Friday, November 30, 2012

Almost fresh. Yesterday's catches by "Rain Room" Marty Magone

We'll eventually get around to explaining why my pal Marty Magone is called "The Rain Room." But not today. It's too long a story, but I'll say this much: It has to do with an oversized rain outfit and huge hood that he refers to as his "Rain Room," as if there's enough room for two or three others who want to stay dry. (Oops, I just told the whole story.)

Anyway, here's Marty with yesterday's report from Lake Gaston, Va., where he's been fishing over a road bed in Hawtree Creek, using ShadRap crankbaits in the blue shad color. On Wednesday the place gave up 11 bass. Yesterday was a little tougher, but he still got plenty of action, including this nice freshwater striper and chunky largemouth. "It was very cold early in the morning," he said -- and you can tell by his slightly swollen red nose. It turns that color every time this former Marine gets a little chilly.

Want to start hunting? Get ready for a serious sticker shock

Let us assume that someone out there in Cyber land wants to begin deer hunting and do it right. Autumn is quickly turning into winter and he or she needs to be outfitted properly. Five-and-Dime long underwear won’t do; neither will bargain basement jackets, gloves, hats, pants and boots. The same goes for guns, ammo, perhaps archery equipment, portable deer stands, knives and sharpening stones.

Well, all you new nimrods, get ready for the smelling salts because there’s a fair chance you might faint when you see how much money needs to be forked over before you ever take the first practice shot on a safe gun range.

I took the Cabela’s and L.L. Bean Christmas mail-order catalogs, picked out equipment and clothing you should have if you’re serious, then added the cost up on a calculator. Hold on to your hat!

A warm and strong heavyweight cotton chamois shirt at Cabela’s runs $44.99; L.L. Bean wants $49.99. Flannel-lined super-tough trousers from L.L. Bean cost $54.99. At Cabela’s, $55.95. Warm underwear made by Under Armour will give you a nosebleed. Cabela’s wants $54.99 for a long-sleeved crew-neck undershirt and $54.99 for long-legged bottoms. The new Base 3.0 brand to be used in extreme weather costs $74.99 for the long-sleeved undershirt and $74.99 for the pants. Mind you, we’re talking about long underwear here. L.L. Bean’s long silk underwear can be bought for just under $50 each.

WindStopper gloves at Cabelas’s run $49.99. 10” Zip Pull-On Boots with rubberized bottom are on sale at Cabela’s, marked down from $69.99 to $59.99. But at L.L. Bean  similar footwear costs $99.99. Better hurry on this one. If you want regular lace-up hunting boots, they cost from $69.99 to $169.99 – take your pick.

Gore-Tex outfitter series bib pants are on sale at Cabela’s, marked down from $299.99 to $209.99. The 3-in-1 parka in regular sizes used to be $339.99, but now are “only” $249.99. Ultimate fleece headwear can run from $29.99 to $39.99, but add another $10 if you want a balaclava-type cap that can be pulled down to warm your face.

At Cabela’s a real knife bargain is Gerber’s new CFB Tanto blade (high-carbon steel and made in the U.S.A.) that used to sell for $199.99, but now can be had for bargain price of $154.99. Wow! Yes, I know you can buy a decent blade for less, but imagine how these catalog people don’t even blink when they put steep price tags on equipment.

The lowest prices just listed would run a total of $935.87 and you haven’t even bought a rifle or a shotgun (depending on the various state rules for deer guns). Start thinking in the $300 to $600 range for either one and ammo costing from $15 for shotgun slug shells to $25 for rifle ammunition. A good compound bow can easily cost $400 and up.

The worst part of all this is the fact that very little of the high-end outdoors gear is made here in the U.S.  For that, I’d like to say: Shame on all of you mail-order houses and in-store sales places!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Two of my friends enjoy a day of autumn fishing and they scored

Al Guy, of the Guy Brothers Marine business in Clements, Md.
Mike Guy, who with his brother, Francis, runs the Guy Brothers Marine store in Clements, Md., sent us a picture of their dad, Al, an octogenarian who still works with his sons, but also loves to get out on the tidal Potomac River. Two days ago, he was out trolling on the river, using a 5/0 green bucktail when this 31-inch striper that weighed 10.5 pounds hammered the lure.
Al Guy is one of my all-time favorite people --- one of the kindest men I've ever met. I've lost count of all the times he sharpened frequently abused chains for my two Echo saws, or tuned them up when I couldn't get them to start properly. Thanks, Mr. Guy!

Marty Magone with one of yesterday's 11 bass
Here's my pal, Marty "Rain Room"  Magone, who lives on the shores of Virginia's Lake Gaston. Yesterday he was on the water in the Hawtree feeder creek's bridge area,
        cranking a blue shad color ShadRap lure across an old road bed that now is under water. This is one of 11 largemouth bass that did more than just look at his fake bait.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Virginia sea trout continue to bite and big stripers begin to show

Virginia angler Hunter Southall took a photo of two of many of his specks
Our all-time favorite lady angler, Dr. Julie Ball says the spotted sea trout hotspots continue to deliver dozens of healthy fish, with the bite showing no signs of slowing down. The size of the trout continues to improve each day, with very few fish shorter than 18-inches. "The majority of the specks are exceeding 20 inches, with more and more reports of fish pushing to over 30-inches coming in this week," she says.

"The action in Rudee Inlet, Lynnhaven River, and Little Creek Inlet is still on and off, but when it’s on, the bite is good. The Elizabeth River still reigns as the Mecca of speckled trout right now, with willing fish hitting most everywhere along the River. Anglers are having luck with casting lures, trolling, bottom fishing, and live baiting. The fishing is very good, but be prepared to fight crowds

"As always for this time of year, anglers are anticipating the arrival of the bigger striped bass. The good news is that although the hogs are still active to our North, local anglers are beginning to squeak out some nicer fish in the lower Bay. A few fish ranging from 38 to 43 inches are taking live eels at various depths from the 4th island to the high rise section of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel. 

"Reports from drifters indicate the bite is still slow, but some fish in the 40-inch class have come from drifting eels along the channel edges and shoals off the Eastern Shore. This method will produce larger fish as the waters cool. Expect the really big rockfish pushing to over 50-pounds to debut soon. Schools of rockfish in open water can provide good action for both casters and trollers under flocks of birds.

"Boats are still not able to explore the blue water gamefish scene due to gusty weather conditions. Yellowfin and swordfish are on the wish list." For more information, go to

Newport News angler Wes Blow shows off a 39-pound striper he caught at the Chesapeake
Bay Bridge-Tunnel. He lowered a live eel into the water and scored. -- Photo by Dr. Ken Neill

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

This fish species can hurt you bad if you're not extra careful

Maryland Independent outdoors editor, James Drake, passed along a hairy story about a catfish that can pose all sorts of dangers:

A blue "cat," but not the one that hurt angler
Southern Marylander Ron Van Tassel was fishing from the old Slavin's launch/pier (in Indian Head, on Mattingly Road) before Thanksgiving and he hooked a very large catfish whose weight was estimated to be around 60-pounds. The Dept. of Natural Resources told Van Tassel it was an Arkansas blue catfish.

As Van Tassel held it up for a photograph, the big “cat” wiggled out of his grip; gravity took it directly to his left foot where one of the catfish’s barbs impaled him pretty deeply.

“I spoke to Mr. Van Tassel by phone yesterday,” said Drake.  “I called him at Civista Hospital in La Plata where he now is a patient for a horrible infection in his left foot. He is on IV antibiotics and when released, expects to be on IV antibiotics at home for an additional 10-days.

"My whole foot looks just like hamburger meat," he told Drake. "Just watch where you put your feet," he cautioned other catfish anglers.

Ed. note: Newcomers to the Washington, D.C., region need to know that the tidal Potomac River and its tributaries are home to an ever-growing number of blue catfish. This species is not a native resident of the Potomac. It was either illegally introduced or made its way up the Chesapeake Bay from the James and Rappahannock rivers in Virginia where they have busted fishing tackle for many years.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Here's a man in his 80s who could show most folks how to hunt

Doc Malnati with yet another buck
My long-time Charles County neighbor and dear friend, Dr. Peter Malnati, on whose sizable property I used to hunt regularly, could teach people half his age a few things about successful deer hunting.

For starters, when it comes to eating venison, Doc (as we call him) and his wife, Gail, have no peers. Those two love to eat the low-fat, nutritious meat of a deer and Doc wastes little time filling his freezer year after year, after year. I can't remember if he has ever been skunked and he doesn't use cover scents, deer attractants and other items the "experts" say we must have.

Besides being a dead-shot, Doc has the patience of Job when it comes to sitting quietly on one of his tree stands after having scouted likely areas and watching various whitetails' travels throughout the year.

In the photo, taken by his neighbor Joe Novak, Doc shows off a 7-pointer -- his second deer of autumn 2012. My money says he's not finished with putting wholesome venison away.

There's no doubt that big ocean stripers are in the Chesapeake

If there's any doubt that the big ocean stripers are in Maryland's portion of the Chesapeake Bay, take a look at this 48-inch, 35-pound rockfish caught by St. Mary's Countian Tom Koviak. His daughter Sloan approvingly smiles.

Good show everybody, including Buzz's Marina's Christy Henderson who saw  to it that we could share the Koviaks' photo with our web readers.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Nature is not always kind to wildlife as proven here with this buck

A friend of mine who lives on the wildlife-rich Eastern Shore of Maryland, passed along a photo that every wildlife lover (and that includes us deer hunters) should be interested in. It is of a whitetailed buck that was found near death next to a farm pond.

This buck was found near death . . .
“I euthanized it,” said my friend, who is quite at home in the field of medicine. “When I cut into the skin at the base of the antlers a large amount of pus came out. Further anatomical observation revealed the cause of death to be a brain abscess. [Such] lesions are not uncommon in older male deer. During fights with other antlered deer or when making tree rubs during rut, the skin around the antlers can be punctured. This may lead to an infection on the skull which then travels to the brain. 

Death is agonizing and not very rapid. In this case it was a terrible shame since this big buck had 19 antler points and weighed an estimated 230 pounds. Nature is not kind,” he said.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

We have much to be thankful for, so Happy Thanksgiving to all!

For the next several days I will take a little time off to be with family members in another state and celebrate Thanksgiving. We'll return with new blogs that hopefully are of interest to all our valued visitors.
            Happy Thanksgiving!                           Gene

Crappie tips from a fellow who truly enjoys this type of fishing

We've had inquiries from web browsers about productive crappie fishing methods after they saw my recent blog and photos of Marty Magone and his long-time friend, the bass fishing guide Andy Andrzejewski.

The bass guide Andy Andrzejewski offers crappie fans a few words of advice
For starters, this time of year when the crappies start schooling they not only hang out inside the dense branches of fallen trees or brush piles. No, they also congregate near wooden structure and concrete piers and pilings, bridge abutments and such.

For example, Andy, who is an all-around skilled angler, looks for bottom variances. Water depths that jump from only three feet to nine or more, than back again, are dead ringers for crappie schools if such water is located adjacent to wood cover or a concrete pier.

In the picture, you see Andy with just one of many fine crappies he and Marty hooked just a few days ago during a return outing to the tidal Potomac River and its tributaries. "We started in Gunston Cove and finished around the Mt. Vernon area," he said. "The crappie in the picture was caught on a 1/8-oz. jig rigged with a green 1" shad body crappie grub. Make unknown. Marty caught his fish on a Mann's Sting Ray grub."

The Sting Ray, incidentally, is Andy's first choice normally, but he is not averse to to trying other artificials -- all of them fished without a bobber. It's cast, allowed to sink a bit, then slowly dragged or hopped back to the boat.

One of my favorite ways is to tie a 1/16-oz., or even a 1/32-oz. red/white or green/white shad dart to 8-pound test monofilament with the knot tied firmly into the eyelet of the little dart and pulled a bit around so the lure rests perpendicular to the line. I snap on a thumb tip-sized bobber some 3 or even 4 feet above the dart, whose colorful lead head has been dipped into a bit of Smelly Jelly. Make a cast to a likely area and simply jiggle the rod tip a little which will make the shad dart dance beneath the water. Strikes often come quickly as the lure sinks. Why 8-lb. mono line? It can save this tiny lure when it snags in underwater brush, while the oft-touted 4-lb. line will not.

"The crappie are very active right now," says Andy. So what are you waiting for?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

A great outing for spotted sea trout in Virginia's Elizabeth River

Virginia kayaker Jody Linthicum looks like he has his hands full while fishing for
 spotted sea trout in the calm waters of the tidal Elizabeth River

Wes Blow releases a speckled trout
                                                 (photos by Dr. Ken Neill)

One of our all-time favorite fishermen from the lowest parts of the Chesapeake Bay and the adjacent Atlantic Ocean in Virginia, Dr. Ken Neill, enjoys many outings with Newport News pal Wes Blow. Several days ago, the two fished in the Elizabeth River, hunting for spotted sea trout, or as the locals say, speckled trout.

“We have caught larger fish and we may have caught more when all of those spikes were around, but I do not think that I have seen this number of quality fish,” said Ken. “I have no idea of the number of fish we caught in the 20 to 26 inch range. There were no small ones. There were a couple in the 16- to 17-inch range, but the rest were 18 inches and up with 21 to 22 [inchers] being the average size [and] many larger than that.”

“Multiple hookups were common and we were just slinging 22-inch fish into the boat when the net already had another fish in it. Our largest was probably about 7 pounds with a good number in the 5- to 6-pound range. All were released. Wes tagged most of the larger trout.”

Meanwhile, Jody Linthicum and his fellow kayakers were kept busy with the specks also. It was a good day in the Elizabeth River.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Washington area hunter/angler scores on a good Nebraska buck

Ron Edmonds is a name well known among news media people as well as local Washington area bass fishermen. Ron worked for the Associated Press and certainly left his mark in the many years he was there. Ron won the Pulitzer Prize for Photography for a series of pictures showing President Ronald Reagan being shot by the would-be assassin Hinkley as the President was leaving the Washington Hilton hotel. Ron's photos were seen around the globe because Ron apparently was the only photographer with enough presence of mind to stay calm enough to repeatedly hit the shutter of his camera. 

When not working Ron spent many happy hours fishing for bass in the upper tidal Potomac River, near the Nation’s Capital. Occasionally, he shared pictures of his catches which were published within my fishing reports in The Washington Times.

Ron Edmonds and his fine 8-point Nebraska whitetailed buck
However, this is not about shooting photos or fishing for bass in D.C.  Now and then, Ron does something every hunter and fisherman dreams about. 

Let him tell what it is he does during a super bi-annual get-together with a group of longtime friends:

“We do a fly-in fishing trip to Canada and [following that] our annual hunt on my friend Eric Herbst's ranch near Crawford, Nebraska. Eric is the son of Bob Herbst, former Assistant Secretary of the Interior and an old friend of mine. Eric has around 1800 acres of beautiful rolling hills in the southwest part of Nebraska. It has a trout stream, elk, whitetailed and mule deer and loads of turkeys.”

“Eric manages his ranch very carefully [and only enough game is taken every year] to manage the herds to a size that his ranch can sustain. A small group of us are the only hunters on the property. It is a balance between the health of the wildlife and the cattle that range on his land.”

Having said that, take a look at the large 8-point whitetailed buck Ron shot. He’s a beauty (not Ron --- it's the deer that is a beauty). It was shot with a Weatherby 308 after Ron jumped it and dropped it at the brief distance of
70 yards.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

A great opportunity to learn about all types of saltwater fishing

George Poveromo's Salt Water Sportsman Seminar Series will return to Virginia Beach, Va., on January 19, 2013. The following week, on Jan. 26, it will be in Wilmington, N.C. For information on the entire tour, visit:

While in Virginia Beach, learn techniques for live-baiting trophy striped bass and other tactics that take monster stripers, including cutting-edge striper trolling; refined flounder tactics; how to consistently locate and catch trophy flounder; sheepshead the easy way; sight fishing for cobia; how to excite and catch stubborn cobia; chunking for trophy cobia; light tackle inshore fishing for puppy drum and speckled trout (see picture); No nonsense topwater tactics for trophy speckled trout.

Wes Blow and a large Elizabeth River speckled trout
Add also techniques for consistent catches of red drum; light tackle fishing for red and black drum; scoring around inlets, jetties and beaches; secrets of fishing the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel; Successful bottom- and wreck- fishing (tautog, spadefish, spot and sea bass); how to catch trophy king mackerel; Spanish mackerel on light tackle; deep-dropping for tile fish; how to chum like the pros (inshore and offshore).

Now include also kite fishing for trophy rockfish, king mackerel, tuna, shark and billfish; how to mix and troll natural baits and lures; hot white marlin teaser strategies; top white marlin baits and spreads; best methods for catching more and larger yellowfin tuna; scoring on winter bluefin tuna; can’t miss trolling tactics for bluefin; flutter-jigging for tuna; sub-surface offshore trolling for wahoo and tuna; dolphin tactics and daytime swordfish tactics.

Participating instructor/teachers are:
Dr. Mitchell Roffer,  Harry Vernon III, Capt. David Hester,  Capt. Hunter Tucker, Capt. Ben Shepherd, Capt. Jimmy Price, Dr. Ken Neill III, Captain Zack Hoffman, Ric Burnley, George Poveromo

Friday, November 16, 2012

It's autumn and the time is ripe for crappie fishing in lakes or rivers

Andy Andrzejewski with two candidates for the frying pan
Some years ago when I visited the popular 1970s pro bass tour fishing star and current cable TV fishing show host, Bill Dance, I asked the man who always wears a University of Tennessee "T" cap what he does when he’s not filming or fishing for largemouth bass. “That’s easy,” he said. “I’ll be on some lake huntin’ for crappie because you can’t have more fun with all your clothes on than fishing for those speckled things. What do you think?”  I couldn’t agree more. And neither would my two angling companeros Andy Andrzejewski and Marty Magone, whose fishing exploits are frequently covered on this web site. 

             When the first cold nights of autumn visit the tidal Potomac River – especially in an area between the Wilson Bridge and the Virginia side’s adjacent Spoils Cove, the downstream spots from the Belle Haven coves to Pohick Bay, also to Maryland’s  Mattawoman or Chicamuxen creeks and the often fruitful waters of Virginia’s Aquia Creek -- we know that the crappies are thinking of “schooling up,” as fishermen describe it.         
Marty Magone with a Potomac River "speck"
Of course, what's a day without one of Marty's sandwiches
Well, the time has come. Andy and Marty did a “crappie only” outing a few days ago. They would fish primarily with 3-inch avocado color Sting Ray grubs (that actually appear closer to 2 inches), but they don’t have a thing against also trying Berkley’s curly-tailed Gulp grubs in chartreuse or white, even drop-shotting a 2-inch Berkley PowerMinnow in black shad or chartreuse.  Bobbers are rarely used for any of their crappie fishing.

Marty eats one of his own creations
Andy, a USCG-licensed fishing guide, most always prefers the avocado color Sting Ray, fished with a 1/8-oz. or ¼-oz. plain lead-headed jig hook that is pushed through the broad top of the grub, with the sharp wire hook allowed to emerge just a little above the middle of the grub’s broad side. (Do NOT use super-strong stainless steel hook jigs.)

The grub is fished on 12- or 14-pound monofilament line with the exposed hook point clearly visible. The lure’s body is covered with creamy Crawdaddy- or Baitfish-flavored Smelly Jelly. In colder water, the strong scent of the Smelly Jelly provides a clear advantage over “flavorless” artificials. The strong line often helps you save a snagged lure (which will surely happen), whereas lighter line will pop when you try to free a lure that is fished with an exposed hook point.

It’s no secret that Andy prefers to launch his 22-foot bass boat at the Marshall Hall, Md., boat ramp because it gives him a choice to run down- or upstream and reach equally productive autumn and winter crappie spots.

After eating lunch, the crappie fishing continued
No more than a pint’s worth of gasoline was spent running the other day when the boys got into the crappies directly adjacent to some wood structure on the Virginia side of the main stem of the river. It made Marty wonder why he donned his arctic running garb that all of us will wear when a long boat run is called for during the cold season. This usually happens in January and February.

“Pauline told me to come home with some crappies,” said Marty in reference to his love, Pauline, who enjoys having a fresh fish dinner. Marty and Andy made sure she wasn’t disappointed, although they released many more than they kept.

The heavy winter boat-running garb wasn't needed --- yet
And who doesn’t like crappie fillets? In  my house  they’re seasoned, battered and fried in a cast-iron  skillet, served with cornbread, blackeyed peas and  perhaps some coleslaw and a glass of ice tea or cold  beer.

By the way, in the Washington area crappies can be  caught also in Virginia's Occoquan and Burke lakes  (but you may need your own johnboat), or the nearby  Maryland Triadelphia and Rocky Gorge reservoirs.  Also do not overlook the Eastern Shore's rivers and  creeks, such as the Nanticoke's Marshyhope. And  where is the best crappie water in the nation? Most  insiders agree it's the Santee-Cooper lakes in eastern  South  Carolina.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Outer Banks surf delivers good strikes from trout and puppy drum

Larry Lusk and a small red drum --- better known as puppy drum
Larry Lusk, who normally fishes his hometown area of Virginia Beach, went down to North Carolina's Outer Banks and he reported that the spotted sea trout (AKA speckled trout) along with young puppy drum were biting up and down the coast for surf anglers.

Matt Lusk got into the puppy drum using plastic grubs
The father and sons used light spinning tackle (light when you consider that they fished in very salty water), the reels loaded with braided line that was tied to plastic grubs.

Remember when November and December roll around, the Outer Banks surf from Nags Head down to Hatteras Island (my favorite is Cape Point in Buxton) can be a great choice for anglers suffering from cabin fever in the colder states. 

David Lusk shows off a spotted sea trout caught in the Outer Banks surf a few days ago

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

In cooler Potomac water, the mighty Sting Ray works its magic

A stone's throw from the ramp this crappie jumped on a Sting Ray
This week, Potomac River bass guide Andy Andrzejewski showed a client how to do a multi-species outing using only one lure: The famous Mann’s Sting Ray grub in a color known as avocado (it does a grand job of imitating a live bull minnow, which is among the top food items for every fish in the tidal Potomac River). Incidentally, this licensed guide normally does not fish when he has a paying customer aboard, but he will pick up a rod and show how it's done when asked to do so.

Lans Griffin, of Woodbridge, Va., had the bass looking at the grub
As the two left the Smallwood State Park ramps in Andy’s 22-footer, the water temperature was 51 degrees, having warmed up from last Friday's 44 degrees. Andy and his client didn’t waste any time. They caught almost a dozen bass up to four pounds. He said, “The catfish were also on a tear and we caught 13 ‘cats,’ about a dozen crappies and some sub-legal stripers. All were caught on Sting Ray grubs coated with copious amounts of Smelly Jelly fish attractant.”

The catfish weren't the least but bashful about inhaling the plastic grubs
And where did they fish?  Along the various ledges of the Mattawoman Creek in Maryland and over in the Occoquan, on the Virginia side of one of the top fishing rivers in the U.S.. the tidal Potomac.

Meanwhile, La Plata's Dale and Nancy Knupp also chose the Mattawoman for some relaxing fishing. Here’s what Dale said they accomplished, “Nancy and I caught five small catfish and two dozen crappies. All came on dropshot-rigged Berkley Power minnows.”

Lans Griffin found willing crappies -- all on the Sting Ray

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Ocean stripers showing up in Maryland's Chesapeake Bay parts

Eric Koster and a 32-incher from around the HI Buoy
From the Tackle Box in Lexington Park (St. Mary’s County, Md.) comes word that the big rockfish have moved into the Chesapeake Bay over the  past several days. “Trollers used umbrella rigs and tandems, parachutes and big bucktails and found plenty of domestic rockfish from 20 to 35 inches, [but also] 40-inch sea-run stripers that are new arrivals,” said shop owner Ken Lamb, who added, “Schools of rockfish are cutting up bait in the ship's channel, attracting gulls and the larger gannets (a sure sign of big fish).”

Jig users who drifted under the working birds, getting their lures down deep, scored on rockfish in

Chris Stanton caught this rock in the Patuxent River
the 24- to 35-inch range. Ken also said that one charter fishing captain got a limit of fish for his party and that he found sea lice all over the boat deck that dropped from the bigger strripers. (Ken says sea lice are only found on ocean fish that have just arrived. The lice cannot tolerate brackish water and will die and fall off in a matter of days). These sea lice in no way affect the edibility of the rockfish.

Both the Patuxent and
Potomac rivers  show an abundance of striped bass of good size.   “The Potomac in the deep trench off St. George’s Island has yielded some big rockfish in the 40-inch size.  The smaller domestic fish are strung out up and down the Potomac and good reports are coming in from all areas,” said the Tackle Box boss.

The Patuxent has rockfish around Sea Breeze where 50 or so boats caught fish all day last Sunday.  The stripers seem to be  moving down-river and the schools as far north as Sheridan Point are now between Cape St. Mary's and Half Pone Point.  There are breakers in the early morning, and lots of birds all day. In addition, surf casters are still hooking a few blues and rockfish at Cedar Point and Point Lookout.

Monday, November 12, 2012

We're proud of all our veterans and I hope many will be fishing

Not far east of Virginia Beach, some of the local fishing hotshots are beginning to jig up bluefish around ocean wrecks. Here, Wes Blow shows how to reel in and net a chopper without help from anyone.

The president of the Pensinsula Salt Water Sport Fisherman's Association, Dr. Ken Neill, wears a happy smile with the beautiful bluefish he jigged up at the Triangle Wreck.

Not to be outdone by the Virginia Beach guys, Marty Magone (whom you read about a few days ago) went back out onto the waters of Lake Gaston, Va., and latched onto several respectable

freshwater stripers.Good show everybody!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Outlook is good for Veterans Day and beyond, so wet a line

The Veteran’s Day weekend weather forecast looks good for a change, says Dr. Julie Ball from her Virginia Beach area. “Anglers will certainly take advantage of the opportunity to get out on the water before the next disturbance emerges,” adds the fishingest lady dentist ever.

Julie Ball says fishing is steadily improving
Before the nor’easter, the speckled trout bite was going off. It will take a few days for all the areas to settle back in, but expect the trout to gain momentum, and then some. Look for good activity in all the lower Chesapeake Bay shallows and surflines. Larger fish are showing up in most of the speck haunts, with reports of fish pushing to 6 pounds or more becoming common in Lynnhaven River, Rudee Inlet, Little Creek Inlet, the Eastern Shore, the Poquoson flats, and the Elizabeth River. Anglers using Mirrolures, twitch baits, and jigs will score. “Those trying live bait are finding limited success in the Elizabeth River area. Puppy drum action slowed significantly in the Elizabeth River, but folks are still finding hit and miss action with keeper-sized fish in both Lynnhaven and Rudee [inlets], with cut bait and squid out-fishing lures lately. Surf anglers are also reporting quality fish coming from the surf along Cape Henry, and down to Sandbridge.”

Julie adds that the lower Bay striper scene continues to improve as water temperatures drop. Although the biggest fish are still to come, anglers are enjoying some decent rockfish encounters. Pods of working birds are hallmarking feeding fish all over lower Bay waters, with trolling lures and casting into the schools providing good action. Surf casters are enjoying good catches from the shoreline near the Lesner Bridge in Lynnhaven Inlet.

Tautog action is still on the rise on lower Bay structures and coastal wrecks. Even with somewhat muddy water this week, crab, clam and mussels offered along the pilings and the tubes of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel are rewarding anglers with fish averaging to more than 4 pounds. Those fishermen who are targeting the concrete ships off Kiptopeke are also having good luck with keeper fish. Tautogs are also becoming more active on offshore structures. For more information, go to

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Marty wants to go to court and sue because he lost a big rockfish

Marty with an early morning Gaston bass caught on a jiggin' worm
My good friend Marty Magone, who resides along the shores of Virginia’s Lake Gaston, promised me a fishing report from down his way, and he delivered.

"It was a cold morning,” said Marty. “The water temperature stood at 56 degrees and the lake level was falling.

This is not the 30-pound  striper Marty is so ticked off about
“I fished the deep drops near Smith Creek and Flat Creek, using jig worms and crankbaits (ShadRap) and ended the day with 14 largemouth bass up to 4 pounds. Had a bit of striper activity in the evening with topwater chug baits, but sizes were small.”

Then Marty asked a rhetorical question. “I really want to know who is in charge of lost fish,” he said. What apparently happened was that a very large freshwater striper [Marty said it easily weighed 30 pounds] slammed his lure and the fish was on until it neared the boat. “Then it just broke off. On 17-pound line yet. I think a court trial is in order to determine who is responsible for such a tragedy. It certainly wasn’t me.”

Marty, there isn’t a fisherman in the land who has never suffered such a misfortune (except maybe our friend Andy). So put it behind you. Forget about it and get out on the lake and keep chuggin’.  And when you land that fat striper, please don’t use the same scale you used when you weighed that alleged 10-pound bass on North Carolina's Chowan River. You know the one I’m talking about.

Marty with yet another largemouth bass

(A note about Marty's photos. Our pal shoots self portraits. No one is with him, so I think he does pretty well.)

Friday, November 9, 2012

Not all fishing in Maryland halted; bass are jumping on Sting Rays

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources says freshwater fishermen have been faced with some chilly conditions this week, along with cooling water temperatures. There was not a lot of fishing action in the western-most regions of the state because of a heavy snow caused by the Hurricane Sandy weather system. 

However, areas like the upper Potomac River are fine. State biologist John Mullican said that he and a fishing pal went out onto the river and caught smallmouth bass, with many of them in the 11" to 14" size range and some around 16". John mentioned that although the upper Potomac was very high after Sandy moved through the region the river returned to normal flows and cleared up quickly. 

Crappies like this one are beginning to school
The tidal portion of the Potomac has seen discolored water this week with some debris, but most of the feeder creeks are fishable. Around 9:30 a.m. this morning, the bass fishing guide Andy Andrzejewski was in contact from his boat and said, "The bass are jumping on avocado Sting Ray grubs, and so are some catfish and stripers." Where was he fishing? Along a rockpile-filled shoreline inside the Mattawoman Creek. Incidentally, water temperatures are near 50-degrees now and the grass beds are receding quickly. Baitfish and crawfish are departing for deeper structure for security and warmth. The DNR says that the transition areas should be good places to fish for largemouth bass with small crankbaits, jigs, crawfish imitations and spinnerbaits. This same scenario can be played out in lakes, reservoirs and even small ponds throughout the state's freshwater areas. 

Crappies are schooling in deeper water, often near structure such as bridge piers and sunken brush. Use small tubes, jigs or minnows under a bobber to get good bites. If it's catfish you want, channel catfish are active in the state's many tidal rivers and some of the lakes, with blue catfish also available in the tidal Potomac.

(blog was updated at 9:45 a.m.)

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Anti-gun groups are not buying up all the firearms companies

For some time now a number of concerned readers have quoted Internet sources that claimed certain wealthy anti-gun factions were involved in purchasing American firearms  manufacturers and then letting them quietly go out of business. No new guns, no new target shooters and hunters. One of the culprits allegedly engaged in such activities is George Soros, the billionaire left-wing, super-liberal supporter of everything that appears to be against conservatives and all supporters of the 2nd Amendment.

I asked the National Rifle Association to clarify all this and here is what the NRA-ILA Grassroots Division said:

“Recently, an old rumor regarding Cerberus --- the private equity firm that owns [the] Freedom Group, a holding company that in turn owns a number of firearms manufacturers, including Remington, Marlin, Bushmaster, and DPMS --- was in some way tied to George Soros.

“This rumor is completely false and baseless.

“NRA has had contact with officials from Cerberus and Freedom Group for some time. The owners and investors involved are strong supporters of the Second Amendment and are avid hunters and shooters.

“In reality, at no time has George Soros ever been a part of the ownership group of Freedom Group or Cerberus, and as a privately traded corporation there is no possibility that he will be in the future.

“This unsubstantiated rumor has caused a great deal of unnecessary concern for gun owners. [The] NRA-ILA urges members to take great care before repeating baseless rumors found on the Internet.”

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Berkley delivers two sure-fire winners for bass and other species

Twitchtail Minnows are on the left, the 9-CM Flicker Shad on the right
Regular readers of my columns over the years are used to seeing me mention one of the doggonest fish-catchingest soft baits ever, the Berkley Power Minnow, which I used in the 2-inch size and in various color shades. Fished on a
1/16-oz. jig and thin, but powerful FireLine with the hook coming out of the soft body about half-way down, the Power Minnow attracted bass, crappies, large sunfish, even whopping carp.

Now Berkley has released a similar bait that is sure to whack the bass and slab-sided crappies. It's the 3-inch Twitchtail Minnow that Berkley says is irresistable to bass and walleyes, but I'll wager a fat crappie won't turn it down, either. The Twitchtail Minnow offers a tail that moves with little or no current, making it a sure-fire attraction for fish that have seen most artificial baits and now are a bit leery.

It's available in 15 colors, including my favorites Clear Bluegill (it looks like a live minnow, actually), Black Shad, Green Pumpkin, Perch and Chartreuse Shad -- plus 10 others. The 3-inch Twitchtail Minnow is sold in PowerBait packs of 12 and has a MSRP of $4.29.

Then there's the new Berkley 9-CM Flicker Shad. After a smaller model enjoyed considerable success, Berkley now has come up with a 3.54-inch-long Flicker Shad with unique action that imitates a fleeing baitfish, hence the word "flicker." Each one of the new crankbaits has been tank-tested to make certain that it runs true right out of the package. You'll be able to make bullet-like casts when fishing for bass or inshore species. Diving to 16 feet, the lure can be trolled without any problem and is sure to catch the fish's attention. It features Mustad Ultra Point hooks and is available in 12 colors, from Gold Sunset to Firetiger and to one called Uncle Rico.

The Flicker Shad has a MSRP of $5.99. If you wish, check out

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Look what happened after the hurricane left Virginia's waters

Wes Blow with one heck of a nice flounder

Two days ago, Dr. Ken Neill, the president of the Peninsula Salt Water Sport Fisherman's Association, and friends Wes Blow and Charles Southall left the general Virginia Beach area to search for some post-Sandy fishing action. Dr. Ken said, “We went out to the Triangle Wrecks to see if the big bluefish had arrived. They had not. We caught a few little bluefish, a lot of nice sea bass that were released, and a few nice flounder that were not released. 

Dr. Ken Neill shows off a fat sea bass that was released along with others that were caught.
Charles Southall with another fine flounder. The flatfish wasn't so lucky. It will be eaten.

Monday, November 5, 2012

The 2nd Amendment could play a part in national voting outcome

The National Shooting Sports Foundation says, “As the election nears, it is important to remember that the battle for our rights is fought not only in the halls of Congress, but also before nine people who are seated in a building just across the street from the U.S. Capitol -- the Supreme Court. The next president could have the opportunity to nominate as many as three new justices to the Supreme Court. The recent Heller v. District of Columbia and McDonald v. City of Chicago decisions illustrate all too well the importance of Supreme Court justices who understand and support the Second Amendment. These victories, which confirmed that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to keep and bear arms for all Americans no matter where they live, came by the thinnest possible margin: 5 votes to 4. 

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Leonardtown, Md., area produced the goods for this bow hunter

Steve White, of La PLata, Md., has every reason to be proud of the fine 8-point buck he shot during archery season. Steve connected on the well-fed deer in the Leonardtown, Md., area.


Saturday, November 3, 2012

Good things are about to happen in the lower Chesapeake Bay

"Wow! What a horrendous week for the Mid Atlantic coast," said Dr. Julie Ball, the fishing dentist who is known far and wide, especially in her home area of Virginia Beach. "Once again, we are humbled by the unbridled power of Mother Nature. Once the smoke clears in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, anglers can expect much of the late fall fishing trend to pick up. Remember, if you venture out into open water be mindful of the treacherous floating debris, compliments of Sandy," adds Dr. Julie, then provides insight to the future.

I'm willing to bet that Dr. Julie is fishing for stripers at the
rock-strewn islands of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel.
She said that the most predictable fishing scene is still the backwater venue, where speckled trout and puppy drum take the show. Even since the storm, speckled trout are responding well to jigs, plastics, and Mirrolures in most all of the usual haunts. Rudee Inlet, Long Creek, the Poquoson flats, and the Elizabeth River are the most productive speck areas this week. The folks on the Eastern Shore report the trout bite has yet to pick back up, but anglers are trying their luck daily with high hopes. In the Elizabeth River, the water is still muddy, but the speck action continues to reward anglers with decent catches for those who take the time to search for the fish.

"The water temperatures dropped even more with the storm. With that, striped bass action is picking up in the lower Chesapeake Bay, with mostly schoolies dominating the scene. But if boats can’t make it out to the Bay, plenty of action is available within the lower Bay’s inlets, rivers, and from the fishing piers. Folks are finding the best luck on a moving tide, while casting most any type of swimming or topwater lure. The 1st island of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel is one of the hotspots lately, and most any light line along the lower Bay crossings at night are a good bet. The bigger fish are mostly falling to live bait and wire lining along the bridges and tubes. Plenty of snapper bluefish up to five pounds are also around in the same areas."

The offshore scene is a big question mark right now since few reports are available off Virginia. Wahoo are still a possibility, along with yellowfin and longfin tuna. Swordfish are also around with the action sure to pick back up when boats can reach them. Schools of bluefin tuna could also make a showing at any time. For more information, go to

Friday, November 2, 2012

Stripers are hungry after the storm left the Chesapeake Bay area

The proprietor of Lexington Park’s Tackle Box, Ken Lamb, says, “The storm is gone and we dodged a bullet. We had plenty of rain and high tides, but no long-lasting effects on our fishing except that the fall striper migration may be accelerated."

Michele Chelednik with post-Sandy stripers that struck topwater poppers at Hog Point.
Larry Jarboe with a hefty blue catfish from the Potomac River where cut alewife did the job.
"Shore casters found the rockfish bunched up the mouth of the creeks and on the rocks of the Cedar Point shoreline before the winds and tide surge had abated.  The fish were seeking an easy meal in the turbulent high water. All shorelines on the Chesapeake Bay and its rivers should have fish seeking food in the shallows. Lure casters and trollers will have good action this weekend,” says Ken.
Paul and Drew Lashley with delicious speckled  trout from Cedar Point
Lamb adds that trollers should find the ocean stripers in the ship channel and in the lower  Potomac now as big storms are just what rockfish love. The quickly falling temperatures all along the coast will get the fish thinking of the Chesapeake as a holiday destination. Those 40-plus-inch fish are just waiting to pounce on a trolled umbrella rig.
Lamb also points out that there are still some speckled trout in the bay’s surf, and maybe a redfish. It remains to be seen if the storm chased the spot and croaker out until next spring. Meanwhile, if its catfish you want, the blue “cats” in the tidal Potomac River are happy to suck in a generous chunk of cut alewife. Use stout tackle for your bottom fishing because a 50-pounder is not ruled out.