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Chesapeake bay in April

Old 02-28-2019, 05:45 PM
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Default Chesapeake bay in April

I'd going fishing Easter weekend with a buddy on the Chesapeake bay for my first time. We're staying at his place on the Magothy river.

I'm a seasoned striper fisherman on Smith Mountain lake, mainly live bait with planer boards, downlines, etc. Also a lot of experience with salt water king mackerel live bait fishing, cobia, spanish, specks, red drum, whatever near shore in NC.

Anyways, any advise on where to go and what tactics to use for our best shot at success? I'm assuming stripers are the main game in that area.
Old 02-28-2019, 06:34 PM
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April is a little early but you could try for red and black drum at fisherman island. They like to travel in schools around the breakers looking for crabs and bait. Blue crab is the bait of choice on a fish finder rig. For black drum use the same rig and a clam. Inside the inlets you may be able to pick up some nice trout or bluefish.

Last edited by Finfever21; 02-28-2019 at 08:25 PM.
Old 02-28-2019, 06:53 PM
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20th is opening day for rockfish. Gonna be a zoo that weekend. Trolling with planer boards or chunking will be the ticket.
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Old 02-28-2019, 07:38 PM
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Default April

Trolling is the name of the game in April. The more lines you can manage the better. Umbrellas and tandems in green and white are popular. Try to vary depths to cover the water column.

It it will be a zoo and as captain you will have to kept your head on a swivel. There will be no doubt where the popular fishing spots are. Just look for the “fleet”.

Good luck and enjoy!

P.S. If you have kids on board you may want to limit which VHF channels you scan. The radio traffic can get out of hand.
Old 03-02-2019, 11:10 AM
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If you are looking to avoid the headaches of zig zagging through the fleet while trolling, chunking bunker on the bottom in the mouth of the (Podickery Point) Magothy can productive. Just be sure to use large circle hooks and fish just off ledge. Love point area, directly across the bay can be productive too.
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Old 03-02-2019, 01:08 PM
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Originally Posted by iFishMD View Post
If you are looking to avoid the headaches of zig zagging through the fleet while trolling, chunking bunker on the bottom in the mouth of the (Podickery Point) Magothy can productive. Just be sure to use large circle hooks and fish just off ledge. Love point area, directly across the bay can be productive too.
I might try that... I hate crowds, but my buddy and I haven't seen each other in years and were able to get schedules to align for that weekend, so we're fishing even if it's going to be bumper cars out there.

Old 03-07-2019, 03:20 PM
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Better yet grab some minnows and go to black water for snakeheads ........cool to catch if you never fished for them before
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Old 03-08-2019, 12:53 AM
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Stripers are the only size-able gamefish in that area until June or so. Later on in the season, bluefish will show up. Spanish mackerel may make an appearance as far north as BB, but normally found further south.
I recommend you take a charter if you want to do the trophy season trolling deal unless you already own 6+trolling rods with parachute rigs or umbrella rigs and 2 large planar boards- not the small ones to pull live bait away from the boat. In 2017, a friend and I managed 2 keepers out of 3 hits with a 7 rod planar board spread out of a 17' skiff. One keeper came off the only boat rod, while the other 2 hits came off board rods. That was some serious luck based on the overall trend of that season.

Chumming would probably be your best bet. Chumming will get a lot of smaller fish, but catching is always fun.

You can also consider just working shoreline structure in the river with lures for schoolie fish- hard jerkbaits and 4-5 inch soft plastic paddletails and swim shads work well for this. By late April and early May, you may even get them on topwater. If you choose to do this, it will be purely C&R even if you manage to get a keeper in the river.
Old 04-01-2019, 12:14 PM
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Everyone will be trolling for Stripers.....Everyone and their brother
Old 04-01-2019, 12:47 PM
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As other have said opening day/weekend here. Trolling is the primary method in early spring. I would suggest do your best to stay away from the crowds. We will be out there, hoping it is rainy and windy to help keep the crowd down
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Old 04-02-2019, 09:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Finfever21 View Post
April is a little early but you could try for red and black drum at fisherman island. They like to travel in schools around the breakers looking for crabs and bait. Blue crab is the bait of choice on a fish finder rig. For black drum use the same rig and a clam. Inside the inlets you may be able to pick up some nice trout or bluefish.
Been thinking about when the trout and reds may turn on. Have some warmer weather this week and thought about giving it a go this weekend. Maybe explore the Mobjack (never fished it before) or stick the west side of the lower bay (Poquoson, Little Creek, Rudee). Never been to fisherman island, but have wanted to try. Any thoughts on one of those areas being appreciably better than the other?
Old 04-02-2019, 10:12 AM
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Originally Posted by captquin View Post
Been thinking about when the trout and reds may turn on. Have some warmer weather this week and thought about giving it a go this weekend. Maybe explore the Mobjack (never fished it before) or stick the west side of the lower bay (Poquoson, Little Creek, Rudee). Never been to fisherman island, but have wanted to try. Any thoughts on one of those areas being appreciably better than the other?
From what I've seen around the mouth of the York and Mobjack all the grass beds have been gone since last fall. I was out looking around last weekend and it was lifeless.

I think Rudee would be your best bet for puppy drum.

Last edited by Mako 234; 04-02-2019 at 10:22 AM.
Old 04-02-2019, 11:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Mako 234 View Post
From what I've seen around the mouth of the York and Mobjack all the grass beds have been gone since last fall. I was out looking around last weekend and it was lifeless.

I think Rudee would be your best bet for puppy drum.
Roger that. Never been in the Elizabeth/Jame either. Plan to give those a shot at some point too. Lots of water to explore...
Old 04-02-2019, 07:07 PM
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Originally Posted by captquin View Post
Been thinking about when the trout and reds may turn on. Have some warmer weather this week and thought about giving it a go this weekend. Maybe explore the Mobjack (never fished it before) or stick the west side of the lower bay (Poquoson, Little Creek, Rudee). Never been to fisherman island, but have wanted to try. Any thoughts on one of those areas being appreciably better than the other?
As of this past weekend, it still has not turned on. Reds have nearly disappeared from the Tidewater area inlets since last summer. There are few sporadic reports, but not as the good old days 1-2 seasons ago.
Specks are in the inlets and some have been caught. I think 4+ days of 65+ sunny days might turn things on.
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