- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 12, 2009

Hot fishing news comes from the Chesapeake as large, sea-run striped bass finally arrived in the Maryland and Northern Neck/Virginia portions of the huge estuary.

These are adult fish that have left the Atlantic, chasing schools of baitfish into the Chesapeake, and now they are being fooled by trollers using parachute bucktails, large spoons and umbrella rigs dressed with multiple Sassy Shad lure bodies. Some of the ocean stripers have also shown up in the lower Potomac.

“The ship channel is chock full of big rockfish,” reported Ken Lamb of the Tackle Box shop in Lexington Park. However, there will be times when the stripers will be finicky and not be in the mood to cooperate. Be prepared for it.

Even shoreline fishermen have scored on the big rockfish. Lure casters in the Patuxent River have hooked a few whoppers, including one that measured 41 inches long. It was caught on a light spinning rig by local angler Ken Normand, who cast his lures from the rocks at the appropriately named Fishing Point.

Tidal Potomac turns on — During periods of fluctuating air and water temperatures, fish often react in odd ways. For example we’ve had days in the past two weeks when bass or anything else had lockjaw, but this week in the feeder creeks of the upper tidal Potomac River the bass, yellow and white perch, catfish, bluegills, even some youthful stripers, turned on. Several of us had good success using Mann’s Sting Ray grubs or Berkley’s dropshot shiners. The Mattawoman, Chicamuxen, Quantico, Occoquan and Aquia showed good action.

Occoquan closes after Nov. 29 — Fountainhead Park ranger Smokey Davis said Springfield angler Mike Keller this week hooked a largemouth bass that weighed 6.4 pounds. Keller used a jig’n’pig around a deep main-lake blowdown.

“Crappies made an appearance as well,” Davis said. “Ron Lucini of Woodbridge caught a 16 1/2-inch, 2-pound citation on a medium minnow in 10 to 12 feet of water.” Davis said the reservoir is at full pool, slightly stained with surface temperatures in the mid to high 50s. The Fountainhead facility will remain open until Nov. 29 for those who launch their own craft.

Ups and downs at Shenandoah — The water temperatures have been up and down, and the fishing has been the same. “One day you catch 20 smallmouth bass,” Dick Fox said, “the next day only six because of temperature changes.” Fox, who lives in Front Royal, said even if it rains it should not affect the river all that much. “It may rise a little but will go back down and clear up quickly,” he said. If you’re interested, the water temperature stands at 53 degrees. Tubes, flat-tail grubs and small crankbaits have been working well.

Kerr Reservoir shows action — If you want largemouth bass, head into the backs of creeks and look for sunken brush, tree branches or stone, where crankbaits, lipless rattle baits and soft plastics deliver the goods. Local anglers said that the striped bass are showing up in the reservoir’s feeders, such as Grassy, Island and Rudd’s creeks. Live shiners or plastic flukes on jigs or bucktails can do the job. Some of the visitors here would rather catch crappies, and they’re finding them on brush piles in up to 20 feet of water. Small grubs and jigs, or live minnows do the job.

Lower Bay and Atlantic — From Virginia Beach, super saltwater angler Ken Neill said the tautog action is good at the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel and over other structures in the Bay. Fishing for speckled sea trout and puppy drum can be rewarding in the Rudee and Lynnhaven inlets and in the Elizabeth River. Some decent-size rockfish are hooked on live bait over the tubes of the bridge-tunnel.

“Boats fishing out of Oregon Inlet [N.C.] caught yellowfin tuna, blackfin tuna and some impressive wahoo,” Neill said. “Offshore boats out of Virginia did not do well with the pelagic fish but did very well with tilefish and wreckfish.”

Hunter Southall, 14, fished with Neill at the Triangle Wrecks and came up with large flounder. If you want bluefish, large specimens are found on the ocean wrecks. Sea bass are abundant, but they must be released because of the current federal closure.

Fly tying demonstration — The Maryland Chapter of Trout Unlimited meets Nov. 18, 7:30 p.m., at the Odd Fellows Hall in Towson. The public is invited to a fly tying demonstration by local experts. If you want, bring your vice and materials. Perhaps you have a great pattern that you’d like to demonstrate. For more information call Jim Gracie, 410/418-4687.

Catch-and-release meeting — The Maryland Department of Natural Resources Fisheries Service will hold a public meeting Nov. 16, 6 p.m., in Fellowship Hall at the Calvary United Methodist Church in Annapolis, to discuss the striped bass catch-and-release season. The DNR wants public input on regulatory ideas designed to reduce the impacts of trolling for large pre-spawn striped bass that must be released between March 1 and April 15.

Look for Gene Mueller’s Outdoors column Sunday and Wednesday and his Fishing Report on Thursday, only in The Washington Times. E-mail: gmueller@washingtontimes.com. Mueller’s Inside Outside blog can be found at www.washingtontimes.com/sports.

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