lonely angler

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We’ve enjoyed a pretty good spring of light-tackle fishing on the Chesapeake Bay.  Water temperatures warmed early, then leveled off through the end of April into May.  Top-water casting is good right now at some places.  Some anglers are even sight-casting surface lures and flies to cruising fish on shallow oyster bars near the mouths of the rivers.  The water in some parts of the Upper Bay is clearer than I’ve ever seen it.  While that makes surface fishing enjoyable, it also makes jigging tough since it’s easier for stripers to distinguish the difference between our lures and baitfish. The clear water looks nice,  but there’s a big problem lurking below the surface: Low dissolved oxygen (DO).  Measured in milligrams per litre, dissolved oxygen levels were recorded at 1.04 on the bottom beneath the Bay Bridge in April.  That’s lower than they’ve been in twenty-five years. Look out for big algae blooms coming soon. Salinity also peaked to record levels in April.  Last spring, Bay Bridge salinity was 4.20 ppt.  This year, it’s more than twice that at 10.50 ppt.  DO levels are also low in Eastern Bay, although salinity there is closer to normal.  What does this mean for the fishing?  Read More!

I’ve collected a number of sunset photos over the past eight or nine days.   As water temperatures begin to fall, stripers are moving into shallower water where they can find cover while chasing bait.  I’ve been setting our drifts over humps in the 4 to 5 foot range in the flats around Kent, Poplar, and Tighlman Islands.  While almost any kind of top-water lure will work, I prefer Lonely Anglers, Stillwater SmackIts, and Heddon Super Spooks.  The fish can bite anytime, but they always turn on right about the time the sun hits the western horizon. There have been a few birds working in the shallows, but some of the most successful trips have just been blind-casting over structure.  Any area where the bottom comes up a foot or more over the surrounding flat can hold fish. Aquatic grass is a plus. Good water quality is essential.  So is flowing current.  That’s been somewhat hard to come by lately. Hurricane Earl has made its way past the mouth of the Chesapeake and up the Atlantic Seaboard with very little impact on our region except for a disruption in the normal tidal patterns.  I’ve been compensating by Read More!