- The Washington Times - Friday, August 29, 2008

A number of local anglers who diligently work over the drops, cuts, channels, marsh banks and weed edges of the tidal Potomac River and its feeder creeks agree that this year’s largemouth bass fishing has been phenomenal. It doesn’t matter whether the water is murky or clear or the winds blowing or calm. As long as you have a nicely defined ebbing tide you will catch bass.

I’m talking about the water rushing out with some authority, which seems to trigger excellent feeding sprees by the bass. That means wacky- or Texas-rigged plastic worms, topwater poppers, spinnerbaits or shallow to medium diving crankbaits will do the job.

A case in point was an outing Tuesday when three of us were nearly blown away by stiff northwesterly breezes in the Marshall Hall part of the river. We moved the boat to a nearby creek and as the tide moved out began to catch bass of mixed sizes along marsh banks and the edges of dense mats of hydrilla. Every lure just mentioned did well, and before we called it a day - which is noon for our gang - nearly 40 bass were caught, admired and released.

Maryland Bay delivers - The Maryland portions of the Chesapeake Bay will provide plenty of fish for weekend anglers. From the Tackle Box in Lexington Park, Ken Lamb said the Spanish mackerel show no sign of a letup. Along with rockfish and blues, the “Spanish” are caught from the mouth of the Potomac River up to and beyond the Gas Docks in Calvert County.

“Trollers using tiny Drone, Pet and Clark spoons with in-line sinkers or planers [Sea Striker No. 1 or 2] are getting plenty and some are pretty big,” Lamb said.

But the fishing can be good all over. It can be productive as far up as Pooles Island and the mouth of the Chester River, where, by the way, a 39-inch striper was caught the other day. Rockfish and blues are taken with live-lined spot or on trolled spoons and bucktails from north to south, including the Bay Bridge, Gum Thickets, Diamonds, Sharps Island Light, Chesapeake Beach and Herring Bay areas, clear down to Calvert Cliffs and across the bay to Hooper’s Island Light.

Rockfish are breaking too, and trollers and live-liners are doing well, mostly from above the Targets to the Gas Docks. That kind of fishing also continues well into the Northern Neck of Virginia.

Incidentally, Lamb passes along word that croakers are in the deep holes of the rivers and bay in the daylight, but when night arrives, they swim up into the shallows. As bad as some croaker fishing has been in the Potomac around the mouth of the Wicomico recently, I talked to three boaters who took 32 fat croakers at St. Clements Island a few mornings ago.

Lower Bay and ocean - Virginia Beach angler Julie Ball (drjball.com) said the water temperatures are close to 80, and in the lowest parts of the Chesapeake Bay the flounder action is hit-and-miss. Ball said the larger flatfish are responding to live baits along the entire span of the Bay Bridge-Tunnel, with the third and fourth islands turning up fish but more and larger flounder now showing up around the first island of the bridge-tunnel. She also added that the cobias are continuing their late summer trend of favoring buoys and bridge pilings.

“A smattering of fish cruising along the surface on the ocean front is also contributing to the latest catches,” she said.

Meanwhile, spadefish are hooked around the pilings of the bridge-tunnel, with some sheepshead hanging out beneath the small-bodied spadefish.

“The Spanish mackerel action is still off the charts,” Ball said. “These fish will chase small Clark and Drone spoons trolled at a quick clip along the ocean front and the Cape Henry tide rips. The good run of king mackerel off Virginia Beach is still going on.”

At the South Tower, big amberjack will take almost any bait offering with citation-sized fish quite possible. Offshore action includes scattered billfish and slowly improving yellowfin and bigeye tuna catches. Plenty of dolphin and wahoos are available in the deep blue offshore waters.

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

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