HAVE YOU EVER noticed the difference between what the weatherman on TV calls good weather and what you consider acceptable?
"Looks like another beautiful day with low humidity and a slight breeze coming in from the northwest." To the person going on a picnic, this "slight breeze" means it's windy enough to keep the flies out of the potato salad. To the avid fisherman running in the Chesapeake Bay or to the offshore canyons, the forecast means a rough day.
Last weekend, several fishermen and boaters found themselves in a bad situation when the winds rose as a small frontal system went through. Wave heights in the Chesapeake topped four feet and in offshore waters, waves became enormous. Those hot, humid, muggy days are the boater's best friend (unless an afternoon thundershower rolls in). Play it safe and keep tuned to the marine weather forecast -- the guy on TV obviously only goes on picnics. WHAT'S THE CATCH? WASHINGTON AND VICINITY
POTOMAC RIVER --
Bass fishing in the Potomac has been excellent. Fish are in the weed beds, so you have to use weedless rigs but you'll catch lots. Guide Charlie Taylor reports excellent largemouths in Smoot Bay, Washington Channel and in the main river near Woodrow Wilson Bridge. The best action is smack in the middle of the grass. During high tide, cast shallow-running crankbaits, Johnson Silver Minnows or plastic worms. Catfish action is still good at Fletcher's Landing and some channel cats are running up to six pounds. Cut bait and nightcrawlers. Upriver, smallmouth fishing has taken a turn for the worse since the water's lower and muddy. MARYLAND
TRIADELPHIA AND ROCKY GORGE --
Good catches of largemouths are still being made throughout the lake. According to Bob Griffith at Fishing and Archery Outfitters in Laurel, best action is early and late on small crankbaits, plastic worms, live minnows.
SUSQUEHANNA RIVER --
Catfish action is tops at Conowingo Dam and the lower Susquehanna. According to Terry Rhudy at Conowingo Bait the catties run from two to six pounds and are taking cut bait or large live minnows in the fast water. Smallmouth bass fishing is limited to the vicinity of Robert Island where the fast waters change to deeper pools. Small surface plugs and crankbaits have been productive. VIRGINIA
LAKE ANNA --
Kevin Midkiff and Pat Borzy of Manassas fished with guide Gene Hord and bagged several largemouths weighing up to five pounds, stripers up to 18 pounds and loads of large cats. Hord has been using live shad in 10 to 18 feet of water. Sherri Sprague at Lake Anna Sporting Goods says catfish and crappie action has been good in their area, on live minnows and shad. Guide Bill Mathias has been running uplake to catch largemouths and been fairly successful. He led a party to a limit catch of bass (32 pounds) using live shad.
LAKE OCCOQUAN --
Gary Guinn of Alexandria bagged over 100 crappies on live minnows. Red Bobbitt of Northern Virginia nailed a 3 1/2-pound largemouth on a plastic worm. Carl Quast of Centreville hit an 11-pound channel cat. The catties are hitting cut bait on the bottom. Teresa Hartman of Alexandria also bagged a cat of nearly 7 pounds on a nightcrawler. Cris Hill of Burke hit four stripers of up to 5 1/2 pounds using silver spoons and Rebel plugs. Scott Krebs of Falls Church landed stripers over 8 pounds in the same area.
SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE --
Guide Bob King has been sticking it to the stripers with topwater plugs cast close to the edges of the drop-offs and ledges at night. Striper action in early morning has also been improving, on medium white bucktails and deep-diving lures. Bass fishing has been running hot and cold, better on weekdays when the boating traffic's lighter. CHESAPEAKE BAY
SUSQUEHANNA FLATS --
Carp up to 30 pounds infest the Flats. Largemouths are biting in the grass beds during the high and outgoing tides, taking plastic worms, crankbaits and buzzbaits.
UPPER BAY --
Big white perch have arrived at many of the upper bay lumps. According to Dave Anderson at Stonewall Sports in Joppa, the best action has been between Pooles and Miller Islands. Local residents Ed Zajdel and Georgia Rondo both picked up citations for white perch weighing one pound. The upper ends of the Gunpowder and Bush rivers have been a good bet for small largemouth bass and some cats. The sea trout are rapidly migrating up the Chesapeake and should arrive at the mouth of Bodkin Creek very shortly. Currently, there are loads of white perch at the mouth of Bodkin Creek, Stony Creek, Curtis Creek and among the pier pilings on the north side of Key Bridge.
ROCK HALL --
Captain Wayne Gatling of Lara Lynn IV has been catching scads of white perch, bluefish and even a few sea trout at the mouth of the Chester River. White perch are slurping bloodworms and peeler crab baits off the bottom. The blues are hitting trolled surgical-hose eels and cut menhaden drifted near the drop-offs.
BAY BRIDGE AREA --
The only action near the Bridge has been with white perch. According to Barry Ebersberger at the Angler's Sport Center, blues are scarce in this one area. But if you're looking for white perch, you'll find concentrations in the upper reaches of the Magothy and Severn rivers. Small shad darts trimmed with a chunk of peeler or soft crab catch 'em.
KENT ISLAND --
White perch fishing has been fairly good in Kent Narrows and some concentrations of blues are at the mouth of Eastern Bay. According to Roger Dyer at Sportsman's Service Center, the best bait for perch has been bloodworms and peeler crab while blues are taking silver spoons and surgical hose eels trolled near the mouth of the Miles River. Scattered catches of small sea trout are now being made near Bloody Point light and along the edges of the drop-offs near Brick House Bar; bloodworms and peeler crab baits have been the ticket.
Captain George Prenant of Stormy Petrel has been running to the southwest tip of Poplar Island and hooking good-sized blues while trolling with red surgical-hose eels. Blues have been breaking during late afternoon.
CHESAPEAKE BEACH --
Calvin Tyler at Tyler's Tackle Shop may have weighed in the largest black drum ever taken in his area: 95 pounds, taken on a chunk of peeler crab fished on the bottom. Several others weighing nearly 60 pounds were also caught at the Stone Rock this past week. Breaking schools of blues are still dominating the scene here and although fewer than a few weeks ago, they're bigger: five to seven pounds.
CHOPTANK RIVER --
"Fishing has been fantastic from the old Route 50 bridge," says Tommy at Tommy's Sporting Goods. Anglers are loading up on jumbo spot, white perch and a few spike sea trout while bottom fishing with bloodworms. A bit downriver, anglers are catching larger spot and sea trout within sight of the new bridge.
TILGHMAN ISLAND --
The charter fleet from Chesapeake House has been catching black drum ranging from 40 to 70 pounds on peeler and soft crab baits fished on the bottom. Blues have been scattered throughout the area and taking surgical hose fished close to the surface.
Captain Glenn James of Amelia-S has been loading coolers with sea trout and jumbo spot while bottom fishing just inside the mouth of the Honga River. According to George Lauterbach at First Marine, good spot and trout are now in the Patuxent. The best concentrations are right under the Route 4 bridge. Ken Lamb at the Tackle Box in Lexington Park says trout, croaker and bluefish have become plentiful at the mouth of the Patuxent at the Fishing Reef between Drum and Cove Points. Henry Camp, John Curry and Joe Knott had an outstanding night, filling the cooler with trout to eight pounds, hardhead to three pounds and loads of blues of up to five pounds. Peelers and soft crabs are definitely the most productive bait for trout and croaker, but bloodworms work well.
HOOPER ISLAND --
Captain Henry Gootee of Striker has been running to the mouth of the Honga River for weakfish and lots of jumbo spot. The spot range from 10 to 12 inches and both species are taking chunks of peeler crab and bloodworms on the bottom. Scattered croaker and flounder.
POINT LOOKOUT --
If you're looking for great fishing close to shore, you'll find it inside the mouth of the Potomac. Captain Bruce Scheible at Scheible's Fishing Center says bottom fishing has really taken off from Cornfield Harbor upriver to the mouth of St. Marys River. Jumbo spot ranging from 10 to 12 inches have been plentiful along the shoreline. Mixed with the spot are a few croaker, white perch, flounder and sea trout. Captain Eddie Davis of Edith Rose has been finding beaucoup biggish breaking blues at the Mud Leads. Captain Steve Vierkorn of Mallard reports excellent catches of medium blues while chumming with menhaden on the Middle Grounds.
NANTICOKE RIVER --
Dave Watson at Dave's Sport Shop reports excellent catches of sea trout at the mouth of the river by anglers dunking chunks of peeler crab and bloodworms. Upriver, good catches of spot and white perch by bottom fishermen.
If you can't catch sea trout at Crisfield, you should take up basket weaving. ATLANTIC COAST
OYSTER, VIRGINIA --
Captain Otis Asal of Buccaneer has been running just beyond the 26 Mile Hill and loading up on both bluefin and yellowfin tuna of 25 to 60 pounds, on cedar plugs trolled at about 8 to 9 knots. At slower speeds, blues slam the baits instantly. A few king mackerel and dolphin have also been taken in the vicinity.
Captain John Cobb of Screaming Eagle Charters has been fishing both in the mouth of the Chesapeake and offshore with a great deal of success. Offshore, yellowfin tuna are plentiful and range up to 65 pounds. Scattered catches of wahoo and dolphin in the vicinity. Inshore, there are still a few bodacious black drum in the mouth of the Chesapeake. A few king mackerel up to 30 pounds have recently arrived on the scene. Spanish mackerel are scattered throughout the area.
Bill Robbins at R&R Boat Rentals reports outstanding flounder fishing in Queen Sound, Black Narrows and the main channel. Fair catches of sea trout are being made at the inlet and Toms Cove by anglers jigging deeper holes with bucktails trimmed with plastic worm or squid strip.
Offshore anglers are still hooking up with loads of medium bluefin and yellowfin tuna at the lumps, but the exciting news is the shark fishing. Several weighing up to 150 pounds were caught this past week and according to Bob Fate at Wachapreague Marina, sea trout and flounder catches are on the increase.
OCEAN CITY --
Anglers at Tom Detig's Ocean Front Fishing Pier have been hooking lots of kingfish and a few flounder, on bloodworms on the bottom. Flounder fishing in the back bay has been good; live minnows have produced.
DELAWARE COAST --
Good catches of kingfish are still being made in the surf, says Bill Hamilton at B&R Tackle in South Bethany Beach. The kings are mixed with a few blues and hitting bloodworms fished on high and outgoing tides. Offshore, tuna are plentiful at The Fingers and wreck fishing for sea bass and ling has been excellent.
CAPE HATTERAS --
Both speckled and gray trout are plentiful at Buxton's piers. When the waters are running clear, good catches of spanish mackerel are also being made in the surf. Offshore, marlin are finally here, dolphin are active and tuna are hitting most any skip bait.