With Indiana lakes as a guide, McIntosh hits Potomac hot spot

ON THE OUTDOORS

September 03, 1998|By Peter Baker | Peter Baker,SUN STAFF

Last week in the B.A.S.S. Kmart Top 150 tournament on the Potomac River, Ken McIntosh of Leesburg, Ind., took the path less followed and weighed in 55 pounds, 14 ounces of bass, good for second place.

While many of the 312 pros and amateurs fished stretches of the main river or creeks closer to tournament headquarters on Mattawoman Creek in Charles County, second-year pro

McIntosh made the 30-some mile run upriver toward Washington on each of four tournament days.

"In Indiana, we fish itty-bitty, clear, natural lakes, where the fishing pressure is always incredible," said McIntosh, who sold his tackle shop last spring and, at age 40, decided to go hard and heavy at the pro tour.

"Fishing clear water is what I do well, and when we found this place in practice, I knew I had a chance at some big fish."

What McIntosh and his 18-year-old son found while scouting the varied habitat of the tidal Potomac was the discharge area of the Blue Plains water treatment plant, a 20-yard stretch of sandy bottom along a grass line and a basin of deep, clear water suited to "dead sticking."

Dead sticking, which he said he read about in Bassmaster magazine, is an unusual method for big bass tournaments because it requires clear sight lines, vigilance and patience.

McIntosh said his rig was a 7-foot medium-light rod, a reel spooled with 8- or 10-pound test clear monofilament, two or three split-shot weights, a 3/0 hook and plastic centipedes in kudzu or watermelon.

"First, you have to be able to see the fish, and I could see them very well along the edge of the grass line because of that 20-yard stretch of sandy bottom and the clear water," said McIntosh. "And I knew if I could see them, I could catch them."

Every cast he made over four days of competition went to that grass edge, he said, and as the lightly weighted lure moved slowly downward, McIntosh watched his line for the slight movement.

"You have to watch it real close because the fish aren't going to attack it; they're going to pick it up real soft," he said. "And as soon as the line moves, you set the hook. I never spent a more boring time, watching that line for four days, but it caught fish consistently."

On the first day, he said, he had a limit in 40 minutes, and on successive days he scored early and often enough to come in second to Missouri angler Denny Brauer, the hottest ticket in pro bass fishing.

"I think I might have done even better, but what was playing on my mind most was Hurricane Bonnie," said McIntosh, noting that those itty-bitty lakes in Indiana aren't subject to storm tides and high winds.

"I was playing it close to the vest because I was responsible for the safety of my [amateur] partner."

New flounder rules

The Department of Natural Resources has implemented a 15-inch minimum length for summer flounder and a daily creel limit of eight per day per fisherman. The previous minimum was )) 14.5 inches.

According to DNR, the change in regulations was made to reduce fishing mortality and provide spawning stock biomass.

Fishing updates

Upper Chesapeake: Eels drifted over oyster bottoms continue to be the best method for catching rockfish, with bars and humps from Poole's Island to Tea Kettle Shoals good choices. Channel edges from Shad Battery to Worton Point also have been good areas to use eels. Trolled bucktails or parachutes have worked well in the Patapsco and Chester rivers and east of Sandy Point, where rockfish to 32 inches have been caught with some consistency. Bay Bridge pilings and the sewer pipe off Kent Island also are holding rockfish.

Middle Chesapeake: Some of the largest blues of the summer are moving through this area, and rockfish, spanish mackerel and bottom species also are available. From the Clay Banks to Cove Point, along the western shore, trolling parachutes or bucktails has been the best method for rockfish. Bluefish as large as 8 pounds have been roaming from the Stone Rock to Bloody Point, with spanish mackerel and smaller rockfish mixed in. Flounder action is very good from False Channel, Poplar Island Narrows, channel edges in Eastern Bay and along the eastern edge of the main channel from buoys 80 to 84A.

Lower Chesapeake: Over the past week, large numbers of spanish mackerel have moved into Maryland's lower bay waters from Smith Point to the Mud Leads and the Middle Grounds. Spanish mackerel also have moved to Cedar Point Hollow and farther north, but numbers are not as high. Chummers throughout the area continue to do well for bluefish.

Ocean City inshore: Storms offshore have had back bays and the surf roiled, but conditions should be improving. Inlet piers have been turning up small blues, sea trout and stripers. Croaker and spot in the back bays up to the Route 90 bridge and some keeper flounder still turning up.

Ocean City offshore: Boats heading toward the canyons still are reporting white and blue marlin action, wahoo and dolphin. Chunkers and trolling catching 30- to 40-pound yellowfin tuna at the Hot Dog. False albacore, skipjack tuna and some large bluefish from the Hot Dog to the Jackspot.

Susquehanna: Evenings are great for smallmouths on spinners and small crankbaits.

Upper Potomac: Smallmouth fishing has been steadily improving most sections of the river. Live crayfish, minnows or tube lures and plastic grubs work well.

Deep Creek Lake: Pickerel in the grass beds, trout suspended by the dam and smallmouth bass in 10- to 15-foot depths associated with rocky points or humps.

Pub Date: 9/03/98

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