SAFE BOATING WEEK starts Monday. Wouldn't it be nice if we had one for a change?
In the Chesapeake Bay region we have one of the best boating and fishing areas in the nation, with more than 10,000 square miles of protected waters in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia.
But our accident rate's a killer: 6.9 deaths per 100,000 boaters. Cool it. Designate a nondrinking helmsman. Take a boating course and be surprised at how much you didn't know about seamanship and small-boat handling. We haven't got any readers to spare. WHAT'S THE CATCH? WASHINGTON AND VICINITY POTOMAC RIVER -- Don Brown of Silver Spring and Chris Baker of Gaithersburg took the top prize in the United Cerebral Palsy Bass Tournament. Guide Mike Draper and Alex Abraham of Aberdeen took second.
Guide Glenn Peacock's pig-and-jig's cleaning out the bass in the eelgrass near the seawall in Washington Channel. Crankbaits still are fooling a few keeper smallmouths in the upper reaches of the river, according to guide Charlie Taylor. MARYLAND TRIADELPHIA AND ROCKY GORGE -- Cicadas or anything that looks like one will catch everything in these reservoirs, says Fishing and Archery Outfitters. VIRGINIA LAKE ANNA -- Alma Wertz of Burke was dunking live minnows when she hooked up with a 4-pound, 8-ounce largemouth bass. Wertz was fishing where many anglers had been catching stripers, which have begun to migrate back to deeper water. Lake Anna Sporting Goods says the bass are coming off the spawn and are lethargic. Catfish are active in the deepwater creeks, hitting nightcrawlers and large live minnows. LAKE OCCOQUAN -- Mark Kriesteny of Alexandria caught eight bass here this week. The largest, nearly six pounds, hit a plastic worm. Crappie fishing remains slow. RAPPAHANNOCK RIVER -- Smallmouths and stripers. Chesleys Sporting Goods in Fredericksburg says smallmouths are taking Heddon Tiny Torpedos in some of the deeper pools. Striper season opened last Monday but few keepers were caught. JAMES RIVER -- Smallmouth fishing has been excellent for the past two weeks according to Timberlake Sporting Goods in Lynchburg. Best lures have been perch-colored crankbaits, small jigs and Tiny Torpedos in the deeper pools. CHESAPEAKE BAY SUSQUEHANNA RIVER -- White perch, catfish, smallmouths and carp are plentiful, according to Conowingo Bait in Darlington, from Conowingo Dam to the I-95 Bridge. The best action has been early and late. SUSQUEHANNA FLATS -- The bass fishing's like the weather: hot. Up to 4-pound largemouths are taking small jigs trimmed with pork rind on the edges of the grass beds. White perch seem to be everywhere you drop a line. Herb's Tackle Shop in Northeast says catfish up to 6 pounds are taking cut bait and chunks of nightcrawler fished on the bottom. POOLES ISLAND -- There are good-sized bluefish here, says Stonewall Sports in Joppa. They came in with the hot weather last weekend and are hitting trolled red surgical-hose eels along the drop-offs. Bass fishing continues good on the upper Gunpowder and Dundee Rivers, on plastic worms and pig-and-jigs. UPPER BAY -- Blues up to 15 pounds have arrived at Fort Smallwood and are most active at night according to Clyde's Sport Shop in Baltimore. Cut spot and fresh menhaden catch 'em. They're hitting red surgical hose and silver spoons trolled near the edge of the main channel near Craig Hill Light at the mouth of the Patapsco. Wedidit Charters reports red hose is working on blues in the upper Bay, at Seven Foot Knoll, Nine Foot Knoll and the lumps just east of Millers Island. BAY BRIDGE AREA -- Angler's Sport Center reports outstanding shallow-water plug casting near the Bay Bridge, especially at Goose Pond, White Hall Bay and Greenberry Point. Red-hose trollers are hitting at Hacketts Bar. SOUTH RIVER -- One of the larger concentrations of blues in the Chesapeake is just out from the mouth of South River. SOLOMONS ISLAND -- Breaking schools of blues have entered the mouth of the Patuxent River and are being caught from the seawall in late afternoon and evening. POINT LOOKOUT -- Scheible's Fishing Center reports fair catches of blues at the mouth of the Potomac while chumming with ground menhaden, but the big news is the sea trout have arrived; they're taking bottom-fished cut spot and bloodworms. TALL TIMBERS -- Captain Mopey Barber of Mopey Rose says perch up to a pound are concentrated in the tributaries of the Potomac, taking bloodworms on the bottom. CAPE CHARLES -- Diana Stiles at Kings Creek Marina weighed in a potential world-record black drum of 75 pounds, 8 ounces, caught by Buddy L. Noland of Chester, Virginia, on a light spinning outfit and 8-pound test line. Captain Otis Asal of Buccaneer had an outstanding day last week with nine drum over 50 pounds each. Bloodworms have been productive on sea trout and the drum are taking whole sea clams fished on the bottom. ATLANTIC COAST NORFOLK AREA -- Screaming Eagle Charters reports excellent fishing for red drum, croaker and small sea trout. The drum run to nearly 40 pounds and will take live spot fished on the bottom. The croaker and trout are pan-size but plentiful, taking bloodworms on the bottom. VIRGINIA BEACH -- Virginia Beach Fishing Center says shark fishing has been fairly good and the blues are in huge schools. Kevin Burkhead of Virginia Beach boated a 371-pound tiger shark on the Moose-on. Jesse Jessup, also of Virginia Beach, checked in an 18-pound bluefish taken just out from the Bay Bridge Tunnel. Captain Pete Bregant of Fish Virginia Charters has been hooking up with brown sharks up to 150 pounds in the same vicinity. Bregant also has located some large sea trout at the fourth island on the tunnel complex. WACHAPREAGUE -- "The hot weekend weather really turned the fish on here," said Bob Fate at Wachapreague Marina, reporting good catches of flounder, sea trout, black drum, tuna and dolphin. Notable catches included an 11-pound sea trout, some black drum over 60 pounds, an 8-pound flounder and several small bull dolphin. OCEAN CITY -- The headboats are running to the wrecks daily, scoring on sea bass, ling and tog. Blues are now coming in from the deep waters of the canyons and taking trolled Hoocheys at The Fingers, The Jackspot and Bass Grounds. These are long, skinny fish that will hit anything. INDIAN RIVER -- Captain Bill Porter of Bill Collector took his first mako shark of the season, but had to run through the cold inshore water all the way to Baltimore Canyon to get action. Captain Ike found big blues about 20 miles from the inlet and says they're finning on top and will hit most shallow-running lures. LEWES -- The charter fleet is now taking big sea trout in Delaware Bay on bucktails trimmed with squid strips and chunks of peeler crab fished close to the bottom. Flounder fishing's still a bit slow. CAPE HATTERAS -- Red Drum are still plentiful at Buxton and lots of sea trout, spanish mackerel, sea mullet and snapper blues are being caught from the piers and beach. This has been an odd spring for this area, but the water temperature is finally rising. Offshore, tuna are hitting cedar plugs and skip baits and several bull dolphin have been mixed with them along the weed lines.