Josenhans Fly Fishing Newsletter

21 06 2010
Hot times on the Eastern Shore,
The weather has been hot and so has the fishing, albeit a bit spotty in location. There are places we just cannot fish at present due to the cow nose rays making an absolute mess of the shallows. Once we do some searching however, we generally find rockfish, blues and a few big croaker eager to eat!
Wednesday, I had two great guys in Joe DeMeo and his buddy Lou. I had them get up very early to take advantage of first light, but by 8:00 A.M. we had caught only nine stripers. So much for missing breakfast to catch the hot morning feed. Not to worry, after moving a few times we finally found a nice pocket of fish and had some super shallow-water rockfish action for the next couple of hours. Most of the stripers were school-sized fish of 16 – 22 inches and put up a great fight in the skinny water. We tried bluefish later in the morning but they just wouldn’t cooperate, but the morning rockfish bite made the day a tremendous success.
Thursday was a white perch outing (black perch to the old-timers on the shore) with Jerry Schultz and his wife Janet. They had all the action they could handle with fat, good-eating perch after just three hours. We cut the half-day trip short as they had more than enough for the freezer and some fresh fillets for a weekend pan-fry. The tidal creeks of Tangier Sound are currently crammed full of fat white perch and some big rockfish for those wanting to dunk a bit of peeler crab.

Friday I had some brand new clients fresh from California. Joe McCullough and his two sons Dan and Michael had just a super day with stripers in the morning and bluefish and big croaker after lunch. The blues were especially abundant, and fun, as they averaged two to four pounds with several becoming airborne like miniature tarpon. What a blast this was for three fellows that haven’t done much light tackle fishing. The guys did real well and I think they’re hooked. This bluefish action is just starting to heat up and should last for the remainder of the summer. This is great fun on light spinning and fly tackle for anyone wanting to test their endurance.
Friday, I had a trip out of Elliott Island in Dorchester County. Talk about a trip to nowhere! About 19 miles due south of Vienna winding through some of the prettiest marshland you will find on the shore. The day was beautiful except for the wind. A strong southerly breeze when combined with big cow-nosed rays cruising the shallows gave us some of the muddiest water of the week. We cruised Fishing Bay and up into the Honga River in search of clean water without much success. The guys learned a lot about the area and we still had a great outing.
Tight lines till next week,

Josenhans Fly Fishing Newsletter

7 06 2010

We fished four days this past week, all out of Madison, on the Little Choptank River and fishing was generally very good with lots of rockfish. I regret to say that I don’t have any fish photos for you, as most of the stripers were on the small-side, and the one day I caught some decent-sized fish, I was by myself. My arm’s not long enough to hold the fish and snap a picture at the same time – besides, I was having fun catching fish and I really didn’t want to stop and fool with the camera.

I was doing a little scouting for the CCA Kent Narrows Fly/Light Tackle/Kayak tournament that is held each year during the first Saturday in June. This was the first time I had entered it and I had a blast. I recommend it to anyone, as it is a low-key, relaxed and fun tournament to fish. In fact, because my partner and I didn’t weigh-in a fish, I almost didn’t feel like I had fished a tournament – but there’s a story behind that..
Anyway, Friday was my last scouting day and I had heard rumors of a nice school of stripers on the western shore of the bay near Calvert Cliffs. I was by myself and didn’t arrive until 9:00 AM – late riser that I am. There were quite a few charter boats trolling and almost immediately I located a ton of fish on the fish-finder. The water depth was forty feet and most of the fish were holding in the 5 – 15 foot range. I tried 5 and 7 inch Bass Assassins, Storm Shads and various fly patterns in the four to six inch range, with limited success. A personal theory of mine is that when the fish prove finicky, go small. I tied on a two inch lavender/white clouser deep minnow – sort of imitating the local bay anchovies. The fish jumped all-over over this pattern! I was using a RIO Striper DC 400 grain sink-tip line and was probably fishing my fly in the ten to fifteen foot range. After catching a couple in the 23 inch range I noticed they were all fat as butterballs and spitting up the so-called “May worms” as I pulled them to the boat. This is the second worm swarm of the season. I figured the small clouser probably looked like a worm, and I later discovered that pink was just as effective (They wouldn’t touch chartreuse). In the next two hours I caught maybe 25 rock in the 14 to 21 inch range, with five or six that were 23 inches, but weighed around five pounds each. Not great big fish but plenty of action, and what fighters!
The next day I met Joe Bruce at the ramp with high hopes of claiming first place in the fly division of the CCA tourney. We arrived off Calvert Cliffs just after 6:00 AM and I could see that Joe was a little curious as to where I stopped the boat, seemingly in the middle of nowhere – no structure nor working fish. I saw the fish on the finder right where I left them on Friday and actually caught a small striper on the first cast. Joe said that wasn’t a good sign. During the first twenty minutes I felt a little heavier tug and landed a plump 21 inch rockfish that I took a good hard look at and, with thoughts of yesterday still fresh in my brain, said no way, we can do better and promptly released him. To make this long story short, for the morning we caught maybe 60 – 70 stripers and released I guess three in the 21 inch range – all on fly. Smaller than the day before but we had a blast non-the-less. Joe had a real nice fish on at the end but it released itself before we could get a look, so we called it a day without a fish for the scales. 
Back at check-in we discovered that only two stripers had been weighed-in for the fly division, with third place open. So much for having a plan. I felt a little better when I discovered that at least two other guys had also released rock that would have placed, including a 23 inch fish that was tossed back due to sores all over the body. (Hope this mico goes away soon). Now that’s what I call sportsmanship! I have fished some tournaments in the past where the guys would have tried to check in fish that had been dead a week if they thought they would win a prize! But that just shows the class of this man and this tournament. It was started to promote fly and light tackle fishing and to just have fun, and that’s exactly how it turned out. Hats off to all the Kent Island CCA guys who worked hard to provide the anglers with a great event!
Here is a pic leaving the Madison harbor on Friday, a quiet corner of Dorchester County.