Josenhans Newsletter ~ Gannets!

17 11 2010
North 20 – 25K, North 20 – 25K, North 20 – 25K…..
Man, last week was like the movie Groundhog Day. It blew it’s pants off for seven straight days. And the 20 – 25 knot days were the days I fished! It was worse earlier in the week. The first fish-able (and I use that term loosely) day was Wednesday, when I fished the Choptank River with Jim Lee and Chris Jones. I launched at Cambridge (don’t have a Talbot County permit) and ran the JB down-river, where I met them at the Oxford ferry dock. Nice run in the morning and it gave me a chance to survey the bird activity – not much. There were a few dippers hovering over a small school of feeding rockfish right at the Cambridge bridge, so I logged that away for future reference.

Jim with his "fly caught" striper

After picking up my crew, we headed down-river to look for birds and breaking rockfish. Both Jim and I had heard rumors of large stripers feeding on the surface near the mouth of the river. To make a long story short, I think it was almost two hours before the guys wet a line. It was slow going due to the wind, waves and spray; not to mention being pretty darn cold. We wound up back up-river, looking at the fish finder trying to find that school of stripers I had observed earlier near Cambridge. A small white perch was the first finned critter to come over the side. Oh well, got the skunk out. More perch came aboard, finally a small striper, then another about sixteen inches. Back down-river we went, exploring here and there, where we found a small school of rock and managed to jig up a fat seventeen incher. Around 2:00 P.M. it seemed the wind had moderated somewhat, so I asked the guys if they were game to head back down towards the river’s mouth one more time. We all thought what-the-heck and off we went.

 

Chris with a limit for the grille

As we left the Choptank I continued to run down the length of the False Channel, where, in the distance, I saw a flock of gannets circling and diving over the increasingly calm waters of the bay. As we pulled up under them the finder lit-up with giant “fish marks” and I told the guys to drop the jigs fast. For the next forty-five minutes, using five-inch Bass Assassins on one-ounce lead heads, we battled rock to 12 pounds. Fresh from the ocean, the hard-fighting stripers were a welcome sight after a long wind-blown day. Several schools of smaller fish popped up, and Jim even managed to snag one or two on a fly. As the sun set to the west, we had a fast, smooth ride back on the suddenly flat-calm waters of the Choptank – go figure. Just goes to show, the fish are out there if you can get to them. 

On Thursday, I fished out of Crisfield with Ed Roach, his son Matt and Jack McHale. The wind forecast was for north winds at 15-20 knots – practically millpond calm. Anyway, the guys agreed to give it a try, since I sort of convinced them we would probably, maybe catch fish. The run across the sound wasn’t too bad and once to the other side we proceeded to fish the relatively calm creeks of Smith Island. The morning was steady, with a rockfish here and one there, but over all it was cold, and rather slow fishing. With just enough fish to keep things interesting, we came to the days halfway mark and I decided to ask the guys if they wanted to continue plugging along or call it a day. To their credit they chose to continue. Almost immediately, the fishing picked up. Instead of one or two, it became three or four, and we ended the day at a small creek mouth where we caught maybe ten to twelve nice rock in the 20′ to 23″ range. I estimated the days total catch at maybe 40 rockfish, not bad for cold, windy conditions. Thanks for sticking it out fellows.
 
“Till next tide..”
 
Kevin

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