The first bluefish of the season were taken in Maryland bay waters over the weekend, with several weighing between 10 and 12 pounds. There also were some 2- and 4-pounders caught. The Target Ship and the mouth of the Potomac were good areas. Chumming and trolling big spoons shallower than 20 feet worked well.
Flounder, with some 13 inches and longer, have been taking cut bait in Tangier Sound.
In the Middle Bay, rockfish have been the bulk of the catch, but blues usually move fast and might be scattered off the Choptank by this weekend. Large white spoons and bucktails were good choices for stripers along the channel edges. Good areas have included Gum Thickets, Hacketts Bar and the mouth of the Patuxent.
In the upper bay, largemouth and smallmouth bass, white perch and catfish have provided most of the action. Perch and catfish areas that have been producing are the Chester River, the Susquehanna near Port Deposit, the Tolchester area, the Northeast River and the Patapsco near Key Bridge.
Largemouth bass have been active near the emerging grass beds in the Middle River, Gunpowder River and Dundee Creek on artificial worms and topwater lures. Smallmouth bass have been hitting near the islands in the Susquehanna.
At the ocean beaches, headboats have been taking better catches of sea bass from the wrecks along with a few tautog and pollock. In the surf, 2- to 4-pound blues have been hitting cut baits on the rising tide. In the back bays, flounder catches have been increasing, but numbers of 13-inch keepers seem to be decreasing.
At Liberty and Loch Raven reservoirs, largemouth bass have become more active along the shorelines, where spinnerbaits and rattling lures have worked well. Crappie fishing has been good in the coves.
The upper Potomac River should be in its best shape by the weekend unless we get heavy rains. Smallmouth bass, catfish and bluegill all have been active.
In the tidal Potomac, coves have been productive for largemouths near emerging grass beds.
At Deep Creek Lake, walleye action has been good on crankbaits and rattling lures, and rainbow trout fishing continues to be good.
For fly fishermen, the Gunpowder has a minimal flow and there have been sparse hatches of caddis fly and yellow crane fly; Hunting Creek is high but clear and wolly buggers have been working well; the Lower Savage River is in excellent condition with mayfly hatches coming off.
Monday: Monthly meeting of Pasadena Sportfishing at the Waterbury Inn on Magothy Beach Road, Pasadena, 7:30 p.m. Speaker is scheduled to be Capt. Russ Morrow from Wachapreague, Va., who will discuss flounder fishing.
May 13-17: U.S. canoe and kayak team Olympic Trials on the Savage River in Garrett County. Operations based at Savage River State Forest in Grantsville.
May 15-17: Hobie Cat sailing regatta at Gunpowder Falls State Park. For more information, call (410) 592-2897.
May 22-25: Maryland Charter Boat Association Memorial Day Weekend fishing tournament. Cash prizes, including $2,000 for largest bluefish and $1,000 for largest sea trout. Entry fee is $25 ,, per boat per day. For more information, contact your favorite charter boat captain.
May 23: Canoe trip through the marsh at Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary. For more information, call (410) 741-9330.
May 27: Monthly meeting of the Maryland Fly Anglers at the Ridge Gardens Apartments clubhouse, Old Harford Road and Putty Hill Avenue, 7:30 p.m. The speaker will be Wally Vait, who will discuss fishing the Gunpowder River. Open to the public. For more information, call (410) 825-2695.
NAMES AND PLACES
* Tony Vicari of Baltimore has won a trip to the BASS Masters Classic in Birmingham, Ala., Aug. 11 to compete in the national finals of the BASSMASTER BP CastingKids competition. Vicari is one of five finalists in the 7-10 age group from a national field of 60,000.
Mike Grothe of Baltimore, who won the state age division championship, also competed in the national semifinals on April 11 in Gadsden, Ala. Grothe will receive a plaque and a rod and reel.
* Two weeks ago, several dozen bass anglers and recreational boaters did their part in helping to clean up some 20 miles of the upper tidal Potomac River area by collecting more than 600 pounds of trash and depositing it at the Fort Washington Marina. The clean-up was sponsored by the Bass Fever Guide Service, Renegade Bassmasters of Maryland, Eagle Marine, Fort Washington Marina and the Prince George's County government.
* The Center for Environmental and Estuarine Studies (CEES) has begun researching the migration and life history of Chesapeake Bay striped bass. The study will center on the earbones of striped bass to determine a fish's age, when it first migrated to sea and the number of migrations each animal has made in its lifetime. In order to complete the study, Scientists need at least 50 earbones and ask that fishermen who catch trophy fish during the May season save the fish heads, freeze them and contact the CEES at (410) 326-4281 so that arrangements can be made to pick up the fish heads.
(Note: To have an item or question included in the Outdoor Journal, write Outdoors Editor, The Baltimore Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, Md. 21278-0001.)