Posted on November 19, 2013 | Permalink
We Were Glad to Get the Blues
Location: Potomac River
Here's a pic of Catfish Bill Davis in the bow of my 12' Sears Gamefisher. We put 29 blue cats from 3-30 lbs. in two big coolers on Friday afternoon during the Potomac River incoming tide. We released one native White Catfish.
On Sunday morning, I caught ebb tide out of Mallows Bay and nailed 16 more.
These blue cats are great eating and fight like sharks. This time of year, they are greedily feeding at the edge of the river channel. We used fresh cut alewives. Fresh mud shad is equally good but can be hard to come by.
People pay a lot of money to charter boats out of Santee Cooper and other reservoirs to catch blue cats, and we've got tons of them here in our backyard. Catch 'em while you can.
Posted on February 20, 2013 | Permalink
Lots of Red Drum in Mid-February!
Location: Patuxent River
The morning after Valentines Day, Mike Henderson, Tommy Donaldson, and I hit my go to winter Patuxent hot spot. Though we were seeking white perch, we caught over two dozen red drum. None were big enough to keep but I was glad to see these fish have wintered here. Also, we caught ten channel cats and five blue cats. These Pax River blue cats taste as good as their bigger brethren in the Potomac. Delicious!
Though we didn't catch any white perch, we had another great day of fishing education. This year, my goal is to post a Patuxent Patriot Red, White, and Blue Trifecta (legal sized red drum, white perch, and blue catfish). Who'll be first to post the Joshua Barney Trifecta pic?
Posted on February 4, 2013 | Permalink
A Warm Day Escape in January
This past week, I took a couple hours on the a warm Wednesday (Jan. 30) to fish for pickerel with a pearl bass assassin Texas rigged on a 3/0 snelled spinner fluke hook. I only caught one pickerel but, also, caught 5 largemouth bass from 1 1/2 lbs. to 3 lbs.
All but one fish came from fairly shallow water (3-4 ft. deep). None were gut hooked so all were released. Sorry, no pics, so I'll send a reminder of future perch fillets that are just a couple weeks away.
Also, I am hearing those red drum have wintered here. Hopefully, we will have lots of redfish in the 18-27" legal size slot this year.
Backcountry fishing in the rivers and Bay! Yaaay!!!
Posted on December 4, 2012 | Permalink
Fish and Eat Cheap
Region: Middle Bay
Location: Ridge, MD
This past week I was able to fish from the Chesapeake Bay to the Potomac and in between.
Blue catfish and chain pickerel have become standard cool weather fare but Mike Henderson of Buzz'a Marina in Ridge showed me how to tandem jig for those big striped bass. From a sporting point of view, jigging trumps trolling.
There are still plenty of rock biting in Ridge. Enjoy this mild December weather. Also, my latest book: "Fish and Eat Cheap" just hit Smashwords. The free download might wet your appetite for some fresh fish.
Posted on November 26, 2012 | Permalink
Blue Cat Lessons Learned
Location: Potomac River and Spring Fed Pond
On Monday, Nov. 12, sixteen invasive blue catfish were removed from the Potomac River and tributaries ecosystem by yours truly. The stolen 68 quart Coleman cooler from the Great Election Day Catfish Caper has been replaced by a 100+ quart Igloo cooler.
Mike Henderson of Buzz's Marina gave me the mega-cooler collecting dust in a shed. The old Igloo needed serious repair to the right side and handle. A big glop of body putty with some stainless thru-bolts and it works fine. But, it is a lot harder to fill up!
A week later, Brian Easter and I filled that big cooler with 18 big blue cats. Here are some blue cat lessons learned so far:
- Fish a moving tide anchored ahead of structure.
- Find fresh bait. Cut fish like alewives, mud shad, and/or bluegills.
- For big cats, use 8/0-10/0 circle hooks and let them hook themselves.
- Chain that cooler full of cats to the bed of your truck or lock it in the car trunk.
On Thanksgiving and Black Friday, I fished a southern Maryland spring fed pond for chain pickerel for a fish fry. Caught some bass as well but only kept the gut hooked one. I'll save the pickerel bone picking trick for another post to include Peter Piper. The proof is in the pics.
Posted on November 13, 2012 | Permalink
The Great Election Day Catfish Caper
Location: Potomac River
No photo this week. Between Hurricane Sandy and the Nor'easter. I caught the outgoing tide in the Potomac on Monday, Nov. 5, to catch 14 blue catfish on cut alewives. No channel cats, 100% invasive alien predator good tasting blue cats were removed from the Maryland eco-system.
However, while distributing the smaller cats on Election Day, my 68 quart marine Coleman cooler was stolen from the back of my '83 Chevy S-15 with three cats 20, 25, and 35 lbs. that were last to be cut. Photos had not been taken yet.
There is a very strict penalty in Southern Maryland for stealing someone's catfish and cooler. I am doing my own investigation as the Sheriff's Dept. has bigger fish to fry.
If you spot a well used marine 68 qt. white Coleman cooler with only one wooden handle and a black and white bungee cord holding down the lid which has broken hinges or someone offers you a good deal on big catfish in Lexington Park, please report to firstname.lastname@example.org. The reward for information leading to arrest of the catfish thieves (I assume there was more than one culprit. That cooler weighed over 80 lbs.) is a year's subscription to the CHESAPEAKE magazine which is Southern Maryland's only monthly tabloid dedicated to fun, fishing, and nonsense.I look forward to next week's adventures in pursuit of these monstrous invasive alien predators that bite all winter long (the Blue Cats not the thieves). Also, I'm practicing with my modified bowfishing outfit to nail big snakeheads this spring and early summer. Though, I might make a run south to shoot Atlantic Stingrays (windsurfers hate them and the wings are edible) off Merritt Island in Florida when the Big Chill hits. By then, I hope to put the catfish crooks in the County cooler. Give a man a fish, feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, feed him for a lifetime. In Lexington Park, lock your fish in the trunk. Larry Jarboe
Posted on October 31, 2012 | Permalink
A Case of the Blues
Location: Potomac River
Good thing I got my fishing fix last week because this week is a washout. Hopefully, everyone here has survived the wrath of Sandy.
Last week, I fished the Potomac River twice and also joined Mike Henderson (Mr. Buzz's Marina) and Dan Campbell on the Chesapeake Bay chasing birds and jigging at the edge of those feeding schools.
The lesson we learned on the Bay is to stay with the technique that is producing. Chasing trout after we put a few blues in the cooler was not productive. Better for us to have stayed with the birds and put more bluefish in the cooler.
On the Potomac, my homemade spider rig worked really well with fresh cut alewives to take lots of blue cats out of the eco-system. A 35 pounder is my best so far but I have ordered a much bigger landing net. Now, I'm catching 80% blue catfish and releasing most of the channel cats. Those channels are looking a little scrawney. I think the big blue kitts are crowding out their cousins.
Between the blue cats and Chesapeake snapper (snakeheads) there is enough good eating for me to target these invasive predators for a long long time. I can't wait for the weather to clear. In the meantime, Mike smoked some bluefish that I have been snacking on during the storm. Grilled blue cat for dinner this evening. Having the blues is not as bad as one might think.
Posted on October 22, 2012 | Permalink
Catching Catfish on the Potomac
Location: Potomac River
On Thursday evening, I caught a mess of small white perch on the Patuxent. On Friday, Brian Easter and I took his Bass Tracker to the Potomac to target catfish. The perch carcasses soaked in menhaden oil worked pretty well for 5-20 lb. fish (4 channels and 4 blues). Next trip, I'll be using alewives to compare. Best catfish bait I ever found is fresh black mullet soaked in menhaden oil.
Also congrats to the Wounded Warriors, Tim Hagen and thecatfishnation.com for such a great event at Ft. Washington Marina. Those big blue cats are awesome!
Questions to DNR: What is the Maryland DNR opinion on blue cat edibility vs. size? Also, many charter captains insist on releasing those big brutes. What is the official stance on releasing an invasive species back into the eco-system?
DNR Response:Hello Larry, the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) recommends no more than three meals a month of blue catfish caught from the Maryland portion of the tidal Potomac. Here’s a link to a document MDE released last year: Maryland Fish Consumption Advisories
Maryland recognizes blue catfish (as well as flathead catfish) as invasive species, it is illegal to transport live invasive species into a body of water other than the one it was caught, anyone in violation of this can be fined up to $1,000. Also, at this time Maryland is asking anglers to remove and kill any blue or flathead catfish they may catch.
Posted on October 15, 2012 | Permalink
Will Cold Weather Beat the Drum?
Location: Potomac River
With a cold front blowing across the water on Thursday morn, I fished from Liverpool Point to Sandy Point on the Potomac. The catfish bite had slowed. I caught ten cats (4 blues and 6 channels). The channels were hanging off the old Liverpool steamboat landing. I had to run my trusty electric skiff up to Sandy Point (looks like an old railway there) to catch the blues. I released 3 of the smaller channel cats. I'm now targeting 5-20 pound fish.
Mallows Bay is such a great place to ramp your boat. There is very good shore fishing from the old concrete side of the cofferdam. Canoes, kayaks, and trailerable boats all have a place to launch. While waiting for the bites, you can watch Bald Eagles, Blue Herons, and countless bird species fly overhead. Also, the helicopters from Quantico can be seen making their rounds. Between the national bird and our U.S. Marines buzzing overhead and across the Potomac, freedom rings loud and clear.
During the week, I pretty much have the place to myself which is OK by me but if I were you, I'd do a Google search on [Mallows Bay] take the day off and enjoy this good crisp weather at Mallows Bay before the Big Chill arrives. This advice applies especially to the DNR employees who teamed up with the Charles County Commissioners to make such an outstanding facility available to the public. You deserve to take pride in this unique public landing. As boaters and anglers, we paid for these ramps. The price of fuel may be high but kayaks, canoes, and electric skiffs are affordable to operate. A day on the water could be cheaper than working (at least in the business I used to run).
I did catch a few white perch and a small red drum that literally froze up when it hit the surface. Then it regained it's composure and took off when I released it.
Questions to DNR: What is the lowest temperature red drum (channel bass) can safely survive? Will the millions of red drum presently here be able to survive a harsh winter in the Chesapeake Bay tributaries or do they need to migrate into the Atlanic prior to cold weather settling in? I've seen what a cold snap does in the Florida backcountry. That would be a shame to see in the Chesapeake. Plus, those fish should be some fine catching if they can make it through the winter.
Instead of more catfish pics, I am posting a channel bass doubleheader caught on Mike Henderson's boat last week below the Target Ship. Catch 'em now. The Big Chill is coming!
DNR Response: Red drum migrate out of Chesapeake Bay each year, generally in late fall. The fish we are seeing this year may or may not return over the next couple of years. Once they reach 24 to 36 inches they will become mature and join the spawning stock that primarily remains offshore. When we have experienced increased numbers of juveniles in the past, we have not seen the fish come back in following years, but one can hope. The fish we have here now are primarily 1 year olds. We do not know what causes these fish to come up this far every so often. Juveniles generally will utilize estuaries, so if we were to have a mild winter, a portion of the fish we have here now may move over winter in Virginia’s portion of the bay and return, but I would expect the majority to leave the Bay and end up in NC. Laboratory studies indicate mortality is possible at 42 degrees F but most fish survived temperatures below 40 degrees (temperature tolerance is effected by other water quality parameters, such as salinity), and red drum have been collected alive in temperatures as low as 35 degrees F in the wild. Fifty degrees F is considered the low end of the preferred temperatures, and most individuals will seek warmer water when temperatures get that low.
Posted on October 9, 2012 | Permalink
Nothing's Better Than a Day Fishing
Region: Southern and Lower Bay
Location: Mallows Bay and Smith Island
Wow! Another great week of fishing in Southern Maryland.
On Monday, I caught the incoming tide at Mallows Bay and loaded up with those tasty blue catfish. To target the blue cats, use fish heads, body plugs, or cut bait, leave the shrimp for perch catching. That said, I did catch a few channel and white catfish. That's my third Catfish Trifecta in this lifetime. I'm having more fun than one man is entitled to.
On Wednesday, Mike Henderson, who helps his wife Christy run Buzz's Marina, asked me out to try out the Bay in his big boat. We had another great day! We caught a half dozen speckled sea trout off Smith Island and both caught a mess of channel bass and black sea bass below the Target Ship. Of course, we only kept our limit of legal red drum (one each) and only sea bass over 12 1/2 inches.
I really broke in my new 4' 9" Ugly Stick which proves a short rod can be just the ticket especially on a boat where the longer rods are difficult to stow away.
Mike has a very good recipe for smoked bluefish dip which made for a great breakfast and lunch on Ritz crackers. Dee by Gawd, life don't get no better. If you're not out fishing between now and November, you're missing the very best of the Maryland lifestyle. Get out from behind that computer screen. Get on the water and wet a line any way you can.