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Fishing Reports

Official release date:  Jan 1, 2015
Preview release:  Dec. 19, 2014
Paperback, perfect bound 330 pages, black & white photos and illustrations. Pre-orders are now accepted.  We expect to mail all orders received on or before Dec. 19  by USPS Priority Mail by Dec 21. with predicted delivery before Christmas.
Exclusive CCA Maryland Hardcover Edition:  A limited number of signed and numbered, hard-cover, color photo editions featuring the CCA Maryland logo on the front cover will be made available after January 1, 2015.  A portion of the proceeds from these editions will be donated to the ongoing conservation efforts of CCA Maryland.  Details will be released later.
Here’s a sneak preview:

“Anyone can get lucky and catch a winning or trophy fish. What separates the men from the boys is consistency.” – Bill Burton

The best anglers I know have a solid grasp of three basic elements. The first is a willingness to learn and change behaviors or techniques when necessary. That means incorporating the latest technologies and staying on top of the best research. It also includes sorting through the folklore to pick out the very best practices and discarding the nonproductive tactics that bog us down. Someone once said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. If you’re not happy with the results you’re getting, it’s time to change. There are not many fishermen who have perfected their skills to the point where they are successful every time. The handful who have could teach us all something.  These are the guys who need to write a book.  I know I’d buy it. Fishermen with the right stuff are continually seeking opportunities to learn – to step outside of tried-and-proven comfort zones to find what works.

The second element is enthusiasm. Good fishermen eat, drink, smoke, and chew fishing. When they aren’t fishing, they’re thinking about fishing, and they’re probably planning their next fishing trip (or two). They seek out new information and pour over every tidbit of data they can find that might improve their skills. They surround themselves with like-minded people who share their passion for the sport. They also work to conserve the species they enthusiastically pursue. Read More!

Fishing Reports

Have you seen this yet? Lenny Rudow asked me to join him and his sons David and Max as they filmed an episode for his internet-based fishing show, Got Bait?. Sponsored by Boats.com, the series is professionally filmed and produced by Paul Cronin Productions. I was pumped about the invitation for several reasons, not the least of which is that I would get to fish with Lenny. He and I move around in similar circles, but we’ve only had one brief opportunity to fish together. I’m a big fan of Lenny’s informative How-To books about fishing the Chesapeake Bay, especially his iconic and aptly titled Rudow’s Guide To Fishing The Chesapeake. Additionally, I’ve heard great things about Max and David, so this would be my opportunity to finally meet them. To make the invitation even better, my friend Gary Reich would be joining us as assistant producer.

On the morning of the filming, I launched my 27′ Judge Center Console Thunder Road at Matapeake and zoomed by Thomas Point Light to our predetermined rendezvous point outside the West River. The plan was to use my boat as the chase boat for filming, and Lenny’s PowerCat for fishing. As I jumped on board with Lenny and handed the boat keys over to Gary, I pointed out that the weather was great and all signs pointed toward a successful fishing day. That might have been what jinxed us. Read More!

Fishing Reports

Bad news and more bad news.  If you’re following the politics around striped bass management, you know it’s all bad news for the fish lately. Where are the rockfish in the Chesapeake Bay? It doesn’t take an expert to realize that almost every fishing boat from Solomons Island to Rock Hall is working one primary school of stripers.  To quote conservation blogger John McMurray, “it’s not where the fish are, it’s where they aren’t,” and apparently they aren’t anywhere except near the mouth of Eastern Bay.

Despite the demise of our state fish, things are looking up for another native Chesapeake species, the red drum.  You probably haven’t heard much about catching redfish in Maryland over the past decade, but that’s all changing.  Last summer there were reports of redfish as far north as the Gunpowder River in the Upper Bay.  I started targeting them around Kent Island last August, and I’m already catching them again this year.

Thanks to good management practices – especially by states to our south – and an overall warming trend along the Atlantic Coast, red drum are expanding their range.  That’s good news for Chesapeake light tackle fishermen because redfish will readily attack a jig or a topwater plug.  Even if you’ve never targeted redfish before, chances are you already know how to catch them.  Almost all the artificial lure techniques we’re currently using for stripers will work for redfish.  As stripers continue to decline, redfish are moving into their habitat and populating the underwater humps and ledges where stripers used to feed. Read More!

Fishing Reports

1.  It was still a beautiful day on the water.

2.  That’s why they call it fishing, not catching.

3.  I don’t go to catch fish, I go to relax.

4.  It was a nice day for a boat ride.

5.  I just needed to run the engine.

6.  There was a good band playing at The Jetty, so we came in early.

7.  It’s not how many fish you catch, it’s how good you look fishing.

8.  I just wanted to work on my tan.

9.  I enjoy bird watching as much as catching fish.

10.  I didn’t get skunked, I ran out of time. Read More!

Fishing Reports

Been fishing lately?  If you have, I bet you’ve noticed that there are a lot of suspended fish this time of year.  There’s nothing more frustrating to Chesapeake Bay light tackle fishermen than to see nice marks on the fish finder, then not get bites.  How do you catch those finicky suspended rockfish?  Frankly, it’s tough, but there are some things you can do to increase your chances.  To start, consider what’s going on below the surface.

1.  Scope Out The Situation – Stripers adjust their feeding habits depending on conditions.  Since the Chesapeake Bay is an estuary, conditions can change frequently.  Sometimes changes are short-term like those brought on by tides and currents. Sometimes, they last longer like with seasonal water-temperature adjustments. There are even cases where conditions can change for years at a time.

In the near-decade that I’ve been fishing the Chesapeake, I’ve noticed a change, particularly in the warmer months, to more fish feeding in temperate mid-level zones in open water.  This can happen when the water conditions on the surface are not as comfortable as they are farther down.  In the spring when we get a lot of rain, storm water runs off polluted roads, parking lots, fertilized lawns, and farmer’s fields resulting in a surface layer of unsalted, polluted water.  Stripers will come up to feed in this layer when conditions are good and when they’re very hungry, but they’ll drop back down into the comfort zone when they aren’t extremely active.  They usually won’t swim down deeper than forty feet or so because the water down deep may not hold enough oxygen, or the temperature or salinity can be uncomfortable for them.   Read More!

Fishing Reports

“I only write when I’m inspired,” wrote William Faulkner. I’d find that statement comforting if he hadn’t followed it with, “and I’m inspired every morning at 9:00 AM.” Lately, my every-morning-at-9:00 AM-ritual hasn’t included much writing. Oh, I’ve had plenty to write about, it’s just that I’ve overcommitted myself (again) so that every spare waking minute seems filled with obligation. When I have some spare time, I usually go fishing. Since I bet you’d much rather hear about the fishing than the excuses, I’ll dive right in.

If the paragraph above sounds familiar, it’s because it’s a re-run from an article I posted here on ChesapeakeLightTackle.com in April two years ago. I guess what goes around always comes back, and once again I’m struggling to keep too many plates spinning in the air. I sometimes have to scale down, tune out, and just fish. If I haven’t returned an email or phone call recently, I apologize. The good news is that things are starting to settle down and I’ve found a few minutes for a fishing report and a word or two of advice.

I bet you’re aware that the rockfish catch and kill season opens this Saturday in Maryland. While I enjoy seeing people get excited about fishing, I always dread the start of the kill season. Opening Day doesn’t mean much to fishermen who are in it for the simple joy of fishing. Most of us have been catching and releasing fish all winter. We fish because we love the sport, not because it puts meat on the table. I like to eat fish too, but you won’t see me keeping any big stripers this trophy season. Read More!

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