What's the Catch?

Washington & Vicinity

POTOMAC RIVER -- Ken Penrod of Life Outdoors Unlimited says despite weekend rains, the river's upper reaches remain extremely low. The warm, slow-moving water apparently triggered incredible growth of water-stargrass, which Ken says "makes the river look like a golf course." Penrod says smallmouth bass fishing ranged from good to excellent over the weekend. Penrod says the secret to success is to look for the bass lurking in the shade of the stargrass, particularly at Whites Ferry, Pennyfield Violets Lock and other relatively deepwater locations. Downriver, the river's tidal reaches provided limit catches of stripers to 20 inches in Washington Channel near Fort McNair Wall. The grass beds near Blue Plains outfall produced good catches of both largemouth bass and stripers. The best bass action was found at The Spoils, Smoot Bay, Fort Washington Marina, Hunting Creek and Pohick Bay. Spinnerbaits and buzzbaits produced good results at Hallowing Cove, lower Mattawoman Creek, Powell Creek and Neabsco Creek. Guide Bill Kramer of Potomac Guide Service said "Nanjemoy Creek was just on fire. We caught lots of bass during the day, but during the last few hours of daylight, they exploded on topwater plugs fished along the edges of grass beds."


SUSQUEHANNA RIVER -- Guide Bill Kramer of Potomac Guide Service said "There were several days last week when we fished all the way from Montgomery Ferry down to Duncannon. We drifted the river's western shore and caught smallmouth bass in every pool, but the water was still too low to run the motor, drift fishing was the only game in town."


LOCH RAVEN AND LIBERTY RESERVOIRS -- Water levels at Loch Raven, Liberty and Prettyboy reservoirs are extremely low, however, this has not effected fishing. Loch Raven Fishing Center manager Kevin McComas says white perch action remains good to excellent for anglers trolling inline spinners trimmed with a piece of worm. Crappie are still congregated beneath the bridges, however, most are a bit too small to keep. The best bass catches have all been made just after sunrise. Chain pickerel and largemouth bass can be found lurking along the edges of grass beds, where spinnerbaits and buzzbaits frequently produce explosive strikes. According to Doug Lyons at Old Reisterstown Bait & Tackle, live crayfish, jigs, grubs, spinnerbaits, and dark-colored Berkley Power Worms all proved effective for weekend anglers seeking largemouth bass. Snake and Eagle points is where anglers caught striped bass from daybreak until about 10 a.m. Large shiners, chicken livers, and Rat-L-Traps were the best bets for luring the stripers.

DEEP CREEK LAKE -- Big rainbow trout continue to dominate the action at this western Maryland impoundment. According to John Marple at Johnny's Bait House, rainbow trout to nearly 4 pounds and brown trout to 3 pounds were common catches last week. Marple says most of the trout were taken by suspending a live minnows 12 to 20 feet beneath a small float and allowing it to drift with the currents. The most productive location was the deep water area situated about a half-mile above the dam.

TRIADELPHIA AND ROCKY GORGE -- Water levels are still well below normal at both impoundments, however, good catches of largemouth bass were reported at Rocky Gorge over the weekend.


LAKE ANNA -- Dave Fauntleroy at Anna Point Marina says most of the largemouths weighed during the past week have come from deepwater structures located in the impoundment's middle reaches. Local anglers registered bass to 6 pounds, several walleye of 3 pounds and fair numbers of stripers to 14 pounds. Carlos Wood at Highpoint Marina says striper action improved dramatically, particularly in the lake's upper reaches where guide Glenn Briggs has been trolling a variety of lures and catching limits of exceptional fish. Briggs said Rodney and Ben Miller of Kenswick caught 7 stripers that had a combined weight of 39 pounds.

JAMES RIVER (RICHMOND AREA) -- It was utter bedlam at Chester Ice House last week as dozens of huge, blue catfish were weighed every day. Most of the catties averaged 20 or more pounds, however, a few fish tipped the scales at more than 40 pounds. Smallmouth bass fishing is still a bit slow due to the low water levels, however, a few days of cooling rain can rapidly improve river conditions.

SHENANDOAH RIVER -- Trace Noel at Shenandoah River Trips said "We still experiencing extremely low water, but we're also enjoying some of the best smallmouth bass fishing we've had in years." Noel says everyone was catching 11 to 15-inch smallmouths, regardless of technique. Live bait, small lures and streamer flies all proved effective.

KERR RESERVOIR -- Hugh Hamby at Castle Heights Grocery said trollers continued to catch good numbers of stripers between North Bend Park and buoy #5. Small, white bucktails, deep diving crankbaits and large, live minnows produced the best action.

Chesapeake Bay

UPPER BAY -- Mike Benjamin at Herb's Tackle Shop says hot weather has kept most anglers away from the water, however, those opting to fish early and late in the day found good numbers of channel catfish and white perch near the mouths of the Susquehanna, North East and Elk Rivers. Additionally, weakfish and mid-size croaker were also reported at the Elk River's mouth. Bottom fished night crawlers proved best for the catties, while squid strips were effective on the croaker and weakfish. Francis Toy at Toy's Outdoor Store in rock Hall said "We caught black drum to 75 pounds all week long and there were a few red drum caught, all taken at Swan Point. Croaker, weakfish and flounder were also caught at Swan Point Bar, mostly on bottom fished squid strips." Toy says white perch and spot are still schooled at Gailes Lump and channel catfish can be found most anywhere you drop a chunk of bait. Clyde Blamberg at Clyde's Sport Shop in Baltimore crabbing improved in Eastern Bay and the Wye River, where trotlines and traps baited with chicken necks and chunks of eel produced great results.

BAY BRIDGE AREA -- Rob Jepson at the Angler's Sport Shop says chummers reported sporadic catches of stripers at Belvedere Shoals, Baltimore Light, Swan point and the Love Point. Anglers drifting eels or soft crabs lured an occasional striper from western shore bridge pilings, while those dunking bloodworms managed to catch good numbers of white perch from among the partly submerged boulders surrounding the pilings.

CHOPTANK RIVER AREA - Captain Justin Firth of Firth Charter Services enjoyed a great weekend of chumming at The Diamonds. Firth says cut menhaden baits produced mix sizes of stripers to 32 inches. A couple big bluefish to 36 inches were caught at Sharps Island Flats while trolling a size 17 Tony spoon. Bottom fishing at the mouth of the Choptank River produced a mix of croaker, weakfish and spot.

CHESAPEAKE BEACH -- The headboats Tom Hooker and Lady Hooker both report great catches of jumbo spot during the day and huge croaker at night. The Rod "N" Reel Dock charter fleet is running south to the Gas Platform where they're trolling a variety of mid-size lures and chumming. Most boats returned to the facility with limit catches of stripers, and some of the rockfish weighed up to 15 pounds.

PATUXENT RIVER AREA -- Ken Lamb at the Tackle Box in Lexington Park, MD said "Spot have taken up residence in Southern Maryland Waters. Drum Point, Green Holly, Southwest buoy, Sandy Point, Hawk's Nest (mouth of Cuckold's Creek), and both Helen's and St. Leonard's Bar were all weekend hotspots. These fish measured 10 to 12 inches, but they fight like fish twice their size. Big stripers are hanging out near the green can buoy at Little Cove Point and north to the Gas Plant. By midday the small rock are breaking from Cedar Point south to Cedar Point Hollow, and they're mixed with blues ranging 3 to 4 pounds and Spanish mackerel.

POINT LOOKOUT -- Captain Bruce Scheible at Scheible's Fishing Center said "Bottom fishing is great, particularly at night. We had croaker to 20 inches as fast as we could pull them in and lots of trout (weakfish) mixed right with them." Scheible has been fishing near buoy 72, chumming for stripers during the day and bottom fishing at night.

HOOPER ISLAND AREA -- Buoy 72-A was the striper hotspot for captain Phil Gootee on the Fish Magnet. Gootee says stripers to 24 inches slammed his cut menhaden baits and there were a few bluefish mixed with the stripers. Captain Mike Murphy of Tide Runner Charters fished Cedar Point Rip and Cedar Point Hollow where he encountered breaking schools of stripers and bluefish, both ranging up to 3 pounds. Murphy says all you need to get in on the action is a medium weight spinning outfit and a few small surface plugs.

TANGIER SOUND -- The headboats Barbara Ann II and Barbara Ann III both fished Pocomoke Sound west of Watts Island. Both captains John and Joe Asanovich reported great bottom fishing action for croaker, spot and weakfish.

CAPE CHARLES -- Several cobia to nearly 80 pounds were weighed at Chris' Bait & Tackle and a few red drum to 50 pounds were also checked in over the weekend. Anglers fishing from the CBBT's public fishing pier complained about the large numbers of huge, black drum lurking among the pilings. Most hooked lots of fish, but hauling a 50-pounder 30 feet up to the pier's deck was another story.

Atlantic Coast

OCEAN CITY -- Offshore action seems to have dropped off considerably during the past week. Scattered catches of white marlin and yellowfin tuna were made at Baltimore Canyon's 500 fathom curve and the Washington Canyon's north tip. A few bluefin and yellowfin tuna were caught at the Hotdog and Hambone, but the bite is still slower than normal for this time of year. Inshore, croaker to 16 inches dominated the action along the beach and inside Ocean City's Sinepuxent Bay.

WACHAPREAGUE -- Three citation dolphin were weighed, including a 26 pounder caught by Ronald Anson aboard the Wave Dancer. The area known as the "Lumpy Bottom" continues to produce the best yellowfin tuna action, this week's heaviest weighed 86 pounds. Captain Zed's reported dolphin to 18 pounds. Inshore, excellent catches of croaker were reported with the best hauls made from the deep channel in front of the old Coast Guard Station, and Green and Drawing channels.

VIRGINIA BEACH -- Spadefish, cobia, croaker, flounder and huge black drum are schooled at the CBBT's manmade islands. Offshore, spadefish to 10 pounds and 50-pound amberjack were caught at Chesapeake Tower. Dolphin to 20 pounds and football yellowfin tuna are schooled at a half-dozen Norfolk Canyon locations. The shoal water near Cape Henry holds large numbers of Spanish mackerel.

OUTER BANKS -- Spot, croaker and sea mullet still roam the surf, while increasing numbers of Spanish mackerel and cobia are being decked at several Outer Banks fishing piers. Offshore, blue marlin and white marlin releases were commonplace, several gaffer dolphin were boated and a number of wahoo to 40 pounds were decked.

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.