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Fishing Forecast: Davidsonville resident wins light tackle event

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I'm almost afraid to say this for fear of jinxing it, but based on the weekly reports so far this year things are shaping up to be a memorable summer. As almost everyone knows, the rockfishing has been outstanding since March, white perch are fat and just about everywhere, and now with some of the summer gang showing up — croakers, blues, specks, and even some flounder as well as the oddball tautog — that gives us even more options. And the crabbing is finally catching fire above the South River, as far north as the Patapsco.

Of course, warmer waters also brings the armada of cow-nosed rays up our way, and they have. I heard reports of them as far north as Middle River. Several of my spots in Eastern Bay that produced nice rock two weeks ago are now roiled with these winged fish, looking to help their pups.

Let's start with crabs. We're finally seeing some reliable catches over here on the Chester and Wye, and the creeks around Kent Island. And the same is true on Western Shore, says Bud at Fishbones. He reports crabbing has improved markedly in the Severn and Magothy, and even as far north as Bodkin. He adds that the chumming for rockfish is fair to steady at the typical spots — Muds, Hackett's and Podicory — while the lumps above Baltimore Light are improving, and white perch are just about automatic.

Jim at Marty's reports that the rockfish pattern remains much as it was last week, with rock being caught from Thomas Point to below buoy 83. He was happy to report the crabbing in the West, Rhodes and South Rivers seems to get better by the day.

On Tuesday, Mike Killelea and friends scouted the lumps above the bay bridges for rockfish, and though they found them the fish weren't biting.

"On our way back we came across a few acres of keepers breaking and had our three-man limit in 5 minutes with fish up to 26 inches," he said.

ishing from Shady Side, Captain Jeff of Vista Lady says he's putting his party on rockfish right out front of the West River, fishing in water depths between 35 and 55 feet. Sometimes he'll venture south of buoy 83, and on occasion, even as recently as Monday, he's found rock rolling on the surface, with maybe just a few birds working. One time, he said, there weren't any birds and the stripers were still busting bait. Another good reason to work that meter. Jigging and trolling are both effective tactics, depending on the day and tide.

According to Captain LJ of G-Eye Jigs, "fishing has been good here out of Chesapeake Beach. I have been finding nice rockfish in deep water in the mornings while others are finding their fish on structure in shallower water." He has been doing well on seven-inch Bust 'Em Baits (green, white, and mackerel colors) attached to either a 1-ounce and 3/4-ounce G-Eye Jigs.

"Put Pro-Cure super gel on your baits like suntan lotion at the beginning of each drift to get more strikes," he suggests. "Also, I don't normally use skirts on my jigs, but the skirts are making a big difference in my catch ratio of larger rockfish right now."

Also having a very good week of fishing was Captain Shawn Gibson on Wound Tight, who says they've experienced "a little more variety of fish to start the month of June. Since the striped bass fishing has been so good we have spent time looking for other species. We found the black drum on several trips near the Choptank River and even got on a good white perch bite near Thomas Point." He adds that his party boat Miss Lizzy had some good bottom fishing trips for perch recently. "We caught a citation 13 1/2-inch white perch last week at Thomas Point," he said. "We are hopeful that the Choptank River will begin to produce some spot and croaker in the next few weeks."

Off Breezy Point on Monday, Caleb Gill was fishing when he saw a humpback whale, reports Mike Stranddquist from Breezy Point Marina.

"Lots of bait in the mid Bay, and 28- to 32-inch stripers are mixed in with 20- to 24-inchers," Mike said. "The fish are being caught trolling and jigging off Parker's Creek, Breezy Point, and the Radar Tower. Croakers have been caught off Dares Beach and off Sharps Island Light."

Further down the Bay at Buzz's Marina, Mike Henderson said both the bluefish and croakers have shown up, with the latter species there in decent numbers and the former bigger than the snappers we're accustomed to during the height of summer.

After looking for hardheads in their typical haunts on oyster beds, "We finally found the croakers in shallow water, about 10 feet deep, north of the state fishing pier," he told me. For the bluefish, he plans to troll red and white hoses, about 12 inches long with 4/0 or 5/0 hooks — "the skinny ones!" And finally, there were six snakeheads — that's right, six! — caught at the head of St. Jerome's Creek. Mike thinks with all this rain they either swim or walked from a nearby pond.

Over on the Eastern Shore side, Don Jackson said that he and his son Sam had a good trip on the Pocomoke Sound flats, with Sam catching then releasing a nice 22-inch speckled trout. The speck hit a Zara Spook retrieved at dusk. There were also rock of 30 and 32 inches, as well as a bluefish that hit on red drum baits — but no red drum, Don told me. "Lots of 16– to 18-inch rock on artificials," he added.

Captain Walt of Light Tackle Charters reports similar: large numbers of stripers and speckled trout in small numbers.

"Both species come over our rails every day," he said. "When the numbers of specks get to half the numbers of stripers, everything will be golden. Golden days are a coming."

CCA MD-Kent Narrows tourney: Craig Sheridan and his teammates were catching some nice rockfish right out of the gate during last Saturday's Bass Pro Shop-CCA Kent Narrows Light Tackle & Fly Catch and Release Tournament. All was going according to plan, he said.

"Our game plan was to fish 30 to 40 foot of water, put in our time in and work south (from Thomas Point,)" he said. The bite was early, and Sheridan said the edges around buoy 84 proved to be holding good rock. But they also knew they needed a "kicker fish," as he called it, to win the whole thing. And that kicker prover to be a 38 3/8-inch striper the Davidsonville resident hooked on a seven-inch Gulp! jerk shad, before 7 a.m. The tournament is a catch, "click" and release tournament; no rockfish are checked in at the dock.

The South River grad, now a sophomore at Eckerd College in Florida, was fishing with Ron McMorrow (Edgewater) and Joey Cover (Kent Island). Though he's been fishing since he was a youngster, Craig has only been light tackle fishing for about four years. He's spending his summer working with Jim Bieler at Marty's Bait & Tackle in Edgewater.

Nearly 200 anglers fished the event, making it the largest turnout in the tourney's 13-year history. Jack Mister of La Plata landed a 30 3/4 inch rock to take top honors in the kayak division, while the Fly Division winner was Mike Dunlap of Chestertown, who caught a 31 5/8 inch striper.

The other top finishers were: Light Tackle Division, 2nd place, Chris Richardson, Grasonville, 35 1/2 inches; 3rd, Jess Rossman, Baltimore, 35 1/4 inches; Fly Division, 2nd, Doug Romaine, Washington, D.C., 26 inches; 3rd, Ed Liccione, Queenstown, 25 1/4 inches; Kayak Division, 2nd, Dan Frank, Middle River, 29 7/8 inches; 3rd, Chuck Chambers, Easton, 27 1/2 inches.

Outdoors calendar

June 10-12: Maryland Watermen's Association 21st annual Pro-Am Rockfish Tournament, Rock Hall. Register at 410-216-6610 or marylandwatermen.com.

June 11: Maryland "Free Fishing Day." No license required, all creel and size limits, as well as other restrictions, apply. Visit DNR website for details.

June 11: CCA Central Region Chapter & Piney Run Park & Nature Center's "Youth Fishing Derby." Fishing tackle prizes. To volunteer email relyar@ccamd.org

June 12: Annapolis Decoy Show, Annapolis Elks Lodge #622, 2517 Solomons Island Road, Edgewater, 10 a.m-4 p.m. Call 703-912-2949 for details.

June 13: Pasadena Sportfishing Group Meeting, Earleigh Heights Volunteer Fire Company, 161 Ritchie Hwy, Severna Park at 7:30 p.m. Info at pasadenasportfishing.com.

June 15: MSSA Annapolis #1 Chapter Meeting, American Legion Post #7, 1905 Crownsville Road, Crownsville at 7 p.m. Speaker is Captain Chris Dollar. Info at mssaannapolis.com.

June 17-19: MSSA's 27th annual Tuna-ment. Visit mssa.net.

June 20: MSSA Broadneck/Magothy #10 Chapter Meeting, American Legion Post #175, 832 Manhattan Beach Rd, Severna Park at 7:30 p.m. 410-757-9070.

July 1-3: 34th annual O.C. Marlin Club Kick-Off Tournament, 9659 Golf Course Road, Ocean City. 410-213-1613 or ocmarlinclub.com.

July 1-30: 8th annual Pier Point Marina Flounder Tournament. Dewey Beach, DE 302-227-2808.

July 3: Waterman's Day, Rock Hall Bulkhead at 12 p.m. 410-639-7298

July 6: MSSA Kent Island #7 Chapter Meeting, American Legion Hall #278, 800 Romancoke Rd, Stevensville at 7:30 p.m. Info at kifishermen.org.

July 6-9: Canyon Club Junior Angler Offshore Challenge, Cape May, NJ. 609-884-2400

July 8-10: 29th annual OC Tuna Tournament, O.C. Fishing Center/Sunset Marina. Info at 410-213-1121 or octunatournament.com.

July 8-10: MSSA Frederick Chapter Cobia Tournament at Kiptopeke, VA. Info at 443-277-5289 or mssafrederick.com.

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