- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 14, 2009

If you’ve never tied into a fish known as a black drum, you are definitely missing out on exciting, muscle-numbing fishing action.

The Virginians of the lower Chesapeake Bay call them “big boomers,” and rightly so. A black drum, the cousin of the red drum (or redfish), as well as the Atlantic croaker, can reach weights of more than 100 pounds. Typically, an adult drum weighs 50 to 75 pounds, and no one disputes that fried, baked or grilled pieces of nicely seasoned drum fillets rank highly among seafood connoisseurs.

Virginia Beach’s Ken Neill of the Peninsula Salt Water Sport Fisherman’s Association fished for black drum near Buoys 16, 13, and 10 along the Eastern Shore side of the Bay and found plenty of black drum.

“Any clam bait on the bottom [we were using chowder clams] did not last any time at all,” he said.

Want to learn more about the “big boomers”? There’ll be a Black Drum World Championship out of the Bay Creek Marina in Cape Charles from Friday through Sunday. For details, check out www.esvachamber.org/festivals/drumfish. More information about this super fishery can be found at www.pswsfa.com/Virginia%20boomers.htm.

It’s two per day in two days - Beginning Saturday, you’ll be allowed to keep two rockfish a day in the Maryland and Virginia waters of the Chesapeake, as well as the D.C. portion of the Potomac River. The stripers have to be at least 18 inches long, and in Maryland one of the keepers can be 28 inches or more. Only one big “rock” per day is legal in Virginia and it has to measure at least 32 inches, while in the District the sizes can range from 18 to 36 inches.

From his Tackle Box store in Lexington Park, Ken Lamb said, “The rockfish are eating the bottom off the boats this week as both the Bay and Potomac River seem to be loaded.”

Added Maryland Department of Natural Resources spokesman Keith Lockwood: “The croaker fishing continues to improve this week in the lower Bay region and to a lesser extent in the middle Bay. White perch fishing is a good option, and many recreational crabbers are catching their first [heavy] heavy crabs in the middle and lower Bay.

Tidal Potomac’s bass are biting - Despite the floating debris in the tidal Potomac River, caused by recent downpours and winds, the largemouth bass population wasn’t the least bit affected. In fact, the fishing has been fine in practically all of the upper river’s feeder creeks - even, believe it or not, in the Piscataway Creek, which earlier this week was the recipient of many thousands of gallons of untreated sewage when a mistake occurred at a local waste treatment plant.

For now, I’ll take the Mattawoman, Chicamuxen, Powell, Quantico and Aquia creeks when I’m ready to sling a Chatterbait, trimmed with a soft-plastic trailer of some kind. I’ll use that and “fat” worms, such as the Senko or Zero, or the new Heavy Weight from Berkley. All of them will see action in the massive milfoil and coontail water grasses of the river.

Shenandoah not very promising - Said Dick Fox, a Front Royal fishing expert when it comes to the Shenandoah: “The river is still up, some waters show a heavy stain and they are predicting rain over the next three days. The forecast isn’t good for fishing.”

Occoquan needs quiet weather - From Fountainhead Park, ranger Smokey Davis said: “The recent heavy rains have left the reservoir two feet above normal pool, muddy and full of debris. As a result, the bass have temporarily stopped their spawning activity and have pulled back into deeper water. The catfish bite however, got a big boost because of all the food washed in the reservoir. Shrimp and chicken livers worked especially well. The bass bite should be excellent by the coming weekend.”

Ocean backwaters produce - In Ocean City, Md., the flounder are more cooperative these days and tautogs are biting very well in the inlet. The same holds true for Virginia Eastern Shore flounder bays and flats. A few rockfish are hooked there as well, and now is the time when surf anglers can score on big migrating stripers. Offshore tautog and sea bass fishermen have seen better days.

c Look for Gene Mueller’s Outdoors column Sunday and Wednesday and his Fishing Report on Thursday, only in The Washington Times. E-mail: [email protected] Also check out Mueller’s more detailed Web site weekend fishing report and his Inside Outside blog at www.washingtontimes.com/sports.

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