WHAT'S THE CATCH?
Washington & Vicinity
TIDAL POTOMAC RIVER -- Because of the heat, most of the best largemouth bass action takes place from sunrise till about 10 a.m.. Beyond then, the fish tend to become lethargic and refuse to bite. The week's best bass catches were mostly made near bridge foundations (Aqueduct, Key & railroad) where crankbaits and tube lures proved effective. The WW Bridge area hotspots include Oxen Run Cove (west and south sides); Fox Ferry Point; deep water in front of the Spoils; barges above the bridge and VA shore's bridge foundations. Piscataway Creek's grass beds continue to provide early morning or high water bass action. Some impressive bass were caught on the dropoff between Dogue Creek and Pohick Bay, while grassbeds near Pomonkey Creek and Marshall Hall produced limited catches. Good catches were reported by anglers fishing near Grinders Wharf and Burn Point. Channel catfish and monster carp can be found in any deepwater location beginning at the base of Great Falls, downriver to well below Woodrow Wilson Bridge. Shorebound anglers caught catties to eight pounds while dunking night crawlers, cut herring, cut menhaden and chicken livers from the shores of Fletcher's Landing, Washington Channel, Mattawoman and Power creeks.
UPPER POTOMAC RIVER -- The river is clear, low and water temperatures are in the low 80s, much too warm for good smallmouth bass fishing. However, there have been fair catches of fish to 16 inches made early in the day from the river's Algonkian sector during the past week, and some anglers reported catching up to five fish per hour.
SUSQUEHANNA RIVER (PA) -- Water temperatures reached the upper 80s in Conowingo Lake during the past week, temperatures that seem to have produced lockjaw with smallmouth and largemouth bass. The action in the impoundment's upper reaches is limited to within an hour or two after sunrise. The secret to success has been to cast small shad darts trimmed with live minnows close to shore.
TRIADELPHIA AND ROCKY GORGE RESERVOIRS -- Lots of small white perch and catfish in both WSSC impoundments, but high water temperatures seem to have driven the lake's bass populations to deeper water. This time of year deep diving crankbaits, tube lures and plastic worms rigged Texas style will lure a few fish during the first and last two hours of daylight.
LOCH RAVEN RESERVOIR -- Lots of small white perch schooled between Loch Raven Drive and Dulaney Valley Road bridges, most measuring six to eight inches. Early morning anglers managed to sink their hooks into a few largemouth bass while fishing log jams and rocky outcrops uplake of Dulaney Valley Bridge, some tipping the scales at nearly five pounds. Most were taken on spinnerbaits fished close to deepwater structure.
LAKE ANNA -- Most of the week's striper action has been limited to the first few hours of daylight, times when some monster stripers were taken from relatively shallow water by anglers tossing topwater plugs and Sassy Shad rigged to half-ounce leadheads. The week's best action took place near Stub's Bridge, Jet Island, the mouth of Sturgeon Creek and The Splits. Crappie action remains good beneath the bridges, with small shad darts trimmed with white and chartreuse twister tails and fished in depths of 12 to 20 feet luring fish to 12 inches. A few big bass have been taken using the same method.
SHENANDOAH RIVER -- The river's Bentonville Bridge area continues to provide good catches of yearling smallmouth bass for boating anglers and those fishing from kayaks. The water is warm, relatively clear and for the first time in years, dense beds of submerged grasses have not caused navigational or fishing problems. This is a great time to just take a leisurely float fishing trip on the river, try out your ultralite spinning and fly fishing gear and enjoy the scenery. If you're looking for big fish, you will not find them here.
UPPER BAY -- Lots of small, channel catfish in the lower Susquehanna River, most weighing two to three pounds and scattered between the base of Robert Island downriver to Havre de Grace. Bottom-fished night crawlers, cut herring and chicken liver baits produced excellent results, particularly when fished late in the day and into the late evening. Early morning and late afternoon turned out to be the best time to fish the Susquehanna Flats and nearby North East River, with the best catches of tidewater largemouth bass and stripers made from depths of four to six feet near the edges of grass beds. Bass Assassins, Atom Poppers and spinnerbaits produced arm-jolting strikes despite water temperatures that topped the 90 degree mark. Channel catfish to six pounds were plentiful in the deeper channel areas of the North East, Elk, Sassafras and Bohemia rivers, and the C&D Canal near Chesapeake City, locations where cut herring and spot baits produced the best results. Striped bass action was decent from Worton Point south to the Chester River's mouth with some fish tipping the scales at 12 pounds. Most of the larger fish were taken while trolling tandem, large, Tsunami bucktails rigged with 4- to 8-ounce inline sinkers on 25-foot monofilament leaders. There were fair numbers of snapper bluefish taken on the same lures, most measuring 14 to 18 inches. Most productive locations include: Hickory Thickets, Love Point Light, Swan Point Bar, Peach Orchard, Worton Point, Belvedere Shoal, Man-O-War Shoal and the north end of the Mud Flats.
BAY BRIDGE AREA -- Not many folks fishing the twin spans during the past week. The few that fished early in the day beneath the old span near the manmade islands caught good numbers of small rockfish, snapper bluefish and white perch. A handful of anglers live-lined their white perch among the eastern shore finger pilings, a technique that produced stripers to 24 inches and bluefish to 20 inches. Eastern Bay crabbing has been excellent, particularly near Crab Alley Bay and just south of Kent Narrows where chicken neckers and handliners are catching their two-dozen limits in just a few hours. Headboat anglers running from Kent Narrows enjoyed a banner week of bottom fishing for white perch and spot, but croaker seem to have vanished.
CHOPTANK RIVER AREA -- The river's upper reaches provided good night fishing action for channel catfish and white perch for anglers fishing a few miles above Route 50 Bridge at Cambridge. Bridge anglers caught a mix of white perch, spot, small rockfish and even a few snapper bluefish. Downriver, the shallows near Cook Point held a few keeper rockfish, but hot weather limits the action to the last few hours of daylight and early evening.
CHESAPEAKE BEACH AREA -- Area charter boats have been trolling and chumming for a mix of striped bass and bluefish, both of which ranged from throwbacks to 20 inches during the past week. Headboat anglers loaded their coolers with a mix of white perch and spot, both of which were taken on imitation bloodworms and live bloodworms. Most anglers say the success rate with the imitation worms is as good or better than the real thing.
PATUXENT RIVER AREA -- Ken Lamb at The Tackle Box in Lexington Park, Md., said: "Trollers are finding plenty of keepers on the western side of the bay from the Nuke plant down to Point No Point with pockets of fish in all the old familiar places: Buoy 77, Cedar Point, Cedar Point Hollow, the Targets, Tippets and Elms Beach. Chummers and live liners are finding good numbers of rockfish in the mid-bay from Buoy 72A to the Target Ship." Big red drum are cruising around and trollers using Tony 19 and 21 sized spoons, however, most of these fish are too big to keep. Anglers cannot keep a red measuring larger than 28 inches, and most of these fish tend to be 32 to 38 inches in length.
HONGA RIVER AREA -- Lots of breaking rockfish and bluefish right at the river's mouth, and while both species are somewhat small, they're a lot of fun on light spinning gear and fly fishing tackle. Big croaker can still be found along the bay's eastern channel edge near Hooper Island Light, however, this is strictly a nighttime deal and the fish don't usually begin to bite until sundown. The bite frequently continues through the evening, with croaker to 18 inches showing up sometime after midnight.
TANGIER SOUND AREA -- A relatively good week of bottom fishing for big spot and small croaker, both of which smacked imitation bloodworms. A few weakfish were found in Tangier Sound near Puppy Hole Buoy, while at Hook of the Bar keeper size flounder to 18 inches were caught on live minnows and squid strips. Schools of snapper bluefish measuring 12 to 20 inches were found near Tangier Light.
POINT LOOKOUT AREA -- A few nighttime anglers have been fishing the Southwest Middle Grounds for croaker and reported excellent catches when tidal conditions are favorable after sundown. Weakfish remain scarce throughout the area, but several throwback red drum measuring 36 inches and larger have been reportedly caught near the Mud Leads and Target Ship.
CAPE CHARLES AREA -- If you were looking for big flounder, The Cell was the place to be during the past week. More than a dozen seven to nine pound flatfish were caught on large live minnows hooked to the back of small bucktails and drifted over the rough bottom near Buoy 42. The Inner Middle Grounds produced a half-dozen citation size cobia for weekend anglers, the largest topping 73 pounds. At the CBBT, flounder to 10 pounds and loads of sheepshead to 12 pounds were caught from the Third and Fourth islands submerged boulders.
CAPE HENLOPEN/INDIAN RIVER -- Indian River Inlet is still the place to go if you want to boat loads of big croaker and flounder. Most of the larger flounder seem to be outside the inlet about a quarter mile offshore, fish ranging from 12-inch throwbacks to 22 inchers that will really put a bend in a rod. Croaker from 12 to 15 inches remain plentiful, both in the surf, and inside the mouth of Delaware Bay. Squid strips and imitation bloodworms produced incredible hauls during the past week, with the largest fish coming over the rails at night. Striped bass action seems to have slowed, but there were a few taken at night from Indian River Inlet's jetties while casting bucktails and live eels.
OCEAN CITY -- It was the first fish weighed, the first fish to qualify for prize money, and after over 100 hours, the 78.5 pound white still holds first place in the white marlin category and the $1,653,915 in prize money that comes with it. The fish was caught by Ken Coffer from Carolina Beach, N.C., while fishing on the "Desperado," also out of Carolina Beach. It was the only billfish caught by "Team Desperado" during their three days of fishing -- but in this case quality over quantity rules. The "Desperado" has used up all of their three allotted fishing days, so all they can do is wait and watch as the contest's end approaches. The winning fish becomes official at 4 p.m. Monday.
CHINCOTEAGUE & WACHAPREAGUE -- Charter boats running offshore from both ports have been chunking for monster tuna at the Parking Lot and Lumpy Bottom, locations where bluefins to 150 pounds have come over the rails. The limit is just one fish per boat. Trollers picked up a few yellowfin tuna using cedar plugs and rigged ballyhoo baits while fishing between the 30 fathom curve and Washington Canyon. Fair numbers of flounder were found inside both inlets, but the croaker are so thick that catching a flounder can be a difficult task.
OUTER BANKS -- Surf and pier anglers in the Nags Head area caught a mix of snapper bluefish, sea mullet, spot, small flounder and croaker. Just a short distance outside the surf line, bottom-fished bloodworms and squid strips produced good catches of snapper bluefish, sea mullet, croaker, spot and Spanish mackerel. Offshore, good catches of yellowfin tuna to 85 pounds and bigeye tuna to nearly 200 pounds were made from the Gulf Stream's western edge. These fish were mixed with dolphin to 30 pounds and wahoo to 77 pounds. The Hatteras charter fleet reported lots of big yellowfin tuna, wahoo, dolphin and huge numbers of billfish during the past week. King mackerel action seems to be picking up closer to the beach.