Tuesday, December 22, 2015

I'm Back from Fishing

Sorry, no photos.

Walleye Pete, Mike, Rick and I fished out of Buzz's Marina in Ridge MD. It started raining on the drive down (about 40 minutes) and by the time I arrived, it was raining catfish and dogfish. We delayed leaving a while, hoping that it would let off, but after a half hour or so, we left in the rain and fog.

The fishing grounds this time of year is the wide zone where the Potomac River enters the Chesapeake Bay. This time of year, large numbers of large Striped Bass gather in the area to feast on masses of bait fish, mostly the years crop of Menhaden. Feeding schools of fish can often be identified by large seagulls (several species) trying to pick off scraps and crippled bait fish, or even diving Northern Gannets, which dive and swim under water and catch fish on their own.

After a moderately long run, we found some birds where Pete expected them, gulls and few gannets swirling and diving at the surface. And fish were beneath them. We caught a bunch of nice fish by picking around these small flocks, a few at a time. Pete was trying to keep only fish above 5 lbs (a plan followed most of the time, unless a smaller fish seemed unlikely to live).

The rain let up after a while, and the fog lifted to where we had enough visibility to see the Virginia shore.

After a couple of hours, these flock petered out, and Pete took us off to a new area, where he had found fish in the previous week, not by following birds, but by certain bottom contours and the fish finder. It worked, and we caught another lot of nice fish on several long drifts in this area.

After these fish faded away, as they usually do, Pete took us back near the original site where we found a Gannet storm like this one:

In this version, large stripers were taking the place of dolphins, forcing the bait fish up near the surface, where the gannets could spot them and reach them.

Fishing was incredible here. Any lure sent down below about 15 feet was bombed by fish, and most of them were big. Pete called it when he thought we had 800 lbs of fish in the coolers, enough to finish his commercial quota for the year, composed mostly of the most valuable fish 8 lbs and above. Now it's up to you. Go to a restaurant and order Striped Bass (I never do, because I catch my own).

All in all, it was insanely good fishing. Probably the last of the year.

No comments:

Post a Comment