Josenhans Fly Fishing Newsletter

3 09 2010
Poppers, Breakers and Perch!
We had quite the variety last week while fishing both the Big and Little Choptank rivers. Evening shallow water trips produced good popper fishing for rockfish near the mouth of the Little Choptank, while during the afternoon we were kept busy with surface feeding bluefish and stripers. One day, we even found some white perch eager to please on ultra light gear while casting beetle spin lures along the shoreline of the Choptank. Speckled trout are making a showing down in Tangier Sound and that is where I’ll be heading next week. The speck fishing should get better as September drags on..
Last Wednesday, Bernie Kemp and his lovely wife Susan fished with me out of Madison with the goal of some skinny-water popper action right before dark. Until then, it was off to Sharps Island flats to chase schools of breaking blues and rockfish. The action was sporadic, but we did find a few schools that held our attention while waiting for the sun to creep lower on the horizon. Around 6:00 P.M. after having our fill of the run-and-gun action with the fickle blues it was off to the shallows. It was just after 7:00 P.M. when, out-of-the-blue, we had the first blow-up. We landed a few stripers here and there until, at the peak of the action, Susan was getting hits on nearly every cast. No monsters came to the boat but both Bernie and Susan managed to land rock to 23 inches, all on Stillwater Smack’it! poppers. Then, like someone flipped a switch, the action stopped abruptly at 7:55. That’s been the story for these shallow water fish of late. You get perhaps an hour of adrenaline pumping action followed by silence. Alas, the nature of summer topwater.
Friday, I had a morning trip in the same area with John Daw and Jim Smith and their two grown sons. It seemed the closer we got to the fishing grounds the harder the wind blew. A nor’easter was kicking up a surf in the shallows that made it a chore to keep the poppers from skipping wave-top to wave-top. It failed to help the water clarity situation as well. As wind and tide were working together with the drift, it made it necessary to repeatedly anchor over previously productive spots. The fishing was sporadic, however the guys did manage to catch a few nice fish, and all told we had maybe ten to twelve blow-ups on poppers. We explored some additional shoreline structure in the immediate area and managed to scare up some schoolie stripers here and there. It was a fun morning and the guys learned a lot about the local area. The wind died to nothing as we ended the trip. Doesn’t it always..
Saturday afternoon I met Ernie Rojas and friends Mo and Dan at the public ramp in Cambridge – the one right behind the hospital. This is a beautiful facility with floating docks and convenient access to the entire Choptank River area. The guys were so excited to go that they started the trip off by catching perch at the ramp while I was busy parking the truck. After a short run down-river, we began drifting a shoreline along the north bank in just four feet of water. Perch hook-ups came almost immediately. Doubles and triples were common, but big fish were not. That said, the guys were having so much fun catching the smallish perch that I don’t think it really mattered.
After about an hour Mo heard me mention there might be some blues in the area and we were off to the bay proper in search of breakers. It didn’t take long, as just past the southern tip of Tilghman Island we saw birds. The schools were mixed rock and blues, not big, but plenty of action. The guys were well suited for this run-and-gun type fishing and the bay was ‘slick cam’, making it easy on the captain. We chased these fish for the better part of two hours with double hook-ups common. Take it from me, Ernie, Mo and Dan have FUN when they are fishing. Enthusiastic doesn’t begin to describe it!
With less than two hours of daylight remaining and a twenty minute run to the shallow water spot, we left fish to find fish, hoping for some popper action. Upon arriving, Ernie struck first with a rockfish that smashed his popper while being retrieved through a maze of limbs and logs. That fish eventually found freedom but it was just the start. Mo and Dan had never done the skinny-water popper thing and they had a blast. Rock of a larger grade made the hearts jump of both Dan and Mo as the blow-up was always unexpected and quite explosive. Everyone landed a few and Dan lost a very nice fish that charged under the boat. There were smiles all around as the sun finally disappeared below the horizon and we called it a day. Really looking forward to having you guys back!
It was a fun summer fishing out of the Little Choptank and while I’ll be back a few times this fall, I’ll probably be spending most of my time in Tangier Sound fishing out of Crisfield. The variety is greater and the shallow water fishing can be fast and furious. The scenery speaks for itself. My October dates are quickly being filled, so let me know soon to get the best of what’s remaining. I should be catching fish out of Crisfield until at least Thanksgiving and then it’s off to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel in Virginia for some BIG stripers during the month of December. 
My best,



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