Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Rock on the Rocks

I have always wondered why they call Striped Bass "Rock". The consensus seems to be that it was because they migrated into the bay and rubbed against the rocks to remove the sea lice. Since few if any fish in the South River come in from the ocean, I have always felt it was because they like the warmth that the rocks provide. As the water temps have dropped over the past few weeks, I have been mainly catching fish right up against rocky shorelines. This supports my theory, but I will need more tests. Again, I had a small window to fish before dark, so stayed within sight of the marina. Just as it was getting dark, I picked up a feisty 17 right up against the rocky shoreline behind the old island (now called a shoal). So the fun continued for a least another day.

Monday, November 29, 2010

November Surprise

Yesterday was a nearly perfect day to fish. Light breeze, sunny skies, calm sea's, and light boat traffic. Unfortunately, my three hours of fishing yielded little more than a peaceful day.

I only had a short window to fish tonight, so it was Lake Riva for me. Started at the headwaters of Broad Creek and worked my way back to the marina. Worked the gaps between piers with a white twisty. My expectation was that all the Stripers had left, but was hoping for a White Perch or Pickerel. As it was getting dark, I had made my way back to " Al's Spot" for the final casts. I was reeling very slow and was just getting ready to set the pole down to take a picture of the sunset, when the line went tight and it was fish on. I knew immediately it was a Striper. A nice 21 inch surprise for the end of November.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

Last night my friend John K and I hit that headwaters of Broad creek looking for a few remaining Stripers. Although I continued to toss my trusty Stillwater, John stuck with plastic. I finally gave in and switched to a white twisty. Soon after, I picked up a small white perch. At our second stop, John picked up the biggest White Perch I have seen in the river...a fat 13 1/2 inch. It was not until we got home that he realized it was citation size (13 inch in MD). Nice!!

It did not take long this Thanksgiving for me to be booted from the house to go fishing, by the four women in my life. So I headed back to Broad Creek around 11 Am. There was quite a bit of bird action in the shallows, but I was unable to entice a blowup after an hour and half. At that point, I knew topwater fishing was basically over for the year {maybe}. I started working the white twisty near rocky shorelines at the mouth of the river. On my second stop I hooked into a Chain Pickerel that provided me with quite an air show. Turned out to be my second and biggest Pickerel ever...a nice 22 (citation size is 24). So it looks like fall fishing has given way to winter fishing on the South River. Happy turkey day.

Monday, November 22, 2010

9 Days of Pleasure

It has been nine days since my last post. This time included two solid weekends of fishing. That meant 4 "two a days" where I fished from 10 to 1 and 3-5 both Saturday and Sunday. All without a bump, nibble, swirl, blowup, or a bird sighting. Since it now get's dark at 5 , I had to work hard to catch the last hour of daylight each weeknight. Despite the lack of fish, it was a very pleasurable nine days. The sun and air temp made it feel like October never ended. Unfortunately it had. For a topwater guy like myself the conditions were tough. The breeze was extremely shifty, which made finding Stillwater difficult. Furthermore, when I did find a nice spot, I also found leaves sitting on the surface. The boat traffic on the 2 weekends was more like July than November, which also meant dealing with a ton of wakes. The weeknights on the other hand have been great. It has basically been me, the river, and some incredible sunsets.

This past Saturday I heard from two different duck hunting party's that there were Stripers busting bait on the surface at the headwaters of Broad Creek. I love fishing back there, but have never had much luck. The water is very mucky and shallow. The nice thing about the area is that it is completely protected from wind and noise. As the sun was setting Sunday night, I could hear the tell tell "swack", but the water was too shallow to get close enough. Last night the tide was a bit higher at sunset, so I was able to get a bit closer, but leaves removed any chance of a blowup. Tonight the tide was as high as it gets due to a full moon. As I came around the corner to the wide expanse that makes up the headwaters, there they were. It was a good sized baitball, just getting slammed. They were smack dab in the middle. When I got within 50 yards, fish took off in every direction. As they scattered they left a wake, which made the whole thing look like a flock of geese taking off. It looks like a kayak trip is in order. On my way back down the creek, I tossed a twisty into a promising looking point of living shoreline that was covered by leaves. A few turns of the reel and I finally had my 20. Now why didn't I think of that sooner? I am one stubborn topwater guy!!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

First Half of Sat....not good

For a November day, it could not have been any more perfect. The water was calm, the sky blue, winds light, and the temp in the low 60's. Headed out at 10 and just returned at 1. I fished every inch of the South River and did not see a single sign of life. No birds, no swirls, no bait balls, no fish. It was a beautiful day, but quite frustrating. I am going to try for the last hour of light, but have little hope.

Went back out and fished from 3.30 until dark. Stayed mainly in the Lake Riva area with no luck. As the sun was setting, I decided to run out to Glebe Bay and then end my night at the mouth of Crab Creek. My bad luck continued until I was just ready to give up when a small fish finally hit my plug. As I continued my retrieve several more fish made a stab at it with no success. Just as the plug approached the boat, a good sized fish blew up. I had him on briefly, but alas, he got away. So the grand total for this beautiful day in November was zero. However that last cast, gave me enough encouragement to do it again tomorrow.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


It was another perfect topwater night when I left my office at 2:45. By four I was anchored up at "the spot". The water temp on the bay had dropped to 54.5 and the shallows of the river close to 53. When the temp hits 50 the catching part of fishing becomes a lot more difficult. The knowledge that the end is near made me appreciate the perfect conditions even more. A light breeze from the east against the falling tide made for a bit of chop, but basically it was perfect. Within 10 minutes, I had my first fish in the boat...a barely legal 18. Five minutes later, I boated a nice 20. Neither fish really exploded on the plug. Instead they sort of sucked it off the surface. Not very exciting, but it is November after all. That was basically it for the night. After the sun set, I realized how cold it had become. I was quite happy to pull into my slip and run for the warmth of my car.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Chasing the Birds

The view out my office window of Annapolis Harbor screamed "Topwater", so I had no choice but to drop everything and race home. I wanted to get to the shoal as fast as humanly possible to catch the last hour of light. After a few quick stops, I anchored up at "the spot". The breeze was coming out of the river and the tide was dead low. The water temp was 55, the sky blue, and the air a balmy 65. After fan casting for 20 minutes, the water exploded and I boated a healthy twenty. While I was unhooking and taking a picture of my guest, the tide started to come in and the boat swung to the north. When I looked up there were hundreds of diving birds a few hundred yards away. My mind could not shake the vision of forty pounders pounding 12 inch baitfish on the surface, so off I went. As soon as I arrived, I knew it was a mistake. My "vision" turned out to be dink's pounding small anchovies. By the time I returned to "the spot", the sun was disappearing below the horizon. After a few fan casts, I headed to Glebe bay for a few more casts before heading in. When will I learn.."never leave fish to find fish". Great night!!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Daylight Savings Time...Dang

A miserable cold day with 15 to 20 knot winds, gave way to a relatively nice night. I headed out around 4:30 with no real plan. Due to the wind, there were very few places with still water, so I was forced to stick to the eastern shorelines of the creeks. I got a call from Brandon who was just leaving Aberdeen Creek. Before meeting up with him, I worked the eastern shore of Glebe Bay for a good fifteen minutes. By this time he had moved to Harness Creek, so I joined him. The water was nice and calm, but unfortunately the fish did not seem to be there. Brandon decided to check out Glebe before heading in. I decided to stay in Harness Creek and take a few pictures of the incredible sunset. A few minutes later he called to let me know they had just landed an 18 in the exact spot I had just left. It goes to show,that sometimes you just have to be patient.

Saturday, November 6, 2010


Having a good network of fishing buds is critical to catching fish consistently. My buddy Brandon left me a comment yesterday that he had done well at the mouth of Crab Creek last night. I was able to get out for an hour tonight, so that was my destination. Tried several spots before the bridge with no success, before hitting marker 16 with the same result. After several days of being skunked, I was getting rather frustrated. When I arrived at Crab Creek the sun had just popped out and the wind was much lighter than the river proper. My first cast with the big Chugger got tangled, so I quickly retrieved and made a new cast. The second the plug hit the water this time, the water exploded. A short time later, I boated a 19. So with the skunk off the boat, I headed in to go to dinner with my wife. Nice November surprise.

Friday, November 5, 2010

The Skunk continues

Fished the river and the shoal from 4:30 till dark with only one small blowup. The tide was very high and not moving the entire time. Conditions at the shoal were decent, but the action was not. Lets hope this weekend is better.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

August In November

I was pulling into my driveway at 3:30 tonight, when my buddy Brandon called looking to do some pluggin. I picked him up at his dock a half hour later and headed out. We fished several new shorelines coming out of Crab Creek, with no luck, so we ran out to the shoal. Dabs was already there with a buddy. They had caught several fish, but they were small, and on plastics. The conditions were like a late August night except it was forty five degrees. There was a strong outgoing tide, light wind, and calm seas. We anchored on my spot and the plugs started to fly. It did not take long to realize the fish either were not there or were not looking up. One by one, the boys of summer began to show up until it really did feel like an August night. Every once in a while someone would yell that they had boated a fish, but they continued to be in the 18 inch class. Brandon picked up several fish on a yellow curly tail. After the sun set the yells of blowups began with Chris boating a 23. I finally had a nice blowup close to the boat, but the fish spit the plug directly back at me and into my wool hat. Dabs called to see how we were doing, and as I was talking another fish blew up on my plug floating by the side of the boat. Unfortunately, the action quickly died down, so we headed in. 3 fish...all on plastics.

Monday, November 1, 2010


It seems every year that the start of November means the start of cold weather and the end of topwater fishing in the river. I left the dock tonight at 4:30 filled with optimism. The temp overnight had dropped into the 50's, but the winds had died down to 5-10. Hit a number of "spots" on my way to Thomas Point, with no action. When I arrived at the shoal at 5:30 the winds were a tad higher and the temp was a lot colder. Anchored up and began fan casting . The tide was moving out at good clip with a stiff NW wind. I only managed 1 blowup until heading in at dark. There is always tomorrow.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Windy Saturday

It was cold and brisk when I ventured out this morning around 10. The wind was not too bad, so I made my way to the shoal and made several drifts. I was able to pick up one dink and a barely legal 18. As the morning wore on the winds picked up which made for some uncomfortable fishing., so I headed in.

The winds tonight were even stronger with gusts up to 20. I tried several creeks off the main stem that seemed to be out of the wind. With the shifty winds and heavy leave coverage, it was difficult to find any clear water to fish. I tried the creek on the south shore right after what used to be called Pier 7. The entrance is blocked by a number of moored sailboats, so I had never ventured back there. It was actually quite nice. The wind was still swirling, but I was at least able to make a few good drifts. The creek is very narrow, so I was able to basically drift down the middle and work both shorelines. About halfway through my drift, I had a small blowup by what seemed like a small fish that missed. I backed up and made 15 or 20 casts into the bulkhead where the fish hit. Out of nowhere, I had a huge explosion that missed, but the fish turned and slammed again and came tight. He had engulfed the entire plug, so I had a bloody mess on my hands. It was a pleasant surprise when the fish measured 23 inches. Not bad for a back creek. A new spot and decent fish in some miserable conditions, made the whole day a success.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Frustration Squared

You could not ask for a better October night. It was 80 degrees, bright blue ski, light NW wind and dead low tide when I left the dock at four tonight. It did not take long to realize that the river was just not fishable, due to the leaves on water. So after a few stops, I arrived at the Thomas Point Shoal at around five. Just as I arrived , Dabs pulled up with a buddy. It did not seem like the fish were there, so Dabs went off to chase some birds. I decided to anchor on my spot. The tide was just beginning to come in and the wind was a bit more brisk than the river, which made for a strange boat position. For the next solid hour, I plugged away with nothing but a cramped back to show for it. Dabs returned with the same results and anchored up close by. My buddy "Wild Bill" showed up and anchored on the mark. One of the guys on his boat immediately boated a 19 using a plastic storm shad. It was nice to know that the fish were there, but disgusted that a "non topwater" guy was the one to show me. Soon after I had my first blow up that missed. This was followed by eleven straight blowups that missed. Needless to say, I was quite frustrated. I had been using my rod with an old black Stillwater with rather dull treble hooks. I finally switched to my rod with a brand spanking new white Stillwater. On the next blowup the line finally came tight and I boated a very nice 22. Just as I went to make my next cast something caught my eye. I had read in nearly every "Striper Book" about their feeding blitzes, but had never witnessed one. The water on both sides of the boat exploded with baitfish jumping in every direction. This was followed by what can only be described as hundreds of simultaneous blowups. There were BIG fish jumping and slamming baitfish everywhere. The "plastic guy" from Bills boat came tight and was immediately broken off. I grabbed my big daddy rod with the Stillwater Sr. tied on. I was able to make a good 25 casts before it calmed down. Unfortunately the only thing I boated was a baitfish that was snagged in the mayhem. Needless to say, I was quite frustrated. Great night despite the one fish result.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Leaves Galore

It had been raining all day, so I was pleasantly surprised when the skies opened up and the wind laid down at 4:30. The temp was a perfect 73, light breeze, and mirror like water. The problem was that every spot I tried was covered with leaves. There was just no way to get a plug through without snagging one. I made the decision to head out to Thomas Point. It was a good deal rougher, windy, and cold than I had expected. I started by drifting towards the mark and immediately picked up a 20 on a black Stillwater Jr. I tried anchoring with no success. Dabs showed up and anchored beside me. We gave up after 10 minutes and tried drifting once again. The water had got even choppier in the interim, so I switched over to the Stillwater Sr. On the first drift, I picked up and 18. At that point I was done with the bay and headed in for the calm of Glebe Bay. Worked both shorelines with no success and then headed in a bit early. Nice night to be out, but the leaves have to go.

Last night was also a bit frustrating. I fished with John and we had the same problem with leaves. Only managed one very skinny 18 on the north shore of Broad Creek.

Monday, October 25, 2010

They are Everywhere

It was a warm night with a strong incoming tide and nice breeze from the east. This allowed me to drift lazily along the shoreline and work some spots that I would not normally hit. My first fish came across the river close to "Al's Spot". Twenty yards downriver there is on old pier that only the pilings remain. If largemouth bass were my target, this would be the first place to look. I have made hundreds of casts with nary a swirl, until tonight when a nice 21 exploded from next to the third piling. I drifted the river side of the point and"the nest" with no action. Moved over to the Broad Creek side of the point and picked up a feisty 19 that jumped a good two feet in the air. I moved across Broad Creek to the northern shore and made one long drift. At the second living shoreline, I picked up a 19 that exploded within inches of the rocks. There is a reason why its called Rocktober...there are fish everywhere in the river. Three fish and two new spots made for a very good night.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

New Topwater Club Member

My partners tonight were an old friend Larry and his kindergarden age son Lawrence. I met them at the dock at 5 sharp. Little Lawrence was excited but very apprehensive when he learned that his 2 foot rod, complete with some cartoon character, was to remain at the dock. The week before, I had met Lawrence at the marina and taken him through the basics of spin casting. So, tonight he was to use the "big boy' rod. We started with a little pre game warmup. I was proud to see him grab the pole, pull the line tight to the reel with his finger, flip the bail, and whip off a very respectful 30 foot cast. OK, now I am apprehensive. The thought of a set of very sharp treble hooks traveling at a high speed was disturbing. He was going to need a large berth!

It was dead calm with a slight breeze and incoming tide as we set off. My plan was to make a quick run to the Thomas Point shoal and pray that it would be nice and flat. After stopping briefly at the western shore of Glebe Bay, we anchored at "The Spot". It was very choppy with a ton of boat traffic...not good. It did not take us long to figure out that the best approach was for Larry to stand in doorway of the pilothouse while I kept watch from the safety of the walkway to the bow. In between casts, I was able to hop down and make my cast. On my third cast I had a nice blowup and handed the rod to Lawrence. He did a great job and soon had the fish at the side of boat and I swung him aboard. I showed Lawrence how to grab the bottom of the fish's mouth with his thumbs and lift him up for a picture. I knew as soon the shutter closed that a "topwater man" had been born. Since it was so rough, Lawrence had not really experienced the full impact of the 22 inch Rock blowing up on the plug, so I pulled anchor and headed back to Glebe bay to catch the last half hour of light. Unfortunately, with the boat traffic, we were never able to find some clear stillwater.
Great night with a great kid.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Rare Saturday Fish

My partner tonight was my youngest daughter Gracie. We left the marina at five and planned on only fishing an hour. I figured our best shot at a quick fish was Glebe bay, so we headed straight there. Met a couple of guys I know who had just finished fishing the western shore with no action. They said the eastern shore had a lot of leaves. Nevertheless, we headed to the the eastern shore and started plugging. After a half hour or so, we moved around the corner to the "brown House". I had not fished there for over a week and felt certain it would be the ticket. I was wrong. It was beginning to get dark and we were well past the allotted hour as we headed for the western shore for a few more casts. Had a nice slow drift of the entire shoreline. As we passed the "white house" I said to Grace "well I guess we got skunked tonight". Just as the words left my mouth a fish exploded within two feet of the boat. The sound was deafening and scared Grace more than the haunted house she visited last night. It turned out to be a 18, but was a welcome sign as I have been shut out nearly every saturday all season. It is very difficult to fish on weekend due to the boat traffic. Incredible moonrise to boot.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Sunset and Moonrise

My fishing partner tonight was Brandon. He had read my blog and asked to hop on one night. Luckily we were both able to get out early, so I met him at his dock at 4 PM. There was a stiff breeze blowing which made fishing the river proper nearly impossible. We initially tried both shorelines at the mouth of Glebe Bay. It was difficult to maneuver for any kind of decent drift as the winds kept shifting directions. We tried anchoring the eastern shoreline in about 2 feet of water, but once again came up short. Moved across the river to Aberdeen Creek. We finally found some stillwater that was conducive to pluggin. Finally, Brandon had a blowup that missed around 5:45. We tried several casts to get the fish to reappear, but failed. Brandon had the sense to switch over to a plastic and immediately hooked up with our boy, a healthy 18. We continued working the shoreline and Brandon picked up another 18 ish fish on a grub. The wind finally laid down, so we headed back to Glebe Bay. As it began to get dark, I had the sinking feeling that tonight would be my first Skunk since August. We moved over to the eastern shore as it began to get dark. Brandon picked up 2 more fish on the grub as I continued to plug away with my trusty white Stillwater. Conditions were perfect as the full moon made it seem much earlier. At little before seven, I had my elusive blowup and boated a 20. We made one more stop on the western shore before heading in. Given the conditions, it was a fairly decent night. Either way, it was one heck of sunset and moonrise.

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