Young anglers enjoyed Gummy Worms and Swedish Fish around noon Saturday after working up an appetite catching fish during the 3rd annual Little Bobbers Fishing Derby at the Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center.

Hot dogs, chips, drinks, cookies, and brownies also filled up the anglers and their guardians before an awards ceremony with plenty of age-class prizes to honor the most skilled and prolific anglers — lucky ones, too.

Tops this year among some 80 anglers were Cruze Holtman and Billy Comegys, who caught the largest fish, and Katie Greer and Gavin Corner who caught the most fish. Blue gills were the hungriest fish, and dropping a worm into their sights brought nearly instant bobber action throughout the morning. Largemouth bass and some carp also were reeled in along the banks of CBEC’s three freshwater ponds.

Tournament sponsors this year were Ebb Tide Tent and Party Rentals, Bass Pro Shops, Pierson’s Comfort Group, Chesapeake Celebrations, Shore United Bank, Kent School, Wawa, Eastern Shore Dental Care, Western Auto, In Memory of Jerry C. Heins, Mr. Bill Washington DC, Michele “Lola” Rogers, Judy Wink, and Louise Zeitlin.

A good many kids caught their first fish and were awarded fish balloons at the awards ceremony. The real excitement was earlier at the ponds, though, as screams of joy and plenty of smiles brightened the scene on a hot but overall pleasant summer morning. Parents and volunteers rigged lines, offered tips, and helped unhook the squirmy fish before they were measured, photographed, and tossed back into the drink.

Daisy BB gun shooting and archery with rubber-tipped arrows also gave the youngsters a challenge to enjoy.

Hats off to tournament director Vickie Paulus and all the CBEC staff and volunteers for putting together a wonderful event. This CBEC derby is one of many fishing tournaments for kids throughout the Mid-Shore during the summer. Thank you to all of you who organize and take part in the tournaments and for sharing your knowledge and enthusiasm for outdoors adventures.

* * *

Deal Island

waterfowl permits

Hunters can now submit applications for the annual permit-only waterfowl hunting days on Deal Island Wildlife Management Area and Fairmount Wildlife Management Area impoundments, located in Somerset County. Permits will be issued through a lottery drawing, with assignments based upon a hunter’s stated preference for each area and/or date. Applications must be received by Sept. 9.

Waterfowl hunting within the impoundment is by permit only on the opening days of each of the three separate splits of duck season. After that, hunting is restricted to certain days and/or holidays through the remainder of each split season.

“The impoundments at these areas are among the best-known public areas for waterfowl hunting in the state,” Game Bird Program Leader Bill Harvey said. “Recent changes in water level management, together with restrictions on boat motors have resulted in greatly improved waterfowl habitats at these locations.”

All hunters are reminded that motorized boats, except those powered by electric motors, are prohibited at the impoundments between Oct. 1, 2019 and March 31, 2020. The Maryland Department of Natural Resources established this strategy several years ago to limit impact on important habitat.

These regulations apply only within the impoundment areas at both the Deal Island Wildlife Management Area and Fairmount Wildlife Management Areas. Boat use and waterfowl hunting outside of these restricted impoundments remains open and unchanged.

Application forms are available on the DNR website. For more information, hunters should contact the Wellington Wildlife Management Area office at 410-543-8223.

* * *

Fishing report

Striped bass are concentrating at several upper Chesapeake Bay sites in less than 20 feet of water. Live-lining spot or small white perch or jigging have been the most popular ways to fish. Spot are readily available in most of the shallower hard bottom shoal areas in the upper and middle bay. Striped bass can be found in locations including Swan Point, Pooles Island, Love Point, the Triple Buoys, Podickory Point, and the east side Bay Bridge piers.

The outside edge of Hacketts Bar, Thomas Point, Bloody Point, and the mouth of Eastern Bay have also been good places to fish. Jigging can be a good option as is trolling a mix of spoons and hoses along channel edges.

The best fishing success usually occurs in the early morning hours and tends to slow or shutdown as the day’s temperatures increase.

The white perch catch has been excellent in the upper bay and offers a wonderful way to enjoy fishing success. Perch can be found around shoals in the upper bay and in the tidal rivers. Pieces of bloodworm on a bottom rig is the best way to target them. Catfish species are providing a lot of action in the bay and tidal rivers, and cut bait is one of the best ways to attract them.

Farther south in the Chesapeake, Spanish mackerel and bluefish have filtered into the region and are providing some fun fishing on both sides of the bay. Trolling small spoons behind planers has been a popular way to fish for them. Spoons in gold, silver, pink, or chartreuse combinations have been good colors.

On the freshwater scene, fly anglers are using a variety of terrestrials to entice opportunistic trout in central and western Maryland. Imitation grasshoppers, crickets, beetles, and ants are all good choices, and in some areas inch worms may be falling from overhead trees. Streamers can be a good choice for brown trout, and bead-headed nymphs can be a good choice when fished under an indicator fly.

The tidal rivers of the Chesapeake offer plenty of good fishing for largemouth bass and other species such as northern snakeheads. Largemouth can be found in the shallower areas feeding on a variety of bait items in the early morning or late evening hours. Topwater lures such as frogs, buzzbaits, and chatterbaits are good choices when working these shallower grassy areas. Northern snakeheads can be found tucked in these same areas.

Off the Atlantic Coast, some impressive gaffer-sized dolphinfish are being reeled in, including a massive 72.8-pound state-record fish caught by Jeff Wright of Cambridge.

Surf fishing along the Ocean City and Assateague Island beaches has been good for a mix of kingfish, small bluefish, croakers, spot, and flounder. Pieces of bloodworm are the best bait to use for the kingfish, spot, and croaker. Finger mullet is the bait of choice to catch bluefish.

Anglers fishing the offshore canyons are finding a mix of yellowfin and bluefin tuna along with a few large wahoo. Deep drop anglers are finding golden tilefish and a few swordfish. Catch and releases of blue and white marlin have been good.

Follow me on Twitter @csknauss / email me at cknauss@stardem.com

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