Josenhans FF ~ May 16 – Week in Review

26 05 2011

Maurice with a nice rock

I’ve been fishing a lot lately and once again I apologize for the tardiness of these reports. For the most part fishing has been very good. On a couple of days the wind and dirty water (partly from cow nose rays) has forced us to do a little searching, but we usually found something to catch. Last Monday and Tuesday I had the pleasure of fishing with good friends Maurice Klein and Gene Jones. Maurice was one of my very first clients as I was just beginning my guide business over 18 years ago, and he has fished with me every year since! Thanks for the continued support Maurice.

Gene not to be outdone

Monday we had a great day with stripers casting shad tails on 3/8 oz. jig heads. The fish were holding tight to the marsh bank as we had extreme high tides caused by the full moon. The incoming tide was pushing the bait (silversides) up tight to the bank and the stripers followed. All told the guys probably landed 40-50 rockfish in the 18 to 24 inch range. Tuesday was a bit tougher day, as very strong SE winds kept us on the eastern side of Tangier Sound. We found clean water around Janes Island and managed to have a slow but steady pick of rock in the 16 to 21 inch range. Maurice boated the first speckled trout of the year on a chartreuse shad. We found the clear water in a sheltered grass bed on the west side of Janes Island.

Wednesday I was joined by Pete Knox, Jim Smith and Walter Barczak for a six-hour trip doing some deep water jigging in the mid-bay area. Drifting over school after school of stripers we landed perhaps forty nice rock in the 14 to 27 inch range. Pete took top honors with a fat 8-1/2 pound beauty. All fish were caught drifting 5-inch Bass Assassins on 3/4 ounce heads in 20-30 foot of water. The water of the mid-bay still has a slight brown tint to it from the floodwaters up north. I sure hope this dirty cloud is flushed out soon.

Walter with a fat rock under ominous skies

Jim getting in on the action

Pete with his "2nd" biggest for the day

Ralph with a "corn fed" striper

Thursday was one of those days that you generally read about in a saltwater fishing magazine. My client for the day, Ralph Bones, could do no wrong. We started off the morning casting Stillwater Smack-it poppers to rock up to 24 inches. The fish aggressively attacked the popper as it slurped, rattled and gurgled over barely four feet of water. This shallow water popper fishing is just beginning to heat up, and should reach its peak in mid-July. Last season we enjoyed a great topwater bite throughout the summer months. Call or email if you would like to get in on some of this exciting action. After the shallow water bite slowed we decided to try some structure out in the main bay. As I eased the Jones Brothers up to my mark the fish finder came alive with fish-arches of all sizes and shapes. For the next four hours, Ralph caught rock and blues on fly and spin tackle. The bluefish averaged 18 to 20 inches and put up a hard battle on the light tackle. A special treat for Ralph was watching rockfish smacking a Bob’s Banger fly rod popper  all over the calm waters of the bay. Ralph estimated that he had probably boated nearly 100 fish, as he was constantly hooked-up. What a day!

Ralph had a blast with the fly rod

Kirk's fly rod reward

On Friday, I made the mistake of breaking a cardinal rule of guiding – never tell today’s client about the truly fantastic day you had yesterday.  Kirk Grassett and Nick DelleDonne (owner of The Evening Rise ) met me at the ramp in Crisfield just as the sun began to show itself over the horizon. After a bumpy 40 minute boat-ride, I pulled up to the site of the previous day’s early popper bite. By this time, I had already fueled Kirk and Nick’s expectations with visions of yesterday’s non-stop action. You guessed it, not so much as a swirl after our poppers. Nada! Nothing! We tried switching to sub-surface flies. Nick immediately had a nice fish grab his fly as it dangled over the side of the boat. Just as fast, the fly was cut-off on some structure. That seems to be the ticket, I thought. Maybe an hour and one fish later I discovered the ticket had expired. We moved to several nearby spots and both Kirk and Nick slowly began to pick up a nice rock here and there. The strikes were coming slowly so I opted for the deep-water structure where it all happened the day before. With a strong north wind and even stronger ebbing tide, the site of the previous days phenomenal action proved simply too difficult to fish. Not to mention that there was not a fish showing on the finder. Nick had a nice hit  on a fly popper and that was it. We returned to a flood-tide spot that I like and finished off the day catching stripers in the 17 to 21 inch range. Enough to keep it interesting and the guys had a great time on a beautiful day on the water.

Debra's first light tackle striper

Saturday proved to be a tough bite as well, with breezy conditions, cow nose rays and stained water. Fishing with me were fellow eastern shore residents Jim and Debra Drayton. After a quick fly casting session for Debra – who picked up the idiosyncracies of casting a sink-tip line remarkably fast – we headed to the lee of Tangier Island. Finding some relatively clean water behind the island Debra caught her very first light tackle rockfish. Great job Debra! Jim added to the creel and for the remainder of the day we bounced around from spot-to-spot catching a striper here and there. The day was gorgeous, Tangier Island provided a beautiful back-drop and I have rarely seen two people enjoy a day of fishing more that Jim and Debra.  They even managed to take home two 21 inch rock for the evening meal. I really enjoyed your company guys and hope to do it again soon!

Jim with a nice rock on a bright cloudless day


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