I’ve been lying low over the past couple of weeks waiting out the craziness. Most of my fishing has been in out-of-the-way places far from the madding crowds. Radios blaring, airplanes buzzing, stereos thumping, outboards droning, helicopters whirring, sirens wailing - Wow! Boat shows, trolling tournaments, and sailing regattas make the main stem of the Chesapeake very noisy. The Bay is fully awake from her winter slumber and the crowds are back in force. While we each enjoy the water in our preferred ways, to my thinking fishing should include elements of solitude and stealth. I’ve mentioned before that I’d rather pick up aluminum cans at rush hour along I-95 than try to pick off rockfish in the main channel on a busy trolling weekend. I prefer to look off the beaten path for places where I can tune-in to something a little more pleasing than the clamorous dissonance of the masses.
Since the striped bass spawn is winding down on the Chesapeake Bay, I thought it might be interesting to take a look at some post-spawn patterns. When stripers come off the spawning grounds, they’re usually hungry. If you can find them, they’re pretty easy to catch. Ah, but finding them, there’s the rub. Where should you look? Read More!
April showers bring cherry blossoms and tourists to the Mid-Atlantic. Since cherry trees were first planted around the Tidal Basin in 1912, people from all over the world travel to Washington D.C. to welcome the arrival of spring. This is also the time when fishermen look forward to other visitors making their way up the Potomac. In late March, the hickory shad run begins bringing some of the most exciting fishing of the year.
Hickory and white shad are anadromous species that spend the vast majority of their lives at sea, but enter the Chesapeake region in the spring. They swim through the Bay and up the rivers looking for the fast water they need in order to spawn. Shad hold an important place in American history. The Native Americans fished for them extensively and used them to fertilize their crops. George Washington was known as a prolific shad angler and caught thousands near his home on at Mount Vernon. It was the spring shad run in Pennsylvania’s Schuylkill River that saved Washington’s army from starvation at Valley Forge. You can read about it in the Shad Foundation’s Shad Journal. Read More!
Revisiting my series on the common traits of good fishermen, I keep coming back to attitude and innovation. I recently crossed paths with Chesapeake Bay light tackle guide Dennis Fleming and the subject of “the right stuff” came up. Dennis noted that, regardless of experience level, some fishermen come on his boat with a natural talent for fishing. When I think of talent, I consider my experience with artists and musicians. There is no doubt that creativity comes more naturally to some people than to others. So, how important is natural talent and creativity to successful fishing? Obviously, the most important factor to success is time on the water. In fishing, there’s simply no substitute for experience. Still, there must be something to the observation that some anglers get it, and some never will. An important factor is that successful anglers are open to new ideas.
It’s been said that 10-percent of the fishermen catch 90-percent of the fish, and that good fishermen think like a fish. Hmm, “think like a fish?” Is that something that can be learned or taught? Embracing creativity and experimenting with innovative techniques is lot of what this website and my book, Chesapeake Light Tackle, An Introduction to Light Tackle Fishing on the Chesapeake Bay is about. I try to pass along good ideas and tactics I’ve learned once I’ve had a chance to try them out. It all starts with an open mind. Read More!
It’s spring in the Chesapeake Bay and time for big migratory stripers. Some of the biggest striped bass in the world are caught in Maryland in the early spring. A few fishermen are already using circle hooks to catch & release big fish in the rivers using bait such as frozen herring, bloodworms, and cut menhaden. Circle hooks aren’t just a good idea for bait fishing in the Chesapeake Bay, they’re required by law during the early spring. Maryland fishermen have been slow to see the advantages of circle hooks. I think that’s because most of us haven’t used them enough, but there’s also confusion about what circle hooks are and how they work. I had an opportunity to travel to Providence, Rhode Island a few days ago to attend a FishSmart conference sponsored by NOAA about catch & release techniques. I came away with some interesting information. Read More!
Sounds simple, doesn’t it? A right to have fun? That’s something we all take for granted. Well, you shouldn’t according to some lawmakers in Annapolis. This week, a bill was introduced in the House Environmental Matters Committee that seeks to define one simple thing - that the public has a right to use and enjoy the water. Who wouldn’t vote for that? Your delegate probably won’t. In fact, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) testified against it. Seem odd?
Here’s how it breaks out. Some wealthy waterfront property owners got involved in a not-in-my-backyard user conflict over proposed oyster floats in the Chincoteague Bay. The case went to a hearing and the attorney general issued a half-witted ruling that said, “on public waters, the state does not recognize the right to recreate.” Seeking to appeal, the property owners got a few state delegates to help them out and a bill was introduced to make sure the right for recreation is defined in the law. Read more about it here. I don’t think the delegates – all from red districts - intended to do anything more than help out a few rich constituants, but they opened an interesting issue and things got dicey. Read More!
As much for my benefit as anyone’s, I’m listing my speaking schedule for the next few months. I’ll have books to sign at each event. At some, I’ll be presenting a new Power Point slide show called “The Right Stuff – Gear, Accessories, & Attitudes for Successful Light Tackle Fishing.” Good luck fishing this spring!
Feb 23rd – Annapolis Saltwater Fishing Expo - The SALTWATER FISHING EXPO will be held on Saturday Feb. 23rd from 8 AM to 3 PM at the Annapolis Elks Lodge. This event has grown into one of the most popular winter fishing shows in this area featuring expert seminar speakers, top quality tackle dealers and local charter captains and guides. I won’t be speaking this year, but I’ll have a table with books and hopefully plenty of opportunities to talk and answer questions.
March 2 – CCA Northern Virginia Banquet & Auction – Thirteenth Annual Dinner and Auction taking place on Saturday, March 2nd, 2013 at 6:00 pm. This year’s event will be at The Shriner’s Kena Temple in Fairfax, VA. The Northern Virginia guys have been working very hard with their donors and supporters in gathering a wide array of Auction items that are sure to impress – They have over $20,000.00 in live and silent auction items. This is a little different event for me in that I’ll have a microphone and my guitar and I’ll be accompanied by my buddy Joe Evans while performing some original songs about fishing and living in our region. Read More!