Washington & Vicinity

POTOMAC RIVER -- Tennis pro Michael Chang and his brother Carl fished the river's upper reaches with guide Ken Penrod of Life Outdoors Unlimited. After a day of catching and releasing large numbers of chunky bronzebacks, Michael said the river is among "the best fisheries I've seen." The best smallmouth bass catches took place at Whites Ferry and Lander, where early-morning trico hatches produced incredible surface action. Downriver, the grass beds directly above Woodrow Wilson Bridge continue to provide good early morning catches of largemouths for anglers casting sponnerbaits and shallow running crankbaits during high and ebb tides. Bridge foundations and submerged brush piles in Smoot Bay provided hiding places for largemouths up to 6 pounds while somewhat smaller fish were found lurking in the shadows of the Hog Island barges. Guide Bill Kramer of Potomac Guide Service said, "We're still catching lots of largemouths on topwater plugs, especially early in the day. We fished at first light along the grass beds near Aquia Creek and hammered bass to 4 pounds. When the sun gets high, switch to plastic worms and you can usually catch fish throughout most of the falling tide."


SUSQUEHANNA RIVER -- Guide Bill Kramer of Potomac Guide Service said the best catches are made in the upper reaches of both Three Mile Island and Long Lake on tube lures and spinnerbaits prove extremely effective.


LOCH RAVEN AND LIBERTY RESERVOIRS -- John Forbes at Loch Raven Fishing Center said though water levels remain well below normal, there is still sufficient water for boating access. While white perch dominated last weekend's action, there were a few largemouth bass and chain pickerel caught by anglers casting spinnerbaits near the edges of grass beds.

DEEP CREEK LAKE -- John Marple at Johnny's Bait House weighed a 10-pound walleye caught by a Brecksville, Ohio resident last weekend. Marple said the lake is loaded with big bluegills, some weighing nearly 2 pounds. Though bass fishing is a bit slow, good numbers can be taken while tossing live minnows and plastic worms beneath floating docks. A 3-pound, 4-ounce chain pickerel was caught by Ken Pena of Columbia that measured 25 1/4 inches long.


LAKE ANNA -- Dave Fauntleroy at Anna Point Marina said local anglers managed to catch a few largemouths ranging up to 5 pounds, but the best action remains uplake where stripers averaging 6 pounds slammed a variety of lures and baits. Carlos Wood at Highpoint Marina said Donald "Bo" and Ben Flowers of Woodstock, Va., caught eight stripers with a combined weight of 43 pounds, 8 ounces.

JAMES RIVER (Richmond area) -- Blue catfish continue to dominate the action from Richmond's I-95 Bridge downriver to Hopewell. Blue catfish ranging from 18 to 36 pounds were weighed at Chester Ice House, most taken on chunks of cut herring and bottom-fished night crawlers.

SHENANDOAH RIVER -- Trace Noel at Shenandoah River Trips said Rooster Tails and Beetle Spins have been particularly effective when cast to the deeper pools, and added that fly rodders enjoyed equal success while tossing tiny, yellow, cork poppers at the heads of pools.

Chesapeake Bay

UPPER BAY -- Mike Benjamin at Herb's Tackle Shop said crabbing was good to excellent at the mouths of the Elk and North East rivers. In the Susquehanna River's rapids just above Lapidum Landing, anglers casting small crankbaits and tube lures had no trouble catching bronzebacks early in the morning. But when the sun gets high, bait a bottom rig with a chunk of night crawler and you'll have a ball catching channel catfish of 12 to 20 inches in the river's lower reaches. Largemouths are active in the Elk River's grass beds, where plastic worms and spinnerbaits lured impressive numbers of larger fish. Clyde Blamberg at Clyde's Sport Shop in Baltimore said croaker fishing remained good to excellent a bit farther south at Hacketts Point, Tolly's Lump and Snake Reef where a mix of croaker, weakfish, small stripers and white perch were caught on bottom-fished squid strips.

BAY BRIDGE AREA -- Rob Jepson at the Angler's Sport Shop said bottom-fishing for croaker and weakfish was highly productive at several locations near Chesapeake's twin spans. Croaker up to 16 inches were found lurking among the bridge pilings, Hacketts Bar and the mouth of Severn River. The mouth of Eastern Bay and Kent Narrows was a good bet for croaker and flounder, while stripers up to 20 inches were caught by anglers casting bucktails and feather jigs among the pilings of both the Chesapeake Bay Bridges and Kent Narrows Bridge.

CHOPTANK RIVER AREA -- Kevin Jacobs at Sportsman Service Center said flounder were caught at the mouth of Eastern Bay, Tilghman Point and Poplar Island Flats, where squid strips and silversides produced excellent results. Kevin said the largest croaker are now taken strictly at night.

DEALE -- Stormy Petrel skipper George Prenant said the Deale Charter fleet motored to the vicinity of Sharps Island Light, where they encountered large schools of mixed Spanish mackerel, bluefish, striped bass and weakfish actively feeding on bay anchovy. The fish were suspended in 16 to 50 feet of water and slammed small spoons trolled at higher speeds. Some captains reported improved striper catches while chumming at The Hill and The Diamonds, where rockfish up to 24 inches were caught.

CHESAPEAKE BEACH -- The headboats Tom Hooker and Lady Hooker are both catching good numbers of croaker and jumbo spot. Some of the spot measured nearly 12 inches. The larger croaker, however, seem to be caught at night. The Rod 'n' Reel Dock charter fleet continues to chase schools of breaking schools of bluefish and mackerel.

PATUXENT RIVER AREA -- Ken Lamb at the Tackle Box in Lexington Park said large schools of surface-feeding stripers, bluefish and Spanish mackerel can be found throughout the area, with the best action taking place at Cedar Point Rip, the Gas Docks, Cedar Point Hollow, The Targets and Point No Point. Large schools of foraging weakfish and flounder are frequently found 20 to 30 feet beneath the topwater melee. Surface plugs and bucktails produced excellent results when cast to breaking fish, while Sting Silvers and Crippled Herring lures were effective on the trout and flounder.

POINT LOOKOUT -- Patty Lee skipper Captain Paul Kellam said, "There were lots of breaking rockfish and bluefish mixed near Smith Point Light last week . . . They're feeding on bay anchovy, which means they could show up just about anywhere." Captain Bruce Scheible at Scheible's Fishing Center echoed Kellam's statement, adding, "When the rock and blues are not on top, motor over to the flats east of the target ship and you'll find some 14 to 16-inch croaker, keeper-size trout, flounder and even a few keeper rockfish." Bottom-fished squid strips and chunks of peeler crab produced the best bottom fishing catches.

HOOPER ISLAND AREA -- Captain Henry Gootee on the Striker said, "We're still catching limits of rockfish while chumming near [Bouy] 72-A, most running 18 to 22 inches. After you catch the rockfish, just put on a bottom rig and bait up with squid and peelers and you'll catch croaker and yellowfin trout at the same location." Gootee is chumming over depths of 25 to 40 feet along the bay's eastern channel edge. Captain Mike Murphy of Tide Runner Charters said, "I'm still finding breaking rockfish, bluefish and mackerel mixed between Richland Bell Buoy and The Targets. There is still lots of weakfish in depths of 25 to 35 feet." Murphy said Sting Silvers continued to produce outstanding results while jigging close to bottom.

TANGIER SOUND -- Karen Ray skipper Curtis Johns reported good croaker catches throughout Tangier Sound's upper reaches. Last week, while fishing just west of Smith Island, one of his customers hooked and landed a 38-pound, 45-inch red drum while drifting chunks of peeler crab. Johns said there are good numbers of stripers at the Middle Grounds, where chumming with ground menhaden produced limit catches of rockfish up to 24 inches.

SMITH POINT AREA -- Captain Ferrel McLain, skipper of the Red Osprey, said, "There are large schools of Spanish Mackerel in the mouth of the Great Wicomico River and along the bay's western channel edge between Smith Point and Dividing Creek. Bluefish are mixed in with the macs, so trolling with small spoons usually results in a mixed catch. Bottom-fishing for croaker and trout remains good along the bay's eastern channel edge and in lower Tangier Sound."

CAPE CHARLES -- Chris's Bait & Tackle continues to weigh dozens of monster flounder on a weekly basis. While most of the flatties weighed ranged upwards of 5 pounds, several exceeding 8 pounds were reported. Most were taken on live minnows and squid strips fished near The Cell, but increasing numbers have been caught on bucktails trimmed with squid strips and slow-trolled with wire line over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel's submerged tubes. Croaker are just about everywhere you drop a line, but the largest fish seem to be migrating out of the bay and should soon arrive along the coast and invade the inlets.

Atlantic Coast

OCEAN CITY -- Captain Craig Ziegler, skipper of the Box Lunch, fished the south tip of Poorman's Canyon, where he encountered huge numbers of white marlin, a blue marlin and several dolphin. Captain Joe Riley also fished Poorman's Canyon, and returned to the dock with flags flying for white marlin, yellowfin tuna and dolphin. Captain Craig Mercier, skipper of the Wrangler, said, "The white marlin bite is still red hot. The Hambone, Jack Spot and Chickenbone are still great for chunkers looking for yellowfins." Inshore, the back bays are loaded with flounder, some weighing 3 to 5 pounds. Weakfish to 6 pounds were caught at night by anglers casting Gotcha Plugs and live eels in Ocean City Inlet, Indian River Inlet and from Ocean City's U.S. 50 Bridge.

WACHAPREAGUE -- Randy Lewis at Captain Zed's Bait & Tackle said conditions should be ideal for the upcoming Fall Flounder Tournament, which takes place Sept. 17-26. The entry fee is $30 and a free tournament T-shirt will be given to those entering before Sept. 3. For additional information, call 757/787-2105. Lewis said the offshore fleet has been running to an area known locally as the Lumpy Bottom where they're catching a mix of yellowfin tuna, small dolphin and an occasional wahoo.

OUTER BANKS -- Beach and pier anglers at Nags Head enjoyed good catches of pompano, sea mullet, snapper bluefish and an occasional puppy drum. Offshore, on days when the weather cooperated, billfish action ranged good to excellent, wahoo to 50 pounds were boated and there were several gaffer dolphin reportedly caught from southern areas.

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.