Kent Island is currently under a state of emergency and a mandatory evacuation order.  We have decided to ride out the storm since the house we live in – one of the oldest on the island – has survived its share of tropical weather. Most of our neighbors are also staying. I thought it might be interesting to pass along what we’re experiencing here on Kent Island as Hurricane Irene passes through.  Reload this page frequently, as I will be posting regular updates along with pictures and video.  Some storm trackers predict we are directly in the path of the storm, but most have it passing east of us, just slightly off the Coast of the Delmarva Peninsula.  I’m hoping for the easterly path, but we are taking the warnings seriously. This is a fishing website, so most of my observations will be about the hurricane’s impact on the Chesapeake Bay.  We don’t live right on the water anymore (thankfully), but we are less than a hundred yards from the closest tidal stream.

The Calm Before The Storm

I fished last night and tonight.  Every fisherman has heard about how good fishing can be before a storm.  Since Hurricane Irene is predicted to be the worst storm in decades, I was hoping for lots of big fish.  That didn’t happen.  Oh, we caught plenty of fish, but they weren’t the big ol’ good ‘uns I was hoping for.  Last night, Rich and I launched out of Matapeake and found breaking bluefish right out in front of the ramp.  Finding no Spanish mackerel or rockfish of any side, we ran south.  I guess we passed a half-dozen pods of breaking fish on the way, but all the fish were small.  I eventually spotted some bigger birds sitting over a drop-off, so we motored over to take a look.  There were no fish feeding on the surface, but the fish finder lit up so we started casting jigs. 

We both landed keeper-size stripers on our first casts but, since we noticed even more fish following our lures up to the boat, we switched quickly over to top-water.  For about twenty minutes we had some great action with multiple strikes per cast on our Stillwater Smack-Its.  As I’ve mentioned before, there’s no point in throwing small top-water plugs this time of year unless all you want to catch are small fish.  Choose great big plugs with great big hooks.  The little fish will strike, but they won’t get caught.  The big ones will come up to investigate all the fuss, and you’ll hook the quality stripers.

It had been a calm evening, but the wind came up and some thunderstorms moved in from the west.  This was another front, and unrelated to the hurricane.  When lightning started cracking off the port bow, we turned around and ran back north, finishing the evening by jigging at the bridge. There were some fish there, but the wind made jigging difficult and we didn’t have enough current to really get anything going.  Rich went back to the bridge this morning and did much better, catching some 30-inch-plus stripers on a chartreuse BKD. I heard from several fishermen that the bite was very good early in the day today at other places in the Bay as well.

I got back out again evening with Rich and his neighbor Dick.  We launched at Shipping Creek, then picked up Jamie at the Claiborne boat ramp and ran southwest.  Once again, we encountered lots of birds and breaking fish but everything was small.  It was eerily calm and hot on the water.  We started to see some cloud bands from the hurricane, and we could see rain to our south, but we stayed dry.  Strangely, the evening current we expected never materialized. Water levels were low, so I don’t think there was much of an afternoon incoming tide either. We saw a slight outgoing all evening, but it wasn’t very strong. My theory is that the hurricane is moving a lot of water around out in the ocean and has just started blocking the outgoing current, so water isn’t flowing strongly out of the Bay.  Water levels are still very low though, lower than usual for the tide cycle.

Hoping to salvage the fishing trip, we moved over to some rocks along the shore and found some decent fish feeding in 2 to 4 feet in the lee of a jetty.  That was about all the action we had though.  After we caught all the fish off that spot, we tried to repeat our success at a similar location, and the fish weren’t there.  I think the fish were just freaked out by tides, or maybe they’re already hunkered down.  It could also be that, unlike me, they took the evacuation order seriously.  Here’s a picture of the golden Bay just before sunset.  I don’t think we will see it like this again for quite some time.

Related posts:

Blogging Sandy – Kent Island, Maryland
Kent Island Fly Fishing
Two Sides of Kent Island
Windy Weekend
Monday 4:00 PM Update

Posted Friday, August 26th, 2011 at 10:23 pm
Filed Under Category: Fishing Reports
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Responses to “Blogging Irene – Kent Island”

  1. Bill M says:

    Shawn,
    Best of luck. Hope this turns out to be a boring post. Good night Irene!

    Bill M

  2. Roger T says:

    She is still quite a storm but looks to be weakening and thats a good thing.Glad you guys caught some fish.
    Was hoping to get out this AM but they closed the dang ramps at SP.

    I Will be checking back for updates,stay dry and safe!

  3. Jon Griffiths says:

    Tried for Musky this morning. It sure looked fishy out there. Nothing. Not eve a sniff. Back hime now fixing gutters, clearing lawn furniture and getting ready for a party this afternoon.

  4. Mike TJAM Dunlap says:

    Tough bite last night for sure, but what a pretty evening. It made it even nicer knowing we’ll be bogged down inside for the next 2 days. Stay safe down there, and ration the shine!
    Mike

  5. Bob says:

    Went out all day Friday.Did ok trolling for mackerel.Noticed the samething with the tides didn’t see hardly any surface activity.Got any good recipes for mackerel

  6. Cheryl says:

    We evacuated, appreciate the updates. Here’s hoping for uneventful posts!

  7. Kris says:

    Hi,
    I’m worried about my friend, who is on his boat, docked at Kent Island. How is everything there, any info?
    Kris

  8. Shawn says:

    Most of the marinas on Kent Island are sheltered from this northeast wind, and we haven’t had much of a storm surge, so I would say he’s enjoying himself right now. I just looked at Bay Bridge Marina and Kent Narrows and I’ve seen it a lot worse during thunderstorms.

  9. Ann Thomas says:

    Worried about Chester and our friends there. News has not mentioned the Bay Bridge and anything before Ocean City.

    You guys be safe.

  10. Shawn says:

    he Bay Bridge (US 50/301) was closed at approximately 7:35 p.m. today as a result of severe winds and unsafe driving
    conditions due to Hurricane Irene. The bridge is experiencing sustained winds of more than 62 mph and wind gusts of
    72-80 mph and will remain closed until conditions are deemed safe for vehicles to cross.

  11. Kris says:

    Thanks Shawn….all was fine with my friend—-q little wind damage is all. Happy fishing!!!

  12. Shawn says:

    Thank you, Kris. Glad to hear your friend is okay.

  13. jumbo1 says:

    Thanks for another great evening of fishing Shawn, had a great time as always..always plenty of laughs and fish…be seeing you soon…I noticed in that pic..is Rich casting over me again?..(LOL)

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