A record-breaking, 52-pound 2-ounce king mackerel was caught by 12-year-old Andrew Lessio of Virginia Beach while fishing from Little Island Fishing Pier in the Sandbridge section of Virginia Beach on Aug. 19. The youngster fought the fish for nearly 45 minutes before it was subdued. Lessio's fish, which measured 58 inches with a 24-inch girth, eclipsed a 51-pound 3-ounce king mackerel caught in 1991.
A comprehensive course on "Eastern Shore Fishing" will be taught by Keith Walters, outdoor writer and author of four fishing books, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Sept. 11 at Chesapeake College, just across the Bay Bridges at Wye Mills, Md. The seminar is designed for anyone who enjoys fishing and would like to know where on the Eastern Shore to find the best fishing. All the game fish that swim in the waters of the Eastern Shore will be discussed, along with tackle selection for different species, knots, rigs and lure selection. The $49 tuition includes lunch. Call 410/822-5400 to register.
What's the Catch?
Washington & Vicinity
POTOMAC RIVER -- Guide Ken Penrod of Life Outdoors Unlimited said recent heavy rains will have little or no effect on the quality of smallmouth bass fishing. Penrod said increased flow moved many bass into the dense grass beds where Cabin Creek tubebaits rigged to 1/8-ounce leadheads produced smallmouths up to 20 inches. Penrod fished Washington Channel near Fort McNair wall with Berkley Power-Worms, which lured largemouths up to 5 pounds from the adjacent grass beds. Shallow running crankbaits provided anglers with good largemouth bass catches at Fox Ferry, the grass beds near Blue Plains, Belle Haven Marina, Fort Washington Marina and the grass beds across from Fort Washington Lighthouse. Guide Bill Kramer of Potomac Guide Service found good numbers of largemouth bass and stripers mixed at the mouth of Powells Creek, Neabsco Creek and the flats near Chickamuxen Creek.
SUSQUEHANNA RIVER -- Guide Bill Kramer of Potomac Guide Service said recent rains raised water levels significantly, providing good boating access at several locations between Montgomery Ferry and Duncannon. When water levels return to normal, he anticipates good to excellent smallmouth bass catches from the deeper pools above Harrisburg.
DEEP CREEK LAKE -- Several exceptional fish were weighed at Johnny's Bait House over the weekend, including a 3-pound chain pickerel, 3-pound, 8-ounce rainbow trout and a 10 1/2-inch, 13-ounce bluegill. Marple said there have been fair numbers of bass in the 2- to 3-pound category caught from beneath some of the boat docks on live minnows.
LOCH RAVEN AND LIBERTY RESERVOIRS -- Kevin McComas at Loch Raven Fishing Center said water levels are now only 2 feet below normal and white perch fishing has been great. Because of recent rains, grass beds are now covered with 2 feet of water, which provided good plugging action for largemouths during the past few days. At Liberty Reservoir, stripers up to 20 pounds are still being caught at several mid-lake locations by anglers dunking large, live minnows and trolling deep running crankbaits.
LAKE ANNA -- Dave Fauntleroy at Anna Point Marina said Carolina- and Texas-rigged plastic worms and lizards lured fair numbers of exceptionally large bass during the past few days. He said the fish are lurking beneath docks and along steep drop-offs in depths of 12 to 18 feet during the day, then migrating into the shallows at night to feed. Striper action took a big upswing when heavy rains lowered water temperatures nearly 5 degrees. Carlos Wood at Highpoint Marina said linesiders are holding at depths of 15 to 25 feet, where DD-22s and Stretch 25s trolled along the channel edges produced outstanding results.
JAMES RIVER (Richmond area) -- Higher than normal salinity levels seems to have affected the river's blue catfish action. Only a handful of 20 pounders were weighed over the weekend at Chester Ice House.
SHENANDOAH RIVER -- Trace Noel at Shenandoah River Trips said, "It's hard to believe that smallmouth bass fishing can be this good this time of year . . . Just about any lure you toss in the water is slammed by a smallmouth bass or 12 to 18 inches." Noel said panfish action also ranged from good to excellent last weekend.
UPPER BAY -- Mike Benjamin at Herb's Tackle Shop said surface-feeding stripers have been active at Worton Point, where chummers managed to set their hooks on a few keepers ranging up to 26 inches. Benjamin said there were a few Spanish mackerel, weakfish and flounder caught at the same location. Clyde Blamberg at Clyde's Sport Shop in Baltimore said the Chesapeake's upper reaches are loaded with small stripers, most measuring less than the 18-inch minimum size limit. The few larger fish that were caught were taken by chummers at Love Point and Swan Point Bar, where a few 20-inchers inhaled chunks of cut menhaden. White perch action seems to have improved near Key Bridge and the mouth of Bodkin Creek, where bottom-fished bloodworms and chunks of peeler crab lured perch to 10 inches. Scattered catches of Spanish mackerel and snapper bluefish to 2 pounds were reported near Belvedere Shoals and the Dumping Grounds, where trollers using small, silver or gold spoons reported mixed results.
BAY BRIDGE AREA -- Rob Jepson at the Angler's Sport Shop said there were a few keeper stripers caught by anglers casting bucktails trimmed with chunks of peeler crab between the bridge pilings. White perch are slamming Super Rooster Tails near Hacketts Point.
CHOPTANK RIVER AREA -- Kevin Jacobs at Sportsman Service Center said the Eastern Bay continues to provide good flounder and weakfish action and there seems to be lots of croaker everywhere you drop a squid strip or live minnow. Surgical hose eels provided great bluefish action on 2- to 4-pounders that have been breaking along the channel edges. Rockfish are still too small to keep and seem to be scattered about the upper bay. Chuck Prahl at Tommy's Sporting Goods said bluefish ranging from 2 to 4 pounds were caught between Chloras and Horn Points, where chunks of peeler crab produced excellent results.
DEALE -- Stormy Petrel skipper George Prenant said the Deale Charter fleet trolled for bluefish along the bay's eastern channel edge with surgical hose eels and the blues are frequently mixed with weakfish and stripers. Prenant said anglers bottom-fishing in Herring Bay continue enjoy great catches of jumbo spot, an occasional weakfish and even a few flounder.
CHESAPEAKE BEACH -- The headboats Tom Hooker and Lady Hooker both reported good bottom-fishing action for spot and weakfish. A few weakfish and flounder were mixed with the spot and all three species are taking bottom-fished bloodworms and squid strips.
PATUXENT RIVER AREA -- Ken Lamb at the Tackle Box in Lexington Park said huge schools of surface-feeding stripers, bluefish and Spanish mackerel can be found throughout the area, with the best action taking place early and late in the day. Beneath the surface activity were schools of foraging weakfish. Flounder catches ranged from good to excellent in depths ranging 15 to 28 feet at several Eastern Shore Locations. If you're hoping to catch large croaker, you'll likely have to concentrate your efforts after sundown.
POINT LOOKOUT -- Patty Lee skipper Captain Paul Kellam fished the Southwest Middle Grounds last week, a location that provided a mix of weakfish, striped bass and Spanish mackerel for anglers trolling with small spoons and bucktails. Captain Bruce Scheible at Scheible's Fishing Center found similar action a bit farther north near Buoy 72 where breaking schools of stripers and bluefish up to 3 pounds churned the bay to foam from late afternoon until sundown.
HOOPER ISLAND AREA -- Captain Henry Gootee on the Striker said he's catching limits of rockfish while chumming near Buoy 72-A. Captain Mike Murphy of Tide Runner Charters found large schools of breaking stripers, bluefish and Spanish mackerel about a mile east of buoy 72 where his clients slammed them with streamer flies and Sting Silvers.
TANGIER SOUND -- The headboats Barbara Ann II and Barbara Ann III fished Tangier Sound's upper reaches where patrons loaded coolers with some of the largest spot they've seen in decades. Jumbo spot, some more than 11 inches, slammed bottom-fished bloodworms and squid strips. Captain John Asanovich said there have been a few flounder up to 22 inches caught during the past few days. Captain Curtis Johns on the Karen Ray has been bottom-fishing in Tangier Sound's upper reaches at night, and during the day, he's jigging up striped bass and weakfish with Sting Silvers along the bay's eastern channel edge. Johns said the largest stripers -- up to 24 inches -- seem to be suspended beneath those actively feeding on the surface.
CAPE CHARLES -- Chris' Bait & Tackle reported great flounder catches near Buoy 36A before the storm struck on Monday. Flatties up to 8 pounds slammed squid strips and small bucktails last Saturday. A few days earlier, retired marine patrol officer Bob Bois boated an 8 3/4-pounder, the heaviest of the week. Several citation-size croaker were caught at The Cell, the largest a 3-pound, 1-ounce monster that hit a squid strip. A 5-pound speckled trout was caught just inside the mouth of Plantation Creek and several smaller fish were reported farther up the bay at Hungars Creek.
OCEAN CITY -- Captain Craig Ziegler, skipper of the Box Lunch, fished Poorman's Canyon, where he encountered large numbers of white marlin. Last week he boated a wahoo that tipped the scales at more than 60 pounds. Captain Joe Riley trolled inshore for dolphin and yellowfin tuna with a great deal of success. Captain Craig Mercier, skipper of the Wrangler said The Hotdog, Jack Spot and Chickenbone continue to produce good numbers of yellowfin tuna.
WACHAPREAGUE -- Before the storm struck, large patches of floating vegetation were found at the 30 Fathom Curve, which provided offshore anglers lots of action on small to gaffer-size dolphin, wahoo and billfish. Inshore, croaker fishing was beyond your wildest dreams and a few exceptionally large flounder were caught just inside the inlet.
OUTER BANKS -- Before the storm struck, gaffer dolphin and wahoo dominated the offshore action, while inshore, snapper bluefish and Spanish mackerel were available to pier and surf anglers.
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.