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Victory on 3 counts at St. Mary's Lake

1076 Views 3 Replies 2 Participants Last post by  Friday
I haven't checked in for a while because I've been pretty busy with work and the holidays, and I'm also recovering from an irritating cold. I felt well enough to hit St. Mary's Lake today from about noon to 3pm to test out my zippered waders and to experiment with the new lures I got for Christmas. I decided to shake things up a bit because I always fall into the same routines. I limited myself to only one "old reliable lure" at a time--my other two rods had to be rigged with something I've never used or an old lure rigged in a new way. I also decided to run and gun rather than beat the water to a froth in a few places like I usually do.

The work on the dam was completed last week, and the lake is only about 2ft lower than normal. Most of the lures I got for Christmas were crankbaits, so I headed to the same spot where I saw all the pickerel stacked up on my fishfinder last time I was there. I trolled a firetiger Thunderstick Jr., which dives down about 6-15ft, which is about where I saw the stacked pickerel. The water was really muddy, and I didn't find the same kind of marks in that spot, but there were lots of marks in the area. It was fairly windy, blowing close to 15mph at times, I think, so the marks I was seeing could've been leaves, sticks, etc. I jigged a silver buddy around a bit to no avail. I was tired of being blown around, so I headed for a sunny cove that I though would be in the lee while trolling the Thunderstick. In the cove, I found that the wind was blowing 90* differently than out in the main lake, i.e. straight down the throat of the cove. Go figure.

While in the shallow parts of the cove, I chucked a 3" gold Rapala X-Rap and a firetiger Bomber Square A. Both lures have awesome action, but the fish didn't buy it. Around 1pm, I stopped for lunch, worked on the game plan, and saw an eagle looking for its lunch.

After lunch, I finally caught something on my trusty 1/8oz, 2", chartreuse, twin tail grub (an old reliable):

I tried to smile for this pic:

Apparently, I have the same range of facial expressions as Keanu Reeves. :pp Oh well. I forgot to measure it before I released it, but I guess it was around 15" based on the width of my fingernails. I caught it in less than 3ft of water in a sunny spot near some brush on a slow retrieve.

I switched to a 2" firetiger floating Rapala minnow on one rod and a 4" BA in gold/red or electric chicken on the other rod. The BAs were rigged with a 1/8oz Daichi butt dragger hook for "swimbaits", and it makes for awesome jigging action. I kept moving and casting these lures and hooked a small pickerel on the Rapala, but it somehow spit out the lure before I got it in the boat. It was pretty skinny and looked an optimistic 15-16" long. The pickerel in St. Mary's Lake seem a lot skinnier than similarly sized picks from the Severn. I haven't gotten many big picks in St. Mary's, though.

I had a few hits on the BAs but missed them. I'm not sure I had the hooks rigged properly. I think I had a couple hits on the X-Rap, too, but I'm not sure. I might've just hit the bottom. No hits on the Bomber or silver buddy or a floating Bass Pro minnow lure.

So my three victories were:

1) a decent bass on an old lure
2) a little pickerel on a new lure
3) successfully taking a leak while in my yak courtesy of my zippered waders (it's good to have goals).

Things I learned:

1) I have a lot more to learn about using crankbaits
2) I should've brought more rods since I was experimenting today
3) Changing strategies/tactics makes for an interesting day.
4) Even the weatherman doesn't know which way the wind is gonna blow.
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Hey Friday,

St. Mary's Lake holds both species, and I've read reports of people catching 3-5lb bass there. The one I caught yesterday was the biggest I've caught there, though, and far from 3lbs. There's two boat ramps to launch from right by the parking area, and I've never been in the way of boaters launching or hauling out there. The restrooms are closed for the winter, but they have a porta-jon there now. There are plenty of private places to take a leak, but trails run around the lake so you'll have to keep an eye out for hikers/bikers. The lake is pretty much surrounded by the park, so there aren't many houses visible. There were only two other cars and no boaters there yesterday, so I pretty much had the entire place to myself. There's a $3 parking fee, but there weren't any envelopes yesterday, so I don't know if they check this time of the year. I left $3 in the collection slot anyway.

Loch Raven, Pretty Boy Reservoir, and Liberty Lake are probably closer to you if you want to try for pickerel and bass, but I haven't fished any of those. Personally, I don't think I'd drive 2hrs to fish St. Mary's, but it's smaller and more protected. You could probably fish the entire thing in 7 or 8 hours if you were moving pretty fast. I've caught most of my fish by the standing timber near the launch or toward the dam side of the lake. The other side gets shallow fast, but there are lots of good drop offs toward the dam side.

The Severn and Magothy Rivers near Annapolis hold lots of pickerel, but I haven't been up there yet this year. I was hoping to go up there this week but the wind is supposed to pick up, and the tides aren't great.
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