Josenhans Fly Fishing Newsletter

30 09 2010

Fall is in full swing and I have been doing a lot of fishing – or attempting to, what with all this wind – and catches have generally been very good. The key is finding clean water. The wind has at times made this a tricky proposition, but when conditions are right the fishing is very good!

Lew with a Watts Island rock on fly

Last week I had the pleasure of fishing two days out of Crisfield with some friends I met through CCA (Coastal Conservation Assoc.), Lew Armistead and Gene Hansen. Monday was a half day evening trip and the wind came along for the ride. Finding clean water was a must and we found very little. A few small specks, school-sized rock and maybe a bluefish or two gave us a slow pick for the evening. Looking for better results and an early start on Tuesday.

Early the next day a slight breeze was still with us and from a different direction, just in case it missed stirring up a few places on Monday. However, having a full day makes a big difference. We traveled to Watts Island where we found clear water and a few eager blues and stripers. You could see underwater stumps along the shoreline and the fish were hugging tight to the structure. The wind was dying out and the day was looking up.

Gene with a colorful speck

A short boat ride over to Tangier Island brought us a change in tide and a few nice rockfish. After a bit, we decided to try the old Davidson wreck – or what’s left of it – and found beautiful water and eager bluefish. While not as big as they were in June, scrappy fighters all the same. With a couple of hours left on the meter we headed for the shallow flats between Tangier and Smith Island. Fishing grass-covered flats and some gorgeous tidal rips we managed stripers and a few speckled trout. Gene had the best speck at maybe 19 inches. A quick stop on an unmarked(and mostly unknown) flat provided a few more rockfish to send us happily on our way. Hard fighters these rockfish, and again hugging the stumps. Looks like if the wind ever lays down it’s going to be a great fall on Tangier.

Mark and John casting to structure

Friday, I was joined by Mark Pohlhaus and John Meyers, two longtime friends. We fished a half day out of Madison on the Little Choptank casting Stillwater Smack-it! poppers to shallow water stripers. John had the hot hand and managed to coax some explosive strikes from the scrappy stripers. Nothing like the sound of a rockfish inhaling a topwater lure. The water was crystal clear – perhaps too much so – but we still managed to land enough stripes to make a good morning of it. Bald Eagles kept us company as we searched the shallows for stripers.

Tony started the day off right!

Jim Smith and friends Tony Dale and David Claghorn joined me on Saturday for a half day on the Little Choptank. While breezy conditions greeted us as we entered the river, the stripers were right where we left them on Friday. David managed several nice rockfish right off the bat and Tony caught a beautiful five pound fish on a Stillwater.

I cranked-up the Yamaha with the intention of fishing upriver a bit but we never made it. Tony was the first to spot the birds and we spent the better part of two hours chasing breaking rock and blues with fly rods. The wind had died down and Tony and David had a blast using the long wands while Jim kept pace with his spinning combo. All-in-all a nice way to end a picture perfect morning on the

David hooked up on fly

Little Choptank. Several times during the day, Jim had fish boiling right around the boat. And this surface activity is just getting started!

Jim staring down boiling rockfish

Yesterday, Scott Evander and Bob Lepczyk met me bright and early at Madison with hope of a repeat of the past weekend’s action. Sorry to say it never happened – it was even better! While the day started off with a fish here and there – enough to keep the guys interested – we took a slack period to go look for the breakers of last Saturday. While we found a few blues and rock on the fly, it was not the explosive action of Saturday.

Bob with a nice fish on topwater

With the wind laying down and the tide getting right we opted to finish the day where we started. Casting Stillwater Smack-it! poppers in the shallows along the eastern side of the bay we watched as rockfish after rockfish smashed, crashed and swatted our offerings. Some even becoming airborne in their attempt to grab the poppers. The action was hot and we left ’em biting as Scott had to get home for his son’s football game. The rain and overcast conditions definitely kept the rock in the shallows long past their usual limit.

Scott and his rockfish

I’ll try to crank out the reports as fast as possible, but I’ll be fishing almost every day during October, so bear with me. Please feel free to email or call for the latest scoop on this fantastic shallow water action.

My best,



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