Monday, October 22, 2012

New House...New Spot

This past week has been very pleasant from a air temp standpoint, but very difficult for fishing due to a relentless southernly wind and a low tide that made my normal river spots off limits. I have managed to boat one keeper sized fish every night, but a multiple fish night has been allusive. The fish are still in the shallows, but getting close, without hitting bottom or making a lot of noise has been difficult.

My wife and I recently purchased a new home closer to the bay. I am super excited to no longer have to deal with the speed zones at the Riva road and Route 2 bridges. We are knocking down the present cottage built in 1915 and building what we hope will be the family beach house for many years to come. Despite the fact that we won't be moving in for at least a year, I have tried most nights to boat my first fish in the water in front of the property. A week or so ago my friend John had a nice blow up that missed literally 20 yards from my new pier. Well tonight, I finally got that first fish when a beautiful 22 blew up in nearly the exact spot from a week ago. I cannot express how happy this makes me.

First Fish at New Home

Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Test

I have had a tough time recovering from the O's losing to the Yankees in the playoffs, thus the lack of posts. The weather has been crazy. The first half of last week was rainy and quite cold, so I was bundled up in my hunting gear. Then things warmed up and I fished in a light sweatshirt. I fished everyday and did fairly well. On Weds, I fished with John King and he picked up a really nice 23 on a Popa Dogg right up against the rocks at "the cove".

Yesterday was our annual community fishing tournament. As usual the weather was horrendous. Last year we faced 25 knot winds that made even the river un-fishable. When Carter and I arrived at the boat a little before 8, we found ice on the deck and a windshield that was so fogged up that we had to waste precious "low light" conditions wiping it down several times. To make things even worse, the tide was as low as I have seen it all year, due to a relentless wind from the west. Our plan was to hightail it to the Thomas Point Shoal and fish there until the sun got too high. On my way to the rock pile, I hit bottom several times. We tried anchoring several times, but with a stiff wind from the north and a tide that was still going out, things just did not feel right. My premonition held true as we were skunked for 2 hours as we waited for the tide to turn. Low tide was supposed to be 9:20, but when we pulled anchor at 11, the tide was still going out. We moved back into the river to fish our "go to" spots in Glebe bay. Again, our plan was foiled by the low tide, which prevented us from getting close to shore. After several engine gouging incidents, we headed back out to the bay to chase some birds. It seemed like every flock we passed had nothing but dinks under them, but I finally had a little baby blow up and boated a barely legal 18. At the point we said "this is crazy...everything we studied for was not on the test" and headed in. Our barely legal 1 pound 2 ounce beauty turned out to be the only fish boated by the fleet the entire day and we won the tounament. Now that is pathetic.



Tonight's sunset
After a nerve racking Ravens win over Dallas, a game they should have lost, I headed out to Glebe bay to see if things had improved from yesterday. Again, a test that I was unprepared for. The tide was as high as I have seen it all year, and again, none of my practice prepared me for the shifty wind and a tide with zero movement. I made one long drift along the western shore with the wind, but had nothing to show for it. I moved across the river to Aberdeen creek, which I figured would be protected from the wind. Again, I was wrong. It was literally impossible to find fishable stillwater. Finally on the western shore, I had a low up from what appeared to be a good sized fish, but he missed. On his second slam, he knocked my plug in the air and tangled the leader around the front treble. Normally when this happens, all you can do is reel in fast and hit the same spot on the next cast. As I was reeling in the fish slammed the plug underwater and came tight. That was a first. After a very good fight, I boated a very fat 24. NICE

Friday, October 5, 2012

Another Recap

I headed out last night at 4:30 with Carter and his brother Garrett, with a plan to fish the river. We headed straight to Glebe bay, but found several boats in my normal spots. So we basically ended up playing mop up. Although it was a very frustrating night of fishing, I did manage a 22 to go along with Carter's 19.  At least the Mclendon family had a nice fish dinner.

Carter and I left even earlier tonight at 3:30. The plan was to get gas and then pick up my buddy Brandon at his place on Crab Creek. Brandon was delayed, so we poked around just inside the cut. There was a ton of baitfish, but it seemed like nothing but dinks underneath. I finally had a huge blow-up that missed (twice). That was basically it until the sun was setting and Carter picked up a 19 at the headwaters of Aberdeen creek. Great weather and company, but two difficult days of fishing.

My 22 from Thursday

Mclendon Dinner

Carters 19 tonight
Thursday Sunset

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Weekend Recap

I have had the pleasure of fishing with some old and some new fishing buddies since my last post:

FRIDAY- FIshed with Brandon and John King. We tried the shoal for quite some time, but it was crowded and not much happening. We moved into the river and Brandon picked up two nice low 20's fish and saved the night.

SATURDAY- Fished from sunrise until 11AM with a new buddy, Capt. Karl, a charter captain and the owner of the Miss Gracie. It was breezy and a bit on the cold side. Our ride was Karl's Pango. It is a sweet ride and perfect for shallow water fishing. Unfortunately, we were only able to boat one 20 inch fish all morning. A lot of fun, but frustrating fishing.

SUNDAY- FIshed with Carter and his middle brother Garrett. The conditions were actually quite good, but we ended our short 1 1/2 hour outing with nary a swirl from a keeper sized fish.

MONDAY- Fished by myself. I headed straight to the point and found quite a crowd. It was nearly impossible to find a good place to anchor, but I did manage one 20 incher.

Tonight I picked up Karl at 4:30 at his pier near the route 2 bridge. As we headed out to the shoal, the water was like glass. There was a light rain falling, but literally zero wind. Unfortunately, when we arrived at the point, conditions were a bit more snotty. The chop was 1 to 2 feet and the wind was blowing the opposite direction from the tide. I started the night with a hearty 20, that hit up tide from the boat. This was followed by a twenty five that produced one of the bigger splashes of the year. Karl then boated a low 20's fish before we finally relented and moved back into the river to enjoy a more peaceful fishing experience. At the cove, I boated our final keeper fish, another 25 that put on quite a show in 2 feet of water. We ended the night with a nice Bluefish and a nice blow up that missed on our last cast. Two 25's in the same night made me one happy camper.

25 number one

Capt. Karl fights his 22

25 number two

Thursday, September 27, 2012

New England Keeper Bass

I have been fishing the river exclusively since my last post and it has been scary good. Nearly every one of my spots has produced. What I have discovered though, is that if you give a man a fish he will eat for a day, but if you teach a man to fish he will steal your spot. So I will be light on the details when it comes to river fishing from here out. The highlight of the week was boating a very nice 16 inch redfish. If the little guy is any indication of how they fight, then I cannot wait to hook up with one of the big boys.

My wife is out of town tonight, so I headed out early at 5 PM. I had planned on fishing the river, but as I got closer to the the bay, conditions seemed too good not to give it a go. So I was anchored at the "spot" by 5:45. Mild bill showed up a few minutes later an anchored inside towards fishing creek. The tide was going out, so I was positioned just north of the rip. My first 3 casts resulted in a 16, 18, and a nice sized blue. Not long after, I boated a very nice healthy looking 24. My next battle was with a fish that I knew was bigger than your average summer Striper. The splash was huge and he made several drag screaming runs before finally giving up after 5 minutes. This one required a net and I was pleased as hell, when the tape showed a New England Keeper sized 30.

16 inch RED

River 25

Keeper sized 30
The bite at the point soon slowed, so at 6:30 I pulled anchor and headed back into the river. When I pulled into "the cove" there was bait everywhere with big fish clearly under them. My frustration level was running high with all the action around me while Popa Dogg went untouched.  I changed tactics and casted back out towards the deeper water and the action began. Nearly every cast I had a huge blow up. The same fish would literally jump 2 feet in the air from the same spot each time. Finally after 4 or 5 tries, I had her on. I must say that a 25 inch fish in 2 feet of water is twice the excitement of a 30 in open water. I just love river fishing.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

River Reigns

I left the marina at 3:30 with the intention of filling the gas tank and coming right back home. There was a change of plan when I realized just how nice it was out. It was a bit breezy, so I decided to work the headwaters of several creeks in search of a "new spot". Although it was quite enjoyable, the fish were nowhere to be found. By 5, I decided to make my way out to the shoal. I arrived at the same time as Mild Bill, and we anchored up current of the rip. Over the next hour, I managed to boat three keepers (barely). I soon grew bored of the smaller fish, so a trip back into the river was in store. I headed straight to "The Cove". It took a while, but I finally had a decent blow up and boated a 20. Although it was early, I headed in. After back to back extra inning Orioles games on the west coast, I was simply too tired to go on.

The 20

Mirror image of last night

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

High Sun

I was to pick up my buddy Brandon at 5:45 at his dock on Crab Creek. When I arrived he was fighting what I figured was a perch, given the ultra light rod in his hand. It turned out to be a 25 inch striper, his biggest ever in his creek, and a nice relief to have the skunk off the boat before we got under way. We continued to work the shoreline as we made our way out to the river proper. Brandon had a nice blow up that missed and then followed that up with a huge perch that hit a black Stillwater Jr. He also boated a nice pickerel on a plastic. I was anxious to get back to "the cove" to see if the fish from Sunday were still there. We had several blow ups that spit the plug, before Popa Dogg finally attracted a nice 24 that put on quite a show. That was basically it for the night. What I found interesting is that all the action tonight came when the sun was still high in the sky and quite bright.

The 24

The sun sets on another perfect Sept. night

Monday, September 17, 2012

Hitting for the cycle

Carter and his buddy joined me last night. We took a quick run out to the shoal, but it did not take long to realize that things just were not right. We arrived to dead high tide and a fairly stiff breeze, which made for some choppy conditions. So it was off for plan B, a little river fishing. Our second stop was "the cove". Not long after arriving I had a spectacular blow up in less than a foot of water. It was very exciting to see the back of the fish slice through the water on the way to the boat...a nice 22. The was followed by an even bigger blow up by Carter, but unfortunately the fish threw the plug.

The skies were overcast tonight and I had very little time to fish, so after checking out a few Lake Riva spots, I headed back out to "The Cove". I arrived at a little past 7:15 which would give me maybe a half hour of plugging. On my first cast I picked up a spunky 20. This was followed by a twenty two a short time after. My next blow up was right up against the bank in what could not have been more than 9 inches of water. The fish literally went nuts. He made two spectacular jumps and then made a beeline back into the grass bed. It took some time, but I was finally able to coax him back to the boat and over the rail. Since my third fish was a 24, I began to dream of the elusive South River Cycle (20,22,24,26). At this point it was beginning to get dark and I was getting ready to hang it up. All of a sudden...WAM, I had a huge blow up. Could it be? It sure felt like it could be a 26. I got several good looks at the fish before losing him at the boat...Damn, a bent hook. Oh well, I will never know, but that was one exciting half hour of fishing.

The 20

The 22

The 24
22 from last night

Sunset from last night

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Three Dogg Night

My oldest daughter Katie and Boyfriend Danny joined me tonight. We hightailed it to the point to assure the prime spot. Mild bill was anchored exactly where I left him last night and the conditions were  as perfect as perfect gets. All three of us were locked and loaded with red and white Popa Doggs. It was a beautiful thing to see the plugs, three abreast  sliding across the mirror like water with the tell tell click click sound all around. We did manage to boat a handful of fish, but they were all sub-legals. The whole crew was anchored up close by, but not one legal size fish made its way over the rails. Great to spend some quality time with family and even better to see the results of my instructions over the years as Katie outcasted both Danny and Myself.

The 3 Doggs

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Quick Report

I left the dock at 6 tonight to beautiful fall like conditions. My plan was to get out to the point a little earlier tonight since low tide was predicted for 8:30. I only made one stop, at the Brown House, where I picked up a 18. Anchored up next to Mild Bill at "the spot" around 6:45.  I figured that the outgoing tide should still be strong, but was surprised when the ships were all in various stages of a swing around. The tide was basically slack. It did not take long for the the first blow up to ocuur. I had the fish on for several excellent jumps before he threw the plug. The next cast resulted in another very good blow up from what appeared to be a bigger fish. It turned out to be a 24 that looked like it was on its way to the great beyond. That was basically it for the night.

I had meaning to post a picture of my buddy from Boston, Joe, who texted me a picture of a nice "Bass" he caught off his pier on Cape Cod using my beloved Papa Dogg, that he had seen in all his glory during our trip North. I look to see Papa to go international by the end of the year when my wife and I head to the BVI's.

Popa takes the North by storm

Love that Sept sky

The 24

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Ahh Fall

Whenever the "loved ones" in my life give me grief about fishing every night, I explain that fishing is my "gym  time".  Since I missed last night, I was anxious to get in a good workout tonight. I left the dock at 5:30 to crystal blue skies and a near perfect 78 degree temp. My plan was to work the north shore of the river and do a little hunting for a new spot. I made quite a few stops, made 10 casts or so, and then moved on. It is always interesting to drift up to a spot directly in front of a complete strangers home and begin casting. Most people have no idea that 24 inch stripers lurk in the shallows right up against their dock or bulkhead in the fall. It was a little after 7 when I finally arrived at the shoal. My river adventure had proved fruitless, so I needed a little of "the spot" magic. For the first time in several weeks the tide was going out, so I felt confident. After a half hour my confidence was seriously waning. Finally at 7:40 I had my first blowup and boated a respectable 20. For the next fifteen minutes the action was scary good. Along with a half a dozen sub legals, I boated three more 20's and a rather sickly looking 24. I don't know what it was tonight, but the fish were really spunky. Lots of tail slapping and several fish that went airborne. The best part of fall fishing is the incredible sunsets and vivid colors that follow.

Sept 11th...a day to never forget.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Brown and White

Feisty 22 at the "White House"

Sun sets on summer fishing
I was amazing how a brief shower around noon today completely blew the bad air out of town. By the time I got home from work, it actually felt like fall. Not wanting to waste precious time running out to the shoal, I decided to give the river a try again. My first stop was the river side of the Broad Creek point. It did not take long to get a real nice blow up that missed. I worked that same fish for the next 15 minutes. There were boils, swirls, pops, and tail slaps, but no fish. I finally gave up and moved across the river to the "Birds Nest" and picked up a 17. From there I ran out to the "White House". The tide was rising, but was still very low. On my third cast I picked up a feisty 22. The fish exploded in less than a foot of water and went airborne several times. Now that was fun!!!. After picking up another 20 at the "Brown House", I decided to do a little exploring. After fishing the river now for close to 15 years, it is very rewarding to catch a fish in a new spot. I worked both the points at the entrance to Aberdeen Creek inside the channel markers. The drop offs on both points are quite dramatic, so you are quickly in 2-3 foot of water. I must have made 200 mindless casts as the O's game playing in the background. Lets just say I was in heaven when I had a huge blow up that missed within seconds of Matt Weiters hitting a 3 run home run against the Yanks, in what may be the biggest game since I graduated from college 30 years ago. As I write this post, the O's lead 5 to 1 and could share 1st place in the AM. Fall fishing and the Birds in a playoff race, can life get any better?

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Puppy Dogg

Was out early this AM and was anchored at the shoal before the sun came up. Unfortunately, it was quite breezy and the tide was still coming in despite a 5.30 high tide. I fan casted for perhaps 15 minutes before heading back into the river. Fished the bayside of South River Farms Park to no avail. It was tough to find anything out of the wind, which was blowing straight down the river. At the "Brown House" I picked up my first ever Puppy Red on a plug. It hit the second the plug hit the water up against the rocks. Worked Glebe bay for another 1/2 hour before again getting a spectacular blow up at the white house in less than 2 feet of water. That was basically it for the morning.

Puppy Red

19 at the "White House"

Thursday, August 30, 2012

A little river fishing

19 at the "Brown House"
I left the dock at a little before 7. As I approached the bay it became increasingly apparent that it would be a rough night. The wind was blowing straight down the river at 15 knots and with a nearly full moon, it was quite choppy. So I decided to give the river a shot. I do not normally start fishing the river until mid to late Sept. when the water temp drops into the 70's. I figured there was maybe 40 minutes of fishing to go, so speed was of upmost importance. I would hit each spot, make 10 casts, and move on. My first stop was the river side of South River Farms Park. I was pleasantly surprised when my sixth cast resulted in a nice 19. The fish hit in less than 2 feet of water, so I was given quite an aerobatic show. From there I moved on to the "Brown House" and immediately picked up another 19. Again, the fish hit in less than 2 feet of water and gave me a fight that easily rivaled the 22 inch fish I have been boating at the shoal.  My next stop was the "White House". This has traditionally been my most productive river spot, and tonight was no exception. Again the fish exploded from less than 2 feet of water and immediately went airborne. that is why I love topwater fishing so much. At this point it was getting dark, so I hightailed it home in hopes of picking up a forth fish inside the Riva Road bridge, but alas time had run out. It may be river fishing from here on. There is nothing that compares to a fish exploding on a plug in shallow water up against the shoreline. Great Night!!!

20 at the "White House"

Sunset at the "Brown House"

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Thats why they call it fishing

Arrived at the shoal to the same idyllic conditions from last night. Unfortunately, there were several boats already staged in the same spot where the fish had showed last night. Not to be deterred, I anchored as close to the rip as possible without infringing on the other boats. It did not help when one of these boats (name withheld) bugged out at full throttle ,which certainly scattered the fish even further.  After a half hour or so, with no success, I decided on one more move. and changed tactics altogether. I moved to the bow of the boat and casted up tide and let the plug slowly float with the current. Not long after, I had a nice blow-up and boated a 22. I had several other swirls in the same area, but they were not taking my offering. That was it for the night. I forgot both my IPhone and the card to my Cannon, so no pictures tonight. Suffice it to say, it was a beautiful sunset.

As for my Diamond Jim tag, once again, I was disappointed. It turned out to be a tag from an organization called the American Littoral Society. I mailed the tag in today will await the history of my fish that was needlessly killed in my quest for fame and bad.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

A Tale of Two Cities

My hopeful Diamond Jim winner (tag at top right)

Rough night for Popa Dogg

Diamond Jim, gut hooked fish, and one about to be released

My new Coast Guard buddies
Like the classic Dicken's novel It was the best of times, It was the worst of times. I arrived at the shoal a little after 7.  It seems like I always do better when the tide is going out and tonight was perfect. The tide was going out, the water was like a mirror, and for once, Bill was not trolling around randomly scaring all the fish away. I immediately set to work and boated a nice 22 on my second cast. Nearly every cast after that resulted in a fish between 20 and 26. I snapped a quick pic of every fish and the total for the night was 13. The "best of times" got even better when I boated a beautiful 24 with a yellow tag sticking out of its back. I have never caught a tagged fish before and the first thing that came to my mind was the Diamond Jim fishing challenge. I had visions of winning 25k, being interviewed on TV, and having this Blog go viral. Unfortunately, I could not leave well enough alone and continued to cast, with my winning fish laying safely at my feet. My next fish was gut hooked and made a huge mess of both me and the deck. Plus, in the process of removing Popa Dogg, I caught a treble in the thumb that will be sore as heck tomorrow. After landing another 24, I decided to call it an early night and head in. I had not gone far, when the Coast Guard pulled me over because my green light was out. So my early night was now a late night. Luckily the guys were cool and I set off with just a few warnings. It was when I returned to the dock and was able to look at the tag a little closer, that the "worst of times" worsened. I could not find the words Diamond Jim anywhere and I retuned home with a a heavy heart and a throbbing thumb. I had called several family members on my way in, so my wife had become an expert on the Diamond Jim contest. She informed me that the tag is Chartreuse."Damn, my tag is yellow". It turns out that Chartreuse is yellow. Well then why don't they call it yellow?!!. I still don't think I have a Diamond Jim tag, but will find out in AM. An eventful night to say the least.

Sunday, August 19, 2012


I spent this last week on Martha's Vineyard with my family and 2 of my daughters boyfriends. We rented a wonderful cottage on the shore of Lake Yashmoo. I had never been there before and my vision was quite different from the reality. The island is actually quite rural and our place was more like a cabin in the woods on the shores of a freshwater lake. On Sunday a friend mine Joe, who has a summer place on Cape Cod, picked us up in his boat for some "Bass" fishing (stripers). We worked a long rip the runs the entire northern part of the island along the Vineyard Sound. While Joe and his boys worked bottom rigs, Danny and I had brought Popa Dogg north to show them how its done. It was not long before both of us had huge slams and boated 5 pound blues. Popa Dogg continued his dominance as we each boated 3 more blues, before Danny boated the first "Bass" of the day, a 24 inch beauty. Joe explained that their minimum keeper sized fish is 28 inches and that Bass in general had been few and far between. As a matter of fact, he said that was the first Bass for him this year. One of his boys boated a 20, which they called a "Schoolie". We continued bail blues when I had the biggest blow up of my life. The initial run was fast and furious but ended rather quickly, so I was sure it was a big Striper. When the fish got close to boat, it turned and peeled off 50 yards of line so fast that I knew it was something else. Joe said it was probably a big blue, but even he was not sure. After its third spectacular run he said it could not be a blue. Finally we got her close to the boat and his boys said it was a Mackerel.  When Joe got a look he exclaimed "Holy Sh*t..its a Bonito". The only other Bonito I had seen was Trolling the ocean off the Vineyard last summer with Joe. To get one on a topwater plug was a hell of lot more fun and is something I will never forget.

Lake Tashmoo is fed by freshwater springs and is connected to the Vineyard Sound by an inlet that was constructed by the Army Corp of engineers in 1938. Its a relatively shallow body of water and protected from the wind. This made for perfect topwater conditions. We has a blast catching "schoolies" (18-24 inches) by either wading in or fishing from the Kayak. Danny was even able to catch several from a stand up paddle board. It was a great vacation with some excellent fishing thrown in as icing on the cake.

Danny with his 24

The Bonito

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Full Moon

The Wikipedia entry for full moon contains the following phrase "Full moons are traditionally associated with temporal insomniainsanity (hence the terms lunacy and lunatic) and various "magical phenomena" such as lycanthropy." After tonight I am not so sure that it is all simply folklore. Carter, James, and I left the marina at 6:30 tonight with high hopes of the perfect topwater night. High tide was supposed to be at 6:35, so we figured we would catch the changeover perfectly. Alas, like last night, the incoming tide was still ripping when we pulled anchor at nine. Instead of the perfect topwater night we faced nightmarish conditions with 20 knot winds and a 4 foot chop It took as at least 7 tries to get the anchor to hold. This was followed by a good old fashioned beat down by Wild Bill for anchoring where he had been trolling. Other highlights included James boating the fattest sickest fish with "wasting disease" I have ever seen, a head to toe blood splattering by a 14 incher that had been gut hooked, and me somehow catching a hook in the back while helping to remove one of Carters fish. Despite these obstacles we managed to have a very good night. James had gone back to the big Chug Bug and boated at least 6 in the 20-24 inch class. Both Carter and I boated a twenty and 22 each plus a ton of unders. For the past three nights the fish have been staging in the 6 foot drop off rather than up near the rock pile. We were all actually happy to be back in the slip with no major injuries.

One of James many keepers

My 22

Fill moon fish

Carters 22

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