We hardly know where to begin. Outstanding fishing can be had near and far this weekend. For starters, a Maryland-record largemouth bass was caught recently at Rocky Gap Lake by Mike Elsesser of Cumberland. It beat the old mark by 3 1/2 ounces.
Night fishermen taking advantage of shore-roaming blues and sea trout connect with cut bait around the beaches of Point Lookout State Park, as well as Town Creek Marina Pier in the lower Patuxent. Chesapeake trollers and chummers find trout, blues and rockfish when boats can go out.
Black-drum anglers around Cape Charles, Virginia, frequently move over to Oyster, on the Atlantic side of the Eastern Shore, where schools of heavy drum congregate near the old Coast Guard station. Locally, many bass hunters are finding their prey on spawning beds nearby lakes. MARYLAND RIVERS AND LAKES
DEEP CREEK LAKE -- Washingtonian Joe Cashwell fished a jointed chrome Beno lure along a dropoff and came up with a 30 1/4-inch, 9-pound, 8-ounce walleye, a whopper by local standards. Bass can be taken in good numbers now at this Western Maryland beauty.
ROCKY GAP LAKE -- Mike Elsesser's record largemouth has been state-certified at 10 pounds 7 1/2 ounces. Rocky Gap State Park is off Route 40, west of Flintstone in Allegany County.
WSSC LAKES -- Triadelphia and Rocky Gorge bass hunters are starting to find quite a few on spawning beds. It then becomes a matter of angering them into striking. Lots of small crappies are available.
POTOMAC RIVER -- Plenty of possibilities this weekend. If rains don't return, the Harper's Ferry- to-Knoxville sector will produce smallmouth bass on gray grubs or spinners. Flyrodders should look for a Mayfly hatch and cast white streamers or dry flies for bass. In Montgomery County, crappies, catfish and bass will be hooked around river islands and shore brush. Washingtonians can find big catfish just about anywhere on liver or cut-fish baits. Bass go for deep crankbaits or plastic worms at the War College point of Washington Channel as well as Columbia Island Yacht Basin and the shallow coves below town.
SUSQUEHANNA RIVER -- Off-and-on success with largemouth bass from the Flats to the dam. Conowingo Lake is good for catfish and crappies.
SOUTHERN MARYLAND PONDS & CREEKS -- Gilbert Run Lake (Route 6, east of La PLata) turns up slabsided sunfish along shallow/deep dropoffs as they guard spawning beds. Catfish and small bass are plentiful. St. Mary's Lake (Route 5, below Leonardtown, to Camp Cosoma Road) is flyrodder's heaven as big bluegills and small bass inhale surface poppers early and late. Nanjemoy Creek (Route 425 west of La Plata) basshounds score on moving tides. Plastic worms work well.
NANTICOKE RIVER -- Eastern Shore bassboaters find willing fish on surface lures, plastic worms or crankbaits upstream from the Sharptown (Route 313) ramp. CHESAPEAKE BAY Capt. Bill Clark, aboard the Clark's Ark, fished the Brickhouse Bar near Bay Bridge and came up with a 47 1/2-pound striper one day last week, then returned last Friday to drag in 25 1/2-, 26 3/4-, and 30 1/2-pound stripers on No. 19 silver spoons trolled with 5-ounce inline sinkers. Similar catches are reported by charter and private skippers from around The Gooses, Parker's Creek, the ship channel west of Tilghman Island and over large parts of the lower Chesapeake. Sea trout and bluefish are delighting some chummers and trollers at the Targets, the Middle Ground, Point No Point, Buoys 50 to 54, Sharps Island and Cedar Point, but weakfish also have been found as far up as the Bay Bridge. Night fishermen at Town Creek Marina (lower Patuxent) and Point Lookout State Park find some large sea trout and blues on slabs of alewife or peeler crab. Fishing Parties Inc. said their headboats now are running out of Point Lookout State Park (southern terminus of Route 5), with half-day, full-day and Saturday-night trips. Call 301/872-5815. Nearby Scheible's Fishing Center does the same with its headboats. Call them at 301/872-5703. VIRGINIA RIVERS AND LAKES
SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE -- Cedar Key area has seen striper catches by boaters using jointed Rebels or bucktails. Bass action is slow.
SHENANDOAH RIVER -- Woody's Sports World in Harrisonburg recommends wading and casting lures in late afternoon. Smallmouths will do the rest.
LAKE GASTON -- Poplar Creek has been hot for plastic wormers looking for trophy bass. Peahill Creek is as good a spot as any early in the day. Many bass are on the beds and may ignore lures.
KERR RESERVOIR -- Bass have gone deep around landpoints with drop of lake levels. Crappies up to 3 pounds have been taken in brushpiles. Eastland Creek is the place for striper-hunters, although Kerr Dam bait- and lure-users score more.
LAKE ANNA -- Elwood Skillman of Fredericksburg recently took five largemouths totaling 25 pounds. Guide Bill Mathias is finding trophy fish on topwater baits. Crappies are almost assured in any waterlogged brushpile.
OCCOQUAN RESERVOIR -- Fountainhead Park manager Bob Linn sums it up nicely when he says, "Some days you go out and come back with 75 crappies, the next day maybe three or four. The same goes for bass. Some find them, some don't."
RAPPAHANNOCK RIVER -- Spinners, small topwater lures and live minnows all work on smallmouths around Rapidan junction. Fredericksburg offers a mix of youthful rockfish, catfish and some perch. Tidewater bassers should hit on ebb and flow.
CHICKAHOMINY LAKE AND RIVER -- Sunfish and crappies are more than willing in the lake. Get going, flyrodders. The river is yielding more bass to jigs and spinnerbaits. Big crappies are in the brush.
BACK BAY -- Crappies and sunfish galore around blinds, plus occasional trophy largemouths. Plastic worms or weedless spoons are recommended. OCEAN AND INLETS
MARYLAND -- The Ninth Annual $25,000 White Marlin Open takes place August 16-20 and bluewater fans should write for entry information as soon as possible: Box 737, Ocean City, Maryland 21842. Phone 301/289-9229. And the amateur anglers contest is open until September 12, with weekly awards for the biggest flounder, seabass, bluefish and sea trout. Enter at any Ocean City marina. Assateague Island surf anglers are finding bluefish on cut baits. Flounder drifters in the backwaters of Ocean City can connect, but most of the flatties are small.
VIRGINIA -- The Wachapreague Guides Association wants you to come down and enter its contest, June 1 to October 31. Prizes for the biggest flounder, sea trout and bluefish. Call the Wachapreague Motel, 804/787-2105, for charter information. This week's outlook along the Eastern Shore includes scattered flounder from Chincoteague to Wachapreague and on to Oyster where black drum are also pleasing smallboaters near the Coast Guard station. Around the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel it's sea trout and bluefish galore. Black drum catches are off and on from around the tunnel to the Cabbage Patch.