Josenhans Newsletter ~ Fall Migration

16 11 2010
Rockfish on the Move
The fish have been constantly on the move, and what has produced one day has not necessarily been the game winner the next. We have been fishing shallow flats, deep creeks and even deeper channels of the main bay with good to great results, but you have to keep moving and working until you find the daily pattern.
 

Matt and his 33 inch rock

A case in point was a recent trip with Paul Anderson, his son Matt and brother Mike. We had been having great results with breaking fish, but the wind was blowing so that was out. Up into the creeks we went. It was a fair pick of nice size rockfish from 18″ to 23″ casting Bass Assassins and shad tails in the deeper holes of Smith Islands many tidal creeks. The guys were having fun but I thought the action could be faster given the time of the year. I decided to take a chance and travel to a summer-time haunt near Tangier Island, and was pleasantly surprised to find relatively clear water and manageable winds. We anchored up and almost immediately had a triple hookup! The next three casts brought another triple. Good move. The guys battled beautiful, fat 20″ – 24″ rock for over a half-hour when Matt hooked something that wouldn’t show itself. After a great battle, and some skillful maneuvering by Matt, we finally caught a glimpse of the broad sides of what turned out to be a 33″ rockfish!! Matt’s biggest striper to date! After a photograph or two the fish was revived and released unharmed. Nice job Matt!

Chris with a fat striper

The next day brought Jim Lowell and son Chris to my boat. A half-day, evening trip was planned and I was looking forward to a repeat of Friday afternoon. The wind was strong out of the north when I met Jim and Chris at the dock. The forecast was for a gradual let-up as the afternoon progressed. Right. Anyway, it was safe enough to cross the sound, and the guys wanted to brave it, so we made the trek to Tangier across some two-footers, with a touch (or three) of salt-spray in the face for good measure. Jim enthusiastically said it was all part of the experience. I think he was just trying to make me feel better. The Jones Brothers handled the sea great as always and after a half-hour run we pulled up to the hotspot of the day before. Jim opted for the fly rod and masterfully cast a clouser pattern in the 20k breeze. After just a cast or two he was hooked-up and promptly landed the largest fish of the day – a fat 24″ rock. Chris then got in on the action and boated a nice fish of his own. This back-and-forth went on for maybe an hour, with the guy’s tally approaching ten stripers. They were all fat, feisty and averaged maybe 21 inches. 

The wind soon increased, prompting the water to become cloudy, at which time the bite turned off like a light. We decided to end the day fishing some creeks and were pleased to discover crystal clear water and flat-calm conditions in a sheltered creek near Smith Island. Only problem was, no one was home. But that’s fishing. As the sun approached the horizon, we beat-feet back across Tangier Sound to and ever-increasing northerly. So much for the diminishing winds. The guys were great sports about the weather and had fun in spite of it. Thanks guys!
 
This last trip was the first of five days of a very strong northerly blow that cost me several trips, but later brought some nice fish into the picture. More on that in the next report..
 
Till next time,
 
Kevin

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