Amid the clouds of this week's fishing miseries, there is, indeed, a silver lining. It never fails. Hundreds, nay, thousands of anglers are wailing about a lack of piscatorial delights, but now comes Jack Kolinsky of Hyattsville, who just experienced the stuff that dreams are made of.
Jack bought a boarding ticket on the Capt. Bunting headboat out of Ocean City after smallish offshore sea bass. The boat stopped 11 miles east of the resort town. Kolinsky, along with 30 other hopefuls, dropped a squid-baited hook over the side and, unlike the other 30, got the surprise of his life.
Something awesomely strong struck his bait. After 75 minutes of muscle-numbing give and take, the fish broke the surface. A 269-pound tiger shark -- heavy enough to rate being tied alongside, rather then hoisted aboard. "I simply was determined to bring him in," said Kolinsky in a classic understatement. After all, the 30-pound testline he used was little more than sewing thread when matched against a wildly objecting tiger. MARYLAND RIVERS AND LAKES DEEP CREEK LAKE -- The crappies have been unusually cooperative during this heat spell. But remember to fish in at least 15 or 20 feet of brush-strewn water and forget the midday hours. WSSC LAKES -- Way down deep, 25 to 30 feet, with jigs and porkrind or dark plastic worms, that's the way to look for summer bass. Search for Triadelphia's and Rocky Gorge's rockwall dropoffs and be willing to sit over deep bottom structure for hours on end. POTOMAC RIVER -- Get ready for the WJLA-TV (Channel 7) free youth fishing clinics on the Mall at Constitution Lake, July 31. The event runs from 9 to 4, and all who complete one of the 11/2-hour clinics will receive a special certificate. Meanwhile, the 90-odd-degree temperatures of late have done a job on downtown fishing chances. It's s-l-o-w now. The upper river, especially around Knoxville, has been dynamite for smallmouth waders using topwater buzz baits during the dark hours. As a matter of fact, Mark Kovach, a fly-fishing instructor and river guide, says White Miller insects have been hatching steadily in the evening and the fishing is fine. Kovach can be reached at 588-8742. SOUTHERN MARYLAND LAKES AND CREEKS -- Even St. Mary's Lake (Camp Cosoma Road, off Route 5 below Leonardtown) is showing the strains of the weather. Catches are down and the usually cooperative sunfish and bass are a little harder to locate now. The deeper layers of Gilbert Run Lake (Route 6, east of LaPLata) still show willing catfish and shellcracker sunfish early and late in the day. Mattawoman Creek and Nanjemoy Creek bass hunters say both streams offer little action. NANTICOKE RIVER -- Only the earliest and latest day hours can produce bass. Topwater buzz baits will turn up keepers in the backs of coves or along the edges of main river lily beds above Sharptown (Route 313), but the moment the sun starts baking the water, it's Skunkville for most. CHOPTANK RIVER -- Martinak State Park to Denton areas will give up largemouth bass and scattered, hefty sunfish. Plastic smoke grubs or crankbaits inside the river bend structures will work. SUSQUEHANNA RIVER -- Some of the rock layers toward the Conowingo dam have been good to plastic wormers. This river has fine numbers of trophy bass and not nearly as many anglers as other waters. Conowingo Lake catfish anglers do very well, but other catches are way down. CHESAPEAKE BAY Maryland's Natural Resources chief, James Coulter, has ordered his marine police to increase aerial and surface patrols along the Maryland/Virginia line to keep out-of-state net fishermen from wandering into forbidden waters. We mentioned the netters several weeks ago and the fac that huge hauls of bluefish were made by them, some of the boats bearing Florida registers. If the marine police catches a netter in off- limits Maryland waters, he could lose his vessel and gear. Now if Virginia would only crack down, everything would be fine. The bluefish are taking a beating, and sportfishing catches are down over many areas. There is an increase of small snapper blues noted currently, mainly from the Targets up to the Gooses. Sea trout continue to delight many night fishermen using peeler crab baits or the bucktail trollers who wait until late afternoon before scouring the bottom of the Middlegrounds, Kedges Straits, extreme lower Potomac and Hooper's Island, as well as buoys 50 and 52. VIRGINIA RIVERS AND LAKES SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE -- Deepwater striper jiggers are scoring during the dark hours. Bass anglers are finding a few largemouths on plastic worms, but overall catches aren't anything to brag about. LAKE GASTON -- Slow going for bass fans. Night hours may be best in deep coves and around landpoints. BUGGS ISLAND LAKE -- Only fair results are noted by bass anglers. Even landlocked Kerr Reservoir stripers aren't very active after the sun sets. LAKE ANNA -- Jig 'n' Pig combinations still turn on bass in 20 feet of structured water. Structure, of course, is anything you'll snag a $5 lure on. RAPPAHANNOCK RIVER -- Slow going for all species in all parts of the river, tidal or not, with one exception: channel catfish, just above and below Fredericksburg. They love chicken livers or nightcrawlers on the bottom. OCCOQUAN RESERVOIR -- Bass, sunfish and catfish if you get there early or late. Daytime hours are a waste of time for most. Fountainhead Park manager Bob Linn says he's seen a few bass up to five pounds shown off by rental boaters. CHICKAHOMINY LAKE AND RIVER -- Bream, they call them in Virginia; sunfish is the name around Washington. Either way, they're biting very well in the lake. The river shows lots of big channel catfish and more bass than most places these days. BACK BAY -- Slow going in heated water. Bass hunters are singing the blues. Night anglers, however, have scored with topwater lures. OCEAN AND INLETS MARYLAND -- Ocean City's Stephen Jones had an offshore 674-pound tiger shark to claim a short-duration state record. Short only because a Baltimore angler, Russ Sindler, took a 690-pound tiger shark two days later to set yet another state record. Bluewater boaters also report that white marlin are rising to the baits, but few are "hooking up." Bigeye and yellowfin tuna still roam about and bluefish trollers score very well. Kingfish are taken in the surf at Assateague and a few small flounder keep the backwater Ocean City minnow drifters trying. VIRGINIA -- Quite a few bluefin tuna are available from offshore Wachapreague to Virginia Beach, but they may be gone by the time you read this. The Cigar and Norfolk Canyon areas are producing white and blue marlin in good numbers. The Atlantic settlement of Oyster has had smallboaters trying for tarpon. That's right, there are a few tarpon in Virginia. Flounder, most of them small, continue to bite well at Chincoteague and Wachapreague. The Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel islands turn up scattered sea trout and flounder, and, in one case, an 87-pound black drum that the angler said was just under the surface in the company of dozens of others. The drum took a piece of peeler crab bait.