3-pounder hooks $300 in tourney G. Burnie's Swain cashes in big bass

OUTDOORS

April 11, 1993|By LONNY WEAVER

Glen Burnie's Steve Swain won $300 at last weekend's 11th annual Early Bird Fishing Tournament at Carroll County's Piney Run Park.

Swain's nearly 3-pound freshwater striped bass was the second-largest fish taken. Bob Pessagno's 9-pound striper earned the tournament's $700 winner's check.

Piney Run is a smallish body of water near Eldersburg off Route 26. Years ago, the lake was stocked by the Department of Natural Resources with what was supposed to be sterile freshwater striped bass.

Oops! Those fish have been spawning like crazy for more than a decade. The place is full of potential state records, but no one has really figured out how to catch them.

The lake also holds plenty of bass, but Maryland has had a closed season on bass from March 1 to June 15 for a few years now. But this just means that you cannot keep any during that time.

There is nothing illegal about catching and releasing all the bass you can hook, and now through May are top bassing times.

Here are some tips that may help you put some of April's bass on a roll of film.

Get into the shallows now, before the first leaves appear on the trees. It is not unusual to make outstanding catches this time of year.

Fish the points and deeper shorelines in water 4 to 8 feet deep using spinner baits, rattling minnow lures, jig n' pigs or diving crank baits. Bass use these depths as a sort of staging area before they move into the shallows. I have found this to be especially true in Liberty during early April.

Big bass often move inshore, into shallow water, but a cold snap will chase them back to deep water. When you find bass in shallow areas, hit them with spinner baits, rattling lures or shallow diving minnow lures like the Rapala.

Warm periods these next few weeks may be followed by fast-moving cold fronts. The best fishing, I believe, is found on the last warm day before that front passes through. Bass are especially sensitive to changes to temperature this time of the year. They will usually search out spots where the water is just marginally warmer. Such areas could be where streams enter into larger bodies of water. Another good area is a sunny, wind-protected cove.

Don't let discolored or muddy water keep you at home -- use bright, noisy lures and spinner baits.

Super bass fishing can be found this time of year on Eastern Shore and Southern Maryland farm and community ponds, portions of the Potomac, plus Liberty and Loch Raven reservoirs, to name just a few.

Get your rockfish tag now

If you plan on fishing the May 1-31 trophy striped bass season, it will cost you $2 for a mandatory permit this year. That permit will be valid and required for the fall season.

To keep a spring rockfish, it has to measure at least 36 inches. Also, no fishing will be allowed for them above the Bay Bridges or in any of the bay's tributaries.

If the weather continues to remain cool, most charter captains and biologists that I have talked to believe the fishing could remain good for these trophy fish until about May 10 in the middle bay.

Captain Eddie Davis, who works the lower Bay and Potomac River area around Point Lookout, recently told me that the 10th is about the time he expects to begin catching them at his end of the Chesapeake.

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