Speaking of curly-tailed grubs

OUTDOORS

Outdoors

April 21, 2002|By CANDUS THOMSON

Editor's note: This week's column offers readers a smile, along with a helping of facts for anglers.

"Hello, fishing fans. Welcome to "A Cast of Thousands," presented by the SkyHighPremiums Cable Network. Remember, if you want to watch a fishing show real bad, we've got a real bad fishing show. I'm your host, Lotta Scales, and with me is my longtime partner, Chum Slick.

"What's it looking like this week, Chummy?"

"Not too shabby, Lotta. Drought conditions almost everywhere had threatened to really spoil things for anglers. But Mother Nature has a way of staging a comeback, and this week could be just the shot in the arm the season needs."

"How so, Chummy?"

"Trophy season began yesterday, and you know nothing says spring in Maryland like serious striper action, Lotta. The recent summer-like temperatures have warmed the water, and spawning is about to begin.

"Chesapeake Bay pros say the best action right now is on the rising tide, and the majority of fish are in the upper half of the water column."

"Sounds promising, Chummy."

"It is. The best guess is that this wave of big stripers won't be the only one, but probably the most productive one, so get out there while you can."

"Speaking of big fish, Chummy, it seems a Prince George's County angler broke a nearly 23-year-old record this month. Lawrence Rush, a mechanic for the Metro transit system in D.C., reeled in a 2-pound, 10-ounce crappie from Swan Creek, near Fort Washington.

"Rush was working with ultra-light tackle loaded with 4-pound test and a 1.5-inch white curly-tailed grub on the end of the line. His record-beater measured 14.5 inches, with a girth of 13 inches.

"He beat the old record by just one ounce. The U.S. record, by the way, is 5 pounds, 3 ounces."

"That's a lot of crappie, Lotta!"

"You bet, Chummy. How about filling in our shore-bound friends?"

"For that, Lotta, we switch to special correspondent Tara Firma. Tara?"

"Thanks, Chummy. Shad anglers tell me that if you can stand the crowds, the usual haunts are still producing, despite low water levels. So set that alarm clock for O-dark-thirty and hit Fisherman's Park below the Conowingo Dam, the banks of Deer Creek and North East Creek. Be sure to pack the small spoons and shad darts.

"Croaker, up to 18 inches, are being caught around the Solomons Island bridge and at the Point Lookout Pier. The Choptank River Fishing Pier is a decent platform to catch white perch and catfish. Back to you, Lotta. "

"Thanks, Tara. For our bass fishing report, we switch to Jumbo Shiner at Prettyboy Reservoir."

"Lotta, the water level is still very low - down about 34 feet from normal - but bass guru Duke Nohe says the fishing's been pretty good, and he should know.

"City of Baltimore crews have been out to run gravel from the access road to the water's edge, so anglers with boats can launch without getting up to their hubs in muck. The water temperature's jumped from 50 degrees to 67 - way past spawning temperature - but there's no sign of nesting. Go with crankbaits, spinnerbaits and plastics. Back to you, Lotta. "

"Thanks, Jumbo. Speaking of bass fishermen, Chummy, what's the buzz in Charles County?"

"The pros are in town, Lotta. Three hundred of them will be on the Potomac River this week for the $250,000, CITGO Bassmaster Eastern Open, the fourth and final event on the circuit. The five top anglers from this event will go on to the BASS Masters Classic in July in Birmingham, Ala."

"Any big names, Chummy?"

"Does 2000 Classic champ Woo Daves of Virginia do it for you? The senior Daves will be competing against his son, Chris Daves, who is in second place on the circuit, behind Danny White. Chris fishes the Potomac and knows it well. "

"Who else?"

"Two-time Classic angler Michael Iaconelli will be there, as will Chuck Economou, who has had four top-10 finishes in BASS tournaments. The anglers did some pre-tournament fishing two weeks ago and the junior Daves told me there were fish everywhere in 5 to 8 feet of water on drops and rock points. Let's see some of that interview now:"

"There's gonna be a ton of fish caught, some big strings. If they stay in their pre-spawn, they'll be aggressive and feeding. To catch fish in this tournament, you won't have to run far up or down the river."

"Lotta, Chris grew up on this river, but even the local experts agree with him. Ken Penrod, a longtime guide, says the competitors will have optimum conditions: a full moon, grass beds 30 days ahead of traditional growth levels and a river in excellent shape.

"He predicts daily catches averaging 15 pounds, and that 95 percent of the fish will be caught in less than 5 feet of water. Penrod says this will be `a knock-out tournament.' "

"Can folks watch the action, Chummy?"

"You bet. The anglers will practice tomorrow through Wednesday, with the tournament beginning at the crack of dawn Thursday. The 6 a.m. launch and 3 p.m. weigh-in ceremony will be at the dock at Smallwood State Park in Charles County."

"Well, Chummy, I'm about all fished out."

"Just one more thing, Lotta. Anglers and non-anglers can share an afternoon next Sunday at the Triadelphia Reservoir's Brighton Dam on the Howard-Montgomery county line.

"They're having free fishing workshops, singalongs, a native-plant sale and a giveaway of tree seedlings. Brighton Dam is known for its azalea garden, so there's a little something for everyone. Smokey Bear will be there, too. The festivities will run from noon to 4 p.m."

"Well, that's all the time we have, Chummy. We have to make way for SkyHighPremium network's best-loved show, `Bowling for Furniture.' For now, this is Lotta Scales saying may all your flukes be flounder."

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