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spooks - Chesapeake Light Tackle


Currently browsing articles with a topic of "spooks".

No, this isn’t an entry about breakfast cereal.  It’s about skinny-water fishing on the Chesapeake Bay where conditions are perfect for the snap, crackle, and pop of topwater lures.  That’s the good news.  The bad news is that muddy water has all but eliminated fishing in the main stem of the Bay.  The tributary rivers are clearing, but water in the main channel remains deeply stained.  Satellite photos show a sediment plume stretching all the way down to the mouth of the Patuxent River.  It’s too trashy to troll, too muddy to catch bait, and too dirty to bottom fish.  Thank goodness for the versatility of light tackle!  While many anglers are sitting on their hands lamenting the impossible conditions, light tackle fishermen are enjoying a banner fall.  Since the shallow-water bite is tasty, I thought it might be interesting to look at three basics premises of topwater casting –  let’s call ’em snap, crackle, and pop. Read More!

Since I’ve been reporting bigger migratory fish on my recent trips, I’ve been overwhelmed with questions about where the fish are.  My apologies if  I’ve yet to return a call or answer an email, but the absolute truth is  – I don’t know. These big fish are moving around very quickly and they haven’t been at the same place twice.  I think we sometimes put too much emphasis on locations, and not enough on patterns.  Tell someone where to go to catch a fish and you may help them for a day, but teach them how to identify specific patterns of how fish behave, and you’ve helped them for a lifetime. Ask any good fisherman the secret to repeated success and he’ll tell you it’s the ability to distinguish specific feeding habits.  I believe that you can drop a good fisherman into any body of water in the world and he’ll catch fish as long as you give him enough time to establish a prevailing pattern.  It’s especially important on the Chesapeake where conditions change quickly and a rapid thirty degree temperature drop in October is not unusual.  I think fishing conditions change faster and more often here than anywhere I’ve fished before.  Fortunately, fish are usually creatures of habit and there are distinct patterns we can identify in the way they behave. Read More!

top1There is nothing quite like catching a big striper on top-water. I’ll never forget my first top-water explosion. I was twelve years old, walking the muddy banks of the Holston River in Eastern Tennessee with my father. The lure tied onto my fiberglass rod and Mitchell 300 reel was a wooden Chugger Spook. In my over-sized rubber boots, I was having a hard time keeping up.

“Check your drag,” Dad commanded from his vantage point just below a large set of shoals. “Now, cast right into the “V” where the water runs through and start jerking.” As instructed, I reared back and slung my rod as hard as I could. I overshot the target and landed my lure upstream of the shoal. “Just let her drift down and pop it along,” he said.

Nothing in my limited experience of bank-side pan fishing could’ve prepared me for what happened next. The swift current pulled the chugger quickly down the rip and I popped it a few times along the way. Suddenly, the water blew up as if someone had thrown a hand grenade. A jolt of adrenalin shot though my arms as I felt the line tighten and heard the drag scream. Read More!