Striped bass lure anglers to Cove Point

OUTDOORS

May 15, 1994|By LONNY WEAVER

Trophy striped bass fishing remains surprisingly good as I write today's column on the eve of the season's third week. Earlier this week, Captain Gibby Dean put Severn's Steve Scala, Odenton's Mike Dew, Lance Schiable and his father, Lee, as well as yours truly into steady rock fishing between Long Beach and Cove Point.

We boarded Dean's Double A at Tilghman Island, and he gave us a choice of staying in that general area "and probably getting a lot of steady but undersized fish, or we can make the hour's run down to the area of Cove Point where they're getting fewer numbers of fish, but more trophy-sized keepers."

The run down the Chesapeake and off the western shore was the choice and one that we didn't regret. By day's end Scala had a keeper measuring a hair over 34 inches, but the rest of us had racked up a lot of close calls in the 24- to 31-inch range.

Scala's fish hit a green parachute/sassy shad lure not 10 minutes into Dean's trolling pattern. This has to be the hottest lure on the bay. Area anglers began using the parachute early last year and it caught on like the flu. It's nothing more than a slightly revamped version of the traditional bucktain. The long strands of hair-like material fore and aft produce all kinds of teasing action around the leadhead.

Along about midsummer last year I learned that to really make this lure talk, add about a 6-inch sassy shad in matching color. I had equally good luck last fall on rockfish with white, yellow and green parachutes/sassy shads. But, for some reason so far this spring, green is the only way to go.

These fish were deep and Dean even set two down-riggers -- one at 45 feet, the other at 50 feet. We also caught a number of the smaller rockfish on green metal flake sassy shads matched to appropriate-sized bucktails.

Dean agrees with me that 1994 could be a memorable year of great fishing throughout the Chesapeake.

"I'll probably keep my boat at Tilghman until this spring season closes the end of the month," he said. "We should be starting to see some bluefish up there in about a week or so, and I understand a huge school of drum measuring up to 40 acres has been spotted heading up bay this week. So, by next week, the middle bay could be hot with both of them plus the occasional trophy rock."

From June to mid-September Dean's Double A operates further south, out of Hooper's Island. That lower portion of Maryland's Chesapeake was the hottest spot around last year and indications are this year will be super for spot, croaker (jumbo-sized croakers are there right now), flounder, as well as blues and striped bass.

In case you missed it, Maryland finally has gotten around to blessing striped bass catch-and-release fishing. However, anglers are still prohibited from fishing for rock by any means in spawning rivers through June 30 and below the Conowingo Dam between June 15 and Sept. 15.

Good fishing easily can be found by Anne Arundel anglers close by. In addition to the middle bay area, the Middle Grounds and Point Lookout fishing pier are producing good catches of bluefish, while croaker are waiting in the Tangier Sound and those drum I mentioned are a little north of there.

If bass is what you are seeking, try spinnerbaits in Middle River, especially on the edges of the grass beds. Catfish and crappie are going wild at Triadelphia and Rocky Gorge -- use small minnows on the crappie and chicken livers on the carp. Mattawoman Creek, which is in the tidal portion of the Potomac, has been especially hot for largemouth bass and rattling lures seem to be what's turning them on.

Saltwater anglers to meet

If you are new to saltwater fishing or want to find people who share your interest, then the Maryland Saltwater Sportsmen's Association is for you. The Annapolis Chapter will meet Wednesday at the Liberty Yacht Club at 7:30 p.m. Call Don Price at (410) 647-1189 for information.

The Pasadena Chapter meets the second Wednesday of each month at the Anchor Inn, located on Water Oak Point Road at 7:30 p.m. Bill Mullinix at (410) 437-1909 is the chapter's president and can answer your questions.

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