Saturday, July 5, 2008

Barely Legal on the Chesapeake


I took advantage of an opportunity to get a night trip out in the open Chesapeake Bay this weekend, and I rarely fish on charter boats, so why not? We went out on the 46' Compensation under Captain Mike Harris and had a pretty productive trip.

The wind was up a bit much, and the fish were pretty spread out. Striped bass, our target, are anadromous fish and spawn every spring in the Chesapeake Bay. Scientific opinion is a little divided over the primary force that drives the bass up into coastal bays - either warmer water temperatures or large schools of anadromous baitfish, like herring, who are following the exact same route, to many of the same rivers and creeks. By early July, spawning has concluded and the largest fish have already left the Bay for the open ocean, in search of larger prey and cooler, better-oxygenated water. However, smaller fish remain in the Chesapeake and Delaware Bays in large schools, and often have a voracious appetite from July until October.

We had trouble getting on top of the fish, so we went to the lowest common denominator - trolling with calcutta swim baits on umbrella rigs.




Trolling.......snore....




Justin's first-ever rockfish is a nice one!



We eventually limited out on fish that were barely legal (18"), with no fish over 24", and switched up our tackle to bottom rig fishing, to mess around with some croaker that hang out on the rock piles on the bottom of the Bay. One of the guys on the boat caught this nice 19.5" gold croaker. We landed the boat around midnight with over 100 fish in the cooler for 8 anglers.

The Boss Hogg Croaker - Citation Eligible at 19.5"

Not a bad night out...hard to beat for early July I guess!

6 comments:

tugboatdude said...

MMMMMM MMMMMMM MMMMMMM fried croaker!

Swamp Thing said...

Guess what's for dinner when you get up here? Croaker Nuggets!

Anonymous said...

It looks like on hell of a trip. I hope one day I can get a real boat cause I can't have quite an adventure like that on my Sevylor boat.

Swamp Thing said...

I hear ya. Biggest boat we have is a 16' jonboat...and it's parked at my brother's house....3 hours away from mine.

I highly recommend getting a canoe or kayak. World of difference from inflatables!

tugboatdude said...

well our 16' boat can get us into tighter places than boat plus you can actually explore places people tend to forget exist.in todays world bigger is always better however i'm still stuck in the old school pattern of reflecting on what's around us and taking it all in,not letting it fly by.

The Rabid Outdoorsman said...

Stripers still not running here in Maine . . . water is still to cold. Predicted to be in the 90s here today so maybe this weekend!

Nice Blog!