The advertisement in The New York Times and The New Yorker repeats Izaak Walton's claim that "Angling is its own reward." A splendid black-and-white photograph shows a trout, back arched, mouth agape. The hook and fight are set. There are no glittering scales or sprays of water because the fish is crystal; the lure will never be used by fishermen too sane to cast an 18-karat gold fly to a free fish. The cost of this piece is $1,550. Call toll-free; charge by phone. Or just stroll into the shop on Fifth Avenue and lay down the cash. Now, about that "Angling is its own reward":
LAKE ANNA -- Bob Wise recently hooked a huge striper. Campbell Edenton said Wise reeled the fish in toward the boat three times. "He said it must have weighed 25 pounds. But it straightened his hook and got off. It nearly drove him crazy." Wise's misfortune could mean good news: The striped bass have been dormant all summer. George Fultz won a citation with his nine-pound, one-ounce largemouth. The weekend should be good unless a high front moves in. "Then the fishing cuts off like a lightswitch," said Edenton. Lake Anna is the site of a striper tournament this weekend, so the lake may be hectic.
POTOMAC -- Said Joe Fletcher from his perch above Key Bridge: "There are a lot of nice catfish right around the rock eddies." Catfish like liver and worms, or anything that smells like an old sock. The man who sells worms to Fletcher said rockfish are feeding near Hains Point. Now is a great time for family outings on the banks of the C&O Canal; with its fresh charge of water, the canal is home to bass, crappie and bluegills. One can fish all day without leaving the city limits. For more information, call Fletcher's at 244-0461.
RAPPAHANNOCK -- Smallmouth are striking above the dam, west of U.S. 1. Carl Gentry at Chesley's Bait & Tackle in Fredericksburg (703/373-1051) said largemouth are active below the dam. Upriver, Gentry weighed in two trophy smallmouth bass. Thirty miles downriver, Gentry said, near the Port Royal 301 bridge, anglers are hitting rockfish with bucktails. Another word on farm ponds: Dean Perrin of Spotsylvania outfought a nine-pound, one-ounce largemouth.
RAPIDAN -- Try surface plugs and spinnerbaits near Ely's Ford for smallmouth.
CHESAPEAKE -- Strong breezes and frequent small-craft warnings, neither favoring the angler. But that's the Bay. At the bridges, blues, rockfish and weakfish are being caught. Flounder are near Sandy Point State Park, weakfish around Hackett's Bar. Above the Bay Bridge, rockfish, some in the 10-pound class, are feeding around Poole's Island. Dundee Creek, a tributary of the Gunpowder River, in Baltimore County, is producing largemouth, and bass and catfish are throughout the river itself. Weakfish are in the Gum Thickets between the bridges and Thomas Point Light. Near Kent Island shores, try for flounder with flounder belly or flounder rigs and cut squid. Off Love Point, in the Chester River, pan-size stripers should chase bucktails. In the eastern Bay, blues like surgical hose. Anglers are using clam necks and bloodworms for white perch. From the mouth of the eastern Bay to the Gooses, bluefish are the mark. Use soft crabs for trout at Stone Rock. In the Choptank, small rockfish are reported near Long Point and Broad Creek. Snapper blues are all over the Chester River. White perch are near the Emerson-Harrington Bridge. Todd's Point has trout. In the Honga River, by Crab Point and Bentley's Channel, reports of trout are frequent. Tangier Sound is a hotspot for weakfish near the lower-line buoy. In the Patuxent, bluefish are abundant from Cove Point to the targets area. Inside Drum Point near the mouth, Norfolk spot and a few small trout are striking. Potomac saltwater anglers are chumming with menhaden and getting blues around 57-B, the southwest middlegrounds, Eagles Nest and the Point Lookout area.
OCEAN CITY -- Blues, trout and croaker come in streaks, but no word on kingfish. Marlin fishing is suffering from the weather.
BURKE LAKE -- Crappie and bluegills are biting. Bass fishing is slow, except for a recent five- pounder caught at night. Barbara Cosgrove expects the bass to pick up as it turns colder. No muskie reported this year. Cosgrove said the crowds are way down, which is good news. The marina opens at 6:30 and closes at dark. Rowboats cost $4.50 for the day.