ALTHOUGH the winds have been quite brisk, the fishing's been outstanding. Both saltwater and freshwater anglers are scoring heavily with their favorite gamefish, including some unexpected species in the Chesapeake such as flounder and sharks.
The lower and middle bay are full of sea trout of 1 to 3 pounds. Croaker, or hardhead as they are locally called, have also shown up in good numbers. If the warm weather persists, we should have both species with us until late fall. WHAT'S THE CATCH?
WASHINGTON AND VICINITY POTOMAC RIVER -- Guide Charlie Taylor says the river has been hot for largemouths and stripers. The bass are coming out of the dense vegetation and the stripers are holding in deeper water. Good catches of largemouths have been made in Washington Channel, the Spoils Area, Mattawoman Creek and along the edge of the main shipping channel. Electric blue plastic worms rigged on a 1/4-ounce lead head have been effective. Catfish action has been good near Fletcher's Landing. According to Ray Fletcher, the best catches are being made on cut herring fished on the bottom. Fair catches of largemouths are also being made in the same area by anglers trolling deep-diving lures and spinnerbaits. Smallmouth catches in the upper river have been off due to the warmer weather. MARYLAND TRIADELPHIA AND ROCKY GORGE -- Tracy Woodall of Fulton, Maryland bagged a 6-pound, 12-ounce largemouth at Rocky Gorge with a white buzzbait. Steven Voelker of College Park nailed a 5-pound, 3-ounce largemouth with a Shad Rap in the same area. David R. Jones of Laurel weighed in 14-ounce crappie at Fishing and Archery Outfitters that he caught at Rocky Gorge while fishing with a live minnow. Good crappie fishing at both WSSC reservoirs. SUSQUEHANNA RIVER -- Fishing has dropped at the base of Conowingo Dam according to the folks at Conowingo Bait. Anglers fishing from the catwalk are catching loads of too-little white perch. Catfish catches are also off, but big carp are swarming in the tailrace. Downriver action is similar with the exception of a few goodsized smallmouths caught at the head of The Pool. Small Sassy Shads on 1/4-ounce jig heads have been productive. VIRGINIA LAKE OCCOQUAN -- Park Ranger Bob Linn says the lake is now taking on summer habits,which means the best fishing will be early morning and late evening. Two hybrid striped bass of nearly 6 pounds were caught this week. Scattered catches of largemouths are also being made on live minnows and small crankbaits. Catfish are cutting up, too. LAKE ANNA -- Alton Collier of Spotsylvania was fishing with worms when he bagged a 19-ounce bluegill. Channel catfish are chomping cut bait. Bob Wood of Spotsylvania caught several of up to six pounds and a largemouth of 5 pounds 10 ounces. Guide Gene Hord reports taking stripers up to 12 pounds on Sassy Shads; live shad and trolled bucktails are fooling 'em also. JAMES RIVER -- The upper end of the river has been excellent for smallmouth bass on Tiny Torpedos and small crankbaits cast in the fast water. Flatheads up to 19 pounds have been caught on live minnows. SHENANDOAH RIVER -- The South Fork's got channel cats up to 6 pounds, if you've got live minnows to fish on the bottom. The smallmouth action's good, too; they're hitting Rebel plugs and tiny crayfish pattern crankbaits at the heads of the pools. SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE -- Striper fishing has dropped off during daylight, but you can still catch some huge fish at night. Guide Bob King reports the best fishing has been taking place between 11 p.m. and 2 a.m., with large topwater lures cast along the edge of the dropoffs. Bass fishing has been slower than normal due to the hot weather. CHESAPEAKE BAY SUSQUEHANNA FLATS -- The upper end has produced fair catches of largemouths, but wind has prevented many small boats from venturing out. According to Herb's Tackle Shop in North East, the best action has been late in the afternoon. GUNPOWDER AND DUNDEE RIVERS -- Catties up to 5 pounds are plentiful this time of year. The folks at Stonewall Sports in Joppa say use nightcrawlers and cut bait fished on the bottom. White perching has been slow at the Pooles Island Cut, but a bit to the southeast, breaking schools of small blues have been spotted. UPPER BAY -- Those blues that were hanging around Fort Smallwood have moved out to Seven and Nine Foot Knolls, and are falling for red surgical-hose eels. According to Clyde's Sport Shop in Baltimore, the blues have been replaced with white perch and catfish. Fair catches of catfish and perch are also being made at Key Bridge. Scattered catches of blues are also being made at Craig Hill Light by anglers drifting cut menhaden. BAY BRIDGE AREA -- Angler's Sport Center on U.S. 50 reports concentrations of blues north of the Bridge toward the mouth of the Patapsco, and says it's time to chum. KENT ISLAND -- There are scattered blues at Love Point and the mouth of Eastern Bay, according to the folks at Sportsman's Service Center. Breaking blues have been sporadic just out from Romancoke and a few choppers have been taken on Matapeake piers. CHESAPEAKE BEACH -- Black drum of 60 pounds or more are at the Stone Rock, according to Tackle Shop. Chunks of peeler crab or whole soft crabs are the top baits. Breaking blues from the Radar Towers down to Parkers Creek. Trollers are using light rods, surgical-hose eels and no weight. Surface plugs, sassy shad and small Hopkins spoons have also been good bets. CHOPTANK RIVER -- The upper reaches of the river have been red-hot for largemouth bass. According to guide Glenn Peacock, these fish are apparently concentrated due to the movement of the salt wedge, which is now above the U.S. 50 bridge. The lower river's still producing good catches of blues and a few sea trout. The blues are taking small surface plugs cast in the shallows and the trout are taking bloodworms and peeler crabs in deeper water. PATUXENT RIVER -- According to George Lauterbach at First Marine, sea trout of 1 to 3 pounds have arrived at Drum Point and The Chinese Muds. El Toro has been running to Hooper Island Light for the huge concentrations of sea trout and a few flounder. Julie Lynn reports plenty of trout just out from the mouth of the Patuxent at Solomons Lump. HOOPER ISLAND -- Striker is taking bushels of small sea trout and croaker inside the mouth of the Honga River, plus scattered flounder and a few black drum. POINT LOOKOUT -- The first of the flounder have arrived at Point Lookout. Edith Rose has been finding blues and trout just southwest of the Target Ship. Several captains report excellent trout and bluefish catches along the eastern edge of the main shipping channel close to Smith Island, both on chum and cut bait. TALL TIMBERS -- Mopey Rose has been bottom fishing the mouths of the Potomac tributaries and doing well on white perch, jumbo spot, croaker and even a few blues. WICOMICO RIVER -- Guide Mike Draper says lots of largemouths are taking small crankbaits and plastic worms on the upper end. The lower end's a good bet for white perch, on bloodworms and grass shrimp. CRISFIELD -- Sea trout fishing is absolutely wild in both Tangier and Pocomoke Sounds. Robin-L bagged 10 flounder of up to 4 pounds. The Pines Motel reports customers catching trout, croaker and spot just out from Crisfield Harbor. CAPE CHARLES -- The cobia and sharks are in, says Kings Creek Marina. A cobia of 47 pounds was caught near Plantation Light. Dusky sharks have run up to 60 pounds. Sea trout literally cover the bottom here, which draws the sharks like a magnet. The trout weigh up to two pounds and are taking bloodworms fished on the bottom. ATLANTIC COAST VIRGINIA BEACH -- The tuna and sharks have arrived at The Fingers. Last weekend several anglers came in with citation albacore, bluefins and huge sharks, including a 610-pound tiger and a 228-pound mako, both caught at the Hot Dog. Pier fishing has been good for night fishermen using bloodworms and squid strips for croaker, flounder, spot and small sea trout. OYSTER -- Buccaneer has been taking 30-pound bluefin tuna at 26 Mile Hill on fast-trolled cedar plugs and feathered jigs. WACHAPREAGUE -- Sea trout up to 12 pounds have been hiding in the deeper holes near the mouth of the inlet. According to Bob Fate at Wachapreague Marina, these fish are taking small bucktails trimmed with squid. Offshore wreck fishing is producing sea bass, tog and ling. OCEAN CITY -- Big bluefish are scattered at the Bass Grounds, First Lump, Jack Spot and along the 20-fathom curve. Fair catches of mako sharks are also being made in the same vicinity. Whole bluefish fished in a chum slick have been best for the makos. INDIAN RIVER -- Kingfish are in the surf, taking bloodworms and strips of cut mackerel. Tuna have arrived at The Fingers and wreck anglers are continuing to catch good numbers of sea bass and tog. DELAWARE BAY -- Weekend anglers found a few big weakfish while dunking chunks of peeler crab at Brown's Shoals and Brandywine Light. Flounder are becoming active, but very few anglers have bothered to fish for them since the trout arrived.