Sunday, November 27, 2011

Yak Attack

With cold weather predicted for this week, I figured it was ok to pull the boat. I guess that was a bad decision, as it seems that fall fishing in the river is just getting started. The temp was in the mid 60's when I dragged my cobweb infested kayak from the tall grass at our community Yak Rack. Since the water temp was still in the low 50's, I figured there might be a chance a catching a Striper, but assumed a Pickerel or White Perch was more likely. So, armed with a white twisty on a 1/8 ounce jighead, I launched at 12:30 into a light easterly breeze. I worked the north shore across from the marina as far east as " Al's Spot". It seemed like I spent the majority of the time untangling errant casts from various piers before finally getting into a good Yak groove. After 1 1/2 hours with no action, I moved back across the river. The first point on the south shore as you leave the Harbor Hills marina there is a community swimming area that is surrounded by netting. I have seen a guy anchored here many times and always wondered whether he was crabbing or fishing. I do not recall ever seeing a rod in his hand. There was a single gull sitting on the water about 10 yards from the point. I moved upwind of the Gull and slowly drifted while casting up against the netting. On my 3rd cast, I felt a nice bump and set the hook. At first I thought it might be a small perch and then the fish took off with me and the Yak in tow. I have never caught anything larger than a dink while Kayak fishing, so my heart was racing. When I got the fish next to the Yak, it appeared to be in the 22-24 inch class..Very Cool. I snapped a few pic's with my cell phone and off she went. By this time the wind had really picked up, so I made my way back to the boat launch. What a great outing.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

Anyone who has been out fishing consistently this fall knows just how difficult it has been. Back to back storms basically wiped out "Rocktober" and then a non stop southernly wind has made november even more difficult. I did manage to get out most days, but was forced to fish the side creeks out of the wind. I caught a few here and there, but for the first time since I began keeping records, I did not even manage a blow up during the entire two month stretch.

My middle daughter was home from college for the holiday, and so we headed out this AM to see if any birds might be working the mouth of the river. We marked a number of fish, but once again, It was a tad too breezy for topwater on the bay. On our way in, we stopped at marker 16 to make one final drift of the year. It seems like every year, I pick up a fish here late in the season. My daughter was using a BA on 3/4 ounce jighead and I dropped in a stingsilver. It was not long before I felt a nice tap and my drag began to sing. As I was fighting the fish, Liz screamed that she also had a fish on. I swung my fish aboard and grabbed her leader and boated the twin to my nice healthy 22 inch Thanksgiving present...nice. I may even try for a hour this afternoon. Taking the boat in Sat. for some much needed work, so this is most likely my last post of the year.

Went back out to marker 16 for a few hours this afternoon. There were marks everywhere. The fish seemed to be hugging the bottom, so I gave jigging a try again. I soon tired of the constant up and down motion, so I tried a different method. I would cast the BA out as far as possible, wait 5 seconds, and then begin a slow retrieve. This a least kept me interested. On my 4th try, I hooked up about 1/2 way back to the boat. After a very good fight on my heavy power rod, I landed a fat 26. The fish was very sickly, so I took a quick picture and back she went. Tried topwater the rest of the time with nary a swirl. Despite today's success, I just do not like jigging.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Out Fished Again (Pt 2)

My post on August 27th 2008 was titled "Out Fished Again". I described how a dad and his 2 sons were slaying them right next to me while I was basically fish-less. When I arrived at the shoal tonight, Dabs was already anchored up with his brother aboard. They had just arrived and had boated one small 15. The tide was still coming in at rapid pace, despite what was already an abnormally high tide when I left the marina. It was quite choppy and breezy, so topwater was out. My white twisty on a 1/4 ounce jig head was basically working just below the surface due to the ripping tide, so I switched over to a 3/8 ounce and immediately picked up a nice 22. Little did I know that it would be my last fish of the night. Dabs and his bro were bailing low 20's fish a couple hundred feet away. Shortly after, a guy and his son arrived and anchored up on the other side of me. He immediately hooked into a fish and handed the rod to his young son. After a long fight, the kid boated the biggest fish I have seen on the shoal this year,a fat 31..NICE. Meanwhile dabs continued to bail fish one my right while the father & son team boated 6 footballs on my left. As for me...nada. I could analyze the situation for days to figure out the variables, but basically it just was not my night. It amazes me how a few hundred feet distance , 1/8 ounce of weight, or even a difference in color can make all the difference. That's what makes fishing so much fun for me. What was even more amazing was that the dad turned out to be the same guy from August 27th 2008. The same guy who identified and photographed my Needlefish catch the next night. What was even more amazing was that he and Dabs grew up in the same neighborhood and had not seen each other in years. I love everything about fishing. The smell, the sky, the laugh of young fisherman hooked into a 31, it's all wonderful. Great Night.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Nice Night

Tonight was fairly uneventful, but a beautiful night. Arrived at the shoal at 6:30. There was one other boat about 75 yards from the spot and he was bailing fish one after another. They seemed to be on the smallish size, so I stayed put. Initially I worked my full arsenal of plugs, with no action. After 15 or 20 minutes, I switched over to my white twisty and immediately picked up a nice fat 22. Not long after, Dabs arrived and anchored up close by. He immediately picked up a real nice 23 on a plastic. Finished the rest of the night working plugs to no avail. It just does not make sense. Sept. should be topwater time. Oh well. It was a really nice night, none the less.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Why not my plug?

Despite the continuos threat of rain on Sat. I was able to get out for several hours in the afternoon. The breeze was light and the sun even peeked out for a while. I fished my way out to shoal. The conditions were excellent for pluggin, but alas, I was skunked. Wild Bill was trolling around me and picking up barely legal fish on each pass. I of course stuck with my trusty Stillwater.

I headed out around noon today to similar conditions to Saturday. Instead of messing around with the river, I headed straight to the shoal. After a half hour or so, I made and executive decision and switched over to a white twisty and immediately started picking up 20-22 inch fish. The highlight of the day was when I brought one of the 22's to the boat and noticed a monster fish following her in. The fish was at least a mid 30 to perhaps a 40 inch fish. She continued to bump up against my fish until I swung her aboard. I tried hitting the same spot, but was unable to find the big one. Total count for 2 hours was 7..all 20-22's. Not sure why topwater is not working, but I will continue to try.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

And then there was Lee

It was not long after Irene moved on that we were hit by tropical storm Lee and its 10 plus inches of rain. I can honestly say that the river has never been so un-fishable. It was surreal to see sunken boats and lumps of grass floating by. Needless to say, the last three weeks of fishing have been horrendous. The last fish I had caught, prior to tonight, was a 20 on labor day. It was really depressing because Sept. is normally the best month of the year for topwater and I was able to hook up with a number of old fishing buddies who went home empty handed.

The main stem of the bay has been even worse than the river since the Conowingo dam has been open. I tried the shoal a number of times, but the water was just too murky, so I have been fishing Lake Riva for the past 2 weeks. I left the dock around 5:30 tonight and hit all my normal spots. Since the river was like glass, I decided to give the shoal a try. There was one other boat there when I arrived at 6:30. On the other boat was a father and his young daughter. It was a beautiful sight to see them side by side working their plugs. As I set the anchor the dad had a nice blow up and handed the pole to his daughter to land what appeared to be a 20 inch class fish. It did not take long for me to get into the action. It was non stop action for the next 40 minutes. I boated 7 fish between 20 and 24. I really needed tonight!!!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Goodbye Irene

Last night I made it out to the shoal despite some really ugly looking water in front of our house. I was pleasantly surprised when the water was mirror like and actually fairly clean. After 4 nights without power and a long stay at a local hotel, I was thrilled to be back on the water. I had arrived a little before 7 and it was not long before the first blowup that missed. Ten minutes later I had another blowup that missed. After missing too many to count the night before the hurricane, I was getting really frustrated. Dabs called and said he would be out in ten minutes. In the meantime, I finally picked up a nice 22. When Dabs arrived all hell broke loose. He was picking up a nice fish on virtually every cast. I picked up 3 more 22 inch class fish, before pulling anchor and moving over to where he was fishing. As fate would have it, the bite instantly stopped and after 10 minutes or so, I headed in.

Tonight I arrived at the point around 6:30 to a packed house. Dabs and a buddy of his where anchored and Wild Bill was circling the wagons with a slow troll. Things were quiet until the sun set and I finally picked up a 22. One of Dabs boys picked up a 20 and that was all she wrote. Great sunset, but a slow night. I love this time of year.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Mother Nature Sucks

The only girl I have ever know named Irene was a rather annoying girl from high school who always looked like she needed a shave. So, with hurricane Irene threatening to shut down fishing for a least a week, I was intent on making my last night a good one. As I strolled down the pier at 7 pm, it looked like mother nature had it in for me. The western sky looked dark, but the almost complete lack of wind gave me hope. I have been fishing the South River every day for 12 years now and can say without a doubt that the last week of August is my favorite. The weather has always been perfect and marks the start of fall topwater bite So I decided to make a run for it. It was great to see the sun burst through the clouds just as I arrived at the shoal. There was a very strong outgoing tide, but the water was like glass. I anchored up around 7:30. I worked everything in my arsenal with only a few dinks to show for my effort. Just as the sun set the water about 200 yards from me exploded with feeding Stripers. Just as quickly as the appeared they went down as some yahoo out of fishing creek nearly clipped my anchor line on his way to the lighthouse. It took another 5 minutes before they resurfaced in basically the same spot. I quickly pulled anchor and moved uptide of the pod. My first cast was met with a huge blowup that was on then quickly off. The next 4 casts were exactly like the first. Finally on my fifth cast I brought to the side of the boat what appeared to be a 24 class fish, but as I grabbed the leader and attempted to swing her onboard the hook popped out. The next cast was surreal. I made a short cast and as the plug hit the water multiple fish slammed at once with no clear winner. This battle continued for several more rounds before I finally hooked up. As as started to reel, the line snapped as my 20 lb flourocarbon leader was shredded by the other fish banging up against it. I cannot remember ever breaking a leader while Striper fishing. It reminded me of tarpon fishing. The next cast resulted in another massive battle for the plug that resulted in a hookup that threw the plug past my head and into the pilot house where it snagged my sweatshirt hanging on the seat. I am pissed. I want at least one picture tonight. I stayed on the fish for the next 15 to 20 minutes with every cast resulting in multiple blowups. I just could not get one to stay on the hook. Oh well, it was a perfect night. Too bad the rest of the week will suck.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Earth Quake

I have not posted much lately. It is not due to lack of fish, but as a result of dropping my camera on cracking the lens. The last two weeks have been very good. I have had the pleasure of introducing topwater fishing to several newbies with great success. My youngest daughter Grace and her boyfriend each boated several too close to call on Stillwater's . A good friend of hers, Carter and his buddy joined me last weds and we picked up 5 or 6 in the 20-24 range.

Tonight I left the dock at 6.45 to bright blue skies and a nice breeze. The air temp was in the high 70's and the tide was dead low. It was not until the sun set that the action began. The first fish hit on my last twitch at the boat and immediately went air borne. He literally came within inches of my nose and gave me a bigger scare than the 5.8 earthquake that shook my glass enclosed office at 1.45 this afternoon. I picked up 5 more keepers in the next 15 minutes. I also picked up a nice 4 pound bluefish that nearly spooled my med-lite St. Croix....the bluefish was actually caught on Sunday off of Cape Cod when my college buddies and I came upon Bluefish Blitz. I had read about them, but had never experienced one in person. All I can say is WOW. Every cast of our plugs was met with a massive slam of 4-6 pounders. We had a nice fish fry saturday night and I discovered that if you soak the meat in milk and then coat with old bay, they are actually quite good. The topwater season is in full swing now and my camera is back on board, so hopefully the blog will be a little more active.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Go away blues

Last night was one of the nicest "topwater" nights of the year. I got a late start and did not get out the the shoal until a little before 8. There was a very strong incoming tide, but unlike the last week or so very little breeze stirring things up. The surface clearly showed where the rock piles where, so I anchored 20 yards off and worked the break. On my first several casts, I picked up little snapper blues on the small Chugbug. Every time I tried the twisty it came back tailless. The night before my friend Anthony had pulled up alongside and we talked about the state of fishing. He had been doing well on the eastern shore both trolling and LTJ with fish up into the 30's. When I mentioned the Blues problem, he gave me a few BA's with a new plastic that stretches so much that the blues can't rip them. As I worked this new plastic along the break-line, I had a nice hit a few feet from the boat. As I set the hook, the fish jumped straight up in the air like a largemouth bass and actually cleared the top of my engine. Very cool. It turned out to be a nice 24 that made my week. Thanks Anthony.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Maybe its turning on?

The last couple of nights have been brutal as far as conditions on the bay. The wind last night was blowing so hard that I literally could not keep my hat on.

Tonight I arrived at the lighthouse at 7.30 and found calm seas an a light breeze. Despite the days oppressive heat, it was actually quite pleasant. Worked the icebreaker for about a 1/2 hour with only one 18 inch bluefish. He made several spectacular jumps before breaking my leader at the boat. Headed to the shoal just as the sun was heading down. The white twisty produced a striper of some size or another on every cast. There was a strong incoming tide, so the best technique was to cast up current and let the plastic kind of float along with the current. My 6th fish was a very nice 22 that hit just as the bait was drifting behind the boat. Since the fish had to be pulled against the current and I was using my med-lite rod, it was quite a fight. After another 2o or so shorties, I boated another keeper size 20, pulled anchor and headed in. Nice night.

Monday, July 18, 2011

A sign from God.

When I downloaded my pic's on Sunday, a number a very strange images appeared. The pictures before and after were normal lighting, yet the four images staring back at me were pitch black, except for a pair of triangular eyes with the number 6 as pupils. I was more than a bit unnerved trying to figure out how the hell they got there. My wife and 2 of my 3 daughters were equally perplexed. Oh well....I figured it would eventually come to me.

When I reached the confluence of the river and bay tonight, I noticed a DNR cop just sitting in his boat looking around. It seemed like a strange spot to be sitting, especially with almost a complete lack of boat traffic. As I continued on, it dawned on me that he was turning back smaller boats due to some incredibly big seas on the bay. I guess he figured my trusty Parker could handle it. My buddy John greeted me at the lighthouse with a hearty "can you believe this". I have seen the bay rough before, but nothing like what was slamming the rocks. The wind was blowing from the southeast and creating "ocean like" swells that I estimated to be about 5 or 6 feet. We worked the icebreaker for about a 1/2 hour with one other boat. I was completely drained and fish-less, so I headed to my spot around 8. By that time the bay had laid down to the point where it was fishable, so I anchored up. I spent most of the time working a plug, but did manage 10-15 small stripers on a white twisty. As I was making my 5th "last cast", I got a call from my buddy Dab's who had been watching the action from the comfort of his living room on Thomas Point. Since he had called just as I casted, I left my line in the water as we talked. When we ended the call, I said it was time to head in. Just as I brought the line tight, my pole bent and the drag began to scream. Since the tide was ripping, I had quite a time getting the fish to the boat, but finally landed a nice 22. Nice way to end the night.

As I motored home, I passed marker number 6., and it all came back to me. When I had passed the marker Sunday night, there were fireworks coming from the north shore. I figured it would be cool to capture the the show with the marker in the foreground. When I checked the pictures on my viewfinder, it appeared to be all black, so I adjusted my shutter speed and waited for another shot. The final shot came out normal, sans the fireworks. So my conclusion is that the number six eyes where actually my flash lighting up the reflective numbers on the marker, while everything else just came out black. I can sleep tonight.

Saturday, July 16, 2011


I have been debating continuing the blog this year. Fishing has been downright horrible and the weather has not cooperated since early spring, There have been many nights where the action has been non stop, but all of the fish have been "unders". I have even been getting the 16 inch class to hit on top, but it has been very frustrating due to the lack of real fish. Despite the lack of fish, I have made it out to the shoal most nights and have been rewarded with some incredible sunsets.

My buddy John has been telling me that he has picked up several keepers at the lighthouse, so Thursday night I gave it a go. The tide was going out, so I positioned the boat to fish the inside edge of the ice breaker. I was using a white twisty on a 3/8 ounce jig head. It was not long before I was rewarded with my first (believe it or not) keeper of the year...a nice 20. I headed back out to the lighthouse this morning and found a veritable parking lot of anchored boats that reminded me why I rarely fish there. I was able to jockey my way into the same position as Thursday and work both the inside and outside edge of the ice breaker. After several 17's, I had something sizable hit my twisty right up against the breaker as it jig was sinking, As I set the hook, it seemed like I might have been snagged. After a few seconds though, the drag began to scream. It took all my skills to land the fish. The tide was ripping, so I was drifting towards a anchored boat and the wind was blowing me towards the rocks. I was able to back the boat out of harms way while the fish made several runs. Once the fish surfaced, I knew it would require a net..a whole new problem. After straining to get the net down from the rocket launcher while avoiding another collision, I finally boated a "fall like" 24 incher...NICE. After a round of applause from several anchored boats, I hightailed out of there for the quiet of my "spot". Who knows, there may be a blog this year after all.

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