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The Yack Report

Old 06-05-2019, 10:17 AM
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6/4/19 The Yack Report

Being tight-lipped about fishing is one of the most difficult lessons to learn. If you’ve never been burned, you either haven’t been fishing very long or you don’t have any info worth swiping. As such, most of my network has been keeping quiet going into the weekend’s tournaments and quite frankly, so have I.

On Saturday, 159 of the Chesapeake’s finest fly and light tackle Anglers competed in the 16th Annual Coastal Conservation Association Kent Narrows Fly and Light Tackle Tournament and in the end, the winning strategy was anything but a secret. Although many of us ran thousands of combined miles of the bay checking areas that should be holding quality fish in the 10 days leading up to the tournament, just about everyone in the light tackle division came to the conclusion that most of the good fish were in one place. The lion’s share of registered boats began lining up just north of the Bay Bridge about 15 minutes before the 5:30 am lines in time. There currently seems to be a lack of menhaden, the striped bass’ primary forage, in the upper bay. As near as I could tell, the rockfish were hanging at the bridge feeding mostly on a high concentration of white perch.

Fishing at the bridge is always a grind. Anything less than a perfect cast and unwaveringly staying in contact with your jig almost certainly results in lost tackle. Add heavy current and close to 100 boats to the equation and tensions run high. For me and my Irish temper…very high.

Team False Bottom consisted of Adam Smith, Jeremy and Joshua Kaltreider and myself. I’ve fished with these guys a good bit and I don’t think it’s much of a secret that they each have a knack for catching very big fish. If I do my part, I know they’ll undoubtedly do theirs. Additionally, they each bring enormous experience, creativity and great ideas to the plate, making my job that much easier. We spent a ton of time brainstorming and experimenting during the weeks leading up to the event. Without that effort, it would be difficult to be so confident while fishing right alongside previous champs like Frank and John Bonanno, Jesse Rossmann, Tony Moreira, Jamie Clough, Phil Kerchner, Rich Jenkins and the guy that literally wrote the book about light tackle jigging at the Bay Bridge, Shawn Kimbro, just to name a few. The localized compression of the school yielded a very personal, in your face style of tournament. It’s not often that you spend the entire day within a few feet of your fiercest competition.

In the end, and as usual, the cream rose to the top. Team Thunder Road brought home their 4th team victory in past 7 years, edging us out of the top spot by just an inch. Individual honors went to Morgan Kupfer, Sean FitzPatrick and Ed Liccione in the Fly division, Jason LaVey, Travis Long and Rich Jenkins in the Light Tackle division, Chuck Chambers, Troy Franz and Mike Brupbacher in the Kayak division, Charlie Foxwell, Thomas Foxwell and Nick Long in the Youth division, Alicia Moreira in the Ladies division, Sherry Miles in the Perch division and Allen Walker in the biggest non-striper finfish division. The Island Tackle Outfitters Big Fish Calcutta cash was taken home by Team False Bottom angler, Jeremy Kaltreider.

Though the fishing was relatively tough, a good time was had by all and a nice chunk of change was raised for habitat restoration and to help lobby to manage our resources for abundance which, along with a years’ worth of bragging rights, is what it’s all about. Special thanks to David Sikorski and all of the tournament committee members who put so much of their personal time and effort into making this a fantastic tournament and for organizing a great party at The Jetty.

It will be very interesting to see what the main mass of rockfish do next. I hope that they spread out a bit as having a concentration like we saw last summer makes the fish extremely susceptible to localized depletion. We all need this resource whether it be for work or play and I can’t stress enough how important it is that we take care of these fish. Please consider gently handling then releasing what you catch and don’t forget about all of the other opportunities that we have to catch more exotic species this time of year. Cobia, Red Drum, Black Drum, Tuna, Mahi, Sea Bass and Flounder are all in play in the region right now. If you don’t know how to go about targeting these fish or don’t have a boat of your own to do it, please feel free to send me a message and I’d be happy to point you towards a reliable and established guide/charter or headboat where you can learn the ropes and get in on the action.

In other rockfish news, there have been numerous reports of schooling fish in the mid-bay on the western shore side in about 30 feet of water over the past few weeks. This is hit or miss fishing as they’ve been popping up randomly anywhere between Franklin Manor and the gas docks. That’s an awful lot of water to cover but if you hit it right, the fishing can be pretty fast. Structure like oyster bars, artificial reefs and ledges in the 15-30 foot range continue to cough up decent quality fish in various locations. Travis Long reports some success with this method, although he says that he’s regularly checking 8-12 structure spots on the path to finding one or two that hold a handful of fish. 5-8” plastics in natural colors like white and albino have been working very well as our waters have been relatively clear for the past couple of weeks. I received a report last week from Frank Morrison, who has been livelining white perch on the upper bay almost daily and finding frequent success on rockfish in the 25-30” range. He says that if you found the perch, you also found the rockfish so as you catch the perch, you should go ahead and drop them right back down on a big circle hook for the stripers.

Catfish and White Perch action continues to be great in the rivers and main stem from Deale northward. Look for hard bottom areas in depths from just a few feet out to 15 or so for the best results. Perch Pounders (available at Anglers) and Roadrunner jigs are frequently getting bites from footlong perch and dinner-sized channel cats. A few pics of Ayden Smith are included.

That’s all for now…I hope you’ve enjoyed reading and would like to view all of the cooresponding pics, please follow The Yack Report on Facebook for ongoing updates.

-Dan Kilroy

#ccamd #chesapeakebay #chesapeakelighttackle #rockfish #stripedbass #lighttacklejigging #whiteperch #catfish #fishingreport #fishfalsebottom #judge265

Last edited by DKilroy; 06-20-2019 at 06:05 PM.
Old 06-05-2019, 11:40 AM
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In other words, Judge Yachts owners dominated the tournament
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Old 06-05-2019, 11:50 AM
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Originally Posted by iFishMD View Post
In other words, Judge Yachts owners dominated the tournament
Some did, yes.
Old 06-05-2019, 01:01 PM
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Great report! Thanks putting the time in to share.
Old 06-05-2019, 01:40 PM
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With the state the fishery is in I have a hard time wrapping my head around why a conservation based organization would continue and partner with an inaugural fishing tournament.
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Old 06-05-2019, 01:50 PM
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Originally Posted by shoreboy6 View Post
With the state the fishery is in I have a hard time wrapping my head around why a conservation based organization would continue and partner with an inaugural fishing tournament.

What inaugural fishing tournament are you talking about? The CCA light tackle tournament is in its 16th year. It is also catch and release with artificial lures only the first Saturday in June before water temps get too hot. Release mortality under these conditions is shown to be scientifically very low.

CCA will have an inaugural tournament later this year but it again will be catch and release only and the first Saturday in December. Again, under conditions and rules that foster very low release mortality.

I didnt fish the tournament because my charter wanted to keep fish.

Last edited by iFishMD; 06-05-2019 at 06:25 PM.
Old 06-05-2019, 05:10 PM
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[QUOTE=iFishMD;12596787]In other words, Judge Yachts owners dominated the tournament [/QUOTE

man I got to get me one of these then
Old 06-05-2019, 07:47 PM
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Originally Posted by shoreboy6 View Post
With the state the fishery is in I have a hard time wrapping my head around why a conservation based organization would continue and partner with an inaugural fishing tournament.
Inaugural means first. This is the 16th...the word you’re looking for is annual.

Partner?

Its CCA’s event. There are no big prizes or large sum cash payouts. It’s a fundraiser which helps allow the organization to keep doing things like restore habitat on the bay and lobby for legislation to manage game and forage fish stocks for abundance...aka maximum economic benefit versus the status quo of maximum sustainable yield.

Its a catch, photo and release tournament which takes place at a time of year during which, as Greg mentioned, science shows that catch and release causes minimal mortality.

Feel free to PM me with questions.
Old 06-06-2019, 04:49 AM
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Originally Posted by iFishMD View Post
In other words, Judge Yachts owners dominated the tournament
it certainly sounds like that was the case. When you buy a judge do you instantly have a new network of fishing friends, catch more fish and lastly write blogs, articles and even books?

Thanks for for the tournament write up and congratulations to your team. I missed it this year because I moved my boat to the ocean as the offshore game takes priority this time of the year
Old 06-06-2019, 05:18 AM
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Originally Posted by DKilroy View Post


Inaugural means first. This is the 16th...the word you’re looking for is annual.

Partner?

Its CCA’s event. There are no big prizes or large sum cash payouts. It’s a fundraiser which helps allow the organization to keep doing things like restore habitat on the bay and lobby for legislation to manage game and forage fish stocks for abundance...aka maximum economic benefit versus the status quo of maximum sustainable yield.

Its a catch, photo and release tournament which takes place at a time of year during which, as Greg mentioned, science shows that catch and release causes minimal mortality.

Feel free to PM me with questions.
Maybe you should read my statement again, my words are correct. Also, maybe you should stay more up to date on what your organization is doing.
Old 06-06-2019, 05:31 AM
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Originally Posted by iFishMD View Post



What inaugural fishing tournament are you talking about? The CCA light tackle tournament is in its 16th year. It is also catch and release with artificial lures only the first Saturday in June before water temps get too hot. Release mortality under these conditions is shown to be scientifically very low.

CCA will have an inaugural tournament later this year but it again will be catch and release only and the first Saturday in December. Again, under conditions and rules that foster very low release mortality.

I didnt fish the tournament because my charter wanted to keep fish.
https://www.ccamd.org/fishing-tournaments/

Chesapeake Rockfish Open is the tournament I was referring to
Old 06-06-2019, 10:28 AM
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Originally Posted by old hat View Post
it certainly sounds like that was the case. When you buy a judge do you instantly have a new network of fishing friends, catch more fish and lastly write blogs, articles and even books?
Actually there is quite a fraternity of owners locally. I know THTer 5th Tuition runs a text message group with a number of owners. Also I am pretty sure the guys in the CCA tournament tend to network together some.
Old 06-06-2019, 10:33 AM
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Originally Posted by shoreboy6 View Post
https://www.ccamd.org/fishing-tournaments/

Chesapeake Rockfish Open is the tournament I was referring to

Ahh, I know nothing about that tournament. I wasn't sure if you were referring to a tournament I am helping establish this fall that will benefit the CCA scholarship foundation for local kids to go to college. The tournament will honor a friend of mine who passed away way too young the end of last summer. We are hoping it will be a living memorial to him. Tournament will be in December out of Buzz's Marina and catch and release only format (with iAngler) with a BBQ afterwards. Water temps should be in the low 50's and artificial lures only will be allowed.

Last edited by iFishMD; 06-06-2019 at 10:47 AM.
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Old 06-06-2019, 12:32 PM
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Originally Posted by shoreboy6 View Post
https://www.ccamd.org/fishing-tournaments/

Chesapeake Rockfish Open is the tournament I was referring to
I’m more than well aware of their involvement. In this case CCA got involved as a means to provide guidance on how to effectively run the tournament as a catch and release event as opposed to a catch and kill event. Certainly, they are positioned to be a financial benefactor as well, and rightfully so.

I personally agree that the summer striped bass fishery in MD should be shut down entirely as it is in VA. For the time being, I’ll make the decision on my own to chase other species during these warmer months and shift focus from rockfish, as mentioned and encouraged in my last 3 reports.

Thanks for you comments.

Dan
Old 06-06-2019, 12:43 PM
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DKilroy, just so we are clear, this was never a personal attack on you. I sense that's how it was taken. I just have a fundamental issue with a Conservation Org that "puts the fish first" being involved in so many tournaments with the current state of the fishery.
Old 06-06-2019, 12:58 PM
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Originally Posted by shoreboy6 View Post
DKilroy, just so we are clear, this was never a personal attack on you. I sense that's how it was taken. I just have a fundamental issue with a Conservation Org that "puts the fish first" being involved in so many tournaments with the current state of the fishery.
I understand your thought process entirely and from a certain perspective it makes sense. I will say they’ve gotten involved with a number of tournaments now that have traditionally been all catch and kill to at least bring a catch and release component to the competition. I definitely view this as progress. The fact is that people are going to fish these events as long as it’s legal to do so. Through practical demonstration that catch, photo and release is a viable alternative to the traditional “hang em on the scale at the dock” format, I believe that progress is being made towards opening people’s minds about a different way of doing things.

What we have in the area is a culture issue, and I think that you have correctly spoken to that. People here tend to believe that god will keep making more fish no matter how many we take and that as long as its legal, they’re going to keep filling the box every time they can.

One thing that we all have in common is the desire to fish and catch. Any effort towards keeping more fish in the water is a good one in my eyes.

Last edited by DKilroy; 06-06-2019 at 01:06 PM.
Old 06-07-2019, 04:40 AM
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Originally Posted by old hat View Post


it certainly sounds like that was the case. When you buy a judge do you instantly have a new network of fishing friends, catch more fish and lastly write blogs, articles and even books?

Thanks for for the tournament write up and congratulations to your team. I missed it this year because I moved my boat to the ocean as the offshore game takes priority this time of the year
Thank you, sir. I hope you’re getting in on the tuna action this week.
Old 06-20-2019, 06:03 PM
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6.17.19 The Yack Report: Summer Fishing in Full Swing

For the past couple of weeks, the Striped Bass pattern has been fairly consistent. Almost regardless of general location, structures and traditional summertime hot spots in the range of 8-15 feet of water are consistently holding concentrations of keeper fish. Jigging, chunking menhaden, fishing soft crab on a bottom rig or live-lining white perch are all viable methods being employed by successful fishermen.

Although I am hearing of some good shallow water fishing in various tributaries, the overwhelming majority of the fishing pressure is focused on these widely known structures in or near the bay’s main stem. With that, I think it’s fair to give a friendly reminder about being conscientious and courteous when navigating the crowds. I had a number of interactions with others this week that were fairly unpleasant and I just don’t understand why it’s worth putting fellow anglers and boaters at risk for the sake of catching a few 20” rockfish. Please be safe out there and kind to others. It’s really the way it should be.

Additionally, understand that when the fish are aggregated to this extent, they become extremely susceptible to localized depletion. If you’re fishing for dinner, especially if using natural bait where deep hooking happens at a higher rate, please consider changing your method to artificial lures or calling it a day once you’ve caught your limit.

On 6/7, Ange Harclerode fished with Ron Buffington of JLS Custom Rods above the bridge on the main stem of the bay. Several boats were anchored in the area chumming and catching lots of small and a few mid-20” fish. Ron and Ange worked the contours on the outside perimeter of the structure, trying to drift away from the noise of the fleet which helped them key in on a better grade of fish. They had a steady bite for a few hours until the current died. Ange says that after trying one for a few minutes, he’s convinced that Ron out-fished him due to the sensitivity of the rods that he used as opposed to the off-the-shelf rods that Ange brought along that day. They used ˝ and 3/4oz COACH Jigheads with skirted 6” BassKandyDelights - BKDs in 12-14 feet of water. Ron had 3 fish on the day that broke the 35” mark, a couple pictured here. Great work fellas!

Captain Tony Moreira of MoreFins Charters has been hard at work for his clients on the mid and upper bay the past couple of weeks. Tony has keyed in on a steady and consistent early morning top-water bite on shoreline structure in less than 5 feet of water. Look for points or underwater structures which effectively divert the natural flow of current. These make great ambush points for quality stripers that lie in wait for baitfish to move by. Although this type of fishing often takes place in water that’s just a few feet deep, the most consistent spots are those that have an egress to deeper water nearby. Poppers are usually a good bet in windier/rougher conditions and walk-the-dog lures tend to prevail in calmer conditions. If you’re fishing with a few people on-board, it’s always a great idea to each throw different lures until you’re able to establish which is drawing the most strikes. Pictured here are Tony’s clients from Ohio who had a great time on their first ever striper trip on Saturday.

If you’re looking for a great experience fishing some of the prettiest areas of the mid-Chesapeake, give Tony a call and book a trip. He’s a wealth of information about the fishery, a consistently successful guide and an all-around nice guy.

Panfish action is still absolutely great in the shallows of our tidal rivers and even into the main stem of the bay. Live, hard bottom areas in 3-15 feet of water are holding solid filleting sized fish and lures like Bustem Stingers on 1/16 or 1/32 oz jigheads in tandem or beetle spin type spinnerbaits are hard to beat. Justin Beam, Adam Smith and Ayden Smith got out for a few hours on Sunday morning. They put a bunch of nice white perch in the cooler for their fish fry and released this nice Chain Pickerel in a western shore river.

Cobia and Red Drum action in the VA portion of the bay has been steadily heating up over the past few weeks. Fishing chunks of FRESH menhaden on the bottom and drifting live eels from a boat anchored on or near shoals and channel edges has been bringing the most consistent success as conditions most days have not been favorable for sight-fishing. My friend Lisa Doricchi fished with Pat Woods and Derek Elkins aboard Dennis Hinton’s Judge 27 Chesapeake on Saturday. After chumming/chunking for just a few hours in the morning they’d released several cobia up to 43” and then called it a wrap after boating this beautiful 54”, 63 pound giant, worthy of a VA citation and a few spots on Lisa’s dinner table. Lisa is an outstanding cook and I can’t wait to see pics of the concoctions that she comes up with for this most delectable of Chesapeake table fare. During our conversation Lisa remarked several times about how great of a host Dennis was and how comfortable they were fishing aboard his Judge. This was a bit of a reunion as the group first met randomly on a sandbar in Abaco, Bahamas while fishing last winter. It’s a small world but most of the folks that are fishing in it are fantastic people.

I was also lucky enough to be invited to fish for cobia on Saturday and joined Brian Tsai and Jeremy and Joshua Kaltreider aboard their beautiful 23” Triumph tower boat. We launched at 9am and were met with very tough sight fishing conditions. Cloudy skies, brisk winds and choppy seas all presented challenges but we pushed through, spotting 3 fish throughout the day. Jeremy made a great cast to connect with this healthy cobia which was a bit short of the keeper mark.

Finally, outside of the bay the tuna, mahi and white marlin action has been heating up in the canyons off Delmarva. John Rogers and his son John spent Saturday aboard the Roncito between Washington and Norfolk Canyon. The crew worked together to bring home a great haul of 11 yellowfin tuna and 4 gaffer mahi. Knowing a bit about John, I don’t imagine that there could ever be a better Father’s Day gift than spending the day fighting tuna offshore with his son. Great work guys!

That’s all for now. If you’ve enjoyed reading this report, please join The Yack Report group on Facebook for ongoing updates. In the meantime, get out there, be safe, have fun and let a few go for next time!
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Old 06-28-2019, 07:29 AM
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6.28.19 The Yack Report: Welcome to Summer

It’s finally happening folks! The wind is laying down, the temperatures are way up. It’s sticky, stuffy and humid. I think it’s safe to leave your sweatshirts in the truck this weekend. Summer has arrived!

The striped bass pattern remains relatively unchanged. If you’ve caught fish for the last few weeks, you know where they are and how to get them. If you haven’t, take a peek at my last report for the scoop. The big difference now is steadily increasing water temps, now over 80 degrees at the mouth of the Severn River and air temps into the mid-90’s...what’s that mean? Rockfish mortality. Every single angler has the chance to make a measurable difference in the health of our rockfish population. Please consider doing any summertime Striped Bass fishing either early or late in the day when air temps are a bit more tolerable. Keep fish to be released in the water as you’re de-hooking or if you want a picture, have the person on the camera get ready so that you can take a quick pic and return the fish to the water within seconds. Hold the fish in the water, upright by the lower lip until it’s ready to swim off...they’re most definitely taking extra time to revive in these warmer, lower dissolved oxygen conditions. Please take the time to do what’s right for the resource. It’s easy, it makes a difference and it matters. I’ve attached pics from a quick trip with Jesse Rossmann one morning last week. We found a steady bite on rockfish up to 36” away from the crowds on submerged structure in 18 feet of water. Think patterns, not places!

Around the bay and in the nearby coastal region there’s are all sorts of great fishing opportunities right now. Bluefin Tuna fishing at classic nearshore areas like the Hotdog, Sausages, Elephants Truck and Massey’s Canyon has been consistent and at times, conditions have even been right to catch these speed demons on surface poppers and jigs. Check out this pic of Nick Garrott and the fat one he caught this week on a DIY trip with friends. Canyon action remains hot for yellowfin in the 40-60lb range. Hotspots are changing from day to day based on SST and water quality but I’m hearing reports of action from the Wilmington to the Washington from day to day. Alex Simon, Jeremy and Josh Kaltreider, my father Brian and I made a trip out on Sunday and did a lot of running but not very much gunning. Green water in the Washington was the word of the day and we found conditions to be less than ideal. After a few unsuccessful hours, I made the call to pick up and move to the Poormans where we found better water and similar temps. After spending an hour or so looking around the wind kicked up and it was time to turn my Judge Center console toward the beach and run for cover.

Red Drum are seemingly all over the place. With reports of huge schools of huge drum coming in from the Bay Bridge Tunnel to the Crisfield area, it’s time to get out there and get on the prowl. Check out the video that Chad Koenig from posted this week. What a cool thing to experience with your sons...great work sir! https://www.facebook.com/dogdaysfishing/

Although cobia aren’t terribly hard to find right now, they often can be hard to catch. The spawn is on, as they say. Sightfishing anglers shouldn’t be surprised to see pods of 4-10 smaller male fish slithering around a larger female. This is how they do their thing. Unfortunately, the larger females usually won’t eat under these circumstances and the smaller male fish generally aren’t big enough to earn a ticket to your cooler. There are definitely still some cobia out there that are ready to eat so don’t give up, just go into your trip understanding this bit of behavior...it’s probably a better use of your time to move on and look for other fish than to pester breeding fish that aren’t going to help your cause all that much. I’ve attached pics from Dave Gill and Adam Smith trip on Sunday. They launched from PLO and ran south quite a ways to find cobia and avoid beach traffic on the roads.

Want to get back to basics? Panfish action remains hot in the main stem and inside most of the tidal rivers. White perch are very aggressive this time of year and will hit beetle spin type spinnerbaits with Bustem Baits Stingers or curly tailed grubs with fury. Additionally, don’t forget about fresher backwaters and even you neighborhood pond for panfish action. Check out this giant Shellcracker that panfish-master Shawn Kimbro caught earlier this week. It’s his personal best of a species that’s very near and dear to his heart. You can read all about Shellcrackers and all sorts of other panfish is Shawn’s most recent book, “How to Catch Chesapeake Bay Panfish.” Congrats on your new PB, Shawn.

If you’ve enjoyed reading this report, please join The Yack Report on Facebook for ongoing updates.
Old 07-15-2019, 08:27 PM
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7.8.19 The Yack Report: Dodging the Storm

If you’ve spent any time fishing in the last couple of weeks, chances are good that you’ve been run off at least once by stormy weather. There have been a number of weather related boating accidents recently, all of which were likely completely avoidable. Being prepared to go fishing doesn’t just mean having the right rods, reels and tackle but also understanding the weather forecast, understanding how wind and tide information can be used to predict sea state (by YOU…not an app…published wave height predictions for the bay are rarely accurate) and having the right tools to stay informed while on the water along with the thought and discipline to use them. The most powerful tool at your disposal is the one that you’re very likely using to read this…your smartphone.

Most of the good fishermen I know have an entire subfolder on their smartphone home screen with 5-10 (or more) weather apps or links and use each for their respective advantages. Understanding general weather theory along with the specific conditions on any given day is not only a matter of safety, but is also probably the single largest contributing factor to an angler’s success or failure.

When it comes to sea state on the bay you must understand that waves are wind generated and dependent upon the direction, current may amplify or squelch wave height and period which is essentially the distance or equivalent time between waves, measured in seconds. Generally speaking, when the wind and current move in opposite directions, it makes for sloppy conditions on the bay. The greater the intensity of either, the worse it gets. This is why conditions can be so unpleasant with just a 10-12mph wind in some instances but very tolerable in others. This is just one tiny aspect of weather that you can, and should, use when you’re planning each trip. I’ve included a screenshot of some of the weather resources that I use along with current flow predictions from Navionics.

Knowing the conditions and understanding your personal limitations as well as those of your boat and crew is the foundation of safely operating a vessel. I’m not looking to turn this into a marine weather blog but I do believe that understanding weather makes one a better, safer fishermen and boater…take that for what it’s worth.

Yesterday Frank Bonanno and I travelled to southern Maryland with visions of red drum, speckled trout and cobia on our minds. We launched at about 10am and as we ran to our first spot of the day, Frank asked what my plan was. My response was simple…”go fishing.” Frank understood that my implication was to stay flexible and do what the conditions allowed. Shallow water fishing and sight fishing for cobia are fickle endeavors and trying to put square pegs in round holes rarely leads to triumph. Our first stop was a large grass flat with 1.5-2.5 feet of clean, clear water on the protected side of an island. As we approached, we noticed a handful of small slicks so I pulled the boat off plane and we made a few last preparations to our rigs. Frank started with a 3” DOA paddletail under a popping cork and I threw a larger weedless rigged Z-Man swimbait. On his very first cast, Frank caught and released a small striped bass. Then a few casts later a small speckled trout. Then a few cast later, a keeper-sized speck. That’s all I needed to see to make the switch. We’d spend the next 2.5 hours catching specks to about 17” on the lightest gear on the boat. They weren’t giants but they are absolutely beautiful fish and the scenery in this part of the Chesapeake is stunning. At one point I sarcastically remarked to Frank, “this really sucks, I’d much rather be fighting over a piling at the Bay Bridge, wouldn’t you?” Obviously, that was an untrue statement. The eastern shore islands of the Chesapeake Bay are most definitely good for the soul.

After a while we decided to leave the specks alone and head towards deeper waters in hopes of locating a cobia or red drum. With cloud cover moving in and thunder rumbling off in the distance to the south, it was evident that we wouldn’t be doing much sight-casting to cobia on this day. Instead we made our way to a wreck that has proven to hold quality bluefish during the summer months in years past. There was another boat anchored near the wreck so I came off plane a couple of hundred yards short, approached quietly and then moved into position to make casts at or around the structure. It took us about 10 minutes to figure things out before we both began bailing bluefish to 22” on G-Eye Jigs Rain Minnows. These aggressive fighters pulled plenty of drag and gave our JLS Custom Rods a welcomed workout. Smoked bluefish is a delicacy like no other so we kept about a dozen between us. Nothing makes a mess of a boat quite like mahi or bluefish so after a quick wash-down we took to surveying the weather situation. We had storms to our south, our southwest and our east. We lacked network service on our phones but we were able to make a phone call to Adam Smith who checked the radar and advised that the storm to our east was actually tracking westward. With that we knew that it was time to head for the ramp, fillet some fish and grab a quick meal. Impromptu trips to remote areas of MD and VA with Frank have proven to be some of the most productive and memorable outings that I’ve experienced over the past few years. We fish damn well together and I look forward to the next one.

I’ve been on a few early morning/late evening trips on the upper bay over the last 10 days with varying levels of success. My most consistent wins have come by staying out long after most other folks have gone home…and probably after most of them have gone to sleep for the night. You don’t necessarily need sunlight to catch rockfish on a jig. Fishing under the cover of darkness is an age old striper tactic employed by fishermen up and down the mid-Atlantic coast. This time of year it serves up quite a nice reprieve from the hot July sun and boat traffic. Tips for success are simple…reduce your jighead weight to the bare minimum that you require to stay in gentle contact with the bottom, slow your presentation down a bit by jigging less aggressively than you typically may and change out your plastic for something dark in color…we’ve been doing well with 7” Bustem Baits in the Mackerel color. Black and dark purple are also excellent options. Here’s a pic of Joshua Kaltreider with a fat nighttime striper that he caught on one of our recent outings along with a smile that could only be the result of solving the puzzle that is fishing.

Over the weekend I chatted with Sparrows Point resident and local top-water wizard Nick Wallace about a recent jigging trip that he took on the upper bay. As a husband and father of a growing family, Nick has few opportunities to get out on the water. Over the last several weeks, each time he and his wife had the opportunity to go fishing, their plans were foiled by severe weather…” I just couldn’t catch a break!” he said.

Through these challenges, he’s begun to realize the value of maintaining a strong network and in this particular case, it was the help of a friend that he made via Facebook that put him in the right place at the right time when conditions finally allowed him to get out on the water.

At the recommendation of a friend, Nick, his brother and a friend experienced epic fishing on mid-20 to mid-30” striped bass after a run south from Millers Island. Nick writes:

“We noticed a fleet where he had recommended. With the incoming tide I decided to start our drifts down-current of the fleet by 300-400 yards. Sure enough it worked! We were catching on almost every cast as the incoming tide hit its peak. The hot bite was in 25’ with the fish up high, 15’ and above. The 5” baits were catching steadily but once I bumped up to the 7”, the bigger fish couldn’t resist. We had some success on a chartreuse Bustem, but Mackerel was hands down the ticket. We had breaking fish that we were able to land on spooks, all mid-20’s. The bigger fish were 5-10ft down and as long as you had your bait in that range, you were good. We released multiple 30”+ fish with the biggest being around 37”. We kept a few smaller ones for dinner but they were actually hard to come by. Network is key, I just got lucky because I met the right guy on Facebook who was able to really point me in the right direction today. For that, I am extremely grateful.”

Congrats, Nick, on a great trip and thank you for releasing those big fish!

Summer is a glorious time here in the land of pleasant living. Striper fishing is hot but the opportunities to catch a variety of fish on our waters right now are almost endless. Flounder, sea bass, perch, spot, croaker, bluefish, spadefish, sheepshead, speckled trout, weakfish, red and black drum, cobia, tuna, marlin are all within reach! All it takes is some research, determination and willingness to bypass the striper fleet to manufacture a memorable outing.

I hope that you’ve enjoyed this report. If so and to see the corresponding pics, please join The Yack Report for ongoing updates.



See you on the water!

-Dan Kilroy

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