danny28I thought I’d never get on the water today. Even if tropical storm Danny wasn’t offshore, a rainy day in August is hard to come by. Chesapeake Bay fishing is always at its best when skies are gray and there are big storms nearby. I lost sleep last night thinking about it. I had to work, but thought I might make the D.C. turn-around in time to get a half-day at least on the water. For a zillion reasons, that didn’t happen.  Nevertheless, I managed to get three quality hours in the rain at the Bridge.

The Bay was deserted. I never saw another fishing boat all evening; not one. It looked like January out there. Even the Matapeake Pier was empty. Instead of the usual Latino girls calling out “boat ride, boat ride,” I had to put up with these ugly dudes. I think they’ve been following me since that buzzard feather thing. Still, you know it’s going to be good fishing when you can see working gulls from from the boat ramp. I had instructions to bring home bluefish for smoking, so I popped in on the birds and breaking fish and started casting one of my homemade metal jigs, the one I pictured in the last CLT article. I had as many bluefish as I wanted within 15 minutes. dannyblue
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My obligations satisfied, I headed north to the bridge. Just as I arrived, my cell phone rang. It turned out to be a fishing buddy with a report. Rick Long, the FISH OFF Glove man is one of the best light tackle fishermen I know. If I had to list the people who’ve been most influential in teaching me how to fish the Bay, he’d be right up there at the top. As far as I know, he was the only other fisherman at the bridge on this rainy saturday. Rick had a good morning with his biggest fish coming from the exact spot where I was sitting when I took his call. One of my first casts resulted in very wide and strong 27 incher.

danny27Saying the fish were ON would be an understatement. The challenge this evening would be in finding the bigger ones. I started with the usual hotspots – the pilings closest to the drop-offs on the east side –  but the bite was too good. Too many small fish. Big fish are territorial, so when the little guys move in, they move out. I decided my strategy should be to move off any piling where I got a fish less than 20 inches.

It worked. I eventually identified a set of about ten columns that were holding quality fish down around the extended concrete base.  I set the boat up on the downstream side of the pilings and made my casts into the current and right up against the concrete allowing the lure to sink down to the base.  I jigged it along the base, then allowed it to drop off the extra four feet to the bottom when it reached the edge.  It wasn’t a fish every cast, but when I felt a tap and set the hook, I could be reasonably sure of rod dips and head shakes, a sure sign of nice fish.  After two or three casts on each side of the piling, I moved on to the next one always killing the engine at every stop.  That’s essentially a bass fishing technique, and it’s especially effective for bigger stripers.
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Rick also gave me a tip on some white perch he’d found on his morning trip. I still haven’t entered a fish in the Severn River Rod & Keg Club August perch tournament, so I pulled off the rock and targeted blackbacks for a while. I got several wide dark ones, but couldn’t break the 10.5 inch contest minimum. My biggest checked in at 10.4999. As the outgoing picked up, I went back to rockfishing.

It isn’t often that I get rockfish big enough to pull some drag in August. But there were plenty that could tonight, some in the 30 inch class. Hot ludanny23res were 6″ hotrodded pearl or pink Zulus. I use unscented Spike-It lure dye on Strike King lures because the scented stuff won’t stay on their bluefish proof plastic. I started with half ounce jig heads when the current was slack, then gradually worked up to one ounce when the outgoing tide picked up. It was very important to feel the concrete base of the pilings on each jig, then just to let the lure fall when it came off the base.  That was usually when the fish hit.  I plan to be back out there in the morning at daylight.  I hope Danny is still close enough to keep the fish active tomorrow. He’s one heck of a fishing partner!
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Related posts:

Summertime
Light Tackle Gems – June 2013
Light Tackle Techniques for the Chesapeake Bay Bridge
Back To The Bridge

Posted Saturday, August 29th, 2009 at 12:57 am
Filed Under Category: Fishing Reports
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Responses to “Whackin’ ’em with Danny”

  1. Don Richitt says:

    Nice job Shawn – The striper is one of the most beautiful fish and those are some fine looking specimens for late August. I am jealous of missing the chance to be out there with no other boats…Don

  2. Tom Hughes says:

    Shawy: Thanks for the enjoyable and well written fishing report//story. As usual you were busting the big ones.

  3. Tom Hughes says:

    Opps! Wrong key…………Shawy=Shawn.

  4. Shawn says:

    Thanks, Tom — I think my aunt used to call me that. Saw you had another incredible day today.

    Don — You’re right. That first fish I caught was the prettiest I’ve seen since the spring. I thought he would go well over 30 inches he was so wide, took a lot of drag. I thought I was going to lose him in the pilings for a while.

  5. James says:

    Enjoyed the bridge report! Can hardly wait for the season to open down here in VA. I’ve been doing ‘test’ drops around the Coleman Bridge most times out this summer and most times the fish are there.

    I’ve also been using the same tackle and techniques for flounder in structure this year and am catching more keepers than ever. Picked up a Mojo Bass/Revo-SX and really like the feel it allows. Lots of fun and even when I’m not catching… I’m learning. Thanks again for the great website!

    James

  6. Shawn says:

    That Revo/Mojo Bass rig is a killer combo. Thanks for the info, James.

  7. Daniel says:

    Uncle Daddy,

    Stop putting up reports. I can’t stand it. CBBT daydreams are flooding my brain. Can’t stand it…..must fish.

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