Summer bass fishing is just about upon us. That means that largemouths will head for deep water, 10 to 40 feet, and show up in the shallows only during the early morning and late evening when the surface water is cool.
Surface and shallow-water lures will work during those limited hours, but productive fishing will be among the deep structure - ledges, stump beds, roadbeds, trees and channels that are submerged when artificial lakes are created. For summer lures you can't beat a plastic worm. Here are some tips on how to rig and fish them.
The most popular method of rigging a worm is "Texas-style." Thread a cone or bullet slip sinker on your line and tie on a 3/0 to 7/0 worm hook. Insert the point of the hook through the center of the tip of the head of the plastic worm and bring the point out a half inch below. Pull the hook through the worm until the eye of the hook and the knot are embedded. Rotate the hook and bend the worm slightly to again insert the point and the barb of the hook so that only the point and barb and the eye are now embedded in the worm. A worm so rigged will not catch on submerged structure, but will catch bass when you set the hook hard enough to force the point out from inside the worm.
The best sinkers are light. You should be able to either swim your lure with a steady retrieve or bounce, bump and creep it enticingly over and through submerged structure using pauses in the retrieve and gentle lifting and lowering of the rod tip. Heavy sinkers deprive the worm of its lifelike action. To fish deeper I prefer to let the lure sink longer rather than add more weight.
Worms come in all the colors of the rainbow. Everyone has favorites, but a simple rule is dark colors on dark days and light colors on bright days.
A good worm rod is about 5 1/2 feet, has a sensitive top so that you feel the gentle tap of a bass inhaling the lure, but is stiff enough in the rest of the rod to set the hook through the plastic and into the fish. THE FISH REPORT
Blues picked up a bit at Ford Smallwood; cut spot best. Trolling for blues slowed, but best north of the dumping grounds and around Swan Point. Troll in shallow water with little weight using hoses, spoons and bucktails. While perch and a few pan rock on drift peelers around Gibson Island.
Fair catches of rock at Bay Bridge pilings; cast bucktails with pork rind attached or try soft crabs. Blues hitting on chum spot at Gum Thickets. Scattered blues on chum spot and cast plugs at Hackett's Bar. White perch and some rock at Kent Narrows on peelers and live eels. Blues plentiful at the mouth of the Choptank.
Nice sea trout and hardheads on peelers out of Chrisfield in Tangier Sound. Bottom fishing best.Trout good from Buoy 50 to 54, from Hooper Island to P&R Buoy and between target and shore; target is between Cedar Point and Point No Point. Plenty of blues with frequent trout mixed in for chummers and trollers. Blues in surf off piers at Cedar Point, Solomons, Piney Point and St. George Island, and around the college at St. Mary's City. Hardhead in the Potomac on the Virginia side and on the Maryland side from Morgantown to Cobb Island and Wycomico. Good white perch on beetle/spins in upper creeks of the Potomac and Patuxent. MARYLAND FRESHWATER
ROCKY GORGE/TRIDELPHIA: Few reports; cool weather may keep bass in shallows, but they will be headed deep soon. Try surface lures in the shallows and plastic worms around deep structure.
LIBERTY: Some crappies on minnows and darts and some bass on plastic worms and crayfish.
CONOWINGO ABOVE DAM: Crappie and bass on minnows, plugs and worms.
LOCH RAVEN: Crappie on small minnows and darts; some bass on plastic worms and crayfish.
EASTERN SHORE: A few bass coming out of the Transquaking on shallow running lures, but Eastern Shore rivers and ponds receiving little pressure. White perch, spot, big catfish and some pan rock doing well on bloodworms in the Choptank around the U.S. 50 bridge. Good white perch in the Blackwater, Little Blackwater and Wye rivers.
TROUT: Try green inchworm and brown fluttering caddis flies on Hunting Creek, Patuxent and Morgan Run. Also try pale evening duns on Morgan and sulphurs on Morgan.
BURKE LAKE: Bass and crappie have been very slow. Bluegill are about all that are biting.
OCCOQUAN: Bass hitting fairly well in 10 to 15 feet of water. Plastic worms best.
LAKE ANNA: Bass good in 15 to 20 feet using dark plastic worms. Fish the structure and channels.
MANASSAS: Bass slowed this week. They are probably heading deeper, try shiners, plastic worms and crankbaits. Plenty of bluegill in shallows.
OCEAN CITY: Flounder fishing still good in Sinepuxent Bay but slowed a bit; squid, bucktails and white Firetail Grubs best. A few nice sea trout in the inlet to the Bay, same lures. Headboats taking plenty of good sea bass and some ling cod on the wrecks. Blues, five to 12 pounds, in the surf and for offshore trollers. Marlin could start soon.
CHINCOTEAGUE: Some flounder and sea trout on minnows and grub lures.
DELAWARE BAY: Blues hitting well near A and B buoys; some sea trout.
VIRGINIA BEACH: Charter boats taking some tuna, and a few king marckerel and bonita. Plenty of blues for inshore trollers. Gray trout and occasional channel bass at Tail of the Horseshoe Shoals.
HATTERAS: White marlin and blue marlin starting strong at Oregon Inlet dolphin and tuna.
Good pan rock on bloodworms; ask at Fletcher's. Good smallmouth and largemouth in the pockets among the rocks near Chain Bridge on both Maryland and Virginia sides, but the water, is dangerous. While jigs are best. Plenty of catfish.