The weather has entered typical off-and-on cool fall patterns, but the fishing hasn’t ended by any stretch of the imagination.
Let’s begin with the Maryland portions of the Chesapeake Bay, where slow-trollers, using bucktails, Sassy Shads or medium-size spoons, have done quite well on 20- to 23-inch long rockfish from the Bloody Point region in the upper Bay down to the Calvert Cliffs area of the western shore.
In the St. Mary’s County parts, the proprietor of Lexington Park’s Tackle Box, Ken Lamb, said the bluefish are gone. You might find a straggler, but most of them have departed for warmer waters in Southern coastal states.
”There were rockfish caught up in the Potomac’s channel, blind trolling,” he said. “These are local fish in the 22- to 26-inch range, hefty and strong. Use small umbrellas and tandem-rigged bucktails.”
Lamb also mentioned that anglers saw breaking rockfish in the Cedar Point Hollow up close to shore, with many in the 19-inch class. He also reported that live-liners are hooking stripers up to 32 inches up and down the western shore from Cedar Point to Point Lookout, but the Norfolk spot (baitfish) needed for live-lining are increasingly difficult to locate.
Earlier this week, brothers Bob and Joe Greer enjoyed steady success with keeper-size rockfish just outside the mouth of St. Jerome’s Creek.
“We’d troll back and forth and around the general mouth area, and the fish never stopped hitting our plastic shad baits,” Bob Greer said.
However, no one has been able to find the large ocean stripers that most Bay anglers in Maryland are expecting any day now. These whopper rockfish usually arrive in mid- to late November and into December. They’re identified as ocean fish since they contain sea lice inside their gill plates, something not seen on Chesapeake stripers.
A few big ocean-run striped bass are taken at the mouth of the Bay near the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, but the full run of them coming into the Bay to fatten up for the winter has not gone into high gear just yet.
“Tautog action is picking up steam inside the Bay’s mouth and on coastal structures,” fishing phenom Julie Ball said. “Anglers landed a few keeper tog at the Concrete Ships this week on blue crab, while boats working the tubes of the artificial islands of the Bridge-Tunnel are also finding [them].”
Potomac action continues - River guide Andy Andrzejewski has been hooking bass with relative ease this week using Mann’s Sting Ray grubs and deep-running crank baits in various creeks along marsh bank drop-offs.
“But I had a surprise last Sunday when I was in a tidal Charles County creek and had fat yellow perch strike that Sting Ray lure on almost every cast,” he said.
Front Royal’s Dick Fox last weekend fished the upper Potomac around Shepherdstown, W.Va., where he hooked walleyes.
”What a fine fishery,” Fox said.
Occoquan slowly shuts down - From Fountainhead Park on Occoquan Reservoir, ranger Smokey Davis said: “Smallmouth bass have been up on rocky banks and can be taken on shallow-running crawdad crankbaits and brown Bitsy Jigs with a brown crawdad trailer. The crappie bite is still strong.”
Look for Gene Mueller‘s Outdoors column Sunday and Wednesday and his Fishing Report on Thursday, only in The Washington Times. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Also check out Gene Mueller’s Inside Outside blog on www.washingtontimes.com/ sports.