Reel Report: Drop a line this Memorial Day weekend –

If you’re thinking about serving up a crab feast this Memorial Day weekend, you might want to stick to a landlubber’s menu if you’ll be feeding more than two people.

Local crab houses are finding it challenging to get a steady supply of crabs, and if you have your heart set on #1s, I’m sorry but you probably won’t be finding them anywhere.

Right now, a dozen medium males goes for $75, a dozen mixed males will set you back $40, and a bushel of whatever can be scrounged up will run you well over $200.

No, you don’t need to get your eyes checked, you read that right. Hebrew Nationals sound pretty appetizing now, don’t they?

Of course, if you want to catch your dinner, you could always host a catfish fry…

Southern Maryland lakes and ponds — While the weather is all over the place, Anthony Hancock, manager of Gilbert Run Park in Dentsville, said one thing’s for sure: The fish are hungry.

Bass at the park are sliding into a summerlike pattern as temperatures soar in the afternoon. Topwater lures are productive early and late in the day. Slower-moving soft plastic lures and moving baits such as spinnerbaits and crankbaits will tempt the bass to bite. Fishing wood cover near drop-offs is a great way to catch lots of bass and big ones, too.

A few crappie are also being caught around the same areas on small tube jigs and curly tail grubs fished on light jig heads. Bluegill and redear sunfish are on their beds right now.

This is a great time of year to take the kids fishing as the fish are ready to eat. Small pieces of nightcrawler under a bobber is a foolproof way to catch those feisty panfish.

Patuxent River — For a sure thing, drop a line baited with chicken liver in any of the creeks and you’ll have a catfish on the end in no time.

Recreational angler Eric Packard reports that anglers fishing off the Solomons Pier weren’t having much luck last weekend with rockfish, but he saw two blue catfish reeled in.

Later in the week as the sun came out, Ken Lamb of the Tackle Box in Lexington Park (301-863-8151) said fishermen caught rockfish (including a 28-incher that took a surface popper), catfish and perch off the pier.

Potomac River — Reel Bass Adventures guide Andy Andrzejewski (301-932-1509) reports the water temperatures are in the upper 70s, grasses are developing rapidly and the bass are eager to strike baits. Numerous patterns work now as grass flats, pads, wood, docks, rocks and wrecks all have bass.

The topwater bite is strong. Andrzejewski recommends starting off with poppers or hard jerkbaits and then switching to shallow cranks, spinners and chatter type baits. Plastic creature baits and plastic worms will draw strong bites in all areas. Finesse worms fished on wood is a good way to collect a limit.

The crappie bite remains strong in shallow bays with wood cover. Target them with your favorite crappie bait.

Lamb said you can find plenty of catfish under the St. George Island Bridge and off the rocks and piers in the public fishing areas.

The big croaker in the 13- to 15-inch size as well as spot have been reported in the Rappahannock River. They should be coming soon to the Potomac and eventually the Patuxent as they make their way north.

The river has schools of rockfish out of Herring Creek, in the mouth of Breton Bay and on the edges around St. George Island.

Juniata and Susquehanna rivers (Pa.) — Life Outdoors Unlimited guide Matt Greene (717-576-3735) reports crankbaits, spinnerbaits and chatterbaits were his go-to baits this past week.

You don’t need to own a boat to enjoy the smallmouth action. When the forecast is good, you can rent a boat from Johnny at Riverfront Campground (717-877-2704) and arrange a shuttle upriver.

Lake Anna (Va.) — McCotter’s Lake Anna Guide Service (540-894-9144) reports fishing in the mid-lake region has been the best it’s been all year with all the herring and shad currently spawning. Use topwater baits like Cordell Redfins over points and humps and follow up with a dog walking bait or soft plastic jerkbait.

Buzzbaits, poppers and wacky-rigged worms are good early up-lake, then it’s time to switch to the shakey head or a mid-depth running crankbait.

If you fish a frog in the North Anna, don’t be surprised to have a snakehead attack the bait.

Stripers and wipers are schooled heavily in the mid-lake region from The Splits down to the marina. You can cast topwaters over long, shallow, main lake points early, then vertically jig the new “Toothache” KT Slab spoon available at High Point Marina when the fish go deep.

Chesapeake Bay — Lamb reports rockfish in the 19- to 22-inch size are being consistently caught by trollers who have switched to smaller lures: bucktails, Hard Head Custom Jigs, Specialized Baits, surgical eels and spoons.

Lure casters in the mouth of the Patuxent are doing well near structure on topwater poppers and swimming plugs such as Bomber Wind Cheaters.

Fish are scattered out the mouth of the Patuxent both north to the Gas Docks and south to the Targets with about 1 in 4 fish making the cut.

An experienced captain told Lamb it’s the best fishing he’s seen in our area in years. There are plenty of small rockfish with a few keepers mixed in — and a surprising number of speckled trout — in the creek mouths and thoroughfares of the Honga River and in Tangier Sound.

Atlantic Ocean — The bluefish bonanza continues and the sea bass bite has been hot.

Fish Bound Charters (443-497-1361) reports early boat limits of nice fish since the season opened. Bluefin tuna limits are being caught out in the canyons.

According to Larry Jock of the Coastal Fisherman (, the first weakfish of the season was caught in the Indian River inlet last weekend. Shouldn’t be long now before the first croaker and spot show up at the Oceanic Pier.

Tip of the week

While the Maryland tributaries of the Potomac have the 19-inch minimum for striped bass, remember the Potomac River proper has a 20-inch cut off since it is managed by a separate entity, The Potomac River Fisheries Commission, which sets its own rules.


« »