I have to admit that I was super excited when Theo Kuczarski agreed to do a Dock Talk 365 interview. I could just tell he had a lot of great info. The only problem was which body of water to interview about him. Theo catches big bass wherever he fishes. In the end, I decided to focus on Loch Raven Reservoir in Maryland near Baltimore. Theo provides some great info about bass fishing on Loch Raven Reservoir. I also love his perspective on information sharing in fishing which he talks about near the end of the interview.
According to your website, you are based out of Loch Raven Reservoir. How was your overall fishing on Loch Raven Reservoir in 2017?
I like to say that Loch Raven is a fickle mistress. There are some days when it is amazing, and some days where you would swear there isn’t a fish in the lake. This was the first lake I regularly started fishing from a boat.
I’ve lived in Baltimore City for the last 10 plus years, all of which without a garage. Being able to store a boat/trailer had been quite a riddle for me. When I found out that Loch Raven allowed anglers to lease a spot, inexpensively, for a boat right on the bank, I thought “Problem Solved!”
My buddy and I would stuff all of our tackle in our cars drive up to Loch Raven, load up the boat and push it in the water from the shore. We did this almost exclusively for about five years until this spring when my buddy and I found a garage and bought a second boat with a trailer that we can take from lake to lake. I still think Loch Raven is one of my favorite places to fish, especially around Baltimore…but I still have trouble figuring her out on most days!
How would you describe Loch Raven Reservoir as a bass fishery to an angler who has never been there?
It is truly an amazing place. When you’re out on the lake, you would not believe you are just a few miles from the murder capital of the U.S. It’s a deep, clear water reservoir with no residential or commercial buildings surrounding the entire shoreline.
Large laydowns are located in every cove. If you go there in the late spring, you are guaranteed to run into some fish, and likely big ones during the spawn. As the water temps start to warm, Loch Raven fills up quickly grass, making it difficult to fish and even more difficult to fish shallow.
What makes it difficult is also what makes it great. During the summer and fall months, this offshore grass provides a great place for bass to ambush shad. It’s really important to have a good understanding of offshore spots from July-October.
To a beginner, I would suggest buying a cheap topographical map from a local tackle shop like Anglers Express for $10. To the more experienced angler, using your electronics will be key. Once you locate a few places, figuring out how to fish the grass effectively that day is the next challenge!
Fun Fact #1: Most people associate Roland Martin with Okeechobee, but he actually learned to fish on Loch Raven. He grew up in Maryland and worked at the fishing center. There are some stories of Roland catching 36 plus pound bags back in the 1950’s on plastic worms. Roland was one of the first people to use a plastic worm and still one of the best tellers of fish stories!
Fun Fact #2: The scene that John Voight murders the senator in the Will Smith movie Enemy of the State was filmed at Loch Raven’s only boat ramp.
What do you consider a good 5 fish limit on Loch Raven?
Anything north of 17 pounds is a great day at Loch Raven, or anywhere in Maryland for that matter. I only crested the 20 pound mark twice this year.
The first time we were cruising to our second spot and I still had dirt/rocks in my shoe from launching the boat. I tried to clean them out in the water with our motors on high. Of course one slipped out of my hand, and I had to fish the rest of the day with one shoe like Happy Gilmore’s caddie.
The second time, I was still being skunked by 1 pm. My first bite came around 1:15 and my $150 rod snapped in half on the hookset…I didn’t catch that fish. The next few hours or so we stumbled on some active fish feeding on big shad and smoked em. I guess sometimes, the Fishing Gods just demand a sacrifice!
What is your Personal Best largemouth bass on Loch Raven?
It was a really hot day in May with no wind. We hadn’t caught much until 2 pm or so. We found some small 1 to 2 pounders schooled up in the back of a cove. We caught a bunch of the little ones and were pretty happy to get some action on a slow day.
As we came out of the cove, we started fishing a long stretch of bank on the main lake. I tossed a shaky head in between two branches and it was on. There were a lot of curse words used when we got that fish in the boat. I’m still not sure how much this fish actually weighed. Her tail was all chewed up and she was still full of eggs, so put her back on her bed ASAP. She is the biggest largemouth I’ve ever caught, or witnessed out of any of the Baltimore reservoirs, Loch Raven, Liberty and Prettyboy.
When you are targeting largemouth on Loch Raven, what are your 3 favorite methods and baits?
Swimbaits, dropshot and shaky head. 80% of the fish I have caught at Loch Raven have come on one of those three baits. I like the shaky head early in the year during pre-spawn and spawn, the dropshot in the dog days of summer out deep and the swimabits in the fall as the bass start gorging on shad.
I see some reports about smallmouth on Loch Raven. Have you caught any Loch Raven smallmouth?
The first bass caught at Loch Raven on my boat was a smallmouth, but I’ve never seen one since, ironically. My hunch is they can be found way up north where the reservoir meets the river. Since Loch is electric motor only, it’s a long run going 5 mph, so we don’t make it up there very often.
How much pressure does Loch Raven Reservoir get?
Loch gets A LOT of pressure, especially during the warmer months. It is one of the few public places to fish around Baltimore City and provides a great escape for non-anglers just hoping to get some nice views.
Additionally, it’s the only place you can go and rent a boat in the area. Because it’s all electric motors, nobody goes anywhere very quickly except for a handful of boats.
It’s not like Fishing Lake Fork with world class anglers running from spot to spot at 70, so catching fish behind someone isn’t quite as difficult as other highly pressured lakes. I love to talk and meet new people in general, so going to a spot with a bunch of boats is an enjoyable experience for me.
How often do you run into toothy pickerel on the Reservoir?
We run into Johnny Pickerels early and often every year. A few of my buddies and I organized a “Show Us Your Johnny” tournament there a few years back. We all chipped in and paid out the team that caught and released the most pickerels that day. It is definitely the only day we have actively targeted pickerel.
Personally, I think they are a ton of fun to catch and awesome looking fish. They have been there longer than the bass, and the bass population is still thriving, so I don’t buy into the whole notion that they are bad for the lake and need to be removed. I know I’m in the minority, but I am glad they are in there. My credit card bill might think otherwise, those toothy fish can tear up some gear!
Overall, what are 5 pieces of advice that bass anglers who have never fished Loch Raven should know before they fish it?
#1 – Use fluorocarbon. The water is so clear at Loch Raven. I think they can see braid from a mile away on most days.
#2 – Downsize in the spring. Most of my big fish have come one very small baits early in the year.
#3 – Upsize in the fall. Start tossing around those big swimbaits sitting in your box that you’ve been too afraid to throw at other lakes. f you commit to it at Loch Raven, you will likely get bit
#4 – If you’re renting a boat from the fishing center…get the extra battery!
#5 – Get local information. Anglers Express which is located a few miles from the reservoir has provided me with a wealth of knowledge. The owner and (most of) the other customers are very willing to help any newcomers and old vets with information about the lake that time of year
Tell us about TedBass.com. What are you doing with your site and YouTube channel?
The whole thing spiraled out of control, in a good way within the last 18 months or so. I have run a Financial Planning practice in Baltimore for twelve years, and that can be stressful at times. I use fishing and social media as a way to disconnect from my day to day life.
The website and Instagram platforms have allowed me to share my personality with other anglers and connect with a community I didn’t even know existed. I have met truly amazing people and made some really great friends this past year because of it, and for that, I’m very grateful.
I’m not sure I have any specific plans, other than continuing to use it as a forum to teach people how to catch fish and meet new friends.
Who are your sponsors/pro staff companies?
Anglers Express in Timonium has really put me on some fish over the last two years. I have learned a lot from Eric, the owner and a lot of their customers. I am a believer in the free flow of fishing information and have developed my philosophy after spending time with guys like Eric, Matt Allen, and Wild Bill Lawson. I really hope fishing moves away from this cloak of secrecy and open bashing of people who share information.
ATO in Parkville always keeps the #BassMobile looking fresh and very practical. They installed my rod holders, bluetooth radio/head unit, and security system.
I’m very thankful for all of the Under Armour swag I have received. I always run very cold, so in the winter months, it’s critical for me to have high end gear to keep me warm.
BeastCoast has some of the best swimbaits on the market right now. I caught some absolute giants on them this fall. They’re not super prevalent yet too, so it gives the fish something they haven’t seen yet.
Lucky Tackle Box has been an amazing partner. They send me some really cool baits. They offer anglers, especially those newer to fishing a great way to gain exposure to a variety of lures and other fishing products.
Sagan might have provided me with my favorite product of 2017. Their water filtration system is simply amazing. I can leave the house with no water, and stay hydrated on the lake all day with their Sagan Filter Bottle.
A quick editorial to end this interview. I couldn’t agree more with Theo regarding the “cloak of secrecy and open bashing of people who share information.” This isn’t what fishing should be about. We don’t ask for or print information like the second stump in the third cove of Lake X always has fish on it. And we don’t over promote specific lakes with article titles like “The Best Bass Fishing Lake in the Universe.” But Dock Talk 365 is setup to share the same information that you would share at the dock or when talking to another angler at a tackle shop like Anglers Express. Imagine if one newbie angler from Baltimore city reads this interview, has some success on Loch Raven because of it, and gets totally hooked on fishing. That is what fishing should be all about.
So enough of my editorial other than to say thank you Theo! Thank you for a fantastic interview that proves my excitement was spot on when you agreed to do it. You are an amazing asset to our sport. Keep up the great fishing and promotion of our sport through TedBass.com.
Read Another Dock Talk 365 Interview with a Maryland Angler: Interview with Maryland’s Water Warrior Fishing