“Walleye” Notes Newsletter, 26 Apr 2014
– Flats Report….lack of anyway! –
– Back in the Saddle at Home! –
– Speckled Trout Preview – \
– Walk-On Trips Open Now –
(First Speck of the year-wins free walk-on trip!)
FLATS REPORT or Lack Of!
The Susquehanna Flats was sure “flat” in 2014 for me. Starting the year of 2014 optimism was not in the forefront of my mind. With the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel very weak in Dec. 2013, winter Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant bite basically non-existent until well into March, I wasn’t overy thrilled to be heading north. On behalf of the conditions I will say my 10 days or so at the Susquehanna Flats had horrible water conditions for catching Striped Bass on lures. With heavy rain up in PA and the Susquehanna River Valley in mid-april it only equaled one thing….bad conditions to follow at the “flats”. I do know nice Stripers were being caught in the Susqy River above the “legal to target Stripers zone” and over in the Elk River where over the last several years nice Stripers have set up to spawn and feed on Herring or whatever else they are eating. Stripers just haven’t shown up in consistant numbers in the Susquehanna Flats proper for quite awhile. So what is it? …..conditions? I stink? ect………What I really think the problem is at the flats; a really serious lack of migratory Striped Bass. The late 90’s and early 2000’s was seriously incredible for catching many large striped bass. Around 2006 or so numbers were declining and in the last several years only one year was good and it wasn’t on huge fish….it was local fish up to 32″ or so. The true huge fish just aren’t showing in numbers. Folks slinging bait and fishing areas outside the “legal” zone are catching some huge fish. Moral of my story is I think not many are left to be up at the flats. Let me put it this way…….Based on my experience up and down the bay for 15 years straight at well over 2000 guided trips I think the fish are gigantically declined. What used to be a (5 gallon bucket full) of fish migrating up the bay to spawn, I think is now about 20% full…….I hope! When the “full bucket” started up the bay they depart “the bucket” and run up rivers both on the eastern and western shore all the way up the bay…….by the time the “bucket” reaches the flats a good number of fish were still “in the bucket”, hense, we had plenty of big fish to catch on light tackle on the Susquehanna Flats. Now, at what I think is around 20% of a “bucket” of Stripers starting up the bay leaves very few fish left in the “bucket” by the time they reach the flats. That is it in my mind…..I sure could be wrong and hope I am but that is what I think based on a whole lot of time chasing fish around with light tackle up and down Chesapeake Bay. I’m not trolling 30+ lines catching that one fish in my path. I’m running around slinging lures to fish holding on structure or eating bait on the surface or anywhere I can spot them. Commercial netters are not a good indicator of the health of the population, pound nets fish 24/7 days a week in major Striper “highways” up and down Chesapeake Bay. They will still catch fish until they are just about extinct. With the serious decline of Striped Bass guys slinging lures will feel the decline mostly. Hopefully next year changes will be made in the mortality of Striped Bass up and down the coast in a big way……..we are all guilty of catching and keeping fish through the years…..folks want to eat what they catch….I get that…..politics is huge in our state….I sure hope common sense prevails and we have to start taking way less fish out of the water and into coolers. Egg laden fish being thrown into coolers is so wrong on every level….I just can’t believe the folks being payed to protect the fish can let that happen. Professionals with degrees in fishery management type stuff and biology ect…..should be able to report up the chain in the DNR and shut off the season until the eggs are out. Shame on the law for letting it happen. Disgusting! But hey…..we still have fish and I hope they bounce back! Fish are still catchable, just not at the levels they used to be.
That folks is my Susqy Flats Report. I am in favor of closing anything to get the fish back…….I make a living taking folks fishing….I will adapt and overcome…..sick of hearing commercial organizations crying about “what will we do” I say WORK! Get a real job…I will if that is what it takes! Good luck all!!!!
Back in The Saddle At Home!
Fish on the fly near Hoopers Island yesterday (25 April 2014)
I am glad to be home! My smart brain told me to not go to the flats but my love of fishing the flats overpowered my smart brain. I didn’t do well at the flats and departed real early to come back home and start fishing. First trip back was a charm! Departed at daylight on 24 April and ran right up to the power plant to target whatever was there on light tackle. With the great trolling bite going on no-one was at the power plant…had it all to myself and it was loaded with fish. We caught many stripers….some up to 29″ and we snagged mud shad and herring by accident. Lot’s of life in the outlflow for sure. After about 3 hours of catching we departed and headed southeast to Hoopers Island to check the eastern shore bite. With water temps at about 56 degrees, Stripers were there and hungry! Jigging BKD’s http://www.basskandydelights.com in 8′-17′ of water worked well on fish up to 22″.
Just as I was heading to some island structure in shallower water I noticed a problem with my engine….had water flowing out of the bottom of my cowling. Uh oh! Popped the top and could see water flowing out from under the plastic covering over the flywheel ect… and other stuff……worried….water filled the cowling and was draining out the bottom fast. Salt water spraying under my cowling can’t be good. Called my mechanic…..monitered vital numbers and performance of the engine as I ran back across the bay to Solomons….engine ran fine….numbers were good but water was flowing where it shouldn’t be in a big way. Reliable Marine took my boat right in and popped the top…..had to remove plastic covering over flywheel to see where water was coming from……..JUST A LITTLE HOSE RIPPED! Whew…….needless to say I was happy! Reliable Marine in Solomons really hooked me up quick and had me out fast……best couple hundred bucks I’ve spent in awhile. With my horrible history of engine issues I was very happy to have a problem other than a blown engine! Dave (service manager) and John (lead mechanic)
are good people! They have been with me all through the 5 blown 225 powerheads……..this Honda 250 really seems great! Have over 1000 hours now and it hasn’t budged in performance or any important numbers. Also, in the year 2013 I spent 6800 dollars less in fuel because of the 250 honda……much better gas milage! Good stuff!!!!!!
Speckled Trout Preview
First Speck of 2014 wins free walk-on!
Carlo with a whopper Speck! Hoping 2014 has many!
Hoping 2014 will be another “year of the Speck”! Speckled Sea Trout fishing has been very good now for the last 3 years. Water temperature is just about where it needs to be to start having a shot at Specks in the eastern shore islands. I was over there yesterday and the temp was 56 degrees. i like to see 60 degrees in the morning and then a warming sun will fire up the water to the mid-sixties or more and that is when the bite really fires up. A very few sunny days will do it with water temp. 2012 my first Speck came on April 26, 2013 May 3 was the first Speck. This year who knows? I don’t think it will be long! With over 300 trips under my belt in the eastern shore Islands in the last 3 years I’m quite confident I will be able to locate Specks when they arrive. Lot’s of cool nooks and crannies to fish for sure. Cool thing about this fishery to me is everyday is different and I’m truly excited to get over there and fish everyday! The beauty of it is wonderful and the fishing can be really good! 2013 resulted in many huge specks and a great number of really nice ones. This winter to the south was brutal and many Specks died at the hands of “cold shock” in shallow water. No-one knows how many Specks really died or the percentage of population……all I know is we’ll see. Hoping it was just a “burp” and nothing really shocking. One thing I’ve always said is while fishing for Specks many other things can bite over there. Using light tackle makes catching any fish fun. Red Drum are a strong possibility along with big croakers and Stripers. Caught lots of croakers on Gulp Swim Mullets last may/june/july while Speck fishing. Stripers are always possible with some great striper fishing in May and June in the islands. Hoping nice Red Drum make a showing this year in the islands or main-stem structure. Caught some nice juvenile black drum last year in the islands and many Atlantic King Fish. You just don’t know……what I do know is the island trips are exciting and a great experience! Come on out and give it a shot! Here’s a few from last year!
It just goes on and on and on! Nothing like running to remote water and catching some really great fish on light tackle!
Get your “LTJ” Slam this year!
If you catch a keeper Striper, Red and Speck on the same trip with me you win a “Walleye” Pete’s “Chesapeake Bay LTJ Slam Tshirt! Many were caught last year…mostly in May, June and September! Hoping for lot’s of Slams this year! If you don’t win a t-shirt you can always buy one! LOL….I’ve got all sizes, grey and white….long sleeve and short sleeve with pocket! Come on out and give it a shot!!!!
Nice LTJ Slam by Dave
Currently I’ve got several open dates in May for booking. Also I’ll be opening up some walk-on dates now! If you have any questions about trips or the fishing give me a call anytime at 703-395-9955!
WALK-ON TRIPS! OPEN NOW!!!
Spring is an exciting time on the bay. The trophy season is open on the bay and many folks are trolling for large migratory striped bass…..nothing wrong with that….but I don’t do it. I love the shallow water light tackle bite. The water temperature is just about in the speck range….water has already spiked over 60 degrees in the skinny water on several occasions…when the water temp is 60 Specks are possible…..starting this coming week..it’s possible. Lot’s of stripers biting right now along with the possible Specks! Good stuff! Come on out and give it a shot!
HERE’s the Deal:
Wednsday, 30 Apr 2014- cancelled
Friday, 2 May 2014- booked solid
Saturday, 3 May 2014-5 spots available
We will evaluate weather the day before the trip and cancel if neccessary
Catch the first Speck of my season and win a free future walk-on trip!
Currently will be launching from the Solomons Island Bridge Ramp at 545am and fishing till around 3pm….
Will be light tackle jigging Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant at first light….after that we’ll run to the eastern shore and work early season Speck spots where Stripers will certainly bite along with hopeful Specks and who knows what else
Cost: $120 each…we will run 60-80 miles for the day, fishing many beautiful areas around the bay!
Boat is comfortable for the ride back and forth across the bay…heat is available if needed!
I provide all baits/tackle and licensing, bring your own stuff if you want
We will fish a long day……bring what you want to eat and drink
Wear long pants and sleeves…bugs may be starting up over there…..you can always take it off
If you are interested in going on a trip or have a question give me a call at 703-395-9955 to reserve your spot or spots!
Incredable water…….great fishing……really cool!