Mar
23

Let It Rain!

If there’s one thing I like seeing in a spring forecast, it’s RAIN. For me rain means two things:

  1. I’m not going to work!
  2. I’m going fishing!

Although there are stripers biting in the normal river areas, the bite is not in full swing yet. We caught one striper Monday evening using crankbaits but unless you want to soak cut bait give it another week.

 

Although the striper bite on lures in the upper bay hasn’t reached full swing, largemouth bass are feeding. Today, we launched in rainy conditions from Lapidum into a rough water and headed down river. My buddy Matt just installed a new Minnkota Talon on his bass boat and we sure gave it a workout today. The new unit gave us the ability fish strong currents and hold tight to structure where bass are feeding. The water is still stained so bright colored baits seemed to work better than natural colors today. We caught lots of average sized bass but this one tipped the scales at almost 7 pounds!

We also caught this unique looking bass with ugly black spots all over. I thought it was picture worthy… 

 

The bite will only continue to get better so lets pray for more rain!

Mar
12

River Monsters!

Well, I’m due for a fishing report! With water temperatures on the rise and the days getting longer, expect big fish to start pushing into the rivers. The fishing will only get better from here on out. The Susquehanna River is roaring from out last rain so me and Bret decided to hit the Patapsco River today. For the Patapsco, the fishing was pretty good today. We had 55-57 degree water and lots of mid 20 inch fish to play with. Bret had a striper at or near 40 inches and I caught my personal best Patapsco River Monster carp at 42lb on a 6 inch BKD. The Maryland State Record carp stands at just over 44 pounds so I was not far off. The fish have been hitting bright colored jerk shads, stick baits and Rat-L-Traps. 

Feb
12

Four Seasons

Saturday was my first time fishing with Captain Walleye Pete of Four Seasons Guide Service. Simply put, Pete lives the dream! I know he works extremely hard and says he’s tired after every trip, but how many people get to do what they truly love FOR A LIVING? His office is a brand new 27′ Judge Chesapeake outfitted with the latest Lowrance HDS technology, XM radio, wireless internet via laptop computer, heat, etc… Pete sure has a nice setup. Oh yea, he knows how to put his clients on fish too…

We left Flag Harbor around 6:30am due south and started fishing immediately after a 2 mile run. The first drift produced a very nice fish over 40 inches using one of my custom 1.5oz jigheads and a 10” purple glitter BKD.

We probably caught between 60-70 fish today, which is great for February using light tackle. We each landed a fish over 40 inches and I was thrilled to have the opportunity to fish with Pete for my first time.

My site is still in the works and my plan is to eventually incorporate a lure and tackle section but for now I’ll tell you I was using one of my favorite setups:

Rod – 6’6” Medium Action Carrot Stix
Reel – Bass Pro Shops Pro Qualifier
Line – 15lb Power Pro

Leader – 30lb Yozuri Hybrid

Feb
07

Light Tackle Beasts!

I can’t complain, fishing has been good for me and my fishing buddies this winter. When Jamie invited me to fish with him and Dennis this afternoon aboard his beautiful 23′ Parker SE, I was ecstatic. We launched out of Taylors Island Campground and fished the mid-bay area from about noon until dark. We had overcast skies and roughly 40 degree water temperatures, the perfect combination for winter fishing.

When we arrived at the fishing grounds there were 5 boats on scene. Slowly, boats would leave and as each boat left the fishing got better and better. 1.5 oz jig heads with 10” BKD’s out fished anything else. I must admit, Jamie and Dennis know how to put on a fishing clinic and made me look bad for the first few hours. I managed to save face and found my groove towards the end of the day. Jamie and Dennis fish HARD and show no mercy to those who can’t keep up! We ended the day with many fish over 40 inches and several over 45. It was a great day on the bay. It looks like I’ll be getting out again this weekend so look for another report early next week.

Feb
05

Susky Yellow Perch Down Under – Video

 

I hit the susky yesterday with my buddy Matt. We were  in hopes of catching some perch and maybe even a couple bass. We worked hard all morning targeting largemouth and smallies but never got bit. Ended up rigging for perch with natural color baits on 1/8 oz jigs in shallow water. We had the usual non-stop Susky perch action. It was obvious the fish were relating to a pocket of shallow boulders but we decided to dust off the old Aquaview to get a closer look anyway. The water was slightly stained but still good enough to make out the fish. You will see in the videos that bass are hanging amongst the schools of perch but we still couldn’t get the boogers to bite!

This is what perch look like on a Humminbird 2d sonar sitting on top of a boulder. The Aqua-vu video confirmed the fish were sitting directly on top of the shallow rocks.

Jan
25

Big Fish Arrival

Lately, I’ve been lucky enough to win the battle against icy ramps. The past few trips I’ve been able to fish a spot where big fish are likely to show up in January. If there’s one thing that holds true about migratory stripers in the  Chesapeake Bay it’s this: THE BIG FISH ARRIVE FIRST.  January into early February full moons are  my first striper trips each year. The past few outings have yielded very few fish UNDER 40 inches with one fish near the 50 inch mark.

Two years ago my father landed and released a fish that, in my mind, could have been the state record rockfish this time of year. If you want big fish action, January and February are your months to fish until the flats season gets hot in March.

Jan
19

Winter Carp Jigging

The past few days have been great fishing on the Susquehanna river. We’ve been catching yellow perch in the deep channels as well as largemouth bass and carp in shallower waters when the sun is out. Perch have been hitting  2-4 inch grub tails on drop shot rigs. I have found that Gulp Alive grub tails are out-catghing regular, unscented grubs by a fair margin. Color has seemed to make very little difference. Choose a bait you have confidence in and have at it!

The carp fishing has been outstanding this winter. To be honest, I had no intentions in targeting carp this winter until my friend Matt found a huge school stacked up on the side scan sonar while looking for perch. The first cast with a 3 inch jig produced a big carp hooked in the jaw and the rest is history. We’ve been targeting them every trip out and have found them to be very aggressive and a great deal of fun to catch on light tackle. The biggest one we’ve landed so far has been 35lbs, weighed on my boga grip.

Jan
13

Susky Perch Jerkin’

Fishing has been tough at the Patapsco River warm water discharges this winter.  The Constellation Energy plant is only operating at 1/3 capacity and Beth Steel is running at about 1/2 this winter. The other discharges are running about normal but nobody I know has had much success lately. I’ve been out twice with limited results and haven’t been motivated to go back; at least until I hear things are improving.

On a bright note, the Susquehanna yellow perch fishery is thriving. I fished with my buddy Bret on Tuesday and we had a great afternoon.

In order to better understand how to catch cold water fish it helps to be familiar with where the fish are holding and what the fish are feeding on. In winter months, yellow perch and most other fish living in the Susquehanna River hold in deep waters. To give you an idea, we caught yellow perch on bottom in water over 80 feet on Tuesday. Fish hold deep this time of year for several reasons:

Oxygenated water is more abundant in fall and winter months than it is during the summer.  As well-oxygenated surface water cools, it becomes denser than waters below. Once water has reached maximum density (39.1 degrees Fahrenheit), it sinks to the bottom, bringing less dense water to the surface to freeze at 32 degrees Fahrenheit. This process leaves deep water well-oxygenated and at a stable temperature of 39 degrees Fahrenheit, which is why you find fish holding at greater depths this time of year.

On Tuesday, We launched at Perryville and broke through ice all the way to the Owens Landing area. We caught a few fish there but it was slow pickings for the first hour or so. We found them in over 80ft of water but they weren’t stacked up like we would have liked. After about an hour, we decided to run down river below the train bridge to seek out a better grade of fish. Here we found them STACKED up in 35-40 feet of water feeding on 3 inch baitfish that looked like juvenile mud shad.

We caught a limit of 12 to 13 inch perch in several hours using 3 inch double rigged grub tails with a bottom sinker until snow moved into the area and forced us to leave.

Nov
21

Coastal Stock

One of my favorite trips of the year is several miles off the coast of Delaware starting in November. This time of year the stripers are on the move South along the coast as the water temperatures up North fall into the upper 40′s – low 50′s. Stripers and blues stop to feed off shoals and structure along the way leaving anglers a chance for some great action.

On Sunday morning we had a 15kt NE wind that was giving Andy’s 20′ Seacraft a run for it’s money while underway to the fishing grounds. We managed to pound through 3-5 footers and arrive at a well known shoal with working birds. Under these birds were low to mid thirties inch rockfish and big slammer blues with some dogfish mixed in. The birds would come and go leaving us with only our electronics to try and stay on the fish.

Tip:  Don’t leave big fish to chase another school of working birds! We would setup on the up-current side of the working birds and drift through the school of fish until we drifted off the bite. The birds  in our area would stop working but off in the distance were more  birds going crazy. But instead of punching the throttle towards those birds we decided to idle around in a big circle to make the same drift again and it paid off. The bigger fish were not pushing bait to the surface but instead using the edge of the shoal as an ambush point to feed. Our same drift produced more good fish. We went chasing birds AFTER that bite petered out.

The fish were actively feeding on sand eels and what seemed to be medium sized baitfish. We used spoons for the blues and 7 inch bass assassins in pearl and white. The fish on the shoals are fast so it pays to go with a heavier jig or metal spoon in order to get down to them quickly. It was a good trip with blues to almost 15lbs, stripers to 35” and two keeper flounder. We also saw a whale spout in the distance.

Nov
10

Change of Pace and Place

It has been nearly a week and a half since i’ve been out on the bay for stripers and i’m ready to get back in the game tomorrow. However, this afternoon  I was able to get after some fish in the Susqehanna river with my good fishing buddy, Matt. We launched at the Lapidum ramp and fished an area around the flats this afternoon for largemouth bass with good success. We caught bass, white perch, yellow perch, catfish, carp and shad today. We probably could have caught a striper or two had we bothered to stop for a cast on working birds but  we were more concentrated on catching bass. We fished blade baits, crankbaits and jigs  at the mouths of creeks where bass were actively ambushing baitfish.  Enjoy the pics.

Oct
21

The Bite Continues

We have been finding good fish up north the past couple of trips. The fish are still holding on rocky bottom in 16ft of water and pushing bait into the shallows in the evening. I have been getting out with Paul most nights and have been bad about taking pictures- sorry.  The fish really haven’t gotten any bigger. Low 30′s is about the biggest fish we are seeing lately but the fish are hitting hard on topwater and  5-7 inch soft plastics on 3/4 oz jigheads. Here is Pauls coworker, Mike with a nice low 30′s fish:

We had a close call this evening with small craft advisory in effect for the next few days. West winds gusting to 30kt but we had to try. We launched out of Rocky Point State Park and headed out of the cut to mild seas. About 3/4 of the way to the fish on the other side Paul makes a smart move to turn around and face to wind to see how bad it was going to be on the way back. Well, the first wave came over the bow and that was all she wrote. It would not have been smart to stay out in the bay so we started our wet, pounding trek back to the river. We made it back and tried a few casts at the old sunken concrete ships near Fort Howard. There were no fish there but I did see birds working near the new Pleasure Island rockpiles. Fortunately, they saved the day. We had fish to 24 inches right near the ramp and they were hungry for 17 tony spoons and topwater plugs. We ended the night with a fish-on-the-meter sunset to our west and a full moon rising to the east. Its hard to beat time on the water in October!

Oct
14

Back to Back Nights – Eastern Shore

The past two nights I was able to get out with another one of my regular fishing buddies,  Shawn Kimbro and new fishing friend, Rich.  Day 1 It was flat calm and the fish were snapping anything we threw at them. We had a mix of low 20′s fish all the way up to 33 inches tonight. They were hard pulling and a great time on light tackle!

Day 2 we were met with west winds gusting to 20kts and a small craft advisory. It didn’t seem too bad since we were in Shawns big Judge 27 center console. It was rainy and overcast, the perfect ingredients for big fish. We zipped around the river finding all kinds of working birds with small rock and blues underneath but passed on them in order to find some bigger fish. Shawn once again found the migratory school not far from where they had been biting a few days prior. We stayed on them for about 45 minutes until they disapeared. We figured we had spooked them off. The rest of the night we rode around hoping to find the fish schooled up again after leaving them alone for a while but we had no such luck. The bite was good while it lasted- no doubt.

Oct
07

October is here!

Anyone who fishes the Chesapeake Bay for striped bass will tell you that October means get ready for the striped bass to start feeding. This evening I fished with Andy out of Rocky Point State Park in hopes for a good afternoon bite. I came prepared with four rods tonight, mostly home made jigs and bucktails.  We headed east and found some very nice sized blues similar to what we were catching at Chesapeake Beach the week prior but not the working birds like we had hoped. We decided to work a rocky bottom near Love Point where fish like to stage this time of year before they come off to chase bait and it paid off.

We moved from 16-23ft of water dragging jigs on bottom and picking up healthy rockfish until the sun went down. They continued to bite after dark as they usually do at this spot. We also caught fish up at “the spot” in 8ft of water dragging jigs over the rock piles. Tonight’s big fish was 33 inches. Cheers fto the start of ROCKtober!

Sep
23

Full Moon – Chesapeake Beach Breakers

9/23/10 With a full moon this night we had to try for some fish. I had a good report of breakers North of the gas docks earlier this week so Paul and I were going to pull his boat to CB in hopes to find fish. Before heading out, Paul noticed a post on Tidalfish of someone looking for two people with light tackle jigging experience to join him in hopes to learn some new techniques. We were lucky in that we didn’t have to pull Paul’s boat and even better, we made a new fishing friend this day. Ron, launched his very nice 22′ hydra sports and was awaiting our arrival at the ramp around 12:30. We headed South in hopes to run into the fish I had heard about earlier in the week. Along the way we found birds and blues working silversides around buoy 77b.

We played around with big blues most of the afternoon with an occasional rock mixed in but didn’t get dialed in until Paul noticed some familiar looking marks down deep below the bluefish. They were rock on bottom in 60 ft of water. I tied on a 3 ounce sea strike and Paul rigged with a heavy stingsilver to target them down deep. It wasn’t long until we started pulling up rock from the bottom.

  It was good to see life that deep in the Chesapeake Bay. The bite slowed down after a few hours so we crossed the bay in hopes to find some fish that were still hungry. We noticed some blues around Sharps Island lighthouse but nothing to brag about.

 The sun was going down quickly so we decided to head even further North in hopes of finding a shallow topwater bite. Upon arrival it didn’t take long for Paul to pull in a mid 20′s striper. Before long the sun had set and we continued to catch good numbers of fish on topwater. Ron was already very pleased with the numbers of fish we had caught throughout the day and these fish were icing on the cake. It eventually got late and we had a long run across the bay but a full moon gave us enough light to navigate safely back to port. 

 

Sep
12

Good Deale – Stormy Petrel

I received a call from a fellow Captain, Steve Goins on Saturday evening asking if I wanted to mate for him the next morning (Sunday, 9-12-2010) aboard the Stormy Petrel. He didn’t have to pull my arm as I always enjoy fishing with Captain Steve. We left Deale, MD at 6:30am with a party of five, Buffalo Bills fans might I add… It took a few minutes to get over but I forgave them as we approached the fishing grounds where  we spent the next 30 minutes loading up on spot.  We headed across the bay under rainy conditions and stopped at Gum Thickets and put over some spot. On the first drift we managed one keeper but it was by no means red hot fishing to start the day. We eventually got word  of a bite a few miles south so we pulled the rods and pointed the 42′ Robins  that way at full throttle. When we arrived on site there were birds working all over the place. I got the crew baited up with spot as they huddled around the livewell trying to keep their fresh spot lively while Captain Steve got us into position.

“Drop em” was the call from Capt. Steve as we all took note of the blob of fish coming across the fish finder. Everyone dropped over their spot, including myself which produced a few blues and a keeper rock for the fish box. Over the next few hours we continued to pick away at a rock limit for the crew. After a while we decided to switch tactics to trolling in hopes of getting into a few Spanish macs. We put over a 4 rod spread that only produced a couple of blues. Today the fish wanted live spot and I did get one nice fish on a 2 oz stingsilver jigged directly on the bottom. You know you had a good day when your crew looks like this on the ride home…

The crew decided on pictures after I was finished cleaning the blues and a few rock so this is what was left of the catch- non filleted.  No giant fish today but these were nice, healthy summer fish. The crew went home happy and this was the first trip in a while where I came home from fishing with more money than I left! Great job Capt. Steve! Thanks, and lets do it again soon!

Sep
10

Active Fish – Upper Bay

My first Upper Chesapeake Angler log happens to be a trip with my good fishing buddy, Paul.  Get used to hearing his name around this blog. Over the past few years we have become good friends who fish together often. I consider Paul to be one of the better light tackle jig fishermen on the Chesapeake Bay and have learned a lot from him over the past few years. Anyway, we left Middle River on Friday afternoon (9-10-2010) with predicted SE winds to 20kts.  We ran  through the cut and took note of a strong outgoing current and flat calm seas. NICE!

We started heading east and stopped to take took a look through the binoculars. I noticed some bird action to the North so we bombed it to the birds and found small blues and rock chasing silverside minnows in 15ft of water.

The water temperature today was 75 degrees which was a drop in temperature of 6 degrees since last week.  Another 5-6 degree drop in temperature will really help get things going in the upper bay.

After catching a few small fish we decided to head to the Chester river in hopes of some bigger fish. When we arrived at our spot, we already had a ripping INCOMING current. Its amazing how you can cross the bay and have a completely different tide cycle. Anyway, after catching more small fish on topwater and metal jigs we decided to head to the bay bridge to try our luck. Upon arrival we noticed our good friend Shawn Kimbro of www.chesapeakelightackle.com trying his luck at the sewer pipe. He said things were on the slow side and he was right. We only managed a few more small  fish at the bridge so we packed it in and headed for the barn. Shawn managed a nice 34”er that night which is a very nice fish any time of year.  We probably covered  40 miles of water and only had small fish to show this night. We had to try knowing bigger fish should be chasing bait soon.