Josenhans FF ~ Eastern Shore Flounder

23 03 2012

The flounder bite is on along the Virginia eastern shore. Yesterday, after fooling around all morning with inside chores, the 75 degree outdoor temperature got the best of me, so I decided to hook the boat up and take a drive to Wachapreague, VA. Halfway there, I decided to choose a ramp closer to home – the clock was fast approaching  1:00 p.m. After picking up some fresh frozen shiners and big live minnows at Sea Hawk Sport Center in Pocomoke, I traveled a bit farther and launched at a sea-side county ramp. As I was tending to the boat a couple of folks were returning , with limits all! That was the good news. The bad news was that the bite had slowed due to high winds and muddy water. Naturally. I was there, so I finished loading my Jones Brothers and proceeded to the fishing grounds. The water was indeed murky, with the forecast 5 to 10  knot winds blowing at a comfortable 20 to 25. I looked around and found a patch of relatively clean water along the channel edge where I proceeded to catch six flounder within 45 minutes. Three were of legal size at 20″, 18.5″ and 17.”  “This is too easy,” I thought to myself. It turned out it was. No sooner had this revelation reached the ego portion of my small brain and the bite stopped. Cold turkey. With the tide approaching dead low, the conditions really deteriorated and the flounder shut right off. I looked around for a couple of hours but was only able to pick up one more short. Such is flounder fishing on the Eastern Shore. I’ve got a week or two to kill before the Susky Flats heats-up so I think I’ll run a couple of trips down this way while the flatfish are hungry. Anyway, I’ve got some fish to clean..

My first keeper flounder of the season - a fat 20-incher

Two-at-a-time legal flounder got my attention!!

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Josenhans FF ~ January Newsletter

21 01 2012

Josenhans Fly Fishing = Fly Fishing & Light Tackle Charters

While the name may say “fly fishing,” most of you are aware that I am certainly no stranger to the spinning rod. I carry quality G.Loomis rods and Shimano Stradic spinning reels for your use. In addition, you are more than welcome to bring along your own tackle on your guided trip.  I always love to compare tackle and techniques with my fellow anglers.

In gearing-up for the 2012 fishing season one of my first steps is this slightly overdue newsletter. During the past few weeks, I have made the occasional trip to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel (CBBT) with some nice rockfish being caught on both fly and spin tackle. Take a look at the fishing reports section of my blog for the latest in CBBT action. The next couple of months will also yield some very good light tackle and fly fishing action on the Pocomoke River. See below for trip info. Now for a brief rundown on what to expect in the coming weeks and months.

Pocomoke River Yellow Perch

Fishing Opportunities in 2012 

Pocomoke River I am currently booking trips on the scenic and wild Pocomoke River. We’ll put-in at the Byrd Park ramp in Snow Hill, Maryland where we will chase yellow perch, crappie, pickerel and largemouth bass. This is a great way to spend a midwinter’s day casting ultra-light spinning or fly tackle. The winding nature of the Pocomoke creates many protected and productive shorelines that can be fished comfortably, even as cool winter breezes keep bay boaters in port.  The all-inclusive cost for a six-hour trip is only $275 and I’ll supply the coffee and donuts. Take a look here for some of last season’s Pocomoke action Pocomoke River Fishing 2011.

Pocomoke River Pickerel

March White Perch –  Beginning around the first of March I will be guiding clients to some terrific white perch action on the Nanticoke River out of Sharptown, Maryland. This is a fun trip for adults and kids, as there is always plenty of action. When the run is on, the perch generally average 10 to 12 inches, with fish of 13 inches or greater caught every season. This was one of my most popular trips last spring, and with the peak of the run  lasting maybe three weeks, it’s best to get your name on the books today! Check out some of last season’s action at Nanticoke White Perch 

Nanticoke River White Perch

Susquehanna Flats – Even though last season’s flats fishing was a bust, I believe that with this winter’s low snowfall (so far) amounts, this coming spring’s catch & release flats fishery could prove to be outstanding.  There have been good numbers of big fish in the lower bay and offshore of the Virginia Capes; so I’m looking forward to a big migration towards the Susky this spring. I have some good dates available during the peak period of the last two weeks in April, so book early to get the day you want. 

Red Drum at Fisherman’s Island, VA –  I have had quite a few requests to make the trek to the barrier islands of Virginia near the CBBT to try for trophy red drum during the spring run. There has been a super fishery for the past few years with big reds averaging 30 to 50 pounds. While much of this is fishing live bait, on good weather days these fish can be caught casting bucktail jigs, spoons and flies. If you would be interested in this type of trip, please let me know well in advance. The timetable for this will be the first week or two of May. 

Tangier Sound Flounder and Croaker

Tangier Sound Spring/Summer Fishing – What with the mild winter weather we have experienced, I really expect to see some great speckled trout fishing beginning around the first of May. We caught some BIG specks last fall, and a spring run of big pre-spawn trout is long overdue. Don’t miss out on the return of this great shallow water gamefish. Flounder fishing was off-the-charts last summer and I am hopeful for more of the same in 2012. Bluefish provided fantastic light-tackle action throughout the late spring and summer months in 2011, especially for fly-fishers looking for a good fight on the long wand. The early morning rockfish bite was very good at times, as big stripers smacked out Storm and Stillwater poppers all over the sound. There is plenty to do while fishing out of Crisfield.  

Big Tangier Sound Speckled Trout

Winter Speaking Engagements – I will be speaking at several fishing club meetings and events in the coming months, so if you’re in the neighborhood stop in and say hi.

February 8 – I will be speaking at the monthly meeting of the Saltwater Fly Anglers of Delaware in Lewes, DE. Come out and enjoy a PowerPoint presentation on Tangier Sound Fly Fishing. I will also touch on the Susquehanna Flats C&R fishery and my outlook for this spring. The meeting begins at 7 p.m. and you will find directions on their Web site.  

February 21 – I will be speaking at the monthly meeting of the MSSA’s Essex/Middle River Chapter at the Commodore Hall in Essex, MD. Located at 1909 Old Eastern Ave., the meeting begins at 7:30 p.m. I will give a PowerPoint presentation on Fly and Light Tackle opportunities on Tangier Sound, with a special emphasis on the great speckled trout and flounder fishing that we enjoyed this past season. I’ll briefly touch on the Susky Flats as well. Come on out and enjoy an evening of fishing talk!

February 25 – I’ll have a table at CCA’s 10th annual TieFest, the region’s premier fly-fishing show, located at the Kent Narrows Yacht Club in Chester, MD. Show time is 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and admission is free. This is a must-attend event for any fly angler who’s wet a line in saltwater. I always book a lot of trips at this show, so arrive early and stay late. The food and friendly atmosphere make this my favorite event of the entire year. See you there!

A final note: I am in the process of updating my Web site Josenhans Fly Fishing with new photos and graphics. In addition, for the most current reports and happenings, please check-out my blog at Josenhans Fly Fishing Blog as daily reports may be posted here before they are distributed via the e-newsletter.  Thanks for reading, and here’s to a fantastic 2012 season!

Capt. Kevin  Josenhans

 





Josenhans Fly Fishing ~ Breakers!!

31 08 2011

Time for Spanish!

Irene Update: My family, house, vehicles and boat came through unscathed. Thanks to all who called, or sent emails and text messages wishing us well, both before and after the storm. Your thoughts and prayers were most appreciated. I hope  you all came through it safe and sound as well. Crisfield was flooded for a couple of days, but that is a hardy bunch down there and things should be getting back to normal in short order.

Today (Wednesday, August 31) will be my first day fishing since the storm and I hear the breaking rock and blues are just waiting for us. I don’t think the fishing will be affected one bit. I have an evening fly fishing trip so stay tuned for an updated report.

David Pacy showing off his big croaker

While my last two trips for flounder have dropped off a bit – in fact, we came up with a big ‘goose-egg’ on the last trip – I have been overjoyed to see the mid-bay area come alive with breaking rock, blues and spanish mackerel. But, I’ll get to that in a minute. It seems that the flounder have moved well north, into the upper reaches of Tangier Sound, and it took me a couple of trips to realize this. While it could just be a temporary lull – bad tides, lack of wind, too much wind, etc., etc. (guides have plenty of excuses) – I haven’t given up on the lower reaches of the sound just yet. In fact, the flounder fishing down near the mouth of the bay is still going strong, so I expect some great catches yet to come. If I get some interest, I’ll be following the fish north, but there is still plenty to do on the lower portion of Tangier Sound. There are some decent sized blues roaming the flats of Watts Island and these are great fun on light spinning or fly tackle. The speckled trout catches should improve after the shallows settle a bit from the effects of Irene. Rockfish will aggressively attack poppers during early morning hours and as the waters cool, will begin to feed in the shallows all during the day. In short, things are shaping up to look like we are in for a very good fall fishing season.

On a recent trip with Bert Massengale, his son Kyle, and Kyle’s friend David Pacy we tried our best to get some big flounder in the boat. I went to the exact spot where, just a few short days before, we slammed big flatties to 24 inches but we couldn’t draw a strike. The tide was perfect, with little wind but it just wasn’t meant to be. David did manage to perk us up with a very nice croaker. The fish really gave him a fight on his light spin tackle. We moved to another location and after a few drifts Bert managed the first keeper flounder. A short time later Bert pulled in the second flounder, a fish of perhaps 21 inches. That was it for the flounder. It was still a fun four-hours on the water, and Bert took home some beautiful fillets.

Bert Massengale with a brace of flounder

I would be remiss if I didn’t tell you my earthquake story. I was waiting at the Madison boat ramp around 2:30 P.M. for my afternoon party when I received a cell call. It was my client, who asked if I had heard about the earthquake south of DC. I had. (I didn’t feel a thing, as I was on the road on my way to Madison for a half-day trip chasing breakers) . To make a long story short, my client was in a bind, as he is in the alarm business and the earthquake had wrecked havoc with his systems – not to mention cell service. Not a problem, we rescheduled for the following week. Being a thinking man, I had the boat, I was at the ramp and I had four hours to kill. I called my wife to give her the scoop, got the okay and off I went to do a little fishing. I never even made it to the False Channel (my intended starting point). Just off the mouth of the Little Choptank the water was whipped to a froth by ravenous schools of rock, blues and mackerel. The macks were a nice surprise. They were feeding on small bay anchovies and the smaller the lure the better. I stayed with the fish for about and hour and left them biting to explore a little. Not seeing much up north, I returned a bit later to find the fish were still on top. Looking at my books from last season, September was terrific for breaking fish off the mouth of the Big and Little Choptank rivers. It looks like this year will provide us with a repeat performance. This is a fly fishers dream, so break-out that long stick and give me a call for some fast-paced action.





Josenhans FF ~ From Fly to Flounder

18 08 2011

 

Chuck Prahl and Chris Cianci with a brace of rock!

I don’t know exactly when the metamorphosis took place, but it seems as though I have gone from being a 70% fly guide to a 70% flounder guide. Just about everyone wants to get in on the fabulous flounder fishing that we have enjoyed this season – and I don’t blame them one bit. We are having one of the best years that I can remember for this tasty member of the flatfish family. Weather permitting, we have been experiencing limit to near-limit catches of big, beautiful summer flounder ranging from 18 to 26 inches. I also believe that the technique we are using to catch them has as much to do with the increased interest as the taste of the fillets. We have been drift-jigging this aggressive bottom feeder, much as you would a school of rockfish. Armed with light spinning or bait-casting rods, we attach a Li’l Jimy bucktail or a 3/4 to 1-1/2 oz.  jig head-Berkley Gulp! Swimming Mullet combo to the terminal end of the line. The flounder attack these jigs with a vengeance. There is no nibble-nibble as you often get when drifting the old standby minnow/squid combo. In large part, I believe this is because we are not attracting the smaller flounder. Most everything we bring in the boat is of legal size. It’s just plain fun fishing, and if you have yet to give it a try, you should put it on your to-do list.

On Saturday, August 13 I fished Pocomoke Sound with Jesse Maffuid and David Wilmoth. This was one of my cost-sharing trips, where I help individual anglers hook-up (no pun intended) with other anglers looking to split the cost of a trip. Similar to the walk-on trips utilized by other charters, this allows for a bit more notice for both captain and crew. It has been a very popular program for all involved. But I digress. The plan of action this day was – you guessed it – flounder. While the wind was against us – literally, in our face on the run to the flounder grounds – it was fishable once we arrived at our destination. As this was only a six-hour trip, and with a forty-minute run to the flounder spot, I was kind of under the gun to produce in a hurry. I had two very good fishermen in Jesse and David, so that made things a whole lot easier. We set up a drift, and after watching the track-back lines on my Lowrance HDS-7, I was able to begin a drift-pattern so we would cover the desired area. I have to say, what with a strong 10-15 K southerly wind and strong tide, the drifts were short in duration, but at least we were able to hold bottom. A few keeper flounder up to 21 inches were soon flopping in the cooler. After a while, the wind dropped out and we were able to get a longer drift going. Soon we had a few more flounder coming over the side, including a nice 26 inch fish of at least six-pounds. Before long, Jesse and David had their Virginia limit of four fish each, and I added one extra for the captain.  We ended the day with a total of nine flounder from 18 to 26 inches. Not too shabby for what began as a very breezy day.

Chris Cianci jigged up this nice flounder

Wednesday, August 17 brought us back to our usual summer routine of topwater rockfish early, with a flounder chaser. At 6:00 AM I met Chris Cianci and Chuck Prahl for a six-hour day on Tangier Sound. At 80 years young, Chuck is renowned for his fishing prowess on the Choptank River, but today he was playing an away game. The sound was like glass, ‘slick cam’ as the locals say, and the run to my favorite topwater spot was a breeze.  We made a quick drift, Chris with a popper and Chuck casting a four-inch shad, without even a look. Okay, I was too far out. I moved to make another drift, but this time I inched the boat in about 100 feet closer to the target zone. Same result. “The fish aren’t here,” I told Chris. We moved. Pulling up to my second choice I anchored-up due to the strong tide and limited structure. Almost before the plug hit the water Chris had a huge striper crash his popper and head south. Chris was slowly gaining line on a very nice rock when the hook pulled. As they say, “that’s fishing.” Barely a moment later, Chris had another blow-up and just afterwards Chuck had a strike and line began peeling from his bait-caster. A double hook-up. After a nice battle, both fish were brought to the boat for a quick photo-op and then promptly released. This scene was replayed several times over the next forty-five minutes, until the sun said that topwater fishing was over.

We then headed to the bay for the promised flounder jigging. Neither Chris or Chuck had fished for flounder this way before. It didn’t take long before both men were hooked up to a nice big flatty. The guys had one double where I netted Chris’ fish – a 23 inch beauty – only to run to the bow just in time to slip the net under Chuck’s 24 inch game-changer.  Nice double guys! We wound up with six flounder measuring 18 to 24 inches, with all of the action coming in a one hour spurt. Exciting fishing.





Josenhans FF ~ Doormat Flounder!

14 08 2011

Had a six-hour flounder trip yesterday and we brought home nine 18 to 26 inch flounder, with the biggest topping the scale at six-pounds! I’ll have a complete report in a day or so, and if anyone wants to catch some of the biggest flounder of the year the next couple of weeks should be HOT!!! Call or email soon as dates are going fast!





Josenhans FF ~ Hot Weather Trio

6 08 2011

We’ve been fishing more four and six-hour trips than full-days of late, as the temperature seems to hit 90 degrees by 10:00 a.m. most everyday. That’s not to say that the fishing has been bad. The daybreak top-water rockfish bite has been good at times, albeit short-lived. We’ve been having about an hour of decent surface action in the shallows and then it’s ‘lights out’ (or on as the case may be). Flounder fishing is still holding its own, with limit to near-limit catches of flatties measuring 18 to 23 inches. Drifting 1 to 1-1/2 ounce jig-heads tipped with Berkley Gulp! Swimming Mullet baits has produced good catches along the channel edges of Pocomoke and Tangier Sound, as well as the main bay west of Tangier and Smith Islands. Here’s a quick run-down on a few of my most recent trips.

Friday, July 22 I fished with Dan Zimmerman and his wife Kate. Conditions were perfect at daybreak as we saddled up to my favorite skinny water topwater spot. Clean water, nice current, etc., etc.. Not hit one. Nada. It took me forty-five minutes before I realized that the rock just weren’t there. This was the exact same spot that we crushed them just a short week ago. We moved to a little deeper water nearby and almost immediately Dan hooked-up on a real drag-screamer, only to have the hook pull. Kate had a monster boil behind her Storm Chug Bug but not a touch. At least the fish were here, for a moment. Dan landed a decent rock or two, and Kate caught several smaller fish on a shad, but that was it. We salvaged the day with a couple of nice twenty-inch flounder while drifting Gulp! baits in thirty feet of water. I attributed the lethargic rockfish action to the heat, as we were all pretty toasty and ready to call it a day after six-hours in the oven.

Mike Baugh with his 26-inch speck caught on a Stillwater Smack-it! popper

I had a change of scenery on Saturday, July 23 as Mike Baugh and his fiancée Sal met me at Madison for a six-hour trip on the Little Choptank. We began the day casting poppers over some nearby submerged logs and after just a few casts Sal hooked up with her first ever top-water striper. The twenty-inch fish exploded on a Storm popper and gave her a good fight in the shallow water. A few more drifts with another blow-up or two and then came the catch of the week. As Mike was retrieving his Stillwater popper a nice fish crashed it right in front of the boat and began to shake its head violently – a dead giveaway. Mike quickly brought the silver-hued fish boatside and I slid the net under a beautiful twenty-six inch speckled trout. The speck pulled the Boga down to 5-1/2 pounds, best of the season, so far.

After a bit, we took a swing out by the False Channel and jigged up a few low-twenties rock, along with a short flounder. The spot-slingers were having a blast with some decent rockfish, but the boats were so thick it was hard to get a good drift. We tried flounder a while without any luck and before long we were back in the shallows. Mike and Sal ended the day catching a couple of schoolie rock on shad tails before we called it a day. I can’t be sure, but with a house right on the Little Choptank, Mike and Sal just might have been back that evening looking for the twin to that pretty speckled trout.

'Bunker Boat' out of Reedville, VA

I fished Monday, July 25 with Bernie and Susan Kemp. We got a bit of a late start due to passing thunderstorms and finally pushed off from the Somers Cove dock at around 8:00 a.m. We still had plenty of cloud cover when we arrived at the shallow water top-water hole so we gave the poppers a try. Before I could get Susan’s popper tied on Bernie’s Stillwater was engulfed in a huge explosion of spray and the drag on his Shimano spinning reel was screaming. This was a very nice fish. Bernie did everything right, but in a replay of last Friday, the hook came free. I think the rock at this spot have seen one too many Stillwater poppers. After a couple of more hits with maybe one or two fish boated, the action died. On to the second spot. More blow-ups at the second location where Bernie and Susan both landed a couple of nice rock on their poppers. Sometimes I believe that when a big striper hits a popper, they push so much water that the hook-set is simply luck. Bernie and Susan still had the thrill of the topwater display, and to me that’s half the fun. Oh, did I forget to mention that the heavens opened up again and we all got thoroughly drenched?  No matter, flounder were next on the agenda. We tried a new flounder location – for Bernie and Susan, anyway – and Susan was immediately rewarded with a nice twenty two-inch flounder she caught on a Gulp! Swimming Mullet. We drifted maybe three hours at two different locations in lower Tangier and Pocomoke Sounds but we just couldn’t fill our limit. I think we ended up with five fat flounder in the 18 to 22 inch size range. Pretty fish none-the-less and a good end to a stormy day. 

Randy started the day off right!

On Wednesday, July 27, I was fortunate to fish with three generations of the Beard family. Gary, his son Randy, along with  Randy’s son Doug. It had been two or three years since this trio has fished together on my boat and I was looking forward to the reunion. Gary had a great trip almost a year ago to the day casting poppers to shallow-water rockfish and his wish was to get Randy and Doug in on the action. As luck would have it, a strong northerly had the water roiled just enough to put most of the rockfish off their feed. Most, but not all. Randy was the first to hook-up as a beautiful mid 20’s striper crashed his popper in the wind-driven chop and he expertly brought the fish boatside. After a quick photo-op the rock was released to fight another day. Randy’s fish was pretty much the highlight of the morning bite as we found murky water at all my favorite shallow water spots. Again, we turned to flounder..

Doug with his very first flounder

As we pulled up to an edge in thirty-five feet of water I smiled inside as the wind hadn’t affected the clarity of the deeper sections of the sound one bit. I don’t think we even had all three lines overboard before Doug was hollering and hanging on for dear-life to a doubled-over pole. The fish initially stayed deep, but after a minute or so Doug was able to bring the fish to the surface as I slid the net under a beautiful twenty-two inch flounder. This was Doug’s first-ever flounder, and what a way to start. Nice catch Doug. The wind was just enough that I decided to throw over the wind-sock to slow our drift a bit. This helped and we were able to land maybe eight colorful flounder, with three of 18 to 22 inches finding their way to the cooler for the ride home. Once again some beautiful Chesapeake Bay flounder salvaged what could have been a blow-out.





Josenhans FF ~ Rock & Flounder

26 07 2011

Bob Gray hooked up early

July has brought – for the most part – some very good shallow water, topwater fishing for rockfish, as well as limits of nice-size flounder. While the larger bluefish seem to have departed the lower portion of Tangier Sound, most of my anglers have been more than willing to spend the late-morning hours jigging Li’l Jimy bucktails and Berkley Gulp! tipped lead-heads for flounder that have averaged 18 to 23 inches.

Mike Schmidt with a fat topwater rockfish

On Monday, July 11 I spent the day fishing with Scott Evander and Hovik Taymoorian, D.O., two great guys who last fished with me during a spring flats excursion. Scott and Hovic are great fishing companions, because they have just a super time no matter what the day brings. On this day it brought the wind. Our shallow water striper spot was muddy, so we decided to make an attempt at flounder. As we traveled to the mid-bay flounder hole, the waves were an adventure, but we felt completely safe in my Jones Brothers Cape Fisherman 20. When we arrived, the wind and tide were both heading north, so, in order to keep our jigs on the bottom I had to point the bow of the JB into the wind and use just enough throttle to maintain our position over productive bottom – a ‘power-drift’, if you will. It really worked okay; that is, until a flounder was hooked and then someone had to grab the net. As all hands were busy enough beforehand, this added an additional level of excitement to the entire process. We took turns with the net, and never lost a fish, but this was ‘extreme flounder fishing’ to say the least. While the fishing was by no means hot, we did salvage a breezy day and the guys were able to take home a few nice flounder for the table.

Li’l Jimy fools another flounder

 

Guy Griffin fooled this rock with a Storm Chug Bug

Friday, July 15 brought Bob Gray and Mike Schmidt to Crisfield for their first try at Tangier Sound shallow water rockfish. The rock did not disappoint. For the better part of an hour, both Bob and Mike enjoyed explosive strikes from stripers up to 28 inches. Both left impressed with the topwater theatrics and drag-screaming runs of a good-sized striper caught in shallow water. The flounder bite was next. The jigging technique that I use was somewhat new to both Bob and Mike, and while the fish made us work a bit, we did manage a limit a piece for both anglers. In all, eleven legal-size flounder were boated; all beautiful fish ranging in size from 18 to 23 inches. Mike even added a twist that left me impressed. His son Mike has developed a fish attractant product called the Fish Bomb. Mike Sr. made a believer out of me as he was top rod for the day, all the while spraying a shot of the juice onto his bucktail jig before lowering it into the water. The flounder really seemed to love it!

Ron Perdue with a nice topwater rockfish

Wednesday, July 20 brought two local boys to my boat in Guy Griffin and Ron Perdue. You know, it hasn’t always been easy attracting native eastern shore folk to my business; since everyone down this way has access to a boat, plus they are all very good fishermen in their own right. Guy and Ron were no exception. The two really put on a show as they turned in one of the best topwater mornings of the  summer. Over twenty rockfish crashed, cart-wheeled and smacked their Storm and Stillwater poppers all over the shallows of lower Tangier Sound. Beautiful, fat stripers to 28 inches helped convince the guys that they need to add a surface popper to their rockfish arsenal. Guy and Ron didn’t miss a beat adapting to the new method. After the morning bite slowed, both were anxious to get at the flounder. Fishing two areas that have been hot of late, Guy and Ron managed a limit a piece of thick-bodied flounder to 22 inches, and they boated nine total over 18 inches. Some nice fillets for the table were their reward for carefully releasing every single rockfish to fight another day.

Ron showing off the beautiful coloration of a Chesapeake flounder

 

Guy with a hefty flounder of his own





Josenhans FF ~ Topwater Hanging On

13 07 2011

Tyler with his 22" flounder

On Tuesday, July 5 I met Mel(Skip) Bertrand and his grandson Tyler Wheeler at the Somers Cove Marina boat ramp for a six-hour trip for some rockfish and flounder. Conditions for an early topwater bite were good and I was hoping the fish would put on a show, since Skip and Tyler don’t often fish for rock this way. The first fish came out of nowhere and exploded on Skip’s Storm Chug Bug about halfway back to the boat. When a 26-inch striper hit’s a popper in four-feet of water much of the fight is on top, and this fish didn’t stray from the norm. After a game fight Skip landed and promptly released the fat, healthy rockfish. It wasn’t long before an explosion of water caused Tyler’s popper to disappear and Tyler was hanging on for dear life with his G. Loomis IMX rod bent double. Tyler did a super job of keeping the mid-twenties fish out of some nearby structure and boated the striper in short order. Game on! For about thirty minutes blow-ups were coming on a regular basis and then it just quit! 

Though short-lived, the explosive strikes and tough battles more than justified the early wake-up call. Now it was flounder time. I eased the Jones Brothers into position for our first drift and briefly explained the jigging technique to Skip and Tyler. It wasn’t long before the first rod was doubled-over with a heavy fish. Using Li’l Jimy bucktails by Specialized Baits, or simply a plain 3/4 oz. jig-head with a Berkley Gulp! Swimming Mullet we boated several nice flounder to 22-inches before the action shut down. While we didn’t get our limit this day, it was fun watching Skip and Tyler perfect a new (for them) flounder technique that they can try elsewhere.

Justin with a nice topwater rock

Saturday, July 9 was practically an encore performance of Tuesday’s trip. Only this day it was Justin Matoska and Colin Maxfield who were at the working end of the G. Loomis spinning rods. The rest of the cast was the same. Rockfish from 22″ to 27″ crashed the topwater offerings of Justin and Colin for the better part of an hour until the action subsided. Once again, Storm Rattlin’ Saltwater Chug Bugs were the hot popper. A couple of things that I like about the Chug Bug is they pop easily (and throw a lot of spray in the process), cast like a bullet, and the Perma steel hooks are super-sharp and resist rust. After the topwater bite died, Justin and Colin broke-out the fly outfits and began to cast chartreuse and white Clouser Minnows over some shallow structure. Both are fairly new to saltwater fly fishing but after a few tips Justin and Colin were easily reaching the fifty foot range with their casts.

Colin with a hog on a Storm Chug Bug

The wind was a definite liability this day and the guys did well casting the sink-tips into a stiff 15 K breeze. While the stripers didn’t cooperate, Colin managed his very first saltwater fish on fly, a colorful speckled trout! When the wind let-up enough to drift for flounder we took a short run and fell in line with several other boats already on site. While the catching was less than stellar, Justin and Colin did manage two keepers of 18 and 21 inches. All-in-all, another pleasant day on the bay with, I believe, two new converts to the world of saltwater fly fishing. Keep at it guys!

Colin showing off his first speck

 

Justin jigged up a nice flounder





Josenhans FF ~ Summer Pattern Set

7 07 2011

Joel Davies with a mid-20's striper

Whew! This should finally get me caught-up with the fishing reports. I know that I have been throwing a lot at you of late, but I hope the fishing (and writing) has kept your interest. Each season seems to bring a summer pattern slightly different from the last and this year is no exception. While last summer we had more bluefish to keep us entertained (we did have them earlier) that has been replaced this year with some excellent flounder fishing.

Michael found the flounder still willing

On Wednesday, June 29 Michael Bievenour and Joel Davies joined me for a full-day trip out of Crisfield. The routine was established – shallow water rockfish early and then off to the flounder grounds. I think we accomplished both feats, just maybe in reverse order. Mike and Joel spent the morning catching mostly small rockfish over some eel grass beds, as there was not much tidal movement to speak of.  Since the striper fishing was slow to begin, we decided to try the flounder. Due to windy conditions and a couple of trips to the mid-bay area, it had been a week since we last tried for flounder and I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Not long after stopping at my favorite spot we had the first flounder flopping at my feet. For the next couple of hours we had a steady pick of the tasty flatfish, the hook-ups coming just often enough to keep the guys senses on edge. As the wind dropped off and the tide changed we returned to a favorite rockfish hole. The fish were waiting for us. For the next hour or so, Mike and Joel battled stripers up to 25 inches casting plastic shads on 1/2 ounce jig-heads. Lots of fun on the feather-light G. Loomis spinning rods. It was a fitting end to a day with a somewhat slow start. I was always told it’s better to end the day on a high note and today I was fortunate. Good work guys!

David with a nice rock on topwater

Saturday, July 2 brought back Crisfield resident David Wilmoth, along with friends Ron Long and Jim Daniel. David had mentioned  more than once (good-naturedly, of course) that I was putting a lot of pressure on myself, what with all of the flounder photographs on my blog. He was right, of course. I knew one day it would come to and end – but today wasn’t the day. I’ll get to that in a minute. We started off with some early topwater rockfish action and before long we had six nice stripers boated, including a ten-pound fish caught by Ron. While the action was short-lived, the explosive strikes in shallow water made the early departure-time worthwhile.

Now to the real reason David booked this trip – flounder! David told me he has been drooling (well, maybe my word) over my photographs of limits of big flounder, one of his favorite fish. He had me under the gun today and I was hoping the fish wouldn’t disappoint. We got to the flounder grounds a bit earlier than maybe I usually would and I am glad that we did. Being a Saturday, we had to share the spot with others; but aside from a boat or two anchoring in our drift-lane, all went well. And boy were the flounder up to the task. We had steady action, sometimes with double hook-ups, of nice flounder from 17 to 23 inches. In just a couple of hours the guys were able to box their limit of the tasty flatfish. A 3/4 ounce chartreuse bucktail with a 4″ Berkley Gulp! Swimming Mullet was the hands-down favorite this day. It seems the flounder have returned in force! We ended the day drifting the lower end of Pocomoke Sound feeding leftover Gulp! to small croaker, but no one really cared. The flounder had once again made the day and I hope I never wake up from this dream!

Ron's first time jigging for flounder made him a believer

Daybreak on the Eastern Shore





Josenhans FF ~ 160+ Years of Experience

3 07 2011

Werner Gruber from a previous trip

On Wednesday, June 22 I fished with probably my favorite fishing companions in Jack McKenna and Werner Gruber. Jack mentioned to me in between casts that between the two of them I had over 160 years of experience on the boat! Jack will celebrate his 80th birthday this summer and Werner reached that milestone a few years back. You wouldn’t know it by their youthful approach to fishing. In fact, I have to do my best to keep up with the both of them, they don’t take many breaks!

The fishing this day wasn’t spectacular, but we accomplished what we set out to do. Electing to forego the stripers in anticipation of some tasty flounder fillets, we decided to head right to the flounder grounds. We were greeted with about a half-dozen other boats that had been thinking the same thing. It appeared everyone was playing nice, so we entered the drift as a slot came open and started to pick at the flounder. Werner was first with a nice-looking 20 incher, and as he brought the fish to the boat, the net man (guess who) flubbed it. Air ball! I could have sworn I had that fish in the bag, but the evidence proved otherwise. Sorry Werner. I made out better with the next two, including a beautiful 23 inch fish. Then the fishing slowed.

Jack can fly fish with the best of them

With all the competing boats it was taking longer than usual to cover the good areas of the drift, so we departed to try for some blues, a favorite of Werner’s. The bluefish were by no means thick, but we did have a flurry or two and some hard pulls from blues averaging three-pounds. Jack managed a nice 20-inch fish on his G. Loomis GL3 9 wt. There was just enough action this day to keep things interesting and with the great company we all had a great time. Enjoyed the trip guys!! No photos from this day, but here are a couple from past trips.