 18-pound, 10-ounce fish was caught by Doug Deese of Hampton, Va., aboard charter captain Jim Brincefield’s boat, the Jil Carrie. If accepted as an IGFA world record, it would beat the old mark by more than a pound.

Meanwhile, Ken Neill of the Peninsula Salt Water Sport Fisherman’s Association also checked out the Atlantic east of the Virginia shore. He and several club members looked for blueline tilefish, and they found a number of citation-size specimens but no world records. “On this trip, our largest was caught by Bob Manus, and it weighed 17 pounds 2 ounces,” Neill said. “We had several more in the teens. Jorj Head caught two of them at a time. Everyone on board registered at least one citation except for me. I just drove the boat.”

Manus, Neill and friends, by the way, continue to find rockfish closer in — not all that far from shore.

The first shad of the year? — David Franz of Fredericksburg sent an e-mail to say he fished the Rappahannock River on Saturday and caught a fine hickory shad. He enclosed a photo of it, and it surely was a hickory shad. Franz said it struck a spoon just below the fall line in town. What was he doing fishing for shad this early in the year? Actually, Franz fished for catfish but wasn’t doing well, so he figured he would cast about with a spoon hoping to hook something else. While he was fishing from shore the shad hammered the spoon. Good show! By the way, the shad usually don’t show up until the redbuds and dogwoods bloom.

Shenandoah delivers bass — Front Royal’s Dick Fox said, “The Shenandoah River is in great shape, with a slight stain present. Water temperatures are in the high 40s. Largemouth bass and some nice smallmouths have been biting tubes and Mann’s Sting Ray grubs.”

Lake Gaston action heating up — From Marty Magone comes word that in Lake Gaston the fishing action is picking up. The large impoundment on the Virginia-Carolina line always is a good bet this time of year.

Said Magone: “With the elevated water temperatures, a mixed bag is possible, and stripers are an added bonus. Got a 12-pounder the same day I hooked a 5-pound largemouth. The bass are moving up on stumpy points during the prespawn period.”

Magone says a deep-running Shad Rap lure has been effective.

Here at home — Locally, the yellow perch are spawning, and in some cases it’s big-time perch action that you will find. The perch are hooked by shoreline anglers along the Wicomico River in Charles County in a place known as Allen’s Fresh (Route 234).

“We caught ‘em big-time yesterday,” local angler Fred Passarelli said.

There’s also considerable perch action in Nanjemoy Creek (off Route 425, Charles County), but a boat is needed. Fair warning: It appears the Nanjemoy’s perch have traveled far upstream, and if you don’t know where the creek’s narrow, unmarked channels are it would be wise not to tempt these waters. Get stranded on a mud flat when the tide is down and you could be sitting there for six hours or more until the flood tide arrives.

EVENT

The annual Kids Trout Fishing Day on the Robinson River in Madison County, Va., will get under way at 9 a.m. Saturday near the small town of Syria, where Routes 600 and 643 cross. The event is for children age 12 and younger. The special trout fishing day is a joint effort of Graves Mountain Lodge, the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries and the Rapidan Chapter of Trout Unlimited. A short stretch of the Robinson River will get a strong stocking of trout that can be caught and kept by the children. Adults can help their young ones but cannot fish themselves. For details, contact Graves Mountain Lodge: 540/923-4231.

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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