Fisherman can double there pleasure when mackerel join in...

Outdoor Journal

August 01, 1991|By Bill Burton

Fisherman can double there pleasure when mackerel join in 0) bluefish run

That bluefish run from James Island at the southern side of the mouth of the Choptank up to Poplar Island has a little something extra. Sorry, I can't say sea trout, but how about Spanish mackerel?

Often much of the action is in the Sharps Island Flats sector off Tilghman Island, and macks are mixed with the blues. You can get a blue on one rod, and a mackerel on the one trolled next to it. The blues average 2 to 4 pounds; macks are just a tad lighter.

Decision time. If you want blues, use surgical hoses ` but mackerel don't like them. They prefer gold spoons, though they will take about any color in metals. Blues also will take spoons, but not as well as small hoses. You make the decision.

Occasionally the blues surface, and can be taken on cast spoons or plugs, but they are a bit skittish and sound quickly when boats start working them. Occasionally, mackerel also take spoons cast on the water and reeled in fast. Mackerel prefer a faster bait than blues.

Though both species do rise to the top, they bite best on the bottom of waters 10 to 17 feet deep. Seldom are they caught in deeper waters near the channel. A few boats have tried chumming, but most report not doing much yet, although that could change quickly. If it does, use ground-up menhaden or another oily fish, then bait up with the same ` or better still, pieces of cut spot.

Unlike chumming, when a moving tide is needed, the current doesn't dictate trolling success. However, early morning trolling is best, then again in late afternoon. By afternoon most anglers have their limit of 10 blues a day.

Sea trout haven't shown up yet, reports Capt. Buddy Harrison, and the black drum have departed. So, if you get your limit of blues you can either continue trolling for mackerel (for which there is no catch limit in Maryland), or turn to bottom fishing for spot inside the mouth of the Choptank.

Calendar ...

Today: This is the day the controversial user fees for boats into effect -- and it does amid confusion galore. In Congress, two committees have voted to knock it out, but there is no full vote yet. In addition, the Coast Guard has extended the grace period until Sept. 1. So where do we go from here? Who knows? But I'd wait before buying one of the decals, which cost $25 to $100, depending on the size of the boat. Stay tuned.

Tomorrow: Final Department of Natural Resources meetings on freshwater fisheries management, 7 p.m., Sweader Hall, Frederick Community College, Frederick. Call 974-3061.

Tomorrow: Last in a series of DNR hearings on state forest issues ` including practices for Pocomoke State Forest, which is so popular among Baltimore deer and wild turkey hunters ` 7 p.m., Pocomoke City Library. Call Eric C. Schwaab, 974-3771.

Saturday: Regional qualifier for the Maryland Bass Federation Casting Kids Exhibition will be held from 10 a.m. to noon at Greenbrier State Park near Hagerstown, Sandy Point State Park near Annapolis and Gilbert Run in Charles County. Contestants will be judged on flipping, pitching and casting. Other sessions are planned at the same times Aug. 10 at Centennial Lake in Columbia, Middle Branch Park in Baltimore and Tuckahoe State Park near Denton.

The state championship will be at 9 a.m. at Centennial Lake in Columbia as a side attraction to the BASS Masters Classic. All kids 7 to 14 are invited. Just show up at the announced times ready to cast. Call Bruce Jones, 1-301-977-3662.

Monday: The entry fee is $650 a boat, but in the 18th annual $50,000-added White Marlin Tournament, which opens at Ocean City this date, the biggest marlin is worth $50,000. In all, a half-million bucks will be in the pot. Competition continues through Aug. 9. Call 1-301-289-9229.

Planning ahead ...

Aug. 11: American Bass Association tournament out of Dundee Creek. Call Jim Burkhart, 544-5091, or Ed Lohr, 1-301-989-2507.

Ongoing ...

For information on 1991 deer hunts by bow, modern firearms, shotgun and for ambulatory hunters at Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge near Rock Hall, call 1-301-639-7056. And for information on fall deer hunts at Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge near Smyrna, call 1-302-653-9345.

Names and places ...

The point is to fish the points, said guide Duke Nohe of Prettyboy Reservoir bass'n. On two consecutive trips he guided Army Capt. Gary Maxey to limits of smallmouths off points and at depths of 20 to 30 feet. Most of the fish were in the 2-pound range, said Nohe, though a 4 1/2 -pounder tossed the hook when brought alongside the boat. Most fish hit Pig 'n Jigs, but drifted crawfish and trolling of large Bombers also scored.

A blown-up live worm got a 15 1/2 -pound catfish for Bob Sheppard at Hamton Cove, where he also took more smaller catties, some perch and a bass on the same bait.

Question box ...

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