LARGE NUMBERS of snapper blues have arrived in the lower Chesapeake Bay near Point Lookout. Although the blues run slightly more than a pound, they're lots of fun on light tackle or fly-fishing gear. A few Spanish mackerel are mixed with the blues. If you've been putting off that fishing trip just because the action has been slow, now's your chance to get in on the fun.
Tony Verderamo of Silver Spring was fishing at Oregon Inlet last weekend when he bagged a 10-foot, 300-pound blue marlin that he tagged and released. "The best part about the entire fishing was watching that tagged marlin swim away. It's a thrill I'll never forget," Verderamo said. WHAT'S THE CATCH?
WASHINGTON AND VICINITY
POTOMAC RIVER --
Guide Glenn Peacock reports excellent largemouth bass catches in several locations, including Smoot Bay, the pilings of Wilson Bridge, the mouth of Piscataway Creek and Washington Channel. Guide Ken Penrod reports good catches of largemouths in the grass near Wilson Bridge, where he's casting buzz baits and spinners. Penrod says bass action is awesome in Matawoman and Chickamuxen creeks among the lily pads. Penrod says thy range to 6 1/2 pounds and hit buzz baits early mornings. Pohick Bay is still producing largemouths for anglers working in downed timber close to shore. In the upper reaches, smallmouth action is hot between Brunswick and Point of Rocks. The water is low and extremely clear, normal for summer.
TRIADELPHIA AND ROCKY GORGE --
Fair catches of largemouths are being made in both reservoirs. However, the majority run less than 2 pounds. This is likely due to the water temperature, approaching the lower 80s. Larger bass are holding over deep-water structures, where they'll take a pig and jig combination worked slowly near the bottom.
LAKE ANNA --
Guide Gene Hord is still catching lots of good-sized stripers with live shad. Hord says they're in deep water, but if you persist, you'll hook 8- to 15-pounders. Largemouths are being caught using the same method. Crappie are over deep-water structures and tough to catch.
RAPPAHANNOCK RIVER --
Smallmouth bass action is fantastic around Fredericksburg. According to Carl Gentry at Chesley's Sporting Goods, the bronzebacks run 1 to 4 pounds and hit any small surface plug or crankbait. Paul Reedy of Spotsylvania hooked a blue cat of 23 pounds, 7 ounces, on a chunk of cut herring.
SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE --
Lacy All at All's Hunting and Fishing in Salem reports the surface temperature is extremely high and fishing is dead slow. A few largemouths bite at night, but stripers are lethargic.
SUSQUEHANNA RIVER --
According to Randy Hunton at Hunton's Sport Fishing Center, catfish in the lower reaches run 1 to 6 pounds and hit a variety of baits. Scattered catches of smallmouths in the fast water between Robert Island and Conowingo Dam. The bronzebacks hit small surface plugs such as Tiny Torpedoes worked at the head of pools.
NORTH EAST RIVER --
Herb Benjamin at Herb's Tackle Shop reports there are a few tidewater largemouths in the upper reaches, but catfish make up the bulk of the action. Benjamin says the bass action is near pier pilings and downed timber. They'll hit spinners trimmed with small twister tail or plastic worm. The catties go for bottom-fished clam snouts, nightcrawlers and peeler crab.
BUSH RIVER --
The best bet is catfish, teeming in the lower reaches of the Bush and Gunpowder rivers. According to Hayward Putnam at Stonewall Sports, the catties will hit bottom-fished clam snouts, nightcrawlers and cut bait. Scattered catches of tidewater largemouths by anglers casting pig and jig combos and spinnerbaits.
PATAPSCO RIVER --
Lots of white perch, catfish and crabs, says Bill Blamberg at Clyde's Sport Shop. Perch have moved into the creeks where they'll hit bottom-fished chunks of peeler crabs, grass shrimp and bloodworms. Blamberg says crabbing is fantastic at Key Bridge, Fort Smallwood and throughout the lower Patapsco.
ROCK HALL --
White perch action is really improved. Most creeks on the eastern side of the upper bay are loaded with these tasty panfish. According to Francis Toy at Toy's Outdoor Store, the best bets are over lumps where you'll find white perch of 8 to 10 inches hitting grass shrimp and chunks of peeler or soft crab. Toy says a few large bluefish have been caught, but the numbers are dwindling.
CHESTER RIVER --
Sportsman's Service Center reports lots of white perch and catfish remain in the upper river. Good catches of both near the mouth of Langford and Corsica creeks, where anglers are bottom-fishing with chunks of soft crab and bloodworms.
MAGOTHY RIVER --
Captain Clyde McGowan on Christina has been catching large white perch for several weeks near the mouth of the river.
BAY BRIDGE AREA --
Angler's Sport Center reports perch fishing is excellent, especially over the lumps near Baltimore Light. Captain Preston Hartge on the Samuel Middleton reports catching the largest white perch in several years. Bottom-fished grass shrimp, bloodworms and chunks of peeler crab on outgoing tides produce the best catches.
CHESAPEAKE BEACH --
Captain Virgil Buttrum on Carol Ann has been traveling up the bay, catching lots of large white perch. Captain George O'Neil on Irish Rose is loading up on spot at The Diamonds, bottom-fishing with bloodworms. The headboat Tom Hooker running out of the Rod 'N' Reel Dock has been traveling to the mouth of the Choptank River, where spot are concentrated.
A few good-sized white perch and lots of catfish are being caught from the fishing piers, says Chuck Prahl at Tommy's Sporting Goods. He says the best action is downriver, where medium to large spot hit bottom-fished bloodworms. Captain Mike Murphy on Tiderunner is working the lower reaches, hooking lots of large spot and a few speckled trout. Murphy said the trout are in very shallow water and are hitting small bucktails worked near grass beds.
Captain Ron Whiting on Amelia-S is working the Crisfield area, boating lots of big spot, a few trout, flounder and snapper blues. Captain Bob Adleman on Barbie Doll reports a few good-sized spot caught in the Patuxent River, but these fish are scattered and difficult to locate. Rick Lauterbach at First Marine reports fair catches of white perch near Helen's Bar with bottom-fished chunks of peeler crab and grass shrimp. Ken Lamb at the Tackle Box in Lexington Park says a few good-sized croaker have been caught by anglers bottom-fishing at night near the mouth of the Patuxent. Croaker minimum size is 10 inches.
HONGA RIVER --
Captain Henry Gootee on Striker says he's catching few trout but lots of snapper blues at several locations in his search for trout, but the weakfish run this season is anything but spectacular.
POINT LOOKOUT --
The charter fleet out of Scheible's Fishing Center is traveling across the bay to Tangier Sound, hooking up with loads of good-sized spot. Captain Doug Scheible on Bay King II says he's been chumming near the Mud Leads harvesting snapper blues. Captain Paul Kellam on Patty Lee trolled near the Target Ship and reports similar catches. Rick Ince at Rick's Marine says snapper blues are being caught from the causeway and the new fishing pier at the state park. Cut spot and chunks of menhaden have produced the best catches when fished during outgoing tides. Buzz Orebaugh at Buzz's Marina reports good-sized trout taken from the mouth of Saint Jerome's Creek, strictly at night.
Captain Mopey Barber on the Mopey Rose is running upriver for excellent catches of white perch running up to 12 inches.
TANGIER SOUND --
Most charter boats are bottom-fishing for spot, trout, snapper blues and flounder. Captain Dick Arnold on Robin-L was working near Island Rock when he loaded trout running nearly 3 pounds.
NANTICOKE RIVER --
A few trout catches reported at Roaring Point, but Dave Watson at Dave's Sport Shop says most of the action is with spot, white perch and catfish.
SMITH POINT --
Most charter boats are trolling for the suddenly teeming snapper blues. They run 10 to 14 inches and hit small bucktails, tiny spoons and surgical hose eels. A few good-sized Spanish mackerel chase the blues and they'll hit small silver spoons trolled at high speeds.
LOWER RAPPAHANNOCK --
Lots of medium spot and a few sea trout make up the catches near the bridge. According to Beth Thompson at Locklie's Marina, the spot are a bit larger than those caught a week ago. Howard Kruse at Kruse's Wharf reports some large spot and fair numbers of sea mullet, or kingfish, caught between Stingray Point and Gwynn Island. Kruse says good numbers of Spanish mackerel have been taken from around The Cell plus a few cobia.
CAPE CHARLES --
Jim Jenrette weighed in a 62-pound, 8-ounce cobia at his Fishing Center. Ocean City resident William Purnell caught the prize at Latimer Shoals with cut bait. Scattered catches of pan trout and lots of small to medium spot there too. If you're interested in sharks, the deep water next to Plantation Light is a good bet for 50- to 200-pound duskies.
BRIDGE TUNNEL --
Ruth Cobb at Cobb's Marina reports Spanish mackerel are plentiful, with the best catches near Bluefish Rock. Several citation-sized tautog were caught at the Triangle Wrecks, plus fair numbers of cobia, king mackerel and amberjack tagged and released near the 4A Buoys. Although these fish are tough to catch on artificial lures, a live bait fish tossed in their direction really gets attention.
OUTER BANKS --
When tides and water temperatures are good, you can expect to hook from the piers snapper blues, weakfish, Spanish mackerel and even a few cobia. At the Oregon Inlet Bridge, anglers are catching fair numbers of sheepshead, small croaker and a few good-sized speckled trout. Offshore, the action is red-hot. Several large billfish were tagged and released last weekend by charter boats running from Pirate's Cove Marina and the Oregon Inlet Fishing Center. Hampton resident James McNally hooked and landed a 212-pound bluefin tuna. Dolphin of 6 to 30 pounds are reported in the weedlines and lots of king mackerel are being caught near the 65 Degree Tower.
VIRGINIA BEACH --
Most charter boats running from the Fishing Center are chasing tuna. Anthony McIntyre of Virginia Beach hit paydirt with his 132-pound bluefin. Denise Thomas of Alexandria landed a 188-pounder and Steven Summerford of Newport News was lowest in the weight category with his 85-pound bluefin. Several large false albacore, horse-eye jacks and skipjack tuna are mixed with the bluefins. The best action is northeast of the Hot Dog near the Spring Chicken. Scattered catches of yellowfin tuna at The Fingers and a few billfish reported there too.
Captain Eric Blanks on the Changes in Latitude returned to the Marina with an excellent catch of bluefin tuna taken from 26 Mile Hill. Blanks had tuna ranging from 45 to 55 pounds, all taken on feathered jigs. Blanks fished a bit farther east the next day and reports catching several larger tuna, a few dolphin and one white marlin, which was tagged and released.
Captain Otis Asal on Buccaneer reports fantastic catches of bluefin tuna at 26 Mile Hill and several small lumps to the south. Asal says the bluefins run 50 to 90 pounds. He expects to see yellowfins in the same area soon. Scattered catches of bull dolphin are being made by anglers trolling small spoons and feathered jigs.
OCEAN CITY --
According to Sandi Smith at the Fishing Center, the action offshore is excellent. Several large fish were recently weighed in, including Ocean City's first white marlin of the season. It was caught at Poor Man's Canyon by Mike Kern of Baltimore. Kern was awarded a check for $1,000 from the city and another $1,000 check from the Ocean City Marlin Club. A whopping 248-pound bugeye tuna was caught by local angler Gilbert Goldberg while fishing at Poor Man's Canyon with a tuna clone.