What's the Catch?

Washington & Vicinity

POTOMAC RIVER -- Guide Ken Penrod of Life Outdoors Unlimited says last weekend's scattered thundershowers had some flushing effect on the river's upper reaches, however, flows remain low and water temperatures continue to hover in the low 80s. He fished near Lander with green-pumpkin and pumpkin pepper tube baits, casting them over the patches of stargrass. This technique produced huge numbers of smallmouth bass to 2 pounds. Whites Ferry proved productive for anglers tossing streamer flies and Clouser minnows early and late in the day. Downriver, Penrod says you can actually see blue crabs swimming in Washington Channel, particularly near the grass beds adjacent to Fort McNair Wall. This location provided fair catches of largemouths while casting mid-size spinnerbaits during high and ebb tides. He also found concentrations of largemouth bass lurking among the wooden pilings of Pentagon Lagoon, the railroad bridge foundations, C&O Aqueduct foundations above Key Bridge and the grass beds downriver of Blue Plains. Other productive locations were: Hog Island, Fort Washington Marina, Bulltown Cove, Little Hunting creek and among the branches of partly submerged, fallen trees at Pohic Bay Regional Park. Guide Bill Kramer of Potomac Guide Service hit paydirt when he began casting small topwater plugs near the grass beds of Chickamuxen Creek, Arkendale Flats and Aquia Creek. Kramer said largemouths to 5 pounds exploded beneath the plugs, particularly during periods of low light. He enjoyed the same results while casting buzzbaits and topwater lures over the grass beds near Blue Plains and just above the Woodrow Wilson Bridge.

Pennsylvania

SUSQUEHANNA RIVER -- Guide Bill Kramer of Potomac Guide Service said "The river flow came up to 5,000 cubic feet per second over the weekend, and for the first time in several weeks, we were able to run the boat upriver." Kramer fished between Montgomery Ferry and Duncannon, where he found large numbers of highly aggressive smallmouth bass weighing up to 3 pounds.

Maryland

LOCH RAVEN RESERVOIR -- Loch Raven Fishing Center manager Kevin McComas says the impoundment's water level is 5 feet below normal, however, white perch ranging 8 to 11 inches were caught throughout the lake's middle reaches. Anglers casting topwater plugs over the shallow grass beds of Hampton Cove reported fair catches of largemouth bass during the early morning hours. Later in the day, the cove's deeper waters produced crappie to 12 inches for anglers jigging with tiny shad darts trimmed with live minnows.

DEEP CREEK LAKE -- John Marple at Johnny's Bait House weighed in a 1 pound, 12 3/4 inch bluegill, a 1 pound, 3 ounce, 13 1/2 inch yellow perch, a rainbow trout of 4 pounds, 1 ounce measuring 21 inches, a brown trout weighing 2 pounds, 8 ounces measuring 17 1/2 inches and a crappie that tipped the scales 1 pound, 6 ounces and measured 13 inches.

TRIADELPHIA AND ROCKY GORGE -- Water levels at Triadelphia are now 20 feet below normal, while Rocky Gorge remains approximately 5 feet down. Consequently, the best fishing action takes place at Rocky Gorge where plastic worms and crankbaits lure largemouths from the deeper coves. According to WSSC patrol officer Ray Hohl, Craig Walrath of Baltimore tried his luck in Triadelphia, boating a monster largemouth that weighed 7 pounds, 6.5 ounces. Hohl says channel catfish are being caught in both impoundments by anglers dunking night crawlers and cut herring baits and small walleyes slammed jigs and crankbaits fished in deeper water.

Virginia

LAKE ANNA -- Dave Fauntleroy at Anna Point Marina says water temperatures ranged 87 to 90 degrees last weekend. A few largemouths weighing more than 65 pounds were caught on deep diving crankbaits. Fauntleroy said water levels are a foot below normal, so the impoundment's crappie population has migrated to deeper water, congregating near bridge pilings and deeply submerged brush piles. Carlos Wood at Highpoint Marina says while most of the largemouths are holding in deep water, striped bass are lurking along the steep channel edges near Rose Valley, The Splits, Jett's Island and the mouth of Contrary Creek, locations where guide Glenn Briggs effectively trolled deep diving crankbaits for stripers to 6 pounds.

JAMES RIVER (RICHMOND AREA) -- Matt Pulley at Chester Ice House spent last weekend weighing monster catfish caught downriver of Richmond's I-95 Bridge. While most averaged 32 to 35 pounds, a 55-pound behemoth was caught by Hopewell, VA resident Wayne Campbell who later landed another cat weighing 42 3/4 pounds. Jessica Campbell landed a pair of blue cats that weighed 43 1/2 and 38 1/2 pounds. All were taken on cut herring baits.

SHENANDOAH RIVER -- Trace Noel at Shenandoah River Trips said "The river is low, but fishing has been fantastic, especially for fly rodders. I had one customer who was casting cork poppers and caught a 5-fish limit of smallmouths that all weighed 2 to 3 pounds. Everyone is catching lots of fish, regardless of the method they use."

KERR RESERVOIR -- Hugh Hamby at Castle Heights Grocery said striper fishing improved during the past week, with trollers catching the lion's share of linesiders while fishing between North Bend Park and buoy #5. Small, white bucktails, deep diving crankbaits and large, live minnows produced the best results.

Chesapeake Bay

UPPER BAY -- Mike Benjamin at Herb's Tackle Shop says channel catfish and white perch dominated the weekend action in the upper bay's rivers and Susquehanna Flats. Tidewater largemouth bass fishing has been excellent near Garrett Island, Town Park, the mouth of Little North East Creek and Turkey Point. As for stripers, they've become a rare commodity. Michele Spry at Elk Neck State Park says local campers caught channel catfish and white perch at Turkey Point. Clyde Blamberg at Clyde's Sport Shop in Baltimore reports great bottom fishing action for croaker at most upper bay lumps. Blamberg says bottom fished squid strips produced large numbers of 12- to 14-inch croaker at Swan Point, Gale's Lump and along the eastern shore channel edge between Rock Hall and the Bay Bridges at Annapolis.

KENT ISLAND AREA -- Francis Toy at Toy's Outdoor Store said croaker, weakfish and flounder arrived at Swan Point Bar, where bottom fished squid strips and bait shrimp proved effective during high and ebb tides. Toy says white perch, croaker and spot are schooled at Gale's Lump and channel catfish are plentiful throughout the area. Bob Phillips at Sarge's Market says snapper bluefish arrived at the mouth of the Elk River where spinnerbaits and small topwater plugs produced good results. Largemouths are still active in the Sassafras and Elk Rivers, there have been a few stripers caught at Worton Point, and channel catfish seem to be everywhere.

BAY BRIDGE AREA -- Rob Jepson at the Angler's Sport Shop says Hacketts Bar and Tolly's Lump were good bets for croaker and weakfish where bottom fished squid strips produced good action, mostly at night. Flounder were caught at Matapeake and the mouth of Eastern Bay by anglers bottom fishing with live minnows and squid strips. White perch are plentiful among the old Bay Bridge pilings.

CHOPTANK RIVER AREA -- Keith Turner at Tommy's Sporting Goods says anglers fishing the Choptank River's lower reaches caught a mix of flounder, weakfish and croaker while drift fishing with squid strips. Croaker and small stripers were caught from the U.S. 50 Bridge fishing piers at Cambridge, with the best action at night.

DEALE -- Captain George Prenant, skipper of the Stormy Petrel, says the Deale Charter fleet enjoyed fantastic bottom fishing action for spot to 12 inches, large croaker and white perch in Herring Bay near the mouth of West River. Additionally, weakfish ranging 18 to 26 inches and stripers to 20 pounds were caught while trolling just before sunset. Bluefish ranging from 2 to 4 pounds and an occasional large striper were taken while trolling red and yellow surgical hose eels at the Stone Rock and along the bay's eastern channel edge.

CHESAPEAKE BEACH -- The headboats Tom Hooker Rod "N" Reel Dock and Lady Hooker are hammering large spot and weakfish during the day, while at night, they're catching huge croaker. The Rod "N" Reel Dock charter fleet mainly trolls the channel edge near Parker's Creek, where they're catching stripers to 18 pounds on bucktails and surgical hose tube lures.

PATUXENT RIVER AREA -- Ken Lamb at the Tackle Box in Lexington Park, Md., said "Flounder have turned up at the three-legged marker in the mouth of the Patuxent, and at the eastern shore edge of the ships channel from buoy #76 south to Hooper's Island light. Good catches were also made in the Potomac at St. George Island, Cornfield Harbor, and near the Stewart petroleum pier. Many were undersized, but with patience you'll catch an 8-fish limit of flatties measuring above the 15-inch minimum." Lamb says the bay's bottom is carpeted with croaker to 18 inches, large spot and mid-size weakfish, however, the best action doesn't begin until sundown.

POINT LOOKOUT -- Captain Bruce Scheible at Scheible's Fishing Center said "We're catching lots of trout (weakfish) near buoy 72 and there are still good numbers of 14- to 16-inch croaker on the flats about a mile east of 72. We still have good numbers of rockfish to 24 inches at the Middle Grounds and there have been a few Spanish mackerel showing up in the chum slicks."

HOOPER ISLAND AREA -- Captain Phil Gootee on the Fish Magnet chummed near buoy 72-A last weekend, a location that produced limit catches of stripers to 24 inches and weakfish to 3 pounds. Captain Mike Murphy of Tide Runner Charters found large schools of breaking rockfish and blues breaking near Cedar Point Rip and Cedar Point Hollow. Murphy says both species slammed streamer flies fished on floating lines. Weakfish to 4 pounds were schooled 15 to 20 feet beneath the breaking fish and eagerly grabbed Sting Silvers jigged close to the bottom.

TANGIER SOUND -- The headboats Barbara Ann II and Barbara Ann III both fished the upper reaches of Pocomoke Sound near Watts Island, a location that provided great bottom fishing action for croaker, spot and weakfish while drifting squid strips. Captain Butch Tawes, skipper of the Captain Rocky, fished within sight of Crisfield at Island Rock, where he found large concentrations of croaker, weakfish, spot and flounder at depths of 25 to 40 feet.

CAPE CHARLES -- More than a dozen citation-size flounder were checked in at Chris' Bait & Tackle last weekend, the largest weighing 7 1/4 pounds. Most of the flatties came from the flats near old buoy C-10. A few miles south at Lattimer Shoals is where large numbers of cobia continue to provide big game-fish excitement for small boat anglers. Cobia to 70 pounds were boated over the weekend by anglers chumming with ground menhaden and drifting chunks of cut menhaden and live spot in the chum slicks.

Atlantic Coast

OCEAN CITY -- On days when the weather cooperated, the Parking Lot, located 30 miles east of Chincoteague, VA, was jammed with anglers fishing for big bluefin tuna. Most of the bluefins tipped the scales at 75 to 140 pounds and there were a few yellowfin tuna in the 80-pound category caught by anglers chunking with frozen butterfish. Captain Don Churchill, skipper of the Second to None, fished the Jack Spot on Saturday, a location that provided his party with bluefin tuna to 80 pounds, yellowfin tuna averaging 35 pounds and a brace of dolphin. Captain Jim Jannuzzio says the Good Vibrations fished Washington and Poorman's canyons, where his clients caught a mix of yellowfin tuna, white marlin, dolphin and a few big wahoo. Inshore, croaker to 18 inches arrived at Little Gull Shoals, Fenwick Shoals, Ocean City Inlet and Indian River Inlet. Legal size stripers and weakfish were caught by anglers fishing at night from Ocean City's U.S. 50 Bridge with Gotcha plugs and live eels.

VIRGINIA BEACH -- A 67-pound cobia and several in the 40 to 55 pound category were boated at the CBBT's 4th Island last weekend. Additionally, more than two dozen black drum to 52 inches were caught and released at all four of the CBBT's manmade islands. Flounder fishing has been fantastic, with flatties to 9 pounds reported during the past few days. Added enticement in the form of 10-pound sheepshead, Spanish mackerel and wall to wall croaker and the mouth of the bay is definitely a great place to fish this time of year. Offshore, The Cigar was the hotspot for billfish releases, with more than a dozen reported in two days, plus a 71-pound bluefin tuna. Dozens of monster amberjack to 55 pounds were caught and released at Chesapeake Tower and the South Tower.

OUTER BANKS -- Spot, croaker and sea mullet dominated the surf action at Nags Head and local fishing piers. Anglers fishing the ends of piers with live spot hooked and landed several big cobia, a few Spanish mackerel and lots of snapper bluefish. Offshore, billfish catches ranged good to excellent, with several blue marlin tagged and released, large numbers of gaffer dolphin were reported and a 163-pound bigeye tuna was boated. Most of the offshore action took place near the Rock Pile and south to the Triple "O"s.

Hear updates on this week's hottest fishing spots by calling Post-Haste at 202/334-9000 and entering category 3474 (FISH). Fishing columnist Gary Diamond files audio reports weekly. The call is free wherever 202 area codes are free. From Prince William County call 690-4110.