"I know you urge the readers to fish during the cool hours of the day," said Mike Hummer, a member of the nearby Montgomery Bass Anglers. "But Charles Taylor and I have been getting up to 60 smallmouths per outing on the Potomac between Point of Rocks and Whites Ferry when you'd least expect such action -- around noon."
Hummer and river fishing guide Taylor scored on smallmouth bass up to four pounds last weekend, all on chartreuse Bagley Honey Bee lures cast from a drifting jonboat. You can do it, too.
Elsewhere, Chesapeake Bay's weakfish continue to provide the major share of fishing fun. Top sea-trout spots include Tangier Sound, the lower Bay's Buoys 50 to 54, as well as the Stone Rock area near Sharps Island, where a smattering of black drum also can be found. The flounder of Chincoteague Island's backwaters have been very cooperative for boat renters in the past days and the offshore headboat "Raider," berthed in this scenic Virginia resort, has found exceptional bluefish activity this week. MARYLAND RIVERS AND LAKES
WSSC LAKES -- The rocky outcroppings of Triadelphia and Duckett reservoirs have been fine for bass hunters using plastic worms or black bucktail jigs. Sunfish and crappies can be taken by the youngsters as long as some kind of juicy bait is on the hook.
POTOMAC RIVER -- Guide Taylor isn't closemouthed about how to haul in the smallmouths in the Montgomery County area: Crank those chartreuse Honey Bees while the sun shines. I never argue with success. You can reach him at 703/471-1753. A series of early-week thundershowers may have clouded parts of the river, but all should be fine this weekend, absent more rain. The Washington sector offers a few hefty largemouths during evening tide changes. Catfish are everywhere and hungry for liver or worms.
DEEP CREEK LAKE -- This Garrett County jewel has been pretty good to bass- and pike-hunters this week. Crankbaits and plastic worms resulted in several bucketmouths over four pounds and at least one seven-pound northern pike.
SOUTHERN MARYLAND LAKES -- St. Mary's Lake (below Leonardtown, on Camp Cosoma Road) has turned on again. Largemouth bass in the barely- keeper range are crazy about plastic worms early and late in the day. Even the upper shallows produce fish. Bluegills now seem to prefer the worm-and-bobber set, but get away from the boat ramps. Gilbert Run Park lake (Route 6, east of LaPlata) has slowed for sunfish fanatics. Try the catfish with liver or worm baits, instead.
NANTICOKE RIVER -- The Marshyhope tributary is as good as any place to look for bass, crappies and scattered early-morning rockfish. Always carry along a spare rod rigged with a Redfin or Rapala- type minnow imitator. When surface erruptions occur you'll be ready. The upper river (above Route 313, Sharptown) gives up bass on crankbaits and plastic worms during tidal changes.
LIBERTY RESERVOIR -- Find a woodland creek and turn over a few rocks. The crayfish will back into your waiting pail or cup. Then get to Liberty (Baltimore area) and fish the crawdad with a small hook pierced through its collar, on light line. Add a splitshot a foot or so above the bait. The smallmouth bass have been wild about them. CHESAPEAKE BAY
Chesapeake Beach charter skippers have been locating sea trout on Stone Rock, near Sharps Island. A few black drum also are around to make things interesting for slow-trollers or peeler-crab bait-dunkers. Sea trout, of course, may turn out to be the mainstay for many of the Bay's fishermen. Tangier Sound's Puppy Hole and other varied- bottom spots are turning up weakfish in good numbers now and then. Many boaters simply anchor and fish crab pieces on double-hook rigs. Bluefish, meanwhile, show up sporadically over many parts of the Chesapeake. Unusually large (for summer) bluefish turned up the other day above the Calvert Cliffs, and later a huge breaking school of snapper blues showed up at Hooper's Island Light. It can happen anywhere, anytime, from above Hackett's Light above the Bay Bridges down into the Virginia areas around Buoy 48, which also has been a fine sea trout hangout. White perch and mixed size Norfolk spot provide bloodworm-bait bottom-fishing action in most of the Eastern and Western Shore rivers. Hats off to local angler Robert Cummings who last week found a 51-pound channel bass among his bait-caught sea trout near Buoy 50 in Southern Maryland. VIRGINIA RIVERS AND LAKES
SHENANDOAH RIVER -- May show discolored water in both forks, but smallmouths, sunfish and catfish ought to bite. Bring along plenty of spinners, 1/4-ounce crankbaits or live minnows for the bass. The manager of Occoquan's Fountainhead Marina, Bob Linn, recently had a 5-pound, 4-ounce smallmouth bass from the river. LAKE GASTON -- Mostly crappies for minnow- dunkers around bridge abutments. Some hefty largemouth bass are taken on plastic worms, but bites are few and far between.
KERR RESERVOIR -- Try trolling a large Redfin or Rebel baitfish imitator between Buoys 4 and 7. The stripers should smash into the lures early and late in the day. If not, switch to deep-trolled bucktails. LAKE ANNA -- Channel bass and some fine largemouth bass are found in dropoff ledges around landpoints or deep coves. Weekends show heavy waterskiing traffic.
RAPPAHANNOCK -- Most waders above Fredericksburg seem to fish only for smallmouth, but try the channel catfish for a change. They're plentiful and willing on worm- or liver-baited bottom rigs. The river may show some stained water from thundershowers. Tidal waters around Leedstown are fair for largemouth on dark plastic worms.
OCCOQUAN RESERVOIR -- The Fountainhead or Bull Run sectors are good for sunfish and catfish -- ideal for youngsters who are willing to sit and wait with baited hooks over the bottom.
BACK BAY -- The Bass action's up-and-down. Try the eastern side for the best bass chances with plastic worms or topwater lures early in the day.
CHICKAHOMINY RIVER -- Crappies, sunfish, bass and catfish. What else can one ask? The bass will go for early-morning topwater buzzbaits, later prefer jigs or plastic worms in the Walker Dam vicinity and other tidal spots. OCEAN AND INLETS
MARYLAND -- Never mind that white marlin aren't crashing baits like they should be. All the same, the $25,000 White Marlin Open, headquartered in Ocean City, will get underway August 16-20. In addition to cash prizes there will be dozens of fine merchandise awards, such as offshore rods and reels. Call 301/289-9229 for entry details. Meanwhile, inside the inlet, the Ocean City jetty shows some fine sea trout taken on bucktail/squid combinations. Flounder drifters report occasional fine catches on shiners or tiny live spot. Kingfish and flounder please surf anglers from the resort town to Assateague Island, while headboats try for seabass and tautog.
VIRGINIA -- Chincoteague Island flounder drifters have done exceptionally well. "Better than in many Augusts of years past," said John Shields of Snug Harbor Marina. The Chincoteague headboat "Raider," skippered by John Abbaticchio, wants you to try its offshore bluefishing. It costs $20 per outing. For details call 804/336-5722. Bluefin and yellowfin tuna are still around the far offshore regions with Virginia Beach, Wachapreague and Chincoteague boats doing well. Of late, cobia have made thing interesting around Cape Charles' Buoy C-10 and other watery dropoffs inside the Chesapeake Bay. Spot and sea trout fishing is okay in the Bay, but you'll have to work to find them.