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Posted on July 30, 2010 | Permalink

NEW REPORT

Middle bay region Diamond Jim release for August

Type: Chesapeake
Region: Eastern
Location: Poplar Island Area

Our Diamond Jim tagging crew left the dock at Tighman Island at 6:00 am to try and get an early start before the sun shone bright in the morning sky and predicted thunderstorms arrived. It turned out to be an excellent call. We trolled #2 Drone spoons behind #1, #2 and #3 planers at distances from 50” to 180” behind the boat just south of the Hill and off Poplar Island in about 20” of water. We were fishing the top of the tide and for about 1-1/2-hours the action was fast and furious. Fisheries biologist Butch Webb was in charge of tagging the striped bass with the chartreuse tags and out youth anglers kept him very busy till about 8:00 when we used up our 23 tag allotment and the tide started to go slack.

It was soon time to head for the barn; as captains say as the western sky began to turn ominously dark with building thunderstorms. As a fisherman I was very impressed with the size of the fish we caught for this time of the year. We had 5 fish over 30” in length and most were in the 24” to 28” size range, very fat and clean looking. Most fishermen that pursue striped bass in the middle bay region have been talking about the evening bite where striped bass have been pushing bait in the form of small menhaden against the rocks of Poplar Island. Fishermen have been casting a variety of lures to them and trolling or live lining spot seems to be a good option early in the morning. Keep the tide movement in mind when planning your trip since we discovered that when the tide went slack the action came to a halt. I would urge anyone who wants to get into the action to either try the evening fishing or get out at dawn this weekend.

Tags: Maryland Fishing Challenge, Diamond Jim, Recreational, Striped Bass

Posted on July 28, 2010 | Permalink

NEW REPORT

Fishing for the Skillet

Type: Chesapeake
Region: Eastern
Location: Choptank River

My fishing buddy Matt and I pulled away from the Island Creek dock at 6:30 pm to try our hand at some shallow water fishing for striped bass in the lower Choptank River last night. A light wind was blowing from the south and we anticipated a high ebb tide so conditions were looking favorable. The Dorchester shoreline was our destination and the combination of an uncluttered shoreline, balmy breezes, good company and not a care in the world set the stage. Peaceful and very quiet would be the words to describe the next hour or so as we worked surface poppers over submerged rip rap that certainly never accomplished its intended purpose since it was now located 200yds out from the existing shoreline. Cast after cast, surface poppers, floating Crystal minnows and jointed plugs tempted every possible spot that could hold striped bass; simply put there were no takers. Water temperatures are now in the upper 80’s in the shallows; perhaps that was the reason that it was just not to the liking of the striped bass or perhaps we just stunk as fishermen.

Action needed to be taken to get the skunk off the boat so we switched to small 1/16 and 1/8oz Road runner spin jigs and flayed away with spinning gear that was meant for 1 to 2oz lures rather than this fly weight stuff in hopes of catching some white perch. Did I mention that the wind was now blowing a good 12 knots? Anyhow the white perch were holding right tight to the rocks and it was on. Fish started to come into the boat. Most were in the 8” to 10” size class but 12” perch started to get tossed into the ice chest. White perch fillets fried in panko crumbs started to look real good at this point. My friend Matt pulled out a relic from his childhood; a Garcia Mitchell 308 spinning reel. For anyone under the age of 50; this was the Model T of ultra-light spinning reels in its day. I gave it a try on a few perch and felt a rekindled force in my hands from my young days of trying to catch the largest fish I could on these might-mite reels. I did find though that the ball bearings in this little reel felt more like small rocks in a blender than the Shimanos and Daiwas I am now used to fishing with.

It was quite evident that this type of fishing has been too long ignored by us and we began to plan a return trip better prepared for targeting white perch. I plan to dig out some unused and forgotten freshwater ultra-light spinning gear and a 4-weight fly rod with a good supply of Road Runner lures and chartreuse Clousers (the rocks are hungry also) for our next evening trip to the shorelines of the lower Choptank River.

Tags: White Perch

Posted on July 27, 2010 | Permalink

NEW REPORT

Fishing opportunities for land based fishermen and crabbers

Type: Chesapeake
Region: Eastern
Location: Choptank River

Friends and family gathered to dedicate the two fishing piers that are formed from the two ends of the old Choptank Bridge that used to span the Choptank River between Trappe and Cambridge. Deputy Secretary Joe Gill spoke about Bill’s career as an outdoor writer and advocate for taking children fishing. Bill’s wife Lois and daughter Heather shared with everyone Bill’s love of fishing and his desire to see all people enjoy the simple pleasures of fishing that can be achieved by taking children fishing at convenient local spots. Bill was instrumental in convincing officials to retain the old Choptank Bridge and designate it as a fishing pier. The new Bill Burton State Park Fishing Piers will fulfill Bill’s legacy and certainly provides easy access for fishermen to a variety of bay and tidal river species. Fishermen are catching white perch, croaker and spot in the early morning and late evening hours this week about 2/3rds of the way out on the north pier. The fishing piers are an excellent place to crab with collapsible crab traps. Recreational crabbers have been doing well with collapsible crab traps from about 1/3 to 2/3rds of the way out on the piers on both sides of the river.

There is plenty of parking at both piers some picnic tables and outdoor toilets located out on the piers. The Bill Burton State Park Fishing Piers are a trash free park so please remove your trash when leaving. The Bill Burton Fishing Pier State Park is now open 365 days per year, 24 hours per day. Both sections of the piers are lighted for night fishing from April 1 through December 31 and the Dorchester County side of the pier is open and lighted year round.

Tags: Fishing Pier, Bill Burton, Choptank River

Posted on July 12, 2010 | Permalink

The Annual Striped Bass Young of the Year Survey begins for 2010

Type: Chesapeake
Region: Eastern
Location: Choptank River

Today marked the beginning of the Maryland annual striped bass young of the year seine survey for 2010. The study has been in place since 1954, covers 22 fixed stations and has never missed a beat in all these years. The study started today at three seining stations located on the Choptank River. Later on this week the fisheries biologists will be sampling the Nanticoke River, the Potomac and Patuxent Rivers and the head of the bay in a similar fashion. I was able to meet the crew today to watch the process of seining, cataloging and counting fish species. The first picture on the left shows the seine being deployed, next the fish which are all juveniles are moved to a large tub where the biologists sort and measure each one. A lot of data and samples are collected on other species such as white perch, various shiners and minnows, spot, menhaden and other species. Most of the fish put up with attention and are released back into the water after examination. In fact the survey teams have cataloged over 100 different species over the years. The results of the striped bass juvenile index are tabulated in October of each year and fishermen always wait anxiously for the results; for it is hoped that the little guy in the far right picture will one day grow up to tickle a fisherman’s fancy. It takes approximately 4-years for a striped bass to reach the legal size of over 18” and as long as 13-years to reach 40”. To learn more about the striped bass young of the year seining surveys and juvenile fish identification check out the following link to the program site on the Fisheries website.

Tags: Striped Bass, Young of the year, Survey

Posted on June 28, 2010 | Permalink

Pre-dawn Shallow Water Fishing

Type: Chesapeake
Region: Central Bay
Location:

Despite the dire need for sleep on a Saturday morning I woke up 10-minutes before my alarm clock was set to go off at 3:45am; I looked at the clock and decided to get up. It seems to be a common occurrence with fishermen and hunters anxious to get out and enjoy the outdoors. My fishing buddy and I were heading out the mouth of Island Creek on the lower Choptank by 5 am; the hard fact of trying to beat the sunrise only a few days after the summer solstice. Our goal was to fish the shallows on a high ebb tide for striped bass using topwater lures before the sun cracked over the horizon. As we moved into position with the electric bow motor, the morning air hung like a damp heavy overcoat; it sure looked like it was going to be hot and humid. (It was) I chose my “Go To” topwater lure, a Storm Chug A Bug and Matt cast out his favorite Creek Chub popper. We weren’t exactly lighting up the world with fish, so I tried an old favorite; a jointed Bomber swimming minnow plug. About the third cast it was “fish on”, Matt switched to the same lure and the scenario repeated itself till we had four nice fish in the ice chest. We caught and released fish until things shut down around 6:30 as the sun popped up over the horizon.

We were just enjoying the peace and quiet when we got word from a friend that they were into fish out towards the mouth of the river. Good reports have been coming in from the False Channel/ Sharps Island area all week. We decided to just sit put and continue to watch a raccoon make a long swim across a cove and catch some white perch; about 7:00 or so, a boat came motoring into the shallows next to us; a little too late and certainly a little too neighborly and noisy. Water temperatures are now in the mid to upper 80’s in most of the Chesapeake and the sun is high in the sky, two things shallow water striped bass don’t care for. It was time to depart with a great start to the day and thoughts of the season’s first eastern shore sweet corn and fresh rockfish fillets for dinner.

Tags: Striped Bass, Choptank River

Posted on June 14, 2010 | Permalink

Friday evening on the lower Choptank River

Type: Chesapeake
Region: Eastern
Location: Choptank River

Friday evening looked promising for some shallow water fishing; the tide was flooding and winds were light. Upon arriving at a favorite spot, things looked a bit off with discolored water and barely any tidal current. As the sun began to set my fishing buddy and I worked over some of our favorite spots only to find very sparse results. We were fishing topwater lures; my favorite is a Storm Chug A Bug and my buddy was using a medium sized Creek Chub popper. A few small fish gave our lures a try but simply put, the fish were not there. I switched to a small swimming plug and caught a few small rock fish in the 15” size range and several small spot that must have had a huge appetite since they were no larger than the lure they attacked. Despite the lack of rock fish the company was good, the setting peaceful and the sunset was beautiful. Life is good

Tags: Choptank River, Striped Bass, Spot

Posted on June 14, 2010 | Permalink

Rock Hall Annual Rockfish Tournament

Type: Chesapeake
Region: Eastern
Location: Rock Hall, MD

Rock Hall, Maryland: Keith Lockwood was on duty measuring fish for the annual rockfish tournament sponsored by the Maryland Waterman’s Association at Rock Hall on Friday June 11th which was day one of the three day tournament. The official measurement is caudal length which is the measurement at the inside notch of the tail. At the end of the day the leader was at 33-1/4”. Captains reported the best fishing was in the early morning hours and those who were chumming caught their fish on the bottom. Just about all the best fish measured were males and ranged from 27” to the front runner at 33-1/4”. There were 90 boats fishing on the first day; with about an equal number trolling and chumming. Those chumming fished around Love Point and Swan Point and the boats trolling were at the Mud’s and Triple Buoys. This is a great event and it is based in the quiet waterside town of Rock Hall.

Tags: Striped Bass, Rockfish, Tournament

Posted on May 06, 2010 | Permalink

Scientists study disease in striped bass

Type: Chesapeake
Region: Eastern
Location: Cooperative Oxford Lab

Fisheries biologist Kevin Rosemary collects samples from spring migrant striped bass in the pictures below. Biologists are studying a bacterial disease, called Mycobacteriosis, in striped bass. Fish collected in surveys are examined for signs of disease. Samples of internal organs are collected for microscopic examination and bacterial culture. Biologists at the Cooperative Oxford Lab have been studying the dynamics of this disease in striped bass for over 3-years using a tagging study, which has yielded valuable information. Striped bass are examined and photographed, a bright green tag is inserted and the fish is released back into Chesapeake Bay. Recaptured fish are studied to determine how quickly this disease progresses and if disease increases mortality rates. Fishermen are urged to report the capture of tagged striped bass (866-845-3379). A reward of $20 is offered for the return of intact fish. Retrieving intact, tagged fish is vital to this study. Biologists will make arrangements to collect tagged fish. Fish with the bright green tags are exempt from daily creel limits.

Tags: Striped Bass, Disease, Cooperative Oxford Lab

Posted on May 03, 2010 | Permalink

The 7th Annual Greensboro Fishing Derby

Type: Freshwater
Region: Eastern
Location: Choptank River

The 7th Annual Greensboro Fishing Derby took place on a sunny and warm Saturday May 1st on the banks of the Choptank River in Greensboro. There were 152 children registered in the event and everyone had a great time fishing with parents and friends. The organizers of the event had plenty of worms for the contestants as well as hot dogs and prizes after the fishing was over. There were hungry sunfish, white perch and yellow perch to catch and also overhead tree limbs hungry for bobbers and hooks. Also seen were several muddy wet sneakers and pant legs of victims claimed by the slippery banks of the Upper Choptank River. Parents were kept busy untangling lines and unhooking fish and enjoying quality time with their children. Trophies were given out for several categories and a random drawing awarded a variety of prizes to the children in attendance. A special drawing was held to pick a contestant from the fishing derby to participate in the youth division of the 2010 Maryland Fishing Challenge. Cheyenne Sawyer of Greensboro was the lucky winner and will receive a free fishing trip donated by sponsors of the Maryland Fishing Challenge at the Sandy Point State Park awards ceremony in September of 2010.

Tags: Fishing Derby, Children, Kids, Junior Anglers, Maryland Fishing Challenge

Posted on April 19, 2010 | Permalink

Witnessing Striped Bass Spawning

Type: Chesapeake
Region: Eastern
Location: Choptank River

I was fortunate enough to witness a striped bass spawn on the Choptank and Nanticoke Rivers on April 15th and 16th. The male fish seem to be so intoxicated with hormones that they were bumping my canoe. My guess is that they felt the displacement of water of the canoe with their lateral lines and thought my canoe was a gigantic female striped bass. Male striped bass often bump the bellies of ripe female striped bass as they fin in the current; to encourage them to release their eggs so the male striped bass can fertilize them. This is the second large spawn I’ve witnessed this month; the first was the 4th through the 7th of April on the same two rivers. There are reports that the Potomac River in the region of Fort Washington to above the Wilson Bridge and the upper Patuxent went off at the same time. The striped bass from this latest spawn should be making their way out into the bay by the middle of this week if not sooner. I would expect another noticeable spawn once we have a few days of warm weather again.

Tags: Striped Bass, Spawning

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