For anglers, Dennis may prove a boon


Dennis, the vagabond hurricane that eventually swept across Maryland as a tropical depression last weekend, apparently had no adverse impact on fishing waters across the state, although the storm's northeast winds reshaped portions of the Atlantic coastline.

"The inclement weather associated with Dennis essentially shut down fishing on the coast, and conditions were far from optimal on the Chesapeake," said Martin L. Gary, Fisheries Service biologist with the Department of Natural Resources. "Reports were limited, but those we did receive did not indicate any adverse impact from the storm.

"In fact, fishing may have benefitted from the storm's passage."

Surf fishermen and billfish and tuna anglers may reap the greatest benefits, Gary said. The extended periods of onshore winds have changed the subsurface features of the coast, creating new and deeper holes and sandbars or humps that have the potential to congregate fish in the surf.

The storm also may have mixed the waters offshore, where for weeks there had been few thermal breaks to concentrate billfish and tuna, which prefer to travel in bands of warm water.

Inland, the heavy rainfall did little to help our area's main reservoirs, and Prettyboy, Liberty and Loch Raven rose little or not at all as a result of the storm.

In general, streams across the region are in slightly better condition but remain below normal levels.

The non-tidal Potomac River, which through the summer has been at historic low flows, was reported near long-term median flows but still far below flood level.

CBYRA Race Week

Annapolis Race Week took a hit from the tropical depression, and the area's premier regatta, which drew 201 entries in 17 classes, was cut to two days of racing in breezy conditions on Labor Day weekend.

The Chesapeake Bay Yacht Racing Association cancelled Sunday's races when Dennis brought heavy rain and winds of 25 to 30 knots across four courses set on the bay off the Severn River.

Race organizers were able to get off two races each day on Saturday and Monday. Races Saturday were held in 15 to 22 knots of wind and heavy rain, and Monday's races were sailed in winds ranging from 15 to 18 knots.

Three boats won all four races in their classes, and two others won three of four.

The fishing report

Upper Chesapeake: Rockfish anglers have been doing well for legal-sized fish on the Susquehanna Flats, where poppers, spoons and bloodworms have been working well. Largemouth bass near pilings and piers and in weedbeds. White perch and a few spot and croaker in the Elk River. Good catfish action in the North East River. Perch and spot angling steady off Gibson Island and in the Chester River north of the narrows. Chummers doing well for stripers near Swan Point Bar. Bluefish scattered through the region.

Middle Chesapeake: Bottom fishing for spot and white perch has been good from Thomas Point Light to Hackett's, as well as at the mouth of the Choptank and Patuxent rivers. Blues, rock and spanish mackerel are moving through the area and often feeding on top, especially over points and bars at the change of tides. The edges at Bloody Point, Poplar Island and False Channel have all been good for flounder.

Lower Chesapeake: The buoy 72A area still is good for chummers after rockfish, and mixed schools of rock, blues and spanish mackerel still are numerous in the area. Croaker on the lumps southwest of the target ship. Sea trout at the Mud Leads. Flounder, sea trout, croaker and some blues at Cornfield Harbor.

Ocean City: Sea trout, spot, croaker and some blues at the Inlet piers and jetties, and occasional keeper rockfish from the U.S. 50 bridge. Blues to 9 pounds in the surf.

Pub Date: 9/09/99

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