Last December, I caught up with my friend Gaylon Thompson at one of my light tackle seminars in Severna Park, Maryland.  During the few minutes we had to talk, we wondered if we might be able to get in a fishing trip in early 2012.  I was very excited when Rich Jenkins called me last week to say he and Gaylon were heading down to Virginia to fish in the ocean Monday, and I was invited.  He also invited Jamie Clough.  We’ve been hearing about the coastline bite for a while now from Wild Bill and other fishermen who follow the migration.  Even though I’m turning up a few hard-to-catch but very big fish here in the Bay, we couldn’t resist giving it a go. Our first challenge was deciding whether to fish the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, or the ocean. We called, emailed, and Facebooked everyone we could think of seeking advice. Some of our friends came though, especially “Hillbilly Boater” Jack, and a couple of Jamie’s buddies. I also got some good info from some of Tattoo Charlie’s buds on Facebook.

After hours of gut-wrenching deliberation with everyone offering input and finally putting the matter to a vote, we chose the ocean. (Please read between the lines here. Those guys wouldn’t commit to anything, so I made the no-guts-no-glory call!) Really, the deciding factor was a call I received from a DC flower child who decided to leave his tent at the Occupy encampment and join his partners Phil and Jimmie on a similar trip to the same area we were considering. Brian surprised us by showing up at the ramp at sunrise with legendary Eastern Shore fishermen Butch. Wow, what a fun crew.

Never underestimate the importance of a good fishing buddy network. Soon after we got up Monday morning one of our partners got a good report from a local charter boat captain about big schools of migratory rockfish right off the beach. We left the ramp at 7:00 AM with Gaylon following Phil out of the inlet at low tide. It was Grady 23 Walkaround vs Parker 23 Sport Cabin.  Both boats plowed through the mud and out of the shallow inlet with no problem. We split up after we hit the ocean. Gaylon asked for a heading and I made a wild guess, “A mile out and a mile south.”

I was right. Days like Monday make you look good. There was a thousand gannets right on the button when we arrived. We had them all day, even though most of the late morning slack tide – a wide open light tackle bite with a fish on almost every drop. Phil’s crew was hooked up every time we crossed paths too. Our fish weren’t huge, we measured one we thought was about average and it came out 32-inches long.  We had a few over 40 and a few in the high 20-inch range, but nothing you could really call small. We caught fish on almost everything we tried; topwater, jigging, swim baits, I even got board and hand-lined for awhile. All the fish but the few we took pictures of were released boat-side in the water.

I spent some time last weekend making skirted jigs with my fishing buddy Mark Nichols. I thought those lures would put me one up on the other guys, but Rich had the same idea and showed up with a box of his own. We caught a lot of fish on our homemade skirted jigs and we also had a good supply of a lure called The Bug made by Specialized Baits.   We tipped most of our jigs with hotrodded BKDs. We stopped to talk to Phil and the boys about 11:30 AM. We noticed everybody was jigging except for Butch. Jamie asked him why and he informed us he doesn’t fish between 11:00 AM and noon

Of course.

The ocean bite lived up to our expectations as the closest thing to a wide-open bite I’ve seen in a while. Thanks very much to Gaylon for taking us. This will likely be my only trip to the ocean this year. Here is a short video I put together showing some of the action.  The quality isn’t up to my usual standards because I didn’t take my video camera and only used the video function on my waterproof Olympus point and shoot.  The music is a tune I wrote about fifteen years ago that was recently recorded by my sons’ band, Mountain Soul.  The song and the album is available on their website, and you can get it at, i-Tunes, and other outlets.

Don’t forget, this Saturday I’ll be signing books at Marty’s Sporting Goods in Edgewater, Maryland, from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM.  Stop by if you can and lets talk fishing!

Virginia Coast Stripers



Posted Wednesday, January 18th, 2012 at 3:53 pm
Filed Under Category: Fishing Reports
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Responses to “Virginia Coast Stripers – Video Report”



  2. uncle phill says:

    As awesome as that fishin’ was, I know it was made even better with the Rich and Jamie banter. You could hear Rich given it to Jamie. Did Rich share his chili?

  3. general pickerel says:

    Did Jamie say he was naming his next kid Gannett?

  4. jumbo1 says:

    I have another grandchild on the way and yes the child will be referred to as gannet…boy or girl doesn’t matter..I would think at school age this will be the only child with this name…could be useful..there is also a bit of “gossip” going around that there will be a Shawn kimbro calendar coming out shortly..

    Awesome trip fellers!…really nice write-up as usual SK..
    Daniel..You missed a good one ol’ buddy..

  5. chris says:

    does anyone know how the fishing is at calvert cliffs powerplant right now or if its picked up? any knowledge is appreciated,thanks

  6. Gaylon says:

    Great job Shawn. I don’t know how you do it, take all those pictures and video but still catch all those fish. The video of those gannets plummeting into the ocean was incredible.

  7. Jimmy John II says:

    Is that that new ramp at the CBBT? I saw some pictures of it somewhere and it looks like it. I’d like to check it out.

  8. Roger T says:

    Shawn,thats awesome.Thanks for posting up the good stuff.

  9. Sam Sellard says:

    I live just minutes from the ramp you launched at and have been out 3 times thus far a 3 fishin each trip. Its pretty awsome when one can catch over 420 rock in 3 trips. Good job. I met wild bill one day at the ramp one day.

  10. Daniel says:

    So, here’s how this trip really went down folks…

    Mark and Shawn tie got together and tie bug-style jigs one night…that is to say, until Shawn passed out from drinking all of Mark’s single-barrel whiskey, after which Mark could finally crank up the Billy Squier and get down to business painting jigs without Captain Redneck chewing up all his lead like bubble gum. The next day, the crew headed east for an ocean run, stopping along the way for Jamie to repaint a couple stall walls in a rest area. The boat was launched, the motor-fired (after Rich plugged the kill switch back in) and the gas was washed out of the boat (stupid rod-holder). On the way out somebody “accidentally” pitched Rich’s bugs overboard, leaving him with only the lures he tied onto the 17 Powell rods he brought with him; you know, with the color-coded braid so he can tell the lb. test apart (8, 8.5, 9, 9.5, 10, 10.5 you get the picture). Don’t worry, he hung up and broke those 17 off in the first 30 min of action. Jumbo stepped in and kindly demonstrated to Rich that HE was still catching fish, and then described in detail his methods for jigging for suspended fish. This went on for another 15 minutes. Rich muttered something into the wind (sounded like “run of the witch”),caved in, and tied on a Der Bug, and a good time was had by all, until 2am the following morning when Dianne Miller received a phone call from the Virginia DNR regarding her husband’s arrest due to unpaid fishing registrations after multiple warnings and charges of poaching late last year at the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, based in no small part on the ramp-side testimony and cell phone camera evidence of one Jamie Clough. Rich Jenkins was also indicted on charges of indecent exposure. Ain’t they somethin’?

  11. Mike Burrows says:

    OH MY GOD! What was Jamie doing with that spinning rod?

  12. Mike Burrows says:

    Just saw Daniel’s post….No that’s funny. And if they a few years younger probably not far from the truth.

  13. uncle phill says:

    Daniel, that there was spot-on! You didn’t miss a thing! 😉

  14. Jimmy John II says:

    Mwa ha ha… I don’t even know those guys and that’s funny.

  15. RiverCat09 says:

    Great report and video! Did you guys go out of Wachapreague? (Some of the backwater photos look familiar)


  16. Gitzit 2 says:

    With a crew like that those stripers didn’t stand a chance!

    I’m with Gaylon…Shawn, how do you take all those pics & vids and STILL catch all those fish…great job!

    Daniel, I believe you are pretty darn close with your rendition of the trip! 🙂

    by the way…loved “Bethlehem Coal”

  17. jumbo1 says:

    Tell you what Daniel all of that stuff about Rich is so accurate…So glad someone else see’s the drama I have to go thru to catch a fish..He sent me a text before the trip and said “not much room on the boat..1 rod limit and s small bag of jigheads”..
    So I think I took along 1 rod..maybe 2..4 jigheads and 5 tails..(one for Shawn)
    Rich showed with like you said 17 rods..tackle bag that almost swamped the boat..
    On the last trip Rich drank all of SK’s brew..good aprt was SK showed us the proper way to see if your drag’s are set right on a baitcaster..he even showed us how to get a birds nest in a hotel room..
    Aint’ we somethin’…(Grin)

  18. Fischadler says:

    Danny Boy;
    It was Foghat.
    You should know, you left it in the machine.
    And they are trademarked as der Nads.

  19. rich says:

    Daniel, we sure missed you on the last trip, we needed someone to take off the fish.

  20. Daniel says:

    It was Foghat. Sorry. Thanks for the jig heads bu the way. They’re just about too purdy to use…almost. Next time Dad drinks all your whiskey, kick him in his der Nads. Rich, someone has to promote ethical boat-side releases of 40″ spawning-size females at the CBBT; no sense holding a grudge.

  21. rich says:

    I don’t hold grudges, life is too short. Or maybe it was the GREAT breakfast that I had this morning. I am looking forward to lipping your fish next year when we go down there again. RIch

  22. jumbo1 says:

    Aaaah the ol’ great breakfast…nothing like it…

  23. Daniel says:

    Man, me neither. Can’t stand it. That video of those gannets got my blood boiling. Hey, by the way, what’s this deal with Powell outsourcing their rods to China now? It was too good to be true I guess. Can’t wait to fish again. I hope to get up for Susky Flats season.

  24. Shawn says:

    I think they’re still using the same materials in the Powell rods, we’ll just have to watch the construction. I have an old one and a new one, and I can see a little bit of difference here and there, but haven’t noticed a drop in sensitivity yet. There’s a rumor that they d/c’d the 6’8″ XF Med.

    Hilarious comments!

  25. rick says:

    It’s a shame if they did discontinue that model. I broke mine this past fall.

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