Friday, December 30, 2011

Lower Virginia Chesapeake Bay finishes rockfish year with a bang

The striper fishing is supposed to shut down in the Chesapeake Bay's Virginia  portions Dec. 31, but will vigorously continue in the nearby Atlantic. Much of it will happen close to shore.

One thing is for sure, the numbers of  trophy rockfish that the Chesapeake has delivered in the general Bay Bridge-Tunnel and Plantation areas of the Bay has been phenomenal. Here's yet another photo of Poquoson, Va., angler Hunter Southall with a fine specimen.

This is one of Hunter's pals, Brandon Bartlett, also of Poquoson, Va., as he releases a speckled sea trout in the Elizabeth River down in lower Bay country.

On the top left you'll see a Mann's Sting Ray grub and a 2-inch Berkley Power Minnow. These two lures, when dabbed with a fish attractant such as our favorite, Smelly Jelly, will catch not only bass and occasional stripers, but also plenty of panfish. These were caught in the Occoquan River, on the Virginia side of the Potomac.

Fadra McAfee, of Lafayette, Colorado, fished with charterboat captain Joe Scrivener on the Poor Boy's Lady and look what she came up with: A 41-pound, 46-inch rockfish, caught in the lower Potomac just before the season ended. In the Potomac and all the tidal Virginia waters, the season comes to a close on Dec. 31, but it remains open in the Atlantic (in a limited area). Fadra took her trophy striper to the Tackle Box in Lexington Park where she had her picture taken. What a fish!

Note to letter writer "Anonymous" who wondered how you could know when a power plant pumps water and/or releases warmed water, such as the one we described in a post below when we fished the Possum Point power plant's back side in Quantico Creek a week ago.

You simply cannot know when the plant pumps water and discharges warmed amounts. Like you, we, too, take our chances. That's one of the downsides of winter power plant fishing. The same thing happens at the Morgantown power plant and/or the Dickerson Potomac River plant. I hope you didn't get mad at Andy and me ------- Gene Mueller

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Maryland charter captain heads south for Virginia stripers

St. Mary's County charter fishing captain Eddie Davis is stocking up on food, coffee and sodas and he's heading down the Chesapeake Bay into Virginia waters --- specifically the lowest parts of the Bay around the Virginia Beach area and its adjacent ocean portion where huge striped bass are holding court right now.

Hunter Southall with a trophy Virginia striper
"The charter booking business has stopped since the Maryland Bay season closed on December 15," said the affable Davis, who is known far and wide for his fish-catching skills. "I'm heading down into the lower Bay and the nearby ocean to catch some of those trophy rockfish," he said. "Let the people know that they can have the  trip of a lifetime."

The Bay's rockfish season closes Dec. 31 (Saturday), but it remains open in the ocean waters close to Virginia Beach marinas. If you're interested in hooking a taxidermy-sized striper, call Capt. Davis on his cell phone, 301/904-3897.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

When water temperatures fall, look for power plant outflows

Don't pay too much attention to December's balmy daytime weather. It has very little to do with the nights that lower river and lake water temperatures. For example, when the fishing slows down because the water temperatures in a river, such as Maryland's Potomac, fall to 45 degrees or less, a change in tactics are called for.

Andy nets a catfish. Front of power plant is visible.
My friend Andy Andrzejewski, who is a USCG-licensed guide and who knows more about the inner workings of the Potomac --- the wheres, whens and hows of the upper tidal river's fishing --- never overlooks opportunities afforded by electricity-generating power plants. Everybody knows that the power plants are built along the shores of creeks, rivers or lakes to draw cooling water into their heated generating turbines, then release the warmed water back to where it came from.

Naturally, when there's one place in an area where water temperatures might be as high as 55 to 60 degrees while the rest of the waters in the river are below, say, 45 degrees, where do you think many of the resident fish flock to? The question answers itself.

For example, Andy and I visited the Possum Point Power Plant that fronts the Potomac River just upstream of the Quantico Marine Base, with a back portion of the plant seen inside Quantico Creek, just to the right as you enter the creek. This portion of Quantico Creek is rich in history, including an incident during the Civil War when Southern naval forces constructed a blockade-running schooner (I believe its name was the Martha Washington) that met its end when Union forces put fire to it and destroyed it. Happily, no one was killed, but Quantico Creek visitors should know that the schooner sank just to the right of the creek after you pass under the railroad bridge.

This catfish hammered one of Andy's Sting Ray grubs
Back to the fishing. Before we went into the creek, Andy and I fished a front, main-river portion of the power plant, slowly reeling and hopping Sting Ray grubs back to the boat. Andy suddenly had a hard strike and after setting the hook and reeling the fish toward the boat, he said, "It's strong -- probably a catfish." He was right. Iit turned out to be a well-fed 7-or 8-pound blue catfish, which means it was a mere baby when compared to the 40- and 50-pounders that sometimes are hooked in deep channel waters in the main stem of the Potomac.

Stripers such as this one were plentiful
After we entered Quantico Creek, passing under the railroad bridge and bearing to the right, Andy found one of Possum Point's outflows that appeared to be discharging warmed water. (See picture below). Small whirlpools and sudden surface eruptions in the water close to shore indicated as much. The concrete-surrounded shoreline outflow showed water depths falling from 3 and 4 feet to 7 feet and more. We continued to use the top winter lure anywhere, the 3-inch Mann's Sting Ray grub, dabbed with Smelly Jelly fish attractant and fished on a 1/4-oz. ballhead jig hook, with the hook's point emerging about midway down on the broad, flat side of the grub.

Bingo! The first strikes came from 12- to 14-inch-long rockfish that whacked the avocado-color Sting Rays with gusto. The fish obviously were fooled by the grubs because they do an admirable job of imitating a bullhead minnow --- every predator fish's favorite food when times are tough.

We had a ball, hooking perch, stripers, and in one case a catfish that broke off. Andy's earlier blue "cat" was kept by me, taken home and filleted. My Southern wife would never have forgiven me if I had let it go. You know how Southerners value a good catfish, served with hush puppies, slaw, and maybe a helping of cooked kale. Let us not forget the ice tea, either.

For newcomers to the upper tidal Potomac, the Virginia-based Possum Point Power Plant can be reached from Prince William County's Leesylvania State Park boat ramps, or those across the river at Maryland's Smallwood State Park, on the shores of Mattawoman Creek. The smoke stacks of the plant easily show its location, and the name Possum Point is prominently displayed on the building.

There are other power plants worth visiting. We'll cover some of those in the weeks ahead. Meanwhile, the guide, Andy Andrzejewski, can be reached by calling 301/932-1509.

An active outflow is seen on the back side of the power plant

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Don't put away the rods and guns, December is a great month

Fred Drury, of Stephens City, Va., went fishing with his pal, Dick Fox, and before the morning was over both men caught smallmouth bass in the Shenandoah River. They used tubes and one of Drury's smallies looks good, especially for this time of year when fishing is a little slower. Don't you agree?

Left to right, Chuck, Tate, and Butch Chambers, of Trappe, Md., show off four Canada geese shot in Dorchester County. That fine Lab is Gabe, who belongs to fellow waterfowler, Dr. Jack Scanlon.

Hunter Southall, of Poquoson, Va., caught this magnificent spotted sea trout in the Elizabeth River, down in lower Bay country in Virginia.

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The rockfish are coming into the lower Chesapeake Bay, especially near the Bay Bridge-Tunnel, and here's well-known angler and fishing activist, Dr. Ken Neill, with a beautiful striper caught at night.

George Poveromo is all smiles after landing this 39-pound striped bass in the Lower Chesapeake Bay while fishing with Dr. Ken Neill. Poveromo will host the February 4, 2012, Salt Water Sportsman National Seminar Series when it comes to Annapolis. Poveromo also is the host of the VERSUS television series "George Poveromo's World of Saltwater Fishing."
That's Matt Rinck, of Poquoson, Va., with a fine lower Chesapeake Bay striped bass. Matt and others like him expect to catch a number of similar fish whenever they go out. They drift-fish with live eels.

This is the photo of river guide Andy Andrzejewski and a winter bass, caught in the Occoquan River. The photo ran with our weekly fishing report in the Washington Times. Check it out at

We wish all our web site visitors a Merry Christmas and a wonderful fishing year in 2012!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

What's an Alabama rig? Maryland DNR addresses it

  The Maryland Department of Natural Resources has received many questions about a type of sportfishing gear (mostly for bass anglers) called an Alabama Rig. The DNR defines the Alabama Rig as a [multiple hook] umbrella rig. The umbrella rig, as described on page 39 of the 2012 Fishing Guide, may not have more than two baits or lures which have hooks. Additional hooks can be removed to bring the rig into compliance with regulations. This is consistent with regulations for the mainstem tidal Potomac River as well, which is managed under the authority of the Potomac River Fisheries Commission.

This, of course, is intended to address a current fishing fad by bass tournament anglers in which more than one hook-bearing lure is used on the same line.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

There's no way we stop fishing, but we do bulk up on the clothing

Gene Mueller is ready for a run in a bass boat during the cold months
People have asked us why we bother to go fishing in the coldest weather and the answer is easy. There are fewer people out when the mercury drops, and there sure aren't many boats to be seen. So we take advantage of a wonderful situation because even in winter the fish will keep biting. Only a thick layer of ice will keep us from launching our boats.

By the way, the photos of us in cold-weather clothing show how we dress when the boat is running on plane. We normally remove the face masks and hoods when the fishing begins, but my wife says the word "normal" shouldn't be used with us. She thinks we're looney-tunes.

That out of the way, one of our favorite waters is the tidal Potomac River between the District of Columbia and western Charles County, also portions of Virginia's King George and Prince William counties. In these waters, the largemouth bass, white perch and resident yellow perch or young stripers, along with crappies and catfish (especially large blue catfish) do not migrate to a warmer climate. No, they stay where they are during spring, summer and fall. The only difference is that they pick deeper layers of waters, although we've found bass in 2-foot shallows chasing baitfish on rare sunny, semi-warm days in January.

Andy Andrzejewski is prepared for the coldest weather
U.S. Coast Guard licensed fishing guide Andy Andrzejewski taught me long ago that even on a bone-chilling day, largemouth bass can be enticed to come to a hook. His all-time favorite cold-water lure is the 3-inch avocado color Mann's Sting Ray grub. He rigs it with the hook point emerging on the broad side of the grub's body and fishes it totally exposed on strong monofilament line, but also thin and super-strong braided line, then dabs a creamy fish attractant known as Smelly Jelly onto the plastic lure that imitates a bullhead minnow. The Sting Ray is used on bass, but it also attracts crappies, yellow perch, stripers and catfish.

(Incidentally, another Potomac River guide who lives in Virginia has claimed that it was he who introduced the lure and its solid effectiveness to Washington area anglers. That's a hoax. Andrzejewski has been showing us how to fish a Sting Ray as far back as the 1980s -- long before this claim-grabber even knew how to turn the key on a bass boat. Not only that, Andrzejewski gives full credit to famed tournament angler Roland Martin for telling him about the Sting Ray's usefulness.)

Marty Magone doesn't fear the cold river in a fast boat
Our frequent partner on warm or cold weather outings is Marty Magone, who lives on the shores of Virginia's Lake Gaston where he finds striper and bass action even on the most frigid days. When Andrzejewski tells him to come up to the tidal Potomac for a day's fishing, Magone doesn't waste any time.

He'll pack a mighty lunch for everybody, jump into his vehicle and head north to Virginia's Leesylvania State Park where he's picked up and then the fishing begins. This past summer, Marty caught his first Chinese snakehead and he was tickled pink.

By the way, should you ever ask Magone to come fishing with you, don't bet any money that you can outfish him. The tall, former Marine knows how to stick a lure to a fish. The same holds true with another former Marine, Andrzejewski. Be doggone sure not to bet him more than a nickel in a fishing bet. If he takes you up on a challenge, he'll beat you like a red-headed stepchild. I know!

Andy Andrzejewski hooked this bass on a Sting Ray grub, just above Wilson Bridge
Dale Knupp with fine cold-weather largemouth
The fourth on our list of willing cold-weather fishermen is Dale Knupp, who lives near La Plata, Md., and not far from the boat launching ramps of Southern Maryland's Nanjemoy Creek or the Potomac's Mattawoman tributary.

Like Andrzejewski, Dale Knupp can find fishing action when others can't. The guy is amazing. I've been with him when -- in less than 4 hours -- he hooked a Potomac River striper that qualified as a line-class world record, and minutes later set the hook to a 6-pound largemouth bass -- all on the same lure. Can you guess what it was? Yes, it was an avocado color 3-inch Mann's Sting Ray grub that had been rubbed with Baitfish flavor Smelly Jelly.

Before I forget, Knupp's wife, Nancy, is among the better lady anglers I've seen on the water. Dale and Nancy are well-known by locals for their yellow and white perch catching skills.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Look at this variety of fish -- and it's almost winter

St. Mary's County fisherman, bon-vivant and man-about-town, Wally Nelson, fished in the lower Potomac River with Mike Guy, of Guy Brothers Marine, in Clements, Md., and look what he came back with.

The lure "Uncle" Wally used to catch his well-fed rockfish is a Williamson bucktail, sold in the Guy Brother's store in Clements.

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Our friend Kevin Wilson said he was going to fish the upper Potomac River above Shepherdstown, W.Va., to hook a muskellunge. True to his word, he caught this musky on a Musky Innovator Real Fish Sucker. The musky raised hell, even drew blood on Kevin's hand. Kevin said it looked to be about 38 or 39 inches in length. Of course, he released it. By the way, Kevin has a fine website that concentrates on fishing and hunting. Check it out at 

That's Kevin's fishing pal, Bob Barber, with a nice walleye. The 'eye jumped on a Rapala Magnum X-Rap, one of the lures that were intended for the muskellunge the two anglers were after.

Here's Adam Wose, a visitor from Durban, South Africa, with the fine striper he caught around Buoy 77, at Little Cove Point.

Remember, the rockfish season is now closed in Maryland's main portion of the Chesapeake Bay. However, it remains open in the Potomac River and in all of the tidal Virginia waters.

Tyrone Butler, of Lexington Park, Md., fished in the Bay at Buoy 72 and a 47-inch-long, 38-pound striper took his lure. That's a fish a man will never forget.

Josh Hall, of Union Bridge, Md., shows off his Chesapeake Bay rockfish that weighed 45 pounds and measured 49 inches. Wow!

Tom Kroviak brought this chubby trophy striper to the Tackle Box to have his picture taken. The rockfish was caught near Point No Point  before the season closed.

Tony Barrett used a chartreuse tandem rig made by Doug's Lures to catch this 43-inch, 30-pound striper in the Chesapeake. Doug's Lures are available in Lexington Park's Tackle Box store, so check them out.

Obama Administration grabs for broader wildlife powers

Bill Horn, the director of Federal Affairs for the national U.S. Sportsman's Alliance, says that in a controversial new policy, the Obama Administration plans to broaden the reach of an already too-far reaching federal Endangered Species Act (ESA). "The new policy will make it easier to list more species of fish and wildlife as 'endangered or threatened' and more broadly impose the ESA’s many restrictions," writes Horn, then adds, "Greater limitations on fishing and hunting, wildlife management, and public land access are a likely result."

The proposed policy, released on December 9 by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), newly interprets an old statutory term in the ESA: “[a] significant portion of its range,” or SPR for short.  Under the new interpretation, if a species is endangered or threatened in its SPR, it will be listed (and subject to the full range of ESA restrictions) in ALL areas where it is found even if not endangered or threatened in those other areas.

The policy admits “we recognize this interpretation may lead to application of the protections of the Act in areas in which a species is not currently endangered or threatened with extinction, and in some circumstances may lead to the expenditure of resources without concomitant conservation benefits.”

Furthermore, those federal agencies admit that “application of the draft policy would result in the Services listing and protecting throughout their ranges species that previously we would not have listed, or would have listed in only portions of their ranges.”

What does this mean to anglers and hunters? The U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance is worried that it gives the anti-angling, anti-hunting animal rights lobby more ammunition to attack our community.  For example, activists have been pushing hard to put sage grouse on the list of endangered or threatened species.  If they can show that the grouse are “threatened” in one area (and it’s a “significant portion of its range”), then all of the grouse could be listed – and made off limits to hunting everywhere. Anglers could face similar restrictions – get a species listed because it is in trouble in one area, then it’s off-limits everywhere because “this interpretation may lead to application of the protections [and restrictions] of the Act in areas in which a species is not currently endangered or threatened.”

Horn said, "The USFWS and NMFS are plowing ahead to twist and broaden the meaning of this phrase which will spawn litigation, create more costs to taxpayers, and open more opportunities for activists, including activist judges, to call the shots on fish and wildlife management."

When is the next presidential election? Let us be sure to let our voices be heard via the ballot box.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Fishing action from near and far, including Georgia redfish

Anne Arundel County, Md., couple Bob and Pam Lunsford had a ball casting for redfish on the Savannah River. "We fished in sight of downtown Savannah," said Bob. "In a half day's charter with Capt. Scott Wagner (912/308-3700) I lost count of the number of 8- and 9-pound reds, all on spinning tackle and [Senko-style] stick baits in less than four feet of water and in sight of the Savannah River Bridge. We also caught [a few] spotted sea trout." Incidentally, Bob used to be the director of Freshwater Fisheries for the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. He's obviously enjoying retirement. 
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Tidal Potomac River fishing guide, Andy Andrzejewski (301/932-1509) "lips" a crappie on the outside rock line of the Spoils Cove, just upstream of the Wilson Bridge.

Rockville, Md., angler Tony Van Nguyen fished around the No. 72 Buoy in the Chesapeake Bay and look at the fine striper he came back to Buzz's Marina with. Tony keeps his boat at Buzz's on St. Jerome's Creek.

That's one of the better fishermen in Southern Maryland, Charlie Stewart, showing us the two rockfish he and Buzz's Marina owner, Michael Henderson, caught out in the Bay.

Here's Michael Henderson with the fish he and Charlie Stewart caught in the Chesapeake. It goes to show that marina operators occasionally take a little time off to go fishing. Good show, Mike!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

For these 3 Musketeers, the food is as important as the fish

When the Three Musketeers get together for a day of fishing, the fish had better watch out. Things are going to happen and that, friends, occasionally isn't pretty and it has nothing to do with the fish.

Andy (left) and Marty show off some of the crappies they caught
There's our boat captain and professional fishing guide, Andy Andrzejewski, and his long-time friend, Marty Magone, who came to the upper tidal Potomac to catch the same critters he could have caught within a couple hundred yards of his home on the shores of Virginia's Lake Gaston. Then there's yours truly, a newspaper scribe and website operator who'd rather be fishing or hunting than sitting in a stuffy office.

Oh, I almost forgot. Whenever Marty shows up you can leave your baloney sandwiches at home. He brings grub -- a lot of it. For example, no sooner than Andy ran his boat upriver, toward the general Fort Washington area and eventually stopped, our Virginia partner, who had schlepped a large container aboard asked, "Ready for breakfast?" It was, after all, almost 9 a.m.

Breakfast (and lunch) consists of something he refers to as Egg Splatter sandwiches. It's difficult to imagine a restaurant or sandwich shop preparing one of these gargantuan edibles. It can't be done without risking a chance of going broke, or having to charge $10 for one of Marty's Egg Splatter wonders. They consist of two slabs of good bread and a 2-inch-thick layer of a kind of rough-hewn egg salad, imbued with bacon, pickles, mayonnaise, various seasonings (including hot sauce) and Heaven only knows what else.

All of Gene's crappies went after chartreuse Gulp grubs
As I said, things can get pretty ugly when you try to take a bite out of one of these monsters, trying to get it all in your mouth before half of it falls on Andy's carpeted boat deck. Andrzejewski doesn't suffer pig-pens gladly. "Don't drop your food on my carpet," he'll say with an awful look on his face. "If you do, you'll clean it up."

We each had one of the monstrous sandwiches, washed down with Marty's sparkling cranberry drinks, and for dessert ate a wonderful chocolate brownie baked by Marty's love, the beautiful Pauline. Then we remembered what we came to the river for. "Anything that'll bite a Sting Ray or a Gulp grub," said Andy matter-of-factly, picking up a baitcasting rod that held a 3-inch avocado color Sting Ray. It does a fair job of imitating a bull minnow and often convinces the river's bass or crappies that it's real food. Andy and the rest of the gang smears Smelly Jelly fish attractant in Baitfish or Crawdady flavors onto the grub. It definitely helps when the water is cold and most people would rather stay indoors than be outside. If you want to give the grubs a try, just remember to fish slowly and have strong, thin line on your reel because you'll run into snags now and then.

At the edge of a tall wooden channel marker, it was Magone who had the day's first fish, a fine crappie. That was followed by Andy and myself with either more crappies, maybe a couple young largemouth bass, or an errant yellow perch here and there.

Marty with yet another "slab," as some anglers call a crappie
We practically had the river to ourselves, seeing only a couple of commercial netters on the Maryland side of the river. What they were after is anyone's guess. Some of them, after all, have been nabbed in the past for trying to sell largemouth bass. We guessed they were after gizzard shad, catfish or perch.

"Ready for lunch?" asked Marty Magone around the time of a dead-low tide. So we had another Egg Splatter giant, trying to savor every morsel before the tide turned and the water started moving again. When it did, the fish moved, too. They moved onto our lures and the hooking and landing, amid laughter and shouts of "Got another one!" continued.

By the way, if you're looking for a perfect Christmas gift for your fisherman in the family, how about a guided bass trip with Andy Andy Andrzejewski? Call him for the best dates at 301/932-1509.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Baltimore Boat Show coming to town in January

Maryland’s largest indoor boat show returns to the Baltimore Convention Center, January 19-22, 2012, providing on-the-water enthusiasts a chance to shop the newest boats and cutting-edge gear and accessories while experiencing summer fun and learning the benefits of the boating lifestyle. At the Baltimore Boat Show, boaters dreaming of warm weather excursions can climb aboard hundreds of boats for every budget from the area’s top dealers– from luxury yachts and family cruisers to fishing boats and personal watercraft. Dozens of exhibitors will offer the latest marine, fishing, and electronic accessories to outfit any boat and excursion on the water. Fishing, boating, and sailing seminars from top pros, including a new two-day boating safety course, will provide visitors useful knowledge to become more confident at the helm.

Thursday and Friday, January 19-20: 11 a.m. - 9 p.m.
Saturday, January 21: 10 a.m. - 9 p.m.
Sunday, January 22: 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Baltimore Convention Center

1 W. Pratt Street (at Charles Street), one block from the Inner Harbor
Baltimore, MD 21201

Adults: $10 (16 and older)
Youth 15 and under: FREE with a paid adult admission
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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The striped bass parade continues from Maryland to Virginia

It's not the greatest photo in the world, but it shows local fisherman Warren Cooksey with a fine rockfish, caught near Solomons Island, in Calvert County, Md.
Here's a tip: When someone shoots a photo of you, remove the sunglasses because it makes you look as if you have two big holes in your head, plus try to keep the sun behind you before snapping the picture. Either way, Warren, it's a fat striper you caught, for sure.

 Steve Helmrich, of Lexington Park, Md., with a whopping 50-inch rockfish caught in the Maryland portion of the Chesapeake Bay and brought into Buzz's Marina in St. Jerome's Creek.

A nighttime photo of the famous Virginia bay and ocean angler, Dr. Ken Neill. This tacklebuster was caught after sundown under the high-rise portion of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, not all that far from the Atlantic Ocean.

That's Jason Baxter, of Waldorf, Md., with a beautiful rockfish, caught trolling near the HI Buoy in the Chesapeake Bay.

Rick and Stephen Coffren trolled up this whopper near Buoy 72 in the Chesapeake Bay. The fish and the fishermen were photographed at the Tackle Box store in Lexington Park.

Ron Wilkerson, of Barstow, Md., trolled around the HI Buoy in the Chesapeake and look at the heavy-duty striped bass he came in with. He's posing with his catch in front of the Tackle Box.

La Plata, Md., fisherman, Chris Milby, trolled a chartreuse tandem rig near Point Lookout, in the Maryland parts of the Chesapeake and he set the hook to a 45-inch, 37-pound rockfish.

Richmond Fishing Expo Returning to Meadow Event Park

The Richmond Fishing Expo is returning to the Farm Bureau Center at the new Meadow Event Park in Caroline County, January 20-22, 2012 . The show is geared to be a fun and educational experience for all who attend. Whether you are a fly fishing enthusiast, a bass angler, saltwater, lake or river angler, this show has something for everyone in the family. Again this year, your admission ticket will allow you to return to the show another day. There will be conservation organizations, outfitters, fishing charters, boating suppliers, as well as seminars conducted by nationally-known speakers to teach skills and share some great stories of their adventures and experiences. The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) staff will be on hand to answer questions on agency programs, angling education, special training events, and opportunities to enjoy Virginia's great outdoors. The Outdoor Report e-newsletter will also have an exhibit featuring Fishin' Report contributing reporters answering your questions on where to get the latest "how are they bitin'" info on more that 25 primary lakes and rivers statewide. For information visit the Show website or view the Show flyer.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Super fishing seminar to be held by some of the best fishermen

George Poveromo’s Salt Water Sportsman National Seminar Series will be in Annapolis, Md., on Feb. 4 as part of its 25th Anniversary Tour.

Instructors will be: Captain John Oughton, Captain "Walleye" Pete Dahlberg, Rick Burnley, Dr. Ken Neill III, "Crazy" Alberto Knie, Captain Jimmy Price, Captain Brady Bounds, Captain Chris Dollar, Bill Carson, Harry Vernon III, and George Poveromo.

Topics include: Live-lining for trophy stripers; refined striper trolling tactics; Big stripers on top water lures; Secrets of fishing the Susquehanna Flats; Chunking tricks for striped bass; Flutter-jigging for striped bass and bluefish; Targeting jumbo bluefish; Bluefish on surface lures; Inshore wire-line trolling techniques; How and where to catch more and bigger fluke; Bucktailing for fluke; How and where to catch fluke by the numbers; Secrets for catching big tautog; Can’t-miss tautog tactics; How to locate and set up on productive bottom (for tautog, black sea bass, fluke and spot).

In addition you'll learn how to target jumbo sea bass; Jigging for sea bass; No-nonsense weakfish and speckled trout tactics; How and where to locate weakfish and speckled trout; Spanish mackerel the easy way; How to find and use offshore temperature breaks to your advantage; No-nonsense strategies that produce more and larger makos;  Kite fishing tactics that take more sharks and tuna;  Hot methods for catching yellowfin and bluefin tuna; Offbeat tactics that score more yellowfin and bluefin tuna; Can’t miss tuna trolling strategies (includes sub-surface trolling techniques); Live-chumming, chunking and live-baiting for tunas; Trolling for white marlin; Little-know tricks that yield more white marlin; How to create and troll a deadly offshore teaser system (including dredges); Canyon trolling strategies; Secrets of fishing the canyons; plus comprehensive sessions on fishing the upper, middle and lower Chesapeake Bay!

For more information on this seminar series, visit: .
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Monday, December 5, 2011

Hunting is among the safest of all recreational activities

Don't let anyone tell you otherwise: Hunting with firearms is safe; in fact, hunting with firearms is one of the safest recreational activities in America.

With hunting season in full swing across the country, the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the trade association for the firearms industry, has compiled data that shows hunting ranks third in safety when compared to 28 other recreational pursuits, ranging from baseball to wrestling. Hunting with firearms has an injury rate of 0.05 percent, which equates to about 1 injury per 2,000 participants, a safety level bettered only by camping (.01 percent) and billiards (.02 percent). For comparison, golf has an injury rate of 0.16 percent (1 injury per 622 participants), while tackle football topped the list of activities with an injury rate of 5.27 percent (1 injury per 19 participants).

"Many people have the misconception that hunting is unsafe, but the data tells a different story," said Jim Curcuruto, NSSF's director of industry research and analysis. "Comprehensive hunter education classes that emphasize the basic rules of firearm safety and a culture of hunters helping fellow hunters practice safe firearms handling in the field are responsible for this good record."

To put hunting's safety standing into perspective, compared to hunting a person is . . .
  • 11 times more likely to be injured playing volleyball
  • 19 times more likely to be injured snowboarding
  • 25 times more likely to be injured cheerleading or bicycle riding
  • 34 times more likely to be injured playing soccer or skateboarding
  • 105 more times likely to be injured playing tackle football.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

What is it about bass fishing contests that invites cheating?

Word came down recently from the Western Outdoor News (WON) organization that tournament angler Mike Hart, who was disqualified from the 2010 WON BASS U.S. Open at Lake Mead for weighing in fish with lead weights in their stomachs, now is being prosecuted by the state of Nevada for fraud.

In a news story by WON's Pat McDonnell, it was reported that WON BASS Tournament Director Billy Egan, who weighed in Hart's fish and later spoke to him after his disqualification, was ordered to testify in the case, and was ordered to appear Dec. 16.
This is a fish that can turn good people into cheats
The state district attorney's office is charging Hart with fraud via a criminal complaint, wrote McDonnell. The complaint was filed by the Nevada State Department of Wildlife, the more specific charge (statute 205.380) is for "attempting to obtain money or property under false pretenses." The Category B felony carries a  sentence of 1 to 10 years in state prison and no more than $10,000 in fines, or a combination thereof.

Hart's disqualification made national waves at the U.S. Open. WON BASS officials found a fish with weights and hooks in it on the second day of the 3-day tournament.

Hart's fish, with the weights, would have likely put him in the top 10 and would have resulted in a minimum of a $5,000 payday, said WON BASS director Egan.

What is it about bass fishing tournaments that brings out the worst in human beings? Over the years there've been charges and suspicions of cheating in a number of small club outings here in the Washington area. In one large B.A.S.S. Top 100 tournament some years ago, a Virginia fisherman who had ties to a well-known national pro was accused of seeding a cove on the Potomac's Virginia side with bass -- allegedly to help the pro angler win the outing.

It involved catching legal-size bass, keeping them in a livewell, then dropping a brush pile in the middle of a barren cove that showed no other hiding places for fish. The bass were released and they immediately swam to the only cover available. Later, more bass were released in the same spot, but there was a witness to it all.  Apparently, it was someone who knew what was being attempted. He reported it to tournament officials. The touring pro said he had no knowledge of any attempted wrongdoings. But the man who did the impromptu "bass stocking" disconnected his phone and eventually moved out of the area.

In a number of small-club "buddy" outings years ago at Virginia's Lake Anna, it appeared that the same two pals kept winning the tournaments. Well, they did have an advantage. They already had limits of large bass in their livewells before the contests began. Apparently, the tournament directors didn't think to check all livewells before each outing. Nowadays, it's standard procedure to make sure the boat tanks are empty.

One serious attempt at cheating that I recall didn't happen in a tournament. It occurred at one of those famous California bass lakes when the wife of the lake's boat rental concessionaire caught a bass that threatened the 21-pound-plus state record, and surely was a new lake record. It was a beauty --- until state biologists discovered a handful of lead sinkers in the bass's stomach.

The fun part came when the woman's husband told the press that flocked to the lake upon hearing of a potential record bass, "Largemouth bass often eat lead sinkers that are found on the bottom of our lake."

Yeah, right.              NOT!!!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The first truly cold morning produced bass and crappies

It was the first day of December and my usual fishing partner, the professional bass fishing guide Andy Andrzejewski, had a paying party the next day, so he figured we ought to check out a few places to see how willing the upper tidal Potomac River's inhabitants were on a morning that started out with the temperature being stuck somewhere in the high 30s. 

In the cold, there's no complaining about bass sizes
It was time for warm layered clothing and especially our heavy jackets that double as life preservers. These jackets are worth their weight in gold. Wind cannot penetrate them and the floatation substance inside the fabric does double duty as a super cold-weather fighter. Of course, we wore gloves, and under the floatation jackets we had sweatshirts with hoods that -- when tightly tied around our hats and faces -- would keep everything comfortably in place. Give us your best shot, Potomac!

Our first stop just north of Gunston Cove produced a rash of crappies -- some fat and sassy, some barely big enough to be away from their mother. Our lures consisted of the usual Mann's Sting Ray grubs in an avocado color, fed onto 1/4-ounce ball-head jig hooks. We also used 2-inch Gulp grubs in chartreuse, fished on 1/8-ounce jig hooks. Both of the plastic grubs were generously dabbed with Crawdaddy-flavor Smelly Jelly.

The next stop was set in a series of backwater coves south of Belle Haven, not all that far from Wilson Bridge. The wind came out of the North/Northeast and Andy had to constantly adjust and re-adjust his trolling motor to keep his 22-footer in proper position. Sure enough, he also tied into a bass within the first 5 or 6 casts, then followed it up with another largemouth and a crappie moments later. (He does that all the time.)
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Andy Andrzejewski with a marina crappie
But the wind began to make us less than comfortable and Andy simply said, "Let's check out the marina pilings and slips in Swan Creek. We can hide in there."

Again, a mixed bag of crappies, a couple of bass and a sunfish totally satisfied us. Even though the temperature climbed into the 40s, soon also moving into the 50-degree range, we saw only one other boat from morning until we left around 1 p.m. That is so rare on this bass tournament-crazed river that you have to experience it to fully appreciate the phenomenon. Imagine, not seeing a hundred other boats, each jockeying for position, each boat's occupants pretending they are first cousins of bass pro Roland Martin.

Not this day, however. How sweet it was.


If you're interested in a quality booking with a pro river guide, Andy Andrzejewski can be reached at 301/932-1509.