THE FISHING continues to be unpredictable in the Chesapeake Bay and the offshore waters. But one dynamite area is Point Lookout, where I can personally attest that big numbers of blues are being taken every day.
Last Friday, I had the pleasure of fishing with Captain Bruce Scheible of Scheible's Fishing Center in Ridge, Maryland, and within five minutes of our party's arrival at the Middle Grounds, the first blue hit the cooler.
As our chum slick increased and the tide began to flow, the blues moved to within a few yards of the stern. And four hours later, five arm-weary anglers were ready to call it quits. The large fish box was loaded with chunky blues ranging from 3 to 8 pounds and, as usual, the person with absolutely no saltwater fishing experience bagged the largest fish and won the boat pool.
Just how long this fantastic fishing will last at Point Lookout is anyone's guess. If conditions remain as they are now, we should see good concentrations of blues until late October or early November.
Havre De Grace residents Joseph Allen Jobes, James Pierce Jr. and David John Turner have been convicted of illegally netting striped bass in the upper Chesapeake Bay. In a major decision, Aberdeen District Court Judge John Landbeck ruled on Monday that the trio had violated portions of the "Threatened and Endangered Species Act," which carries far more severe penalties than earlier laws. They face up to $8,000 in fines and eight years in jail. Sentence will be imposed in Bel Air District Court after a pre-sentence evaluation. This normally takes about five to six weeks. WHAT'S THE CATCH WASHINGTON AND VICINITY
POTOMAC RIVER -- Unusually low and clear water conditions have perplexed anglers fishing near Fletcher's Boat House, according to Ray Fletcher, but an 18-pound catfish was taken there this past week. Unfortunately for the angler who caught it, he hadn't registered in Fletcher's Catfish Tournament.It would have topped the leading fish by more than four pounds.
Downriver, near the Woodrow Wilson Bridge, stripers are showing up in fair numbers. However, the bass fishing is now restricted to weed beds and log jams close to deep channels. Spinner baits, Firetiger crankbaits and dark colored plastic worms have been the best producers. Scattered catches of fair-sized walleyes and some medium-sized smallmouths are now being taken from Chain Bridge to Great Falls. Small grubs and spinners have accounted for the better catches. MARYLAND
TRIADELPHIA AND ROCKY GORGE -- Quite a few bass are now being caught in both lakes but nothing to brag about, according to Bob Griffith at Fishing and Archery Outfitters in Laurel. Live, jumbo minnows have accounted for the better bass catches. Scattered catches of northern pike are taking place in the shallows on the same baits. Crappie fishing isn't as good as it should be for this time of year. Most of the fish are on the small side and barely worth keeping.
CONOWINGO LAKE -- Fishing for largemouth and smallmouth bass in the lake has dropped off a bit, reports Butch Young at Glen Cove Marina in Darlington. The bass have completed spawning and migrated to deeper water. If you're looking for some real excitement, head for the upper end of the lake near Big Bear Island and bait up a light bottom rig with whole kernel corn -- the carp are huge here. Good catches of catfish ranging from one to four pounds are also being made in the same area using nightcrawlers or chicken livers fished on the bottom. VIRGINIA
LAKE ANNA -- The water temperature is now in the lower 80s and bass fishing buffs will have to concentrate their efforts in deep water, reports Steve Maudre at Anna Point Marina. He says catfish will dominate the scene most of the summer. However, when the water cools in late October, striper and largemouth fishing will improve substantially. Sherri Sprague at Lake Anna Sporting Goods in Mineral hooked up with an eight-pound, three-ounce channel cat while fishing with live minnows last week. Her husband Pete now freely admits to being outfished.
SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE -- Guide John Jones has been taking his clients out night fishing for stripers. He reports striper catches of more than 20 pounds, but the average fish are running 5 to 8 pounds. Cordell Redfins and jointed Redfins have been the top lures.
RAPPAHANNOCK RIVER -- Smallmouth and largemouth fishing has again picked up on the river, says Charlie Wingard at Chesley's Sporting Goods in Fredericksburg. Lawrence McFadden of Spotsylvania landed an eight-pound, one-ounce largemouth with a plastic worm. Robert Skinner, also of Spotsylvania, bagged a four-pound, five-ounce chain pickerel on a Rapala plug. The lower end of the river has been good for croaker, spot and white perch. Several charter boats report catches of gray trout, jumbo blues and occasionally a black drum. CHESAPEAKE BAY
SUSQUEHANNA RIVER -- If you're looking for good-sized catfish, the Susquehanna's the place to start. Terry Rhudy at Conowingo Bait in Darlington reports lots of big cats are coming in every day. The best areas have been from Conowingo Dam downriver to Lapidum Landing. Chicken livers, nightcrawlers, cut herring and large live minnows have been the most productive baits. Good-sized smallmouths are also coming out of the same areas; Tiny Rebel Crayfish and Sassy Shad have accounted for the better catches.
SUSQUEHANNA FLATS -- The first good catches of largemouths are now taking place on the Flats. Mixed with bass are huge carp which recently migrated from their shallow spawning creeks. The bass are taking jointed Rebel plugs, and the carp will hit whole kernel corn or doughballs fished on the bottom. Herb Benjamin at Herb's Tackle Shop in North East reports that some fair-sized bass and white perch are also in the Northeast River. Live minnows and nightcrawlers will do the trick here.
GUNPOWDER AND DUNDEE RIVERS -- The upper end of the Gunpowder near Joppatown has been a good bet for some dandy largemouths and white perch, according to Dave Anderson at Stonewall Sports in Joppa. Dave says a few anglers have been hitting both species on a regular basis, fishing nightcrawlers on the bottom. Scattered catches of medium-sized yellow perch are also being taken in the same area. In addition, the larger catfish are now migrating into the upper river; they can be found in fair numbers along the edge of the main channel.
UPPER BAY -- Some medium-sized white perch are being caught in the tidal ponds at Belgrove Road along with some big catfish, says Bill Blamberg at Clyde's Sport Shop in Baltimore. Peeler crabs fished on the bottom will take both species. The first of the blues have arrived at the mouth of the Patapsco River. Although these are not those huge choppers we've been waiting for, some are quite respectable and will tip the scales at more than eight pounds. Jigging with white bucktails trimmed with a small chunk of cut bait has produced best.
BAY BRIDGE AREA -- "If you insist on trolling, you may as well stay home," says Charlie Ebersberger at the Angler's Sport Center on U.S. 50 in Annapolis. Chummers have been catching the majority of the blues in the Chesapeake Bay Bridge area for the past several weeks. Trollers have managed to hook up with some big fish, but when the four- to six-pound snappers moved in, trolling catches dropped off dramatically. Inside the Magothy and Severn Rivers, bottom fishermen are hooking up with loads of good-sized white perch using grass shrimp and bloodworms fished during the tides. One of the top areas for the perch has been just out from the seawall at the Naval Academy on the Severn.
CHESAPEAKE BEACH -- Trollers in this particular area have been having a tough time of it for the past several days, says Calvin Tyler at Tyler's Tackle Shop. Most of the charter fleet has managed to hook up with only a half-dozen fish per trip, which is a minor catch compared to a few weeks ago. Captain Shaker Black at the Rod N Reel Dock says things could pick up by the weekend if the weather cooperates and the smaller fish migrate north from Point Lookout.
SOLOMONS ISLAND -- Captain Bill Meadows on the El Toro reports scattered catches of big sea trout as well as lots of medium-sized blues above the Target Ship . Captain Lou Snyder on the Julie Lynn says he has been able to load up on blues but the trout are still a bit scarce. It's not that the trout aren't in the area; they just haven't spawned out, which makes them tough to catch.
PATUXENT RIVER -- Good catches of white perch are now being made at Bushwood, says Ken Lamb at The Tackle Box in Lexington Park. The best areas have been where the shallow oyster bars run close to shore. Surf fishermen casting cut menhaden from the Naval Air Station pier have been taking a few big blues at night, but overall the fishing has been somewhat slow.
POINT LOOKOUT -- Incredible numbers of blues are roaming the Middle Grounds, the mouth of the Potomac and upriver to Smith Creek. Nearly every day, blues can seen from from the Maryland to the Virginia shore of the river in huge breaking schools. According to Captain Bruce Scheible at Scheible's Fishing Center, plug casting and trolling with small surgical hose eels have been the top methods for taking the smaller river fish. Large chopper blues ranging up to 18 pounds are still lingering at the Middle Grounds, but loads of smaller fish have recently invaded the same area. Chummers have been hooking up with blues and trout here for the past several weeks, including captains Eddie Davis on the Edith Rose and Paul Kellam on the Patty-Lee.
REEDVILLE -- Bill Bond at Jetts Hardware in Reedville says "take your pick -- we have them all," referring to the mixed bag of saltwater fish being caught just out from Smith Point. Excellent catches of croaker, spot, channel bass, black drum, blues and sea trout are all being made within sight of land. Additionally, some huge blues are still roaming the deep waters a little southeast of Buoy 48.
CAPE CHARLES -- The first cobia of the season was checked in at Kings Creek Marina, according to Captain Don Stiles of the Elizabeth. These fish can weigh more than a hundred pounds, with the average being nearly 60. Stiles also says the black drum are still here in good numbers along with sea trout, channel bass, blues, flounder, tau-tog and shark. The fishing at Cape Charles is among the best in our area and lasts well into November. ATLANTIC OCEAN
WACHAPREAGUE -- If you're looking for large numbers of flounder, you'll have to fish the shallows, says Bob Fate at Wachapreague Marina. The best flattie fishing has been in waters of less than five feet. Just inside the inlet, you'll find lots of snapper blues and spike trout. These fish are taking Jerk Jiggers and Sting Silvers fished in the deeper holes. Offshore, big blues abound at the 21 Mile Hill, and a few yellowfins are now at the 20 fathom curve.
OCEAN CITY -- Tom Detig at Ocean City's Fishing Pier reports kingfish and some spike gray trout are now being caught from the pier. Bloodworms and shrimp have been the best baits. Flounder fishing in the back bay is still dead and only a few legal-sized flatties (12 inches or longer) are taken each day. Offshore, wreck fishermen are hooking up with fair catches of sea bass and ling, says Captain Coleman Bunting. Bluefish are scattered among the lumps, but tough to catch because they're running deeper than usual.
INDIAN RIVER -- Huge makos weighing up to 450 pounds are now at the 20 fathom curve. Captain Bill Porter on the Bill Collector reports hooking up with six makos this past weekend while chumming and drifting with mackerel baits. The largest weighed more than 400 pounds while the small fish hit 200 pounds. Scattered catches of yellowfin tuna weighing up to 90 pounds are also being made in this area.