Monday, July 31, 2017

Popa and Puppy Dog

My youngest daughter Gracie had been living with us since April. unfortunately with her work schedule, coupled with writing her thesis for grad school, there was really no time for her to do the Naptown "summer" thing. Its a shame because she is a true Baltimoron and loves to do it all. SUP, fishing, crabbing, O's games, lax, etc... she is Maryland. She moved to Baltimore a fews weeks ago, so tonight was an actual "visit" and after a little nap in the pool, she joined me early for a little Popa Doggin. I forgot that only one rod  was rigged and to my dismay the only Popa on board was the one on the end of the rod. Luckily I had a fresh, unopened, "Puppy Dog". Same red and white as Popa, just without the big mouth and spitting. Which is a lot like Grace and I. So fittingly, it was Puppy Dog Grace versus Papa Dog. For the first 10 minutes it was Popa all the way as I quickly boated 3 nice keepers and lost a nice 24 at the side of the boat. It was not long before Grace got into the action, From that point on, I would have to call it a draw. There were very few casts that were not met by multiple blowups. I have to give the night to Grace and particular the Puppy Dog who achieved a new feat about my boat. We netted a double of a 22 and a 20. I have had many doubles before but they were always dinks. We cut out of there around 7:30. Grace took a panorama pic on her camera and we counted 15 boats clustered around the spot. It was really cool to see everyone set up in an orderly fashion and immediately begin slaying them. It was a great to have my Puppy Dog home.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

I ran into one of those life altering events that you get at ability to upload pictures to this blog. It started over 3 months ago. Since I have done things a certain way since March 2nd 2007, I am lost. Social media is not my thing. So I have not been posting much. It has actually been 10 years since I started this blog!!!. Its amazing to look back at the progression of my topwater fishing from the headwaters of the South River to present day Shoal fishing. When we first moved to Harbor Hills, which is West of the Riva Road bridge, I set out to fish the South River with topwater plugs like I used freshwater bass fishing most of my childhood. It took a while, but when I had my first topwater slam at the rock pile on the southwest end of the bridge, I was hooked. Stripers make freshwater bass look like lightweights. Soon after that I met James ,who had grown up in Harbor Hills, and was a light tackle junkie. The two of us literally had the entire river to ourselves. Even when we made the tedious ride out to the bay, we never saw people topwater fishing. I do remember Billie and my old find Dabs who lived on Thomas Point road, a stones throw from the shoal. Bille would show up in the fall, but rarely the rest of the year. Unfortunately, Jame moved to Cali, and I was left to my own devises. We had learned the shoal very well after 8 years or so and had many an epic night at the rock pile well after dark. So when my wife and I "downsized" my main criteria was to be a close boat ride to the shoal. When we found the beach cottage on Ferry Point point road I knew I had found my final resting place.want. My practice run was on a choppy day and I still made it in less than 10 minutes, That was a commute I could deal with. Unfortunately, the plan was to rebuild, which would take at least a year. No way I was giving up fishing. Luckily a house came up for lease next to Billie and 8 docks from Dabs. Now I could literally see "the spot" from my porch and be there before the engine was warm. Most nights it was two or three boats and we all knew each other. Over the past fews years I have met quite a few others either through this blog or from guys that would simply anchor up because they saw three boats. Most were not patient enough to learn how to fish in 3 to 4 feet of water with a rocky bottom. I ended up living on Thomas Point road for 3 summers due to a few hiccups building the house. I really learned the shoal those summers and met quite a few others of my ilk. However, even last year, it was rare to encounter more than 5 boats in a night. Which brings me to last night. There must have been 15 boats out there during my hour of fishing and quite a few were clearly tossing red and while Popa's...Nice. Which brings me to my point. I am going to post pics to Instagram using #popadogg. It would be great if those readers who fish the point post their pics and identify the make of your boat. Hopefully my social media guru, Grace, can figure out the pic problem.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Weekly? Update

Last Monday was the best day I had. Caught a real nice 27 at the shoal. On Tuesday a woman from work joined me and we had a blast. She had been asking me for quite sometime to go fishing. Since topwater fishing involves numerous sets of treble hooks, I am always leery of taking someone whose skill-set I am unfamiliar with,for safety reasons. I asked her how her casting was and she said it was ok. Well it turned out, she was better than ok. She cooly tossed her first Popa Dog a nice 30 yards or so with a nice fluid motion. She had never caught a striper and I am not sure she had even been on a boat before. So I had a huge smile on my face to match hers when she got her first blow-up and boated a nice 18. Her total for the night was 6 with one keeper that she took home to her family to show off her mad skills. One of the more satisfying nights of the year. The rest of the week was spent at the shoal as my "Dora the Explorer" approach had yielded little more than kidney damage from the chop I endured looking around. So it has been "the spot" for me. Seem to be settling into a normal summer pattern of 18-22 inch fish. I boated two 20's and a 16 in an hour tonight. Not the action from a few weeks ago, but a great night non the less.
27 inch

Her first Striper

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Dora The Explorer

After the last four nights action, I may not fish "the spot" this year. I was by myself tonight and decided to head out into the big old bay to see what was to be had. I have never erased the trails on my Lowrance so it looks like someone took a black crayon and drew a line from my house to "the spot" on the chart plotter. The only other lines are the trails from my trip with Paulie and his son to the bay bridge and the lines from Memorial Day. Using the trail as a guide, I made my way to green 83 where we had done so well on Memorial Day. The bay was perfect, with no humidity, a light breeze, and a surface that looked like glass. I was marking fish but,a lack of birds and no tail slaps made if difficult to find breaking fish. What did make it easier was the sight of about 20 boats off in the distance at the entrance to Deal. I arrived to birds scattered over a huge area and tails slaps galore. These were not schoolies either. They were clearly north of 28. My second cast was met with a huge slam. It was clearly bigger than my fish from Monday. Prior to leaving the dock, I had changed my line and tied on a 8 foot leader. There would be no break-offs tonight! I was a great back and forth for at least 5 minutes. In Tarpon fishing, if you touch the leader it is a catch. Well...I touched the leader but, sadly she broke loose. The line did not break though. Guess I will never know how big it was but, it definitely rivaled my fish from Monday. It was not long before the second fish came onboard. A real beauty that peeled off line at an alarming rate before giving up as Stripers usually do. They are like March in reverse. Out like a lion and in like a lamb. A third beauty followed. Both were "netted" fish. That normally only occurs a few times a year at "the Spot". Looks like I am going to be Dora the Explorer this summer.
Did not need to push it out... it was big 

Fish Number 1. Based on lid it was 26

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Memorial Day

Fishing for me this spring has been non existent primarily due to windy-rainy weather. I had yet to catch a keeper 20. I have been sailing primarily, and "Mama Dogg"had been seriously neglected. So Sunday morning I took everything except a pair of wire cutters, a box of Papa Dog's, and my rod off the boat and scrubbed her down. We had a party at the house that afternoon, so I had not finished with my spring cleaning project when my buddy Glenn showed up at 4 Memorial Day to head out.

There was a ton a boat traffic, but the spot was calm as low tide was at 4pm. Glenn picked up one small one during the hour we were there. I decided it was time to head out into the real world and try open bay fishing. I had heard from several people that Eastern Bay had been doing well so we headed over to Poplar island. It was like a different world on the Eastern Shore. There was not another boat in sight, which meant I was on my won as to where to fish. I called Dabney to see where he had been doing well, as he has been fishing over there quite a bit. His answer did not give me much comfort. "We were about a mile off the Northern most point of the island in 60 to 70 feet of water. The fish have been on the surface with very few birds around". Not much to go on, but I decided to wing it. When we hit 70 feet, I did see three white birds sitting on water, so that is where we stopped. Within seconds we saw a large pod of fish maybe 100 feet way with their "tails a slappin". On my first cast I brought a nice 26 on board who swallowed the plug. As I was attempting to extract the hooks, without my needle nose pliers, Glenn brought on board an even bigger 28, which was followed by one too big for me to guess. We had no measuring devise, but it was BIG and by far his biggest Chesapeake Striper on light tackle. After literally 20 minutes of trying I finally decided to cut the line and toss Popa and the fish in the box. After re-tying, another big one slammed, which broke the line as I was attempting to swing her over the gunnel. Well thats 2 of my 6 Popa's down. A few fish later, I got my biggest Striper on life tackle ever. This pattern continued until sundown. It was simply incredible. Every fish was huge. I lost the other 4 plugs and several of Glens to break off's. I simply was not prepared for fish of that size. My 10 pound braid had not been changed in 6 months. Still, I did boat the fish in the pic on 10 pound line and a 15 year old reel. Next time, if there is a next time, I will be better prepared. If there had been any boat traffic or wind stirring up the water, we would never been able to follow them that long. I may never have everything fall in place again, but I will be prepared.

I was anxious all day today to get back out there. Unfortunately, it was spitting rain, a little too choppy and appeared that fog was moving in. I was all settled down in my winter gear when Dabney texted me that him and our buddy John were heading out in 30. It took me less than that to be sitting in his cabin, re-rigged, with an assortment of plugs. Dabs set the chart for a spot similar to yesterday and off we went. It actually was not bad. Within minutes of arriving, we hit another large pod of breaking fish. Dabs had promised fish to several neighbors, so we quickly filled the box with fat broad shoulders 26 and 28 inch fish. On the way in we ran into Dave from "the spot". He and his boys were sitting over a huge school sitting right on the bottom in 14 foot of water. We joined them for longer than  planned as the action was incredible with 1/2 ounce jigs snapped off the bottom. I left my rods on Dabs boat as we plan on hitting it again tomorrow.

Dabs with a 26

I topwater guys dream screen- Memorial day 

My biggest topwater fish ever!!!

Tonights Haul

Glenn's biggest

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Trophy Season

Both of my parents grew up in a small town outside of Bethlehem Pa., where I attended college at Lehigh University. Every year, the day after Thanksgiving, my dad and his brothers would go deer hunting. My mothers side of the family was not a big fan of guns or the killing of animals, so it was not a ritual that I was part of. During my Junior year of college, I decided to give it a try. My dad gave me a beautiful Winchester 270 that apparently was quite valuable and set me up on a ridge to await the whitetails that would wander along a nearby swamy area. They had been hunting this area for 30 plus years and assured me that it was the "best spot". I did see a few over the next few years and even took a shot once, but missed. My heart just wasn't into it so I gave it up after a few years. What stuck in my mind more than anything was a talk I had with my uncle Benny. He was actually my dad's uncle, so had been hunting the same club for some 50 years. What impressed me the most is that he had never shot a deer in all those years. Granted it is a hard sport, but 50 years is a long time to come up empty handed. I asked him once why he kept coming and he answered that it was not the deer he was after. There is an old saying that it takes some people their whole lives of fishing to realize it is not the fish they are after. This is something I understand very well. It is why I continue to fish in the winter knowing full well that my chances are slim. So for the last 3 nights I have headed out to "the spot" to do a little plugging. It has been beautiful with a gentle breeze and no boat traffic. The picture below is from March 22nd 2012. It remains the only March Trophy I have ever caught. That is why they call it Trophy season.

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