It's a big part of fishing, waiting to go while speculating what the catch will be. It is especially true as winter starts to wind down -- and anglers endure cabin fever.
Already the more serious fishermen are yanking a few nice largemouth bass from tidal waters of the Potomac River near Washington, where fishing has started early since waters there became clean enough tosupport healthy gamefish populations.
But let us not forget our reservoirs -- especially Liberty and Piney Run in Carroll; Prettyboy, just over the line in Baltimore County; Loch Raven, also in BaltimoreCounty; and Triadelphia and Rocky Gorge on Howard County's southern border -- where good fishing could begin within a month.
Among those impatient to start casting in reservoirs is guide Duke Nohe, who specializes in area lakes. Nohe's favorite is Prettyboy, but says Liberty is a close second.
Though he spends part of the winter sellingtackle at Tochterman's sporting goods in Baltimore, Nohe is a conservative in the fishing world.
Here are some of his choices for baitat Liberty and Prettyboy, selections also appropriate for Piney Run.They include:
* Plastic worms in purple, dark blue, black and pumpkin (the latter a new and effective color).
* Pig and Jigs of 1/4- to 1/2-ounce in black and blue, brown and crawfish shades. These are combinations of lead-headed jigs with skirts and pork rind chunks.
* Spider Jigs, which are somewhat similar to Pig and Jigs, but without the rind, and of smoke, salt and pepper, and pumpkin shades.
* Spinner baits of white and chartreuse (this writer figures these two colors catch more than two-thirds of all bass taken on spinner baits).
* Crankbaits, both shallow and deep runners, including the crawfish and white coach dog, also the yellow coach dog. Other finishes could be perch, black and silver, and black and gold. Brands he prefers include Bomber Water Dog, Hellbender, Arbogaster and Bomber A-1.
* Jointed Rebel Plugs (also called broken-backs) of black and silver, and black and gold.
* No. 4 Mepps spinners (the larger ones are better in cold water) of either gold or silver.
* Hopkins Spoons of silver and gold, which are effective for bottom fishing in deep waters.
* Jigs of any color with live minnows attached to the hook.
* Live bait, especially shiners.
I agree with Nohe's suggestions, though I would add the light-colored Rattl-L-Trap plug (white orshad finish), and the Model A Fire Tiger, a crankbait with blaze orange belly.
Nohe fishes six rods, each rigged with a different lureso he can switch quickly.
His early-season suggestion for Libertyis from Dave's Hump to above the Nicodemus Bridge area in the upper reservoir; also the Morgan Run Bridge sector in the western reaches.
"I like to fish the upper end of Liberty in early season," he said. "Fish all points. Look for long gravel bars and long rocky points with stumps that are adjacent to a flat.
"In the spring, always fish the windy side of the lake and rocky areas because they get warm first. Eighty percent of my bass fishing is with crankbaits or bumping bottom with other lures. Fish very slow, and if there are no strikes don't spend more than a half hour at any point."