DEEP CREEK LAKE -- Bill Teeter crouched like a pitcher looking for a sign from the catcher. His eyes riveted straight ahead, he studied his target.
There was no sense in wasting a throw, but he wasn't tossing a white ball; instead, it was a big white buzzbait. Teeter is not a baseball player, but his diamond is 2,800-acre Deep Creek Lake nestled in the slopes south of Roman Nose Mountain.
Teeter let fly with the long-handled casting rod and the buzze landed several inches inside a patch of grass not as deep as a teacup. It's Teeter's view that a bass needs only enough water to keep its back wet.
He flipped the rod tip, the lure popped through the grass, an promptly disappeared inside the jaws of a smallmouth bass. Out here, smallmouths frequently leave the rocky and gravel bottom to invade the haunts of pickerel, yellow perch and largemouths.
It was a topwater-dancing fish, and it came close enough to th big bass boat for Teeter to reach for it, but the buzzbait was spat out.
Alongside docks we noticed broad ripples in the gin-clear wate -- and I appreciate that "gin-clear" is an old cliche -- but on this lake it is appropriate. How else can one describe waters so clear one can see a country mile through them?
The rolling fish were yellow perch, big neds chasing minnows We were tempted, but we were after bigger game: big bass, like the largemouth of well over 5 pounds that threw Teeter's hook at the bow when we last fished together.
This June, things are different. The lake is down at least a foot the drought spreads out into these mountains. The water is also warmer (Teeter's electronic thermometer read 79.6 degrees), and fishing conditions are more like mid-July when bass go deep, and deepwater techniques involve grubs, Pig 'n Jigs and plastic worms.
I tried a new bait, the Storm Jr. Thunderstick of pink and silver and cast it into boats moored in 7 feet of water at a marina.
"These boats are only used weekends; fish stay around them for shade," explained Teeter. "A 6-pounder came from here the other day."
There was a strong strike on the lure that resembles the ol Rebel and Rapala swimmers, and soon I had a pickerel of close to 20 inches, followed by an aggressive yellow perch.
Teeter tried something different, a Po-go, one of Tom Mann' new baits, and one that is sure to be successful among those who like to fish plastic worms at varying depths. This soft worm of 6 inches -- it is also available in 4-inch lengths -- swims enticingly with its head atop the water much like a snake.
It's designed to be rigged with a large wire hook, and to b fished deep when one inserts a nail in the body to give it sinking weight. However, without the nail it is still heavy enough to cast easily with casting or spinning rods, thanks to its girth, which is nearly twice that of a conventional worm.
Several nice fish came to this lure, which resembles the popula Slug Go, but Teeter missed setting the hook. "I'll work on that, and this worm will take big ones -- especially in spring and fall," said the quiet but confident guide.
Calvert Bregel got a smallmouth and a few strikes on one of pin in contrast to the bluish smoke exterior of Teeter's choice. By late afternoon, we switched to the deep fishing plastics and pork that brought me a largemouth, then a bluegill of about 10 inches that I lost at the boat.
Teeter already was thinking of night fishing for walleyes. The are everywhere in the lake, and he likes to start at 8 p.m., cast for bass until it gets dark, then rig up with lights, and start casting or trolling for fish that made the Great Lakes famous.
One also gets bass, both largemouths and smallmouths, i darkness, said Teeter. The lake is busy at night hereabouts as walleye fishing in the dark gains followers.
Teeter's rates are quite reasonable, $20 an hour for which he wil carry two anglers for from several hours to all day or night. Call him at 1-301-334-2787.