Sunday, August 19, 2018

August 10, 2018- Scouting trip (meaning, no fish)

August 10, another blistering hot Friday.  Took the day off to get a few chores done, including hauling the boat back to Fruitland to fill it with ethanol-free gas, and mowing my knee-deep grass at the Deal Island camp.  This was a solo fishing adventure, and as much as I enjoy fishing with friends and family, once in awhile it is neat to get out alone.  Fishing solo, I'm unencumbered by the drive and necessity to put my passengers on fish.  I take it as an opportunity to explore new places and assess their potential for fishing, perhaps at another time.

As I already mentioned, it was brutally hot, and it has been for well over a month.  Water temps were in the upper 80's, so while the rays and skates are still thriving in the shallows, the rock, trout, and everything else are not.  At least not in the daylight hours.  I've been pouring over my nautical maps in attempt to identify new fishing spots.  I described one in a recent post, on the east side of South Marsh Island.  What I have been looking for are mouths of creeks that are draining marshy areas.  But rather than looking for creek mouths that are simply draining marshes on the outgoing tide, I'm trying to identify creeks that cut through the islands in a more or less north-to-south manner, where the outflux from the creek mouth will be on the INCOMING tide.  And on this trip, I found a really cool new spot.  This was located on the northeast side of Smith Island, with nice deep water (5-8 ft) leading up to it.  

And even though I did not catch anything here (it was between 3:45 and 5:45pm), I can see in my mind's eye this place producing fish once the water cools.  I am certain to return,.... #dealislandrandy

Monday, July 30, 2018

July 27, 2018- Fishing with TJ

A full moon and a forecast for light (<5 mph) winds was all it took for me to plot my next course. It was a hot and humid day, as it has been lately.  Extended periods of rain up north had the water a little more dirty looking than usual.  The wind never did lay down as predicted, and somehow I got the direction wrong off my fav app- Windfinder, so surprised to find winds 15 mph+  out of the NW.  Chalk me up for a directional fail, and a misinformed speed, both conspiring to make my 2nd of 3 spots (NW side of South Marsh) an extremely poor choice except for the one lone keeper croaker (11.5") I caught here- first keeper croaker in 2 yrs.  This was preceded by my first choice to return to Brant Point on the E side of S. Marsh. Pictured here is TJ with one of the several rockfish he caught that day.  Bottom structure provide to be a little challenging but I like this spot and I plan to return here.

Our final move was to my favorite hole on the back side of Little Deal Island.  This spot has produced keeper rock the last 2 times I've been there. It's usually around 4ft deep on high tide.  This quickly falling low tide had us in less than 2 ft of water.  No matter, we caught rock anyway (everything on soft crab today, the fish still aren't hitting crankbaits during the day).  The day's tally was 4 rock in the cooler.  Going to have to take a little break as I'm wrapped up the next couple of weekends.  Maybe I can sneak one in during the week.

Lastly, a shout out to Jason- a blog reader who was thoughtful enough to stop in the yard at the camp and say hello.  Turns out Jason has a place right up the road in Dames Quarter and is an avid fisherman.  It's great hearing from and meeting people that read the blog. I can see the stats on blog traffic, the average blog entry is viewed by approximately 200 people.  I don't post everything here (gotta hold back a few secrets) but enough that it serves my own purpose as a journal.  Feel free to reach out and say hello, or leave a comment. 


Monday, July 23, 2018

7/20/18- Fishing with Kara

In my last blog entry, I promised I would be trying a new spot next time out.  Being true to my word, I tried a new spot.  I had been researching my maps, trying to predict a good new spot.  What I came up with was a creek outlet just above Brant Hole Point, on the east side of South Marsh.  I chose this spot for two reasons- 1) depths were average 5 ft right up to the shoreline, and 2) The creek ran into the island and drained it from a point further south.  That meant that with an incoming tide, the water in the narrow creek would be exiting where I was anchored.  

Kara and I launched at 3:30 pm, with a decent wind blowing out of the SE and a low tide.  On the way to the ramp from the camper, we passed a WBOC film crew with their camera rolling.  As we waved to the camera and reporter, I told Kara to watch the news the next day, and sure enough, we made a 1-2 second appearance driving down the road.  

Anyway,...We tried drifting the deep water first, hoping to find croaker (which had been reported to have been caught in the area) and spot.  After two drifts I realized this was a waste of time and headed over to the scouted spot at Brant Hole Creek.  After a half hour or so there and zero action, I began to consider the effect of the stiff wind and how it was churning up the water where we were.  So, we relocated in an effort to dodge the effects of the wind and hopefully to also start catching fish.  We anchored off Gunbarrel Point right around 5pm, and for the first 30-45 minutes caught nothing (casting softcrab).  Then, as if someone flipped a switch, the rockfish started biting.  This continued until 6:30pm, at which point we had caught 7 nice rock.  Only a skate and two cownose rays (one being the biggest I may have ever seen) interrupted the action.  By 6:45, the wind had picked up to steady 25mph + and seemed to be increasing, so I called it.  And since the wind had also shifted to straight out of the east, we had a pretty bumpy ride back to the ramp.  Unfortunately, since the action was so steady for so brief we neglected to get any pictures.  Oh well, I guess we'll have ot go again soon !!   #dealislandrandy

Sunday, July 15, 2018

where not to go,... Jul 13, 2018

My fishing buddy Dan had been on a charter boat the week of the 4th of July, and slayed multiple species, including 4 keeper rock.  I decided that it was worth a trip up that way, seeing as had never fished or boated that area.  We launched around 3:15 from the ramp at Dames Quarter, another first.  The moon was new and the high tide was starting to spill into the parking lot.  Launching was interesting- you have to pull up into the driveway of whoever lives across from the ramp in order to back your trailer in.  And once your in, there really aren't any poles or cleats to tie off to.  Shame on you state of Maryland, you really could do better (in contrast, the ramp at Wenona is spectacular).  Anyway, it's clear that on a low tide you better follow the channel markers tightly and have your prop up just a little, as I was marking 2.1 ft near the ramp. 

We ran out of Dames Quarter Creek (very pretty here) and up into the Nanticoke River.  Had I not taken the wrong route, it would have been about a 20 minute ride at 24-25 mph.  When we got to Roaring Point I was surprised to not see any charter boats fishing. Heck, there was nobody fishing- bad sign.  There are a couple of nice holes just to the NW of the point, with oyster bed bottom.  However, all we were able to coax in with soft crab were catfish and some 6 inch rockfish.  And this was on our beloved falling tide.  Apparently things had changed in the week and a half since Dan last fished here.  Returning to Deal Island, we got word that the charter captains had moved back down into the Sound with the arrival of decent sized spot.  I like spot, but I just don;t get excited about catching a mess of them. They taste good, but a smallish fish with not too much meat.  Pales in comparison to my beloved croaker, and doesn't fight nearly as well.  I won;t be returning here for awhile,....

Monday, July 9, 2018

7/4/18- Independence Day Rockfish

Just a quick update here. Almost a carbon copy of the  previous trip a few days prior.  Same spot behind little Deal Island, same bait, still hot, muggy and buggy.  High tide at 6:30pm.  We put 4 rock in the cooler, largest was 20".  And although I'm posing here with the 20-incher, my brother actually caught this one.  Yes, they still taste good.

Tried drifting the bottom at several deep places (25-55 ft) in the Sound, nothing.  Going to try something completely different next time, I promise.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

6/29/18- hot, muggy, buggy, and some rockfish

June was an overall bummer in terms of attempting to go out fishing.  My one key opportunity mid-month ended at the boat ramp with another blown-out brake line on my truck which nearly sunk my truck.  The 2 weeks leading up to that were dominated by over 16 inches of rain.  Fathers Day I got the boat out on the water, but only to take the family to dinner in Rumbley.

Friday June 29, after doing some plumbing at the camper and cutting grass, I waited until until 4pm to launch with my buddies Dan and Rhett.  High tide was 3:15, so by design were catching the first part of the falling tide  Taking the short-cut through the jetties behind Deal Island out of the Wenona harbor (caution- only do this on high tide AND if you know which side of the bamboo "channel markers" to stay on), I found a nice little pool that has consistently held evening rockfish for me.  But, it was hot, really hot and had been hot for days.  I was concerned about the 85F water temp in only 3.5 - 4 feet of water.  For some reason, the rock seem to be able to overcome this and feed in these warm shallows.  Soft crab is always the ticket here, and if you are lucky enough to avoid the cownose rays and the skates, I almost always am able to put something in the cooler. 

Five to ten minutes into it, I hook the first rock.  Nice, and in the cooler it goes.  Ten minutes later, I have another, slightly larger and he too goes into the cooler.  Another ten minutes, Rhett lands what would be the largest fish of the evening at 23 inches.  Soon after that, Dan has one hung and loses it ten feet away from the boat- hard to tell but it could have given Rhett's fish a run for its money in terms of length.  Dan soon redeemed himself and put a nice fish in the cooler.  A good 20 minutes plus would transpire before the next action, and this time it was me on the receiving end of one of the biggest rays I have ever seen.  Determined to save my rig, I fought this stupid fish for the next 15 minutes, only to ultimately lose the battle. Time to move,...

After a nice ride across Tangier Sound to South Marsh Island, we turned to casting in hopes of landing either a nice rock or a speckled trout.  The wind was whipping pretty god from the NW, and we had no protection from it. With the boat broadside to the waves, we bounced pretty good until later in the evening.  The turbulent water also served to uproot a lot of submerged grass, now letting loose with the decreased water clarity.  In retrospect, an east or south-side location may have been a better idea.  Anyway, around 7:30 or 8 the wind laid down and the bugs landed en masse. With no action, it was game over.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

First fish on the new boat

After 9 years and thousands of fish, I finally parted ways with my Seaswirl Striper center console.  It went to a good home, and the new owner is having lots of fun with it.  Meanwhile, I replaced it in March with a slightly larger and much newer 2014 Tidewater 180 Adventure center console. 

I've spent much of the spring making tweaks to it, the most important (to me) being installation of an electric winch.  The boat now ready, as expected the wind has blown steadily on the weekends, only letting up during the week while I'm at work.  And I guess this would be a good opportunity to share that I put a fairly substantial efforts this spring toward turkey hunting, having gotten very close to some nice turkeys but not able to close the deal. 

Although the maiden voyage on my new boat was a few weeks back, it wasn't until yesterday that I seriously took it out fishing.  Even then I braved 15-20 mph + winds.  Since it was blowing directly out of the south, I knew I could find decent shelter on the north end of South Marsh Island.  I caught the beginning of the outgoing tide around 1:30 pm and stopped at my first point, dropping soft crab on 8/0 hooks in hopes of catching a red drum, but only hooking two 16-inch rock.  After a while of losing baits I decided to take a cruise, and I entered Holland Straights in attempt to get in near to Adam's Island, but all I found was shallow water.  Retracing the route I had followed seemed like a good idea, with the rapidly falling tide.  I don't like traveling in 1.4 feet of water.

I settled in on Gunbarrel Point, which sits near the NW corner of South Marsh.  At about 3:30, it was suddenly game-on.  I started catching rockfish on my absolute crappies reel on my oldest rod, ironic since I replaced a lot of my gear over the winter.  The first one up was 22-inches, well over the 19-inch state limit, recently reduced from 20".  The next was about 17", and with a skate hooked on the 2nd hook of the double bottom rig. This was in 6 feet of water, which was still stirred up from all the recent rain.  Water temp was 78F.  The next 3-4 were between 16-18 inches, all nice fish that battled well.  Then another big one, that managed to shake loose 10 feet from the edge of the boat.  And lastly, a 21-inch rock that also brought along a skate as a companion.  This fulfilled my allowed quota of two fish.  I had spent time during and after this casting various 4-inch plastics on jig heads hoping for not only a rock but also a speckled trout, but no dice.  Final tally- 7 rock, two of which were keepers.

I'm super anxious to get the new boat out again.  I don't think it will be long,...