Small spot on Mississippi pays big for Jessup angler


June 03, 1999|By Peter Baker | Peter Baker,SUN STAFF

The message on Robert Vogelsang's answering machine leaves no doubt about his favorite pastime: "I'm not in. I'm either at work or fishing. I hope I'm fishing."

Late last month, Vogelsang was fishing the Wal-Mart FLW tournament on the Mississippi River near Memphis, Tenn., and he was dialed in.

"It was really unique," said Vogelsang, a video camera operator for the Maryland Jockey Club and Rosecroft Raceway who won the co-angler side of the tournament. "The first day out, we fished hard all day and didn't get a bite."

But over the next two days Vogelsang outfished his pro partners, and collected a cash prize of $15,000.

"That second day, I fished with Kelly Jordan, a pro from Texas, and we were fishing flood ponds that are formed by high water in the summertime," said Vogelsang, 54. "We went through a swamp, a pond and another swamp to get to this place that was only as big as a pool table."

But from that one small area in the Tunica Oxbow, Vogelsang and Jordan caught seven big bass, and the Jessup angler caught five of them for 18 pounds, 4 ounces and a spot in the finals.

Vogelsang said he used the same rig throughout the tournament, a blue- and red-flaked Megatube and only a sixteenth of an ounce weight.

"The bass were transitioning; they weren't holding to cover," said Vogelsang. "So I would cast, let it sink, pop it, let it alone and pop it again. I think the light weight really allowed the tube to move nicely -- and the fish were banging it."

During the final round, Vogelsang was paired with Paul Converse of Indiana, who chose to run upriver, 110 miles from the Tunica Oxbow. But again Vogelsang was dialed in.

Vogelsang had his final limit of five bass in the boat early, and when Converse was having trouble catching bass, the Jessup angler gave him a MegaTube, and the Indiana angler caught four bass.

Vogelsang won the tournament with 16 pounds, 13 ounces.

Fishing updates

Upper Chesapeake: This week, the regulations for rockfish changed, and anglers may fish all of Maryland's tidal waters and keep one fish 18 inches or longer and one 28 inches or larger. However, rockfish action has been slow in many areas. White perch are moving from shallow water to oyster rocks and bars. White perch action in the Susquehanna remains strong.

Middle Chesapeake: Trollers did well for rockfish over 28 inches this past weekend, but much of the effort will be focused on chumming. Black drum are beginning to arrive at the Stone Rock and off James Island. Sea trout in the 16- to 21-inch range are being caught along the edges of the main bay channel and croaker have moved into the mouth of the Choptank.

Lower Chesapeake: Chumming has been working well for rockfish, and bluefish up to 3 pounds have been moving through the area. Croaker have been hot in the mainstem from the HI buoy to the Target Ship and near Island Rock in Tangier Sound. Sea trout action also has been good on fish to 9 pounds.

Ocean City: Sea trout have been active at night at the inlet, the Route 50 bridge and in the surf. Flounder fishing has been fair and bluefish are scattered through the back bays and in the surf, which also has been turning up occasional big stripers. Offshore, the first white marlin hookup of the season was reported and yellowfin tuna also are moving in. Tautog and sea bass on the nearshore wrecks.

Pub Date: 6/03/99

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