Tuesday, November 25, 2014

November Recap

The beginning of the month was nothing short of spectacular. The fish were staged between markers 1 and 2 at the mouth of the river 24/7. Most mornings and evenings I could run out, spot birds, and toss the Dogg with immediately hook up. Unlike most of the summer, the fish were mostly keepers with several in the mid to upper 20's. On November 4th I was able to capture on my Go-Pro the best topwater slam of the year. The fish was a solid 28 inches and danced for me for what seemed like 2 minutes (especially is slow motion). If you look right over my left ear you can see the fish slam.The middle of the month was quite breezy and it was difficult to work a plug. I still managed quite a few nice fish, but all by jigging a shad on 1 oz lead head.

Tonight was a nice surprise. The weather has been quite cold and windy for the past week and we been traveling quite a bit. I had fished Sunday for the first time in over a week and did not see a sign of life. So tonight my expectations were low. I anchored at the shoal around 4 pm. It was overcast, incoming tide, with a  water temp of 49. After a half hour of fruitless plugging with Papa, I switched over to a swim shad. It was not long before I picked up a football sized 18. I picked up another fish the same size a few casts later before hooking into something real nice. Although the fish was sluggish, it still put up a nice fight...a real fat 28. Great way to end the year.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Fishing for the cycle

I made my way out to the Shoal around 4:45 tonight. Low tide was 2:30, so I was surprised to find somewhat slack conditions. I must have hit it just right, because by 5 o'clock the boat began to swing around with the incoming tide. It did not take long to boat my first fish, a nice fat 20 inch fish. Up until tonight, fall fishing had been a real bummer. Between the wind, rain, and pesky trollers, I had not caught a fish over 18 in a month. So suffice it to say, I was pumped when the next blowup resulted in an even fatter 22. Just off the bow, I could see a nice slick forming. I had the shoal to myself and I am anchored within casting distance of feeding big guys...NICE. My next blowup resulted in a hefty 26 that I was barely able to swing over the gunnel. This was followed by a 24 and three more 26's that had my heart jumping. The blowups and dance's that followed were spectacular. If only my damn Go-Pro had power!!!!!. Every plug fisherman I know has told me that bigger plugs catch the bigger fish, so it was time to break out the big Zara Spook in black with a yellow head. I have had that sucker in my tackle box for as long as I can remember but have never had a situation that Papa Dogg could not handle. After three 26's in a row, Papa was a hurtin' pup. His back hooks were all mangled and I could barely hear him mumbling "please put me in coach". I tied the Spook to my slightly studier Med-Heavy St. Croix and cast with the wind towards a beautiful 30 foot "bathtub"flat slick. I never even got a chance to start my walk when something massive whacked the spook 5 feet in the air and tail slapped for good measure. Whoa. Ok, so now I am shaking. I "walk the dog" maybe two steps and wham, it was big fish-ON. Tail slap, tail slap, tail slap, and the ZZZZZ went my drag. The fish was clearly in control for a minute or three, but she quickly tired and swam gently into my outstretched net. It took a while to get a the hooks out and untangle the net, but I was able to get a quick picture and get this fat 28 back in the water safely. Since I practice CPR, it is rare for me to use a net. With two sets of treble hooks and a twisting fish, I have had several fish die when it took too long to get them free. Usually, I will just swing the fish over the Gunnel. This was my first "net fish" in 2 years. I know there are lots of guys on the bay who routinely boat 28's or bigger, but they are typically live lining, trolling, or light tackle jigging deeper waters on the Eastern Shore. I can assure you they are not working a topwater plug in 3 foot of water on the Western shore. A 28 on the Shoal is a rare and treasured thing.  There were two guys trolling nearby whom I suspected had watched me net the fish since they changed course and headed my way. It took a while, but I was finally  reloaded and ready to go. As I moved to the bow of the boat the trollers had closed the gap to maybe 50 yards and were heading right for the slick. Just as  my "Hail Mary" cast hit the water I had the greatest blow up and tail slapping extravaganza of my 25 years of fishing the Shoal. My drag was screaming as this beast slashed across the water for all to see.   I heard the trollers exclaim "wow look at that". Those that know me, know I do not like trollers. It's not just that they scare off the bigger fish, which they most certainly do, its that they are missing the whole fishing experience. When a 30 inch Striper explodes on a plug, its just you and the fish. You did that. You tricked that seven year old fish, who has successfully migrated up the coast to Maine and back, five times, that your plug is a wounded baitfish. You did not fool him with the real thing like bait fishing or have the boat catch the fish like trolling. The most incredible thing is that you get to witness the the initial attack and the fight in its entirety. So it's less about not liking trollers, and more about wanting them to experience the joys of Plug fishing. I tried real hard to maintain that brotherly love as they glided through the slick and ended my best night in 25 years. Oh well it had to end sometime. A 20,22, 24,26,28, and a 30 all in one night. Would that next cast have been a 32 or 34?



who cares. That is fishing and I just plain love it.

Sunday, September 21, 2014


I have fished the shoal for 20 plus years and have never caught a speckled trout. That changed today when a nice18 inch fish hit my white twisty at the spot.

Fishing has been slowing down on the shoal. My theory is the fish have begun to move into the river. I will be testing this theory over the next week and will update soon.
First Thomas Point Shoal Trout ever

Monday, September 1, 2014


I still get an nice rush from catching a 17 7/8 inch Striper on a plug. It's a good thing, because  legal sized fish have been tough  to find for all of August. I have still managed to have a great time. A night out at the shoal meant non stop action with the sub legals. It was great to introduce an old friend, Bob Murphy, and his boys to the wonders of plug fishing. They had driven out from NW Washington once before, but the boat was in the shop and we were skunked. So it was a great feeling to see his little guy, George, boat 7 beauties which somehow took top prize for the most fish. He tells his dad he will be back in October when the "big ones are running".

On Friday night I finally picked up a real nice 26 that hopefully marks the beginning of fall fishing. So tonight, I was real excited to get out there. I waited until the sun was setting and anchored up a little to the left of my buddy Dave. It was a perfect night after a very hot and humid day. The bay was flat with a strong incoming tide. As I was leaving the dock, a DNR boat had passed me entering the creek. Since it was past 7 and the creek was completely void of boat traffic, I thought it a bit odd. Fast forward a half hour and Dave yells over that we are about to be checked by the DNR guys from earlier. REALLY, one of the nicest nights of the year and these guys are going to do Safety Checks on three boats anchored in 2 feet of water just as the bite was kicking in. It is my belief that the bigger fish are drawn to the sound of Papa Dogg's melodious "click click" sound. So lets just say I was not a happy camper. I watched as Dave was harrassed for a good 5 minutes, and prepared what  I knew they would ask for. I was running my Go Pro the whole time, which my readers may find interesting. It is really sad how the DNR has morphed into a quasi police force who spend very little time actually protecting the bay and its precious resources. A dad fishing with his boy or a Man with his dog at sunset on Labor day is what this country is all about. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It is sad that we must give up those rights the second  we push away from the dock.
A future #1 collegiate fisherman.

First good fish in a month

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Summer Update

One of the 20's
It has been a long time since my last post. That is partly due to laziness on my part, but mostly due to the wind. There has only been a handful of nights since May that it was not blowing at least 10 knots out on the shoal. It does not take much wind to stir up 4 foot of water and the resulting chop. So most nights I have either thrown plastic, which is like kissing your sister, or just bagged it altogether. It has also been extremely humid, so it been hard to motivate myself.

The last two nights have actually been perfect. The wind finally died down and the humidity is gone for now. As far as fishing goes, it has been a ton of fun. Both nights I lost count early and had steady action all night on Papa Dogg. Every cast resulted in multiple blow ups. Most of the fish were in the 16 to 17 inch range, but I did manage a 20 each night. The good topwater nights are just getting started and I look forward to the mid 20's fish moving in. Both nights the tide did not reverse until 2 1/2 hours after low tide and the fish were hitting just north of the rock piles.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Been a long long winter

The best thing about living on Thomas Point Road is the close proximity to the shoal. A miserable winter has been followed by an equally miserable spring. We had 4 solid days of torrential rain last week, so I figured it would be the end of May before the bite would turn on. I have hit the shoal as often as the weather permitted, but have not even seen a baitfish.

My friend Jeff from work asked me to take him and his buddy Bob fishing on Saturday. I was actually dreading the outing, since I had yet to even catch a dink. The trollers have been doing well, but the thought of light tackle with plugs and plastics seemed like trying to find a needle in a haystack. It was  a nice day with a light breeze and sunny skies. We left the dock around 8 am and anchored up at "the spot". There has been an ongoing argument on Tidal fish about spot burning. Readers of this blog know that I am more than willing to do the work, so that those who can only get out periodically, can enjoy the splendor of a striper exploding on a plug. Striper fishing is not like fishing for largemouths. The fish are constantly on the move, so the idea of burning a spot, is really no big deal. It's all about patterns. Thomas point shoal is quite large, so its more important to adjust your position to both underwater rock structures and the movement of the tides. One of the guys who fishes the rock pile that I frequent, went so far as to place a marker right on the rock pile. It really does not bother me one bit. I will admit that it can get a bit crowded in Sept and Oct , but I love watching others get their first blowup. So anyway, after a solid hour of casts, I decided to shoot across the bay to give Poplar Island a try. The tide finally started moving around 11 and Bob immediately picked up a nice 26 filled with eggs. We were about 30 yards off the rocks in 10 feet of water on the north shore using 9 inch BA's with a 3/4 ounce candy colored jig head. That was it for the day. Still I was thrilled to get the skunk off the boat.

I left the dock at 5:30 tonight. Low tide was predicted for 6:30. Since the tide was barely moving, I never dropped anchor and moved around quite a bit. Fished just about every point up the South River as far as the Rt. 2 bridge. Again, not even a baitfish. As the sun was setting, I made my way back to the shoal. The tide was still going out, so I moved north of "the spot" and drifted south. Amazingly, just as I hit the spot where I normally anchor, a huge Mama slammed Papa Dogg, and I finally boated my first fish of the year....a good month and a half late.
 A selfie with my 28

Bob's 26

My backyard last week.

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