JFF ~ Topwater Stripers and Blues – Part 1

3 06 2011

The early morning striper top water bite is just beginning to take-off, and if conditions are favorable the action can be hot & heavy during periods of low-light. Sunrise is currently around 5:40 a.m. so you need to get up pretty early for the best action, and the bigger fish. After the surface bite slows we have been traveling to the main bay for some pretty good bluefish action on light spinning and fly rods. The blues have been averaging 18 to 22 inches and are a blast on this light tackle. Speckled trout are reportedly increasing in numbers, but we have opted for the hard-fighting blues, of late. Here is a brief rundown of some recent trips.

Last Monday, Tom Decker and Tushar Irani joined me for a morning topwater excursion on the Little Choptank River out of Madison. The water condition was not the best due to a strong southerly breeze and the ever-present cow nose rays. Not three casts into the day and Tushar hooked and landed a nice 24 inch rockfish on a Stillwater  popper. Another hour of battling the wind produced little so we retreated into the river proper where we worked the points and rips to no avail. If the tide had been more favorable I think we would have had cleaner water and different results – wind or no wind. Once the dirty water clears this area should become a hotspot for topwater rockfish.

On Wednesday morning, Jack McKenna met me at Somers Cove in Crisfield with fly rod in hand. It was to be all fly fishing today and I was hoping to get Jack into some of the bluefish that we have been catching out on the lumps of the main bay. The blues did not disappoint.  After a slow morning with rock in the shallows (full of May worms) we made the trek to the bay and immediately found the blues schooled-up and hungry. For the next two hours Jack caught blue after blue from 18 to 20 inches on a 7 wt. At one point Jack handed me the rod and said “catch a few, I’m taking a break!” There’s no quit in these hard-fighting gamefish. Our day ended with the blues biting – always a good sign as a guide – and Jack had a tired and happy expression that I won’t soon forget.

Saturday, it was back to the Little Choptank where, once again, we were met with a breeze and cloudy water. I believe we still have some remnants of the spring rains clinging to this area, and the unsettled weather of late hasn’t helped things. Mike Schenking and his friend John gave it their all at a few favorite topwater spots with just one blow-up to show for their efforts. It was a very nice fish that in short order cut John off on a barnacle-encrusted stump. John did everything right, but where we were fishing the striper had a definite home field advantage. After a brief jaunt to the False Channel in an attempt to jig up a few stripers, the wind let us know this was a bad idea and we returned to the shallows of the Little C. We plugged along for the remainder of the day casting soft plastics to favorite stretches of shoreline while picking up the occasional small striper. Nice to see the smaller fish are somewhat plentiful after the reported poor spawns of the previous three years. On another bright note, John received a text from a buddy that the morning crabbing was very good. There are some very nice fish in this area and I’m going to keep at it until everything clicks. Hopefully, it will be sooner rather than later.





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