Fishin' with Rick
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Rick, Jr.

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Rick (Rich), Sr.

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Rick (Ricky), III

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In the good 'ol days it was just dad and me. We have the same name but everyone called dad 'Rich' and they called me Ricky. That worked well although I preferred Rick to Ricky. Dad seemed to be Rich all along and that was ok with him. Now things got a little complicated about 12 years ago when another Rick came along. My son is 'Rick' also although we tried calling him 'Ricky' but he didn't like that any more than I do. So the point of all this is that Rick could be just about anyone, but when it comes to fishin' Rick means me and the other two Ricks. Confused?

Rick is a genuine fish'n nut. One of the many benefits of being part of a Ricksom is that our collection of Fishing in Maryland Awards are all in the name -- Richard Holt. "Hmm! I wonder which Rick caught that 5 lb. 2 oz pickerel?"  My dad and I actually have a few of those award citations for which we haven't a clue who actually caught the fish! Must have been me. 8-) My son, Rick, started his collection of Award Citations this summer with a big White Perch he caught. Had it made out to Rick Holt III, sneaky little guy!

Fishin' Log

Most Recent entries are on top:
(go to the bottom for ancient history)

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12/29/01 - Fished for an hour or so this afternoon with Virgil. Virgil had picked up two pickerel on a slow bite just before I arrived, but I took home the skunk.

Date: 12/19/01
Time: 10:30 am - 4:00 pm
Location: Magothy River, out of Ferry Point. 
Weather: Mostly sunny, calm at start but the S. breeze quickly came up and blew us around all day.
Water Temp/Cond:Not sure of the water temp as we didn't have a working DF. Water was a little cloudy with visibility of maybe 18". Still some floating leaves and grass around.
Tide: Water level was high at start. High tide at Mt. Pt. Bar was 9:13 am. We started on the high  tide and fished what should have been a good falling tide but very little water left the river 
Fish Caught: 15 Chain Pickerel (largest 22 7/8")
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It was a beautiful morning and the prediction I heard was for light winds, sunny and high in the low fifties. That sounded like a fishing day to me so I called Virgil about 9 am and connected with a sleepy voice that said something about how I must have mental telepathy because he was about to call me. I gave him the weather forecast and it didn't take any persuading. We were on the water in his NEW new boat by about 10:30 am.

The NEW new boat stuff is a long story which Virgil would rather forget and I won't go into the details. Virgil is biting his tongue at the moment working out the final details of getting his BPS purchase back on track. Basically we hit the water in his new hull minus a working depth finder. But back to fishing....

It was almost flat calm when we hit the river, but within minutes there was a steady southerly breeze blowing. We worked shoreline in Mill Creek. I cast my horsehead jig/minnow and Virgil was tossing a chartreuse pepper shad BA. The minnow quickly out-fished the BA hooking up with juvenile pickerel. Virgil stuck with the BA till the minnow started hooking up with 20-22" fish then after losing his BA to a snag 'decided' to switch to a dart/minnow.

We moved over to Dividing Creek for a while. From then on it was neck and neck with the dart/minnow and the horsehead jig/minnow both hooking up with fish. But for some reason Virgil's dart/minnow was regularly offering fish a quick release and not putting them in the boat. Virgil was getting frustrated and I was LMAO. Finally he asked if I had an extra one of those horsehead jigs. It was late in the game by then but Virgil started putting them in the boat at that point.

 About the time of low slack we had a brief flurry of activity with some small fish at the outflow of a little tidal marsh and from then on we found it hard to hook up. To wrap up the day we move back up in Mill Creek and re-worked some usually good shoreline. Virgil hooked up with one pike and I hooked up with a boat lift that left my lure in pieces. For the last few casts I grabbed another rod with a BA and managed to hook up with our last fish of the day using that heathen lure.

We had high hopes for this day since we were fishing the prime hours of the falling tide, but the water level hardly dropped at all and we never experienced any real bonanza.  The pickerel today were either in the 20" range or the 11" range with nothing in between. I guess the big story of the day was that we never hooked up with a single perch. And  yet another fine day on the river and the NEW new boat has a nice fishy smell now.

Date: 12/1/01
Time: 10 am - 2:30 pm
Location: Magothy River, Cornfield Creek
Weather: Incredible, 75*, calm, sunny.
Water Temp/Cond: Water temp 56-60*F .Water clarity varied from crystal clear where I could see my lure on the bottom in 5 ft of water in a protected leeward shoreline to a little hazy with visibility of 2-3 ft in a more exposed shoreline. Floating leaves still a bother.
Tide: Water level was low and falling at start. Low was about Noon. I really missed the main flush of the falling tide. After noon fished some fast rising water. 
Fish Caught: 5 Chain Pickerel (largest 23 "), 1 Yellow Perch (12"), 1 White perch, 1 striper about 15"

This was a day that just cried out to be fished. Incredible weather for December. I got kind of a late start and hit the creek on the tail end of the falling tide. I made a bee-line for some likely pickerel lairs. They must have seen me coming 'cause I couldn't get bit.

Finally in desperation I tied on a BA look-alike and tossed it at a likely pier. Wham! Thought sure I had a hoss pickerel, but it turned out to be a striper. I release him and set the skunk free. From there I ran all over the place looking for fish. It seemed like a futile search for a while, but eventually I was able to slowly pick away at them.

Finally hooked up with some pickerel. All the pickerel were caught on jig/minnow. The pickerel story for today was a recapture of a tagged 23" fish. It was the third time I have caught and released that same fish in the last year and from almost the exact same location. 

I had a few things to do so I called it quits about 2:30 pm, but it was hard to leave with the fish biting and the water rising and the warm sun and the calm winds...almost painful. 

Date: 11/28/01
Time: 8:30 am - 4:30 pm
Location: Magothy River, out of Ferry Point. Stayed on the S side of the river.
Weather: Thick fog till early afternoon. It was still a little hazy when we quit., 60 deg F. , S 5-10
Water Temp/Cond: Water temp 57*F .Water was pretty clean with just a little cloudiness from the recent rain with visibility of about 2 ft. Lots of floating leaves.
Tide: Water level was low at start. Low was about 10:30 am so we fished the last of the falling tide thru slack then most of the day fished rising water. 
Fish Caught: 12 Chain Pickerel (largest 23 1/4"), 6 Yellow Perch, 1 White perch
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Virgil called me at the 11th hour last night to see if I'd like to hold down the back of his boat today. He'd offered the seat to a couple other TF'ers, but they weren't able to make it. "What the heck," says I, "I'll see you in the morning!" Morning came all too soon and we were on the water by 8:30 am.

Dense fog smothered the river. We slipped the boat in Mill Creek. Next to the ramp the crew at Ferry Point were discussing whether it would be safe to lift an ancient half rotten sailboat hull with their new lift and I entertained myself listening to the discussion while Virgil parked the truck. As Virgil was walking back I happened to glance over at his fine new fishing boat and notice some water on the deck where there had been none moments before. Uh! Oh!

"Virgil, did we put the plug in the boat!"
"Oh, $***" 
"Is the bilge pump running?"
"I don't hear it!"

I can testify that Virgil Poe can run REAL fast. He hustled to the truck and backed the trailer down. We had the boat back on dry land before any damage was done. We put the plug in and tried again.

With the fog limiting visibility we decided to hang in the creek for a while and fish. We were on the last part of the falling tide and found action from the very first cast. We had some pretty decent action till the tide bottomed out. Then it was decision time.

The fog was as thick as ever and though we had thought about heading up-river to try some new water we found ourselves hugging the shoreline and heading east to some of our old stomping grounds. Visibility was just too limited to get very adventurous.

We fished rising water for the afternoon and found we had to work hard for the fish. Virgil was casting a salt and pepper chartreuse  5" BA and stuck with that heathen lure the entire day. I cast jig/minnow and an occasional spinner. It was neck-and-neck as far as catching.

Another fine day on the river!

Date: 11/26/01
Time: 10 am - 2 pm
Location: Magothy River in a deep water creek on the N shore.
Weather: Sunny, 65 deg F. , S 5-10
Water Temp/Cond: Water was pretty clean and clear in most places with visibility of 2-3 ft. Lots of floating leaves.
Tide: Water level was average.. Low was about 9:15 am so we fished a rising tide. Water temp 57*F 
Fish Caught: 6 Chain Pickerel (largest 14 3/8"), 1 Yellow Perch, 3 Stripers (15"-17")
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This day's fishing was squeezed on both ends by work obligations. I had to work till 9 am and Virgil was due in at 3:30 pm. We hit the river about 10 am and decided this would be a day for exploring. That new Bass Tracker of Virgil's has shrunk the river and distant fishin' holes are now just a fast ride around the corner.

Today we hit a deep water creek on the N side of the river and spent our entire day exploring and probing the shoreline. It was a beautiful creek and appeared to have pickerel and rockfish 'written all over it.' Virgil very quickly got into some rockfish on a green BA. They didn't seem interested in my jig/minnow, but I did manage one pickerel from the same area.

We worked our way around the creek fishing lots of prime habitat. Over the next couple hours we picked away at the fish and tallied 6 pickerel total for the day. They were all small. We had very little action from perch with only one fiesty yellow perch making it to the boat.

We had not tagged any pickerel in this creek before today and we were quite surprised to catch one with tag in it. A quick check of the records revealed that Virgil's pickerel caught way up in the creek in the afternoon was the very first pike I had caught and tagged the same morning about 200 yards further out the creek. It is interesting that he had traveled such a distance in only a couple hours time. I wonder if he was following us around all day?

On our way back out of the creek we stopped in a tidal pond we named 'glass-house cove' (hint, hint) and found it to be equally as enticing a place to fish. It was all we could do to tear ourselves away and get Virgil back to work on time. We'll visit that creek another day.

11/17/01 Here's Virgil's report on this trip: mag11171801460.jpg (820666 bytes)

Date: 11/12/01
Time: 8:00  am - 2:30 pm
Location: Magothy out of Fairwinds
Weather: Sunny, 55 deg F. , NW 5-10
Water Temp/Cond: Water had just a little haze but visibility as much as 2-3 ft. Lots of floating leaves.
Tide: Water levels were very low at start. Low was about 10 am so we fished mostly a rising tide. Water temp 53-55F 
Fish Caught: 15 Chain pickerel (9 1/2"- 22 "), 15 Yellow Perch, 6 extra large white perch
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I joined Virgil Poe today for a little fishing up in his neck-'a-the-woods. It was a beautiful fall day. A crisp chill was in the air and it was fairly calm. The only unnerving thing was the black cloud which seemed to hover over us a good part of the day. It wasn't a real cloud, more ethereal, but unnerving nonetheless. You see, the 'Hawg Trough', Virgil's little boat suddenly had a BIG attitude and we were paying the price.

Virgil was considering getting a NEW boat and we made the mistake of discussing this transgression in the presence of the venerable 'Hawg Trough.'  Not a good idea. We got our first hint something was up as we tooled through the quiet neighborhood to the ramp and suddenly 'Bang, Screeeeech!' Uh! Oh! the bow electric was dragging on the road. It could have been worse, just a chip out of the prop blade and a slight delay.

The water levels were low at launch as we were approaching the low. We gave the electric a test run and there didn't seem to be any vibrations, but for some reason the freshly charged batteries were only giving us about half the usual speed. Was 'Hawg Trough' trying to tell us something? At this point we started to wonder.

Virgil had just had a couple of reels spooled so as we started motoring toward the fishing grounds on the big motor he let out the line from each rod to drag any twists out. No lure, just naked line dragging behind the boat. Suddenly the rod doubles over and we're thinking, "This is weird." I slowed the boat and he retrieves the line but finds nothing on the end. "Really weird."

We were starting to worry now and we'd pretty much figured out what was going on. There were other incidences including a major tangle that required the classic 'snip, snip' of the newly spooled line, me falling in the back of the boat, line tangled in the electric's prop and similar disquieting troubles. We fished under this 'black cloud,' all day.

Oh, yes, the fishing. The fish were scattered -- one here, two there. There was enough breeze to make boat control an issue every now and then, or maybe it was just that nasty little boat doing her thing. All fish were caught on jig/minnow except a few Virgil caught on an experimental bait, the squid/minnow. We called it quits about 2:30 pm so Virgil could make it to work on time and so we could get out of that nasty little boat before she dumped us in the river or something worse.

Date: 11/08/01
Time: 8:00  am - 4:00 pm
Location: Cornfield Creek on the Magothy
Weather: Mostly sunny, 65 deg F. , Southerly and variable breezes picked up in late afternoon.
Water Temp/Cond: Water had just a little haze but visibility as much as 4 ft. in places. Lots of floating leaves.
Tide: Water levels were average. Fished early on the incoming and afternoon on the outgoing. High was about noon. Water temp 52-54*F 
Fish Caught: 30 Chain pickerel (12"- 23 1/2"), 10 Yellow Perch, one white perch
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Virgil Poe joined me today to fish my usual haunts. This was actually kind of a first in that since we've been fishing together I've always fished in his boats. The pressure was on! Gotta show my buddy some action or face the music. Actually we just launched the boat and went fishing as we always do. It just happened to be my boat this time.

 It was a rather slow bite for the morning. We started on the low almost at slack and watched the waters of the creek rise as we picked away at whatever fish would cooperate. By noon after blasting away at shoreline and a few piers we had tallied 6 pickerel and about the same number of hefty yellow perch. 

One nifty re-capture of a previously tagged pike added some excitement to an otherwise average morning. We caught a pickerel which I had tagged last year on Nov. 29, 2000 in practically the exact same spot as it was originally caught. It had grown from 18 1/4" to 20 1/8" in that one year span.

The last two trips I've had my best action during the falling tide so we were still optimistic that we could have some serious action if we were at the right place at the right time. Around noon which would have been on the high slack tide we moved east and set up shop on a shoreline with some blow-downs that usual produce. We picked away at 'em, but still no bonanza. Virgil pulled out his fly rod and hooked up with a decent pike. It was a re-capture of a pike Ricky and I had tagged on Sunday.

We relocated to work behind some piers and finally things started happening. We started catching and tagging some serious numbers of pike. For about two hours Virgil got to see the kind of action I've seen the last two trips. Final tally was 30 pike for the day. Virgil kicked butt in one super secret spot where he landed 4 fish in a row over 21". I was feelin' kinda left out till he landed a nice 23" fish and I was able to say, "Oh that's 'ol tag # 0747. I caught that one a couple days ago about a mile from here." 

Date: 11/04/01
Time: 8:30  am - 4:00 pm
Location: Cornfield Creek on the Magothy
Weather: Mostly sunny, 65 deg F. , Light NE breeze.
Water Temp/Cond: Water was  clean and clear, visibility as much as 5 ft. in places. Lots of floating leaves.
Tide: Water levels were exceptionally low. Fished mostly an outgoing tide. Low was about 3:15 pm. Water temp 59*F 
Fish Caught: 40 Chain pickerel (10 1/2" to 24"), 7 Yellow Perch, one white perch
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Father and son fished the river today. Absolutely incredible is the only way to describe it. Pickerel were everywhere and in numbers we have never seen. Probably the most memorable was a 'patch' size pike we caught in Red House Cove. I landed him, tagged and released him, then 10 minutes later a little further down the shoreline Ricky landed the same darn fish again! We both got a good laugh out of that one.

We also recaptured a fish that we'd tagged back in March '01. On 3/7/01 he measured 12 5/8", when caught today he measure 17 1/8" for a gain of 4 1/2". They definitely seem to grow faster when they're young. All fish today were caught on jig/minnow.  The smaller fish seemed to hug the shore-line often in less than 2 ft. of water. The bigger boys often hung out a ways.

FYI, for anyone interested there has been one angler catching rock light tackle trolling in the deeper water at the mouth of the creek. Says he's been catching his limit though he's had to work for them using bucktail/minnow.

Date: 11/02/01
Time: 9:30  am - 3:00 pm
Location: Cornfield Creek on the Magothy
Weather: Partly cloudy, 70 deg F. , S then SE at about 15
Water Temp/Cond: Water was very clean and clear, visibility as much as 5 ft. in places. Lots of floating leaves.
Tide: Fished mostly an outgoing tide. Low was about 1:30 pm. Water temp 56*F early and up to 60*F eventually.
Fish Caught: 19 Chain pickerel (10 3/4" to 22 7/8"), 7 Yellow Perch ( 9 3/4" to 11 3/4"), one little striper and a token sunfish.
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This was my first trip in the tin boat since crabbing season. Getting the boat rigged and loaded for fishing took a while this morning as everything I needed was spread over creation. Gas can at my in-laws, rods at the boat lift on the other boat, oil and measuring cup at the farm, and most everything else in the 'fishin' shack behind the house. Add a little trip to Micky's for a pick-me-up and it was 9:30 before I dropped the boat in the creek.

The creek was fairly protected from the wind so I made my usual rounds hitting favorite piers and shoreline. Action started quickly with some big yellow perch on the N shore of Long Point. I had one minnow shredded so I was optimistic there were some pike on the prowl.

I moved up into a tidal pond and tucked myself behind a boathouse out of the wind at anchor. I steady caught pickerel. I took a while to get back in the routine of measuring, recording and tagging the pickerel. It really does slow down the fishing when you're alone. To top it off I'd forgotten my handy measuring board that I usually use. I scrounged around and found one of those orange DNR measures that was faded and hard to read. Without that I'd have had to forgo the tagging today.

The big excitement came around noon when I hooked up with a bruiser. This guy didn't want to give up. I slipped the net under a nice heavy pickerel. As I was measuring him and was about to put a tag in him I realized that the piece of green algae on his shoulder was actually an old tag. I scraped the green off and uncovered the yellow tag # 0265. Well I'll be, I had tagged this ol' fella last year about this time. He had grown an inch since last November. I put him back to fight again.

Every once in a while I'd pull the anchor and let the wind push me further down the shoreline. I find that works better for me than trying to control the boat with the electric. If I had a foot controlled electric I'd probably forego the anchor mess. I motored across the pond but found no action on the windward shore where the Canada Geese had been raising a ruckus. I used the opportunity to take a bit of a lunch break and plan my afternoon strategy.

For the afternoon I worked my way back up to the head of the creek. My first stop was on the wide bend by the green can. I let the wind drift me up in the corner and anchored up within casting distance of shore in about 6 ft. of water. This turned out to be quite a hotspot. Without moving the boat I tagged and released 8 pickerel and a yellow perch. They were all in the remnants of a grass bed right on shore. I thought it would never end, but the action finally slowed and I move further up the creek.

I caught a few more pike as I worked up to the head of the creek. The wind seemed to have swung around to the E a bit and started to give me a fit. About 3 pm, tired and happy I called it 'one heck of a good day.'

Date: 9/22/01
Time: Noon to 4 pm
Location: G11 - Podickory Pt.
Weather: Calm to light W wind, but steady chop from boat wakes
Water Temp/Cond: Not bad, no algae blooms noticed.
Tide: Outgoing 
Fish Caught: About a half dozen small bluefish boated.

Ricky and I went out trolling small spoons this afternoon. Lots of boat traffic. Most of our action was from Balto. Light and south along the drop just outside the fleet on Podickory. We had a ton of hook-ups but they were so small many of them never made it to the boat. We just couldn't get good hook-ups. As soon as they'd start thrashing on the surface they'd throw the hook. Lots of fun though.

Date: 9/16/01
Time: 7 am - 330 pm
Location: Baltimore Light to Snake Reef
Weather: Stiff breeze from the NE made for a steady chop all day.
Water Temp/Cond: Didn't see any brown water except up in the Magothy near the dock. Water temp 71* in the bay.
Tide: Fished mostly an outgoing tide. Low was about 1 pm. 
Fish Caught: Some small bluefish, several very small stripers, one teeny tiny trout, lots and lots of white perch and one 23" striper.
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Father and son with nephew Bryan left the river on a high tide. It was gorgeous, but a might bit breezier than the weatherman predicted. We set up four lines for trolling, hoping for some action from the many small bluefish in the area. We weren't disappointed. We had some action up near G11 for starters, then looped around the fleet at G13 and headed back south. Hit the mother-lode down between G9 and the light. The boys had a great time working the lines. All the fish (blues and small stripers) came on bottom bounced chrome crippled alewife (the ones you get as a freebee when you renew your MSSA membership at the winter shows.)

About 10:30 am or so we hung up the trolling rods and motored up to Snake Reef for some bottom fishing action. Nothing doing up on the hard bottom, but out past the second bar in the mud in about 20' of water we found plenty of perch. We drifted for a while and on our last drift I hooked up with a 23" striper. Made my day. He hit on peeler. We anchored up for a while after that and continued to catch perch, pretty much on every cast (at least Ricky who was using bloodies got one on every cast.) Bryan and I fished with peelers and had our share of action too.

I knew it was time to quit when the boys started throwing bait (or something equally disgusting) at one another. It was great to get out. A fun day.

Date: 9/3/01
Time: 6 am - 2:30 pm, 5 pm - 7 pm
Location: Podickory Pt. and Snake Reef, then back to Podickory for the evening
Weather: Southerly breeze was not a bother, but boat wakes were!!
Water Temp/Cond: Overall water was a bit cloudy and some areas of red tide.
Tide: Started on a rising tide. It was high at about 8 am. 
Fish Caught: Couple small bluefish, couple small stripers, couple small trout, couple spot and a mess of white perch.
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Father and son with nephew Bryan chummed the last of the rising tide this morning off Podickory. Gave that up as a lost cause when the tide changed and the boat turned so we were fishing on top the anchor line. Just as well, we only scared up a couple of bluefish in a couple of hours of chum slinging.

We went inshore a bit and made a couple of drifts with nothing to show for it. It was boat city out there by that time and we kept taking water over the transom from all the boats racing around. We headed for Snake Reef.

Up on Snake Reef we first tried up in close to the pots, but couldn't scare up a fish. Next we moved out to the second bar which had about 14 ft. of water over it and immediately started catching perch. We also picked up a couple short trout, but no keepers. We pulled the lines at 2:30 pm and headed in to get some bait for an evening trip.

About 5 pm we headed back out with a couple of Texas cowboys on board. Chris Cox and his wife Stormy were in town conducting a local horse training seminar and my wife kinda volunteered me and the boat to show them around for the evening. Since I never miss a chance to go fishing this wasn't a big deal.

We battled the boat traffic when we first got out there, but as the sun got a little lower it got real peaceful and I think Chris and his wife enjoyed there little fishing/boating trip. We caught some perch and spot, saw a few local sights and headed back in as the sun got low.

Date: 8/25/01
Time: 7 pm - 8 pm
Location: Snake Reef
Weather: Steady wind from the SE,
Water Temp/Cond: Choppy with some whitecaps
Tide: Rising
Fish Caught: 8 white perch, one spot  and a 22" striper

Father and son with nephew Bryan ran the 6 miles up to Snake Reef for the last hour of daylight. It was pretty choppy, but the run up with the wind was quick and dry. We made several drifts over the oyster bottom with some three day old bloodies dragging bottom. Surprisingly there were a couple of other boats there rocking and rolling along with us.

We battled a few bait stealing white perch and nice spot before the sun finally set and I told the boys to pull in the lines. Just as Bryan was about to lift his rig from the water a fish slammed it and doubled his little ultra-light with drag singing. Ricky netted a fiesty 22" striper in the fading light.

We pounded our way back to the Magothy tasting a little salt water along the way. Got back to the entrance channel with just enough light to dodge the crab pots. This trip was short and sweet. 

Date: 8/22/01
Time: Noon - 4 pm, 6:30 pm - Dark
Location: Podickory Pt.
Weather: Early calm, later a little bit of a southerly breeze picked up but not a bother.
Water Temp/Cond: There were areas of brown water and patches of good water nearby..
Tide: Outgoing for the afternoon trip, incoming for the evening trip
Fish Caught: Half dozen jumbo spot,  3 dozen white perch and two 13" croaker.
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Working right on the bayfront has it's advantages and disadvantages. This morning I sat looking out over a flat calm bay on a pleasant August morning. All caught up on paperwork, no crisis to handle, and only one thing to do. Get out of there and go fishing!

I rounded up my usual crew plus one. Along for the ride today was a neighborhood friend named Max. We headed out of the Magothy and thought we'd cruise awhile looking for breakers. Went as far as Love Point, circled the rockpile, scanned the horizon and said the heck with this let's go catch fish.

On the way past Podickory we had passed a huge fleet of boats including a half dozen or so headboat/charters. We went back and the whole fleet had moved north and into almost the Magothy entrance channel. Curious, we motored over and slowly circled the fleet. We didn't see but one or two small fish caught among the 20 or so boats there. We figured we could do just as well on our own.

We went back over to Podickory and made a couple very productive long slow drifts in 18-19' water on a hard bottom. We had steady action on perch and spot and picked up one nice croaker. We went thru a dozen bloodies, and one soft crab before the tide slowed and action fizzed. We headed home for dinner and dropped off Max for his soccer practice.

About 6:30 pm we regrouped and Ricky, Bryan and I headed back out to fish the evening incoming tide. Most of the fleet was anchored or drifting out along the drop so we joined the club and after a couple tries got the anchor to hook in about 20 ft of water right on the edge of the drop.

We had just enough action to keep us interested, but not enough to call it a good bite. Everything we caught though was decent size -- 10"+ perch, jumbo spot and one more nice 13" croaker. We were hoping action would pick up as the sun set, but just the opposite happened. Not a single bite after the sun set.

With the rising water and setting sun we thought maybe we'd try in a little shallower for one more drift. We pulled up near the clam line markers and made one last slow drift without a single bite on some of the juiciest bloodies we've ever used. Guess that outgoing tide is the tide to fish right now.

Date: 8/19/01
Time: 8 am - 3 pm
Location: Love Point, Snake Reef
Weather: Early calm, later boat wakes and a light southerly breeze.
Water Temp/Cond: cleaner on the eastern side. Water at Snake Reef was brown.
Tide: Outgoing
Fish Caught: Half dozen jumbo spot, dozen white perch and a short striper.
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Father and son went to Love Point and chummed with the fleet. Didn't catch squat on a steady outgoing tide. We tossed some bloodies out to beat the skunk and picked up some jumbo spot from the bottom early on, but even that action fizzed as the morning progressed. With one short striper and those jumbo spot as our only reward we abandoned the clean waters of the eastern shore and headed west.

The waters around Snake Reef were off color, kind of brown. We anchored up for a while then tried drifting in shallow next to the crab pots. Had some action drifting over the bar with bloodies on the bottom -- perch and spot. The spot were jumbo (10" range) and the perch were mixed -- every other one or so a keeper.

About 3:30 or 4 pm the skies darkened and were heard a rumble of thunder. We packed it up and raced for home. Didn't quite make it before the skies opened up, but the thunder and lightning never made it our way. Just a little wet, but what the heck, that's fishin'.

8/14,15,16,17/01 - Tues. afternoon Ricky and Bryan fished the pier after scouting around in the small boat and found fishing good in the pier shadow. Ricky and I fished the pier Wed. and Thurs eve and found lots of perch holding in the pier shadow and next to the pilings. Best fishing was in the area just out beyond the weedline. Bryan and Ricky fished this afternoon and found fishing about the same. Caught were perch, spot, and small stripers, many of the perch were easily keepers. Mostly were caught on bloodworms.

8/12/01 - Ricky and I ventured out this morning in hopes of catching a few before the predicted storms arrived. The tide was very low and not hardly moving at 7 AM this morning. The water was a little dirty looking from yesterdays rains. We looked around Podickory a bit and made a couple drifts over some promising marks. Got a dink striper, a jumbo spot and a couple perch to show for our efforts. Our plan was to chum today when the tide started moving back in but we never got enough of a current to make it worth while.

Under threatening skies we ran up to Snake reef, anchored up near a lump and planned on waiting out the tide. We tossed a little chum, but it just went straight down and so did our lines. The boat twisted and turned with the variable S breezes. The skies opened up and dumped on us a couple times, but we stuck it out. Waiting for some current to start moving....

By 11 AM, in spite of the foul weather, the boat traffic was picking up and we were rocking and rolling from boat wakes as on a typical Sunday in the upper bay. We had one moment of excitement when I hooked up with a ray that circled the boat a couple times before breaking off by hitting the motor. Other than that we picked up a little bluefish and another perch or two and that was it.

About noon we heard a rumble of thunder in the distance and we were outa' there...homeward bound. 

Date: 8/8/2001
Time: 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
Location: Podickory Point
Weather: Stuffy, hazy, hot. Light southerly breeze
Water Temp/Cond:86-82 F
Tide: low slack and eventually incoming
Fish Caught: About 10 perch, 3 spot and some fingerling stripers and trout.
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Father and son with nephew Bryan fished Podickory this evening. We again found surface activity everywhere. Baitfish occasionally being chased by something bigger. We ignored the surface activity and went out to motor around the small fleet fishing the drop out toward the channel. In 28 ft. along the edge of the fleet we marked significant fish, but with the slack water we saw no action. The fleet slowly dispersed.

We drifted the edge a little while with bottom rigs and bloodies, but nothing showed. With little time for fishing before the sun set we decided that no bites meant move. We went inshore on the hard bottom and drifted S>N. As soon as the tide started moving we began to pick up some fish.

Got some nice size white perch in the 10" range and a few nice spot too. Made two or three drifts with action picking up as it got darker and the tide picked up. Fished till dark and then headed in happy.

8/6/01 - The mouth of the Magothy was alive with fish this evening...but they were real small as best we could tell. Ricky and I fired up the boat and headed out of the river about 7:30 pm this evening. When we saw all the pods of baitfish occasionally being chased out of the water we pulled out a couple rods and drifted with the motor off among the activity. We cast up, down and all around with an assortment of jigs and spoons. Changing things up every now and then. Not a bite. Not even a plastic tail chopped off. The fish we did see were small, probably bluefish. Hard to believe we couldn't even get a tap out of them. Ricky spent about 10 minutes trying to bean a ray that was in among the action. That didn't work either. In about an hour it was getting dark and we called it a skunk.

Date: 8/2/2001
Time: 6 am - 7:30 pm
Location: OC offshore, 40 fathoms S. of the Hotdog
Weather: Beautiful, sunny, light winds and some huge rollers
Water Temp/Cond: 72-76*F
Fish Caught: 6 tuna to 77 lbs. (combined weight was 236 lbs.), one white marlin (6 ft. from bill tip to fork of tail)
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I was trapped in OC this week -- victim of a family vacation. Before I left Pasadena I made sure Virgil had my cell phone number. We secretly plotted a mid-week rendezvous at the West OC ramp and I planned my escape from the cottage on 85th Street for the wee hours of the morning when the rest of the family was asleep. Joining me on this secret mission were my son Ricky and my nephew Bryan.

The plan came together and we slipped out of the inlet into the rising sun on Thursday morning. This was Virgil's first tuna splashdown of the season and the first voyage with his new raytheon unit installed. We rode a few monster rollers coming out of the inlet and wondered if that was what we had to look forward to for the day. Those rollers in the near-shore shallows were pretty steep and scary, but once we got into the deep you barely noticed them rolling under you.

We made a bee-line for the Hotdog and then headed offshore to almost the 50 fathom line before we dropped our lines in. Virgil was pulling 7 lines, all plastic, lots of green. The details of the day kind of fade together as I try to write this report several days after the trip. Basically things weren't hot where we started and we gradually worked our way south and into the 40 fathom line. We found a sweet spot and worked it for the rest of the day.

Water temps in the area were almost 76*, the water there was sparkling blue, sea life was everywhere. We saw a whale, a shark, porpoises, breaking fish, bait and lots of marks on the finder. We hooked up with 8 tuna. Lost one when the leaderman (me) tried to bully a big one at the boat and a second that pulled off after a very long bulldog fight. That second fish wore me out and I passed the rod to Virgil. He hung on for a few more minutes and then the fish was gone. Man, we would have loved to see that one! 

The biggest excitement of the day came late. We had something wack at the bait on the rigger. Thought we had him then he was gone, then back again, then gone. By that time I had the rod in my hand and Virgil slowed the boat a bit to change the action of the spread. Virgil speeds up and wham! He hit again and he was hooked. I let him have it and the real started singing. I'm looking at line peel off the reel and someone yells, "Marlin!!!"  Holy cow! 

It was nephew Bryan's turn and he was ready with fighting belt and attitude. We all scramble to pull in the rest of the spread so we can gain some line on the escaping fish. Virgil started to ease the pressure and Bryan made up the lost line. It was an underwater battle. The fish never surfaced again till I leadered him and grabbed him by the bill for a short stop on deck. I held the fish up for a photo op and we quickly revived him and let him go.

(Major disappointment when back at home Virgil went to pull some pics from the video for this report he discovered that a camera glitch had wiped out half the tape and we had no video of the marlin. We took some pics with a still camera of the release so hopefully we'll have some pics when the film gets developed.)

This was Bryan's first ever tuna trip and he gets a marlin! Ricky landed the 77 pounder which was a personal best for him. Quite an adventure! Then back to the cottage on 85th Street....

Date: 7/27/2001
Time: 6:30 pm -8:30 pm
Location: Podickory Point
Weather: Gorgeous sunset, even a little cool as the sun went down
Water Temp/Cond: Forgot to check the temp. Water looked fairly normal for a change.  
Fish Caught: Half dozen white perch, one nice croaker

Father and son with nephew Bryan scooted out of the Magothy for a spur of the moment trip on the bay. We were mostly messing around with the electronics. I'd punched in a bunch of lumps and edges around Podickory that I pulled from Maptech and we really haven't taken the time to get to know the new finder (Pro-fish III). 

So we motored from here to there zoomed in on the bottom and whenever we saw anything that looked like fish on the finder we drop a couple lines down baited with bloodies to see what was there. Sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn't but we learned a little.

The bottom fish showed up as little vertical lines and not the classic arch nor the large dark marks like those of the big stripers in the Spring. Watched a gorgeous sunset and motored in with just enough light for a quick trip.

7/24/01, PM - Father and son with nephew Bryan headed out of the Magothy aboard 'Hatless', our first trip on the bay since the boat came back from repairs. There was a pretty good slop coming up from the south. We took the easy way out and headed north to the Snake Reef area figuring things would settle down later when the tide turned to be in tune with the wind.

We couldn't get any bloodies or grass shrimp on short notice so we settled for some squid strips and some whole shrimp from the grocery. We drifted around the usual areas up there with little more than an occasional nibble and a lot of rocking and rolling. Time for plan B.

We headed south into the slop and pulled up on Podickory catching the lee of Sandy Point for a much more pleasant drift. The tide was now slack and we couldn't buy a bite. We tried deep, shallow and in between with nothing to show for it. The tide started to pick up and conditions were finally right for plan C.

With wind and tide in synch we took a cruise in search of something that looked like fish marks on the finder. We found some that looked good, dropped the anchor and dropped a chum bag over the side. It was maybe an hour till sunset. Really pretty. As I'm baiting my line I see this sailboat bearing down on us. I dropped my line overboard and let it float back with the tide. Tap, tap, tap. A bite! Man that was quick! Get ready to set the hook. But what about that sailboat?. Damn, he's practically on us. I set the rod in the holder.

The sailboat crossed our bow and it was clear he passed close so he could talk. He pointed out a boat in the distance that looked like it needed assistance. I hadn't noticed it but the boat appeared to be flying a large white flag. We pulled the bino's out and could see them waving frantically.

Not sure why the sailboat passed them by, but we couldn't ignore a call for help. We pulled the anchor, pulled the lines and went to investigate. No dramatic story from here. Just a couple of kids with motor problems. We hooked them up and towed them into the Magothy. That ended our day. Skunked except for this big one we pulled in:
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Date: 7/21/2001
Time: 7am - 11 am
Location: Magothy creeks
Weather: Beautiful morning
Water Temp/Cond: water was cloudy . 
Fish Caught: 24 keeper white perch, didn't count the throwbacks.
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Father and son and nephew Bryan hit the river this morning in search of a white perch dinner. We picked one up here and there during the first hour or so but never got into a good school. Finally on a stop by some downed trees up in Redhouse Cove we got into some decent numbers of fish. Can't say they were big ones, but I did manage to get two dozen I wouldn't mind cleaning. Maybe stretched the definition of 'keeper' just a bit.

I think I may have caught the world's smallest hook-and-line striper. The battle was brief but exciting. :)

Crabbers were everywhere today. Most seemed to be getting some nice ones. Boat traffic picked up about lunch time and drove us off the river.

Date: 7/20/2001
Time: 7-8 pm
Location: The family pier on Sillery Bay, Magothy River
Weather: Gorgeous evening.
Water Temp/Cond: Didn't check the temp, water was cloudy from the evening boat wakes washing the shallows. 
Fish Caught: About 30 white perch, average maybe 8", no giants.

Enjoyed the fruits of our weeks crabbing efforts this evening with a family crab feast on the shores of the Magothy. Couldn't resist the temptation to wet a line. I got some grass shrimp from Fishbone's and had the family pier all to myself. There is a fair amount of SAV along the shoreline. That's encouraging. 

I worked my way up one side of the pier and down the other casting jig/shrimp and covering some water with only a lost shrimp to show for my efforts. Then I went up close to shore and jigged the pilings in the area of the SAV in maybe 3' of water. Found a mother-lode of perch. Literally a fish on every cast till I tired of catching them. Pretty perch.

I think I'll hit the river in the morning and sort through the perch for some keepers.

Date: 7/12/2001
Time: 1:30 pm - dark
Location: A mill pond near Salisbury, MD
Weather: Gorgeous afternoon, just a little breezy.
Water Temp/Cond: 83-88*F, coffee colored clean water 
Fish Caught: About a dozen LM bass to 17", half dozen pickerel  to 20",  half dozen nice crappie to 13", and a couple of bluegills.
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I was talking with Virgil, lamenting that my boat was still in the shop waiting for a part and hearing Virgil's tale of woe concerning his electronics for his Proline being tied up in the shop too, when somewhere in the conversations the idea of going fishing ANYWAY came up. Great idea!

I met Virgil Thursday at his place mid-morning, we loaded up his jon-boat and headed for Salisbury for a little bass fishing. I had never actually been bass fishing so this was a special adventure for me. I've caught some bass over the years, but never actually ON PURPOSE. This was a new concept. :)

I tried to be a good student, but the master out-fished me in spite of my efforts. We tossed mostly brown tubes at shoreline cover and pads. According to Virgil the fishing was a lot slower than his last trip, but we caught some fish and enjoyed a beautiful day outdoors. We trolled a little and caught some nice crappie on red/white tubes and Virgil tossed a small popper on his new fly rod and caught a bluegill and a tree.

All afternoon we were anticipating the bite to pick up as the sun got lower. On his last trip the place exploded at dark with a fish on every cast. This trip the fishing just shut down. We returned to one of our 'hotspots' and Virgil managed one last bass from the channel edge on a black spinnerbait. We gave the spinnerbaits a workout till it got too dark to see and headed back in without another hookup.

Bonus, it was such a cool pleasant evening that there were no mosquitoes! About 6 pm Virgil 'tested' his student with a little Q&A, "What do you think we should try next since we haven't had a hookup in quite a while?"  "Well, " says I, "I think we should crack open that cooler and pull out that liverwurst w/ mustard and onions and have a little dinner." Virgil just shook his head. :D Bass fishing is good fun.

Date: 6/20/2001
Time: 7 am - 6 pm
Location: 20 Fathom Fingers off OC
Weather: Sunny, hot, S breeze increasing from an early tolerable to snotty for the trip back.
Fish Caught:  5 bluefish in the 5-10 lb. range.
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Ricky and I rolled out of bed this morning at 2 am for the drive to OC.  We settled in at the ramp about 6 am after breakfast and gas at the WaWa. Virgil arrived about 7 am with Lick-ad-Split in tow and fellow WWA Bob Wiest (chickennecker) and his son Dave.  By 8:30 or so we were on the fishing grounds.

Our target was shark and we set up the usual slick and spread of baits. Action came fast and was pretty steady all day. But it wasn't from sharks. Just about every bait we put out today was chomped in half by bluefish -- full blown hard core criminal bluefish, not the juvenile delinquent kind so pesky of late in the bay. But they were pesky none-the-less. 

We managed to land 5 of them, but it was frustrating watching our baits get stripped all day long before any sharks (if there were ever any) could get near them. We had one shark visit the slick, but couldn't get him interested. He slipped away while the bluefish continued chomping the baits.  Can't really complain though since Bob and Dave chalked up there biggest fish ever landing the bluefish. It's great to share in those special moments.

The biggest excitement of the day was not even in our boat, but we enjoyed it immensely. Fellow WWA, Jason Study (jstudy) and his wife aboard his boat 'First Born' were out shark fishing for the first time. About 3 pm Jason hooked up with a BIG shark and we listened to the blow-by-blow over the vhf. The excitement aboard that boat was contagious and we joined in with advise and encouragement. After about an hour battle they got it in close for a photo op. Can't wait to see the pics. They topped there day off with yet another shark hook-up and the misses brought that one in as we listened on the VHF.

It was a great day on the water. The wind creeped up on us and slapped us in the face on the way back in. It was a snotty, wet (at least on the port side where I stood :) ) ride back to port. Can't wait to do it again.

Date: 6/9/2001
Time: 7 am - 6 pm
Location: 20 Fathom Fingers off OC
Weather: Sunny, warm, very light breeze
Water Temp/Conditions: 68.8 * the one time I recall checking.
Fish Caught: 1 mako shark about 4 ft., 1 blue shark about 6 ft., 1 bluefish of a couple pounds.
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Father and son met Virgil Poe at the W. OC ramp this morning (Sat., 6/9) for a sharking trip. It was supposed to happen on Friday, but that's another story. We brought along our hand-held GPS since both the units on Virgil's boat were on the blink. Saw fellow WWA, 'Pintail' at the ramp. They were heading out sharking too, as I recall.

We set course directly to the Fingers and found quite a fleet of boats on a basically N/S drift. We found ourselves a hunk of ocean on the edge of the pack and commenced chumming and setting lines. Ricky was the first on deck when a reel started screaming. He landed a mako which we felt was probably a little short of the 54" limit so it was released at boatside. For the next screaming reel I got the call. This one we identified as a blue shark and it was a good 6 ft. long, my biggest fish ever. It was released at boatside as we were hoping for a keeper mako.

All this action came on in the first couple hours and it was quite a while before we had another taker. It was well after noon when Virgil had put out a fifth line very deep as our other 4 lines covered from the top to maybe 30 ft. down suspended under balloons. All we needed was something to bring the fish on, so I suggested Gumpfordson's Law. Bill Burton in one of his columns in the '70's explained it as "The bread will fall jelly in direct proportion to the value of the rug." or "whatever can go wrong, will go wrong." Now when trolling it usually works to set up kitchen on the transom and commence making peanut butter sandwiches. A good hit is inevitable right in the middle of making lunch. Never fails. 

Well, I suggested maybe we get out the tools and see if we couldn't figure out why his Furono wasn't getting any satellites. Virgil undid the 4 screws and had the unit in his hand checking the connection on the back when a line started screaming. It was that deep line that went off and Virgil grabbed it and landed a pretty bluefish of several pounds. The laws of psycho-physics are pretty powerful! And as Virgil was fighting his fish I looked over at the display and the unit had locked on several satellites and eventually we had a fix. Well, ain't that something!

Shortly after that we had a small blue shark visit the chum pot and entertain us for quite a while. He ignored all the lines and had himself a grand little time dancing around the pot. At one point he actually had his head out of the water trying to get into the top of the pot. We figured 'what the heck' let's see if we can hook him, so Virgil grabbed a spare rod threw a hook on the snap swivel and baited it up. He handed it to Ricky who flipped the bait into the face of the shark and was hooked up in seconds. And the fight was on, for several more seconds. Oops, forgot the wire leader!

Hoping to miss the zoo at the ramp we left about 4:30 and headed in. We stopped for a spell to video a HUGE whale. He disappeared once and came up on the other side of the boat. Whew! Tense moment there. That sucker was probably 100 ft. long. Didn't want him coming up under us! Hit the ramp with perfect timing and didn't have to wait at all. We were on the road by 6 pm, right after answering a NMFS interview. Fishing with Virgil is always an adventure! 

Date: 6/3/2001
Time: 8 am - Noon
Location: Bay Bridge, Podickory, Snake Reef.
Weather: Partly cloudy, steady stiff W breeze, 65*
Water Temp/Conditions: ? temp, water a little off color
Tide: strong outgoing currents
Fish Caught: 0 fish

Father and son slipped out for a while this morning.  Had a few soft crabs/peelers so we ran down to the bay bridge to try our luck. Motor ran great all the way there, but once we throttle down to maneuver around the bridge it was back to the same symptoms -- acting like she's starving for gas, pump the ball a few times and you're good for a little while. The brisk W breeze and funky motor made us re-think our strategy.

Ok, we'll try drifting off Podickory. The wind had quite a fetch coming out of the Magothy and combined with a now strong outgoing current we drifted way too fast for our liking. We tried dragging a five gallon bucket and not even that helped. To top it off we realized we'd left the bloodies we bought sitting on the counter at Fishbone's Bait and Tackle. This has not been a great day. 

Well, we motor back in to the pier and run up to the tackle shop to get our bloodies. No problem there and back on the water in a short time. This time we headed north to Snake Reef hoping we could catch a decent drift in the lee there. The stiff breeze still played hell with our drifting so we tried anchoring here and there. When boat traffic picked up as it usually does on Sunday afternoon we decided to call the day a bona fide skunk and the motor a bona fide funk.

Date: 5/28/2001
Time: 8 am - Noon
Location: Hard bottom off G.I.
Weather: Mostly cloudy, light W breeze, 65*
Water Temp/Conditions: 65.7*F, funky color water from shades of brown to green.
Tide: Incoming, high was 11:30ish
Fish Caught: About 30 white perch, mostly small and one spot.
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Father and son with nephew Bryan left the brown waters of the Magothy this morning to bottom fish on our old stomping grounds. We headed north to the hard bottom and drifted bloodworms, squid, cut spot and peeler. We had fairly steady action from small perch when we stayed on the hard bottom, but we fished here and there and all around searching for something different. Bloodworms on a gaudy spinner hook caught almost all the fish.

Date: 5/20/2001
Time: 8 am - Noon
Location: Magothy River creeks
Weather: Foggy damp start, 68*, Light breeze till it picked up about noon
Water Temp/Conditions: 68*F, VERY clear, could make out some bottom features in 5 ft. of water.
Tide: Outgoing
Fish Caught: A few yellow perch, sunfish and pickerel
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Father and son fished the creek today. We were amazed at the clarity of the water. We could see our jigs 4 ft down and could make out some bottom features even deeper. Only thing we couldn't see were the fish. :) Actually Ricky played with the sunfish most of the morning and he often could see the fish he was after.

We fished the perch hole near Magothy Narrows with no real results, James Pond provided most of the action, Red House cove was a zippo and on the way back to the ramp we picked up a couple fish along the N shore of the creek. The breeze picked up about noon and we called it a day.

Biggest perch was 12 1/8", but all of them had lost that brilliant color they had earlier in the season. The sunfish were brightly colored and the pickerel were downright puny. No complaints from this crew. It was great to get out and enjoy a morning on the river.

Date: 5/4/01
Time: 7 am - 4 pm
Location: Chesapeake Bay, Bloody Point to Poplar Isl.
Weather: Mostly sunny, hazy, 80 degrees, light S breeze
Water Temp/Conditions: 66*F
Tide: Low at Thomas Point was 9:19 am.
Fish Caught: 4 Striped Bass (42" at 36 lbs, 45 3/4" at 41 lbs., 32", 29"
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Virgil Poe and I launched his 'Lick a-d Split' at Sandy Point this morning and motored south to the Bloody Point area to troll for the big 'uns. We worked an E/W pattern from that last red marker before the light over to about the middle of the bay. The sailboaters owned the western side.  Near that eastern edge we got our first fish, a 42", 36 lb. beauty.  It was maybe 8:30 am when I landed that one. About an hour later on the same pattern in almost the same spot the roof rod went off and Virgil grabbed it and tried to hand it off to me. "No way 'ol buddy, I'm still recovering from the last one!"

Virgil said he thought it was another nice one. After quite a battle we slipped the net under a huge fish the measured out to 45 3/4" and 41 lbs! Whoa, baby! As we sorted things out and caught our breath half the Bloody Point flotilla converged upon us and we decided it was time to find another fishing hole. We headed south.

Down toward Deal, not exactly sure where, we started working E/W again and played around one of the nun bouys down there. On one pass we decided to cut in close enough to see the marker # and found it was 84A. On the way back off the edge in about 70 ft. of water another rod went off. My turn again. "Virgil, this is a BIG one!"

I couldn't gain any line! I could feel the thump, thump of a huge fish and quickly realized I wasn't making any progress. Virgil started an easy turn to take a little pressure off. Still no gain. He dropped one motor out. Still no gain. My arms were screaming! Geesh! Then relief and disappointment. The line went slack and I reeled in the tandem to see the damages. The bucktail/shad didn't look like it had been touched so we concluded IT had been on the spoon. 

We beat ourselves up with what-ifs and what did we do wrong. We try to learn from the ones that get away too. Only thing we could lay blame on was that we tightened the drag down too much in trying to stop the freight train. Maybe just an ordinary fish but foul hooked. Maybe BUBBA. Maybe IT. We'll never know. 

We fished on south and eventually after quite a dry spell we managed two smaller fish, one of which trashed a couple rigs on the way in. We took that as a sign it was time to head for the barn. The weather was beautiful today, the fish were big, and we were tired, tired, tired. The 42" was a personal best for me and though Virgil didn't keep records of all those mighty fish he's caught in his lifetime he conceded that the 45 3/4" was the biggest one he's caught in 'quite a while.'

Date: 4/29/01
Time: 3 pm - 7:30 pm
Location: Chesapeake Bay , just North, under and around the Bay Bridges and S as far as Matapeake
Weather: Mostly sunny, light northerly breeze, nice!
Water Temp/Conditions: Forgot to check the temp
Tide: rip roaring outgoing tide, low at Sandy Point was 5:48 pm.
Fish Caught: 1 short striped bass (26")

After yesterdays wild ride we worked on the motor. Found our problem to be water in the fuel/water separator, lots of water. Picked up a new filter at Fishbone's Bait and Tackle and we were back in business. This afternoon father and son headed off for another afternoon adventure on the bay. 

We ran south from the Magothy and set some lines about 3 pm. We worked all around the eastern channel section of the bridge. We were marking a lot of good fish but we couldn't fool them. The tide was ripping fast. Real fast. We left the area and worked our way south.

Down near Matapeake we were working east from the channel and got bit on a chartruese umbrella 10 oz/50 ft. fireline. He was a short one and released. We tried to make the track back thru the area, but got jammed up with other boats, said the heck with it and slipped back out of the area. 

Zigzagged our way back north to the bridges to see if those fish would bite on a different part of the tide. Capt. Seaweed and others were also in the area and trying hard for a bite. I did hear of some fish caught as the tide slowed down, but for us it was just a quiet boat ride till sundown. 

4/28/01 - A wild boat ride today. Father and son and nephew Bryan left the Magothy before sun up and headed toward the bay bridges for a little trolling. A stiff northerly breeze was blowing maybe 10-15 kts. It was a little rough but manageable and we set about our business of trolling for some keepers. We worked our way south under the bridges and failed to get even a tap.

By mid morning the wind seemed to be building and we were rocking and rolling. It became a challenge to even stand up. We decided to work our way north so we would be closer to home if we decided to cut the trip short. I was debating with the boys whether we should call it a day as we slipped under the bridges thru the eastern channel. Sput, Sput, putter putter, motor dies. A series of huge breaking rollers toss the boat for a loop.

Seemed to be a fuel problem. We pumped the fuel bulb and she restarted. Get those lines in boys, we're headed for home. It was a challenge just getting things wrapped up. The motor died a couple more times and the wind picked up to a roar. I never heard anything about this on the weather radio. I hear someone on the vhf say something about 36 kt winds. Sheesh!

First challenge was to get a across the channel. We wait for a freighter to pass and then make a mad dash across the channel. I didn't want to be breaking down in the middle of the channel as I could see a tug w/barge in the distance. Almost across. Sput, sput. Putter Putter. Geesh! Pump the ball boys, pump the ball! Whew! Got her going again. It was a wet ride.

We nurse her along to the mouth of the Magothy and then she died for good. Dropped the hook and called Towboat US on the VHF.  They were having trouble hearing me so I tried the cell phone. That worked. Maybe a half hour later the big red boat pulls along side and a friendly fellow passes a tow line. Man I'm glad I've got that Unlimited TowBoat US towing insurance. The bill would have been $475. Cost me $0 out of pocket today. I'm sold on TowBoat US.

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Date: 4/26/01
Time: Noon - dark
Location: Chesapeake Bay S of the Bay Bridges
Weather: Mostly sunny, steady Northly breeze till about 6 pm the it flattened out.
Water Temp/Conditions: 55*F
Tide: Low at Sandy Point was 3:03 pm.
Fish Caught: 1 keeper striped bass, 2 shorts
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I missed the boat this morning. Capt. Skip headed south early and I would have joined him but for a whole list of things I had to do. I whittled away at my to-do list this morning and when Virgil called about 10 am saying he'd be heading out at noon I scrambled to catch him at the dock at Sandy Point. When I arrived the crew of Virgil, Grey Beard and TerpHeels where launched, rigged and ready to go. We left the dock about 12:20 pm.

We began setting our lines just S of the bridge and worked our way south with a tailwind. When we looked around to see where we were we could see Thomas Point light in the distance. That's about as far S as we got. We began working our way back N with a little E/W along the way and began a routine of checking the lines for jellies. Grey Beard still had a rod in his hands after cleaning and resetting it when he felt a distinct wiggle on the other end. Old GB kicked the skunk out of the boat with that keeper and gave hope to us lesser fisherfolks that we'd get us a fish too.

It ain't like we didn't try, but we never did get it together. We dropped Grey Beard off at Sandy Point with his fish about 5 pm and the three of us headed back out looking for trouble. We found some consistent marks as we worked in the shadow of the bridge and even hooked up several times. Those that made it to the boat were shorts and those that didn't were record breakers (sure, right.)

The last two hours of fishing were gorgeous as the wind had died and the sun was blazing in from the west. As TerpHeels was heard saying ,"the only thing that could have improved the evening would have been a warm cup of coffee to take the chill off."  Well, that and a couple of keepers would have been nice. Thanks for the trip Virgil. We'll get 'em next time. Oh, yea, spoons were the hot ticket today.

Date: 4/20/01
Time: 7 am - 12:30 pm
Location: Chesapeake Bay near the Bay Bridges
Weather: Pt.cloudy, steady breeze from the S that only got to be a bother about quittin' time.
Water Temp/Conditions: 51-52*F, 2 ft. visibility
Tide: High at Mt. Point Bar was about 5:30 am, fishing the outgoing tide.
Fish Caught: 2 striped bass(28 1/2", 30 1/2")

Father and son were up at the crack of dawn planning on hooking up with Capt. Skip for a cruise to Breezy Point and some opening day trolling. A quick check of my email at 5:30 am revealed that Capt. Skip had to postpone his trip south till later in the week. Only one thing to do -- instead of hopping aboard Capt. Skip's "Jenny Beck" we headed for our own boat "Hatless"  and the bay bridges.

We were south of the bridges by 7 am or so, and started to set some lines. Seems half of AA county was also there and we quickly decided to find our own chunk of bay with a few less boats to dodge. We slipped back north of the bridge and found things more to our liking.

We landed both hook-ups today. Caught one fish (the smaller one) north of the bridges and the second about noon just south of the bridges. Both hit on white bucktail/9" shad high in the water column. We were tempted to troll around for a while looking for bubba, but the wind was gradually picking up and I had fish to clean for the first time this year. Love it!

Trolling South of the Bridges on Easter morning.

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Date: 4/7/01
Time: 10 am - 3 pm
Location: Chesapeake Bay South of the Bay Bridges
Weather: Cloudy, 45 degrees, Light northerly breezes soon swung around to the E and picked up to a blustering boil.
Water Temp/Conditions: 49* F, 2.5 ft. visibility
Tide: Low at Sandy Point was 12:06 pm
Fish Caught: 2 striped bass(37",38") caught, measured, photographed and released.
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Father and son joined Virgil Poe today for what we hoped would be our first full day of pre-season trolling south of the bridges. The weather forecast seemed reasonable. We were expecting some northerly breezes to swing around to the east and partly cloudy with temps in the 60's. Never saw anything like that. It stayed cloudy and when the wind swung around to the east it kicked up and blew steady and hard till it finally blew us off the water. It spit rain occasionally and got chilly enough that Virgil actually put on a jacket. Really!

We had one pull down early before the tide changed. Ricky fought it halfway to the boat then fought the empty umbrella the rest of the way. Never saw that fish, but we were encouraged by the hook-up. Chatted with Catch 22 on the radio about this time. He had just had one to boatside for a quick release. 

By noon the wind had pretty much settled in from the east and was blowing steady, but things were manageable. We worked our way back north with seas slowly building. By about 1:30 pm boat control was a real pain. Let your guard down for even a second and the boat had a mind of it's own. Then WHAM! Ricky took another shot at a solid hook-up. This one was boated quickly and released -- a 37 incher and it was one STRONG fish. 

Before we could even reset the line a second line went down. Virgil was the man of the moment and battled another high energy fish for a photo op.  The 38 incher was photographed and released, swimming off with a smirk and a flourish (ok, maybe it just seemed like that.). The wind was really whipping by this time. We'd done a little rod shuffling during the fight and it took a few minutes for us to get reorganized and considerable effort to turn the boat for another run.

We all agreed it was getting miserable and one last run through the pattern would be the last hope for a fish for yours truly today. We gave it a shot, but no fish for Rick today. It was about 3 pm and the wind was just not letting up. We called it a day.  We enjoyed the day but it sure feels good to be home.

Date: 4/5/01
Time: 4 pm - 7 pm
Location: Chesapeake Bay South of the Bay Bridges
Weather: Partly Cloudy, 50 degrees, Light breezes.
Water Temp/Conditions: 51.5* F, 1.5 ft. visibility, just a wee bit off color. 
Tide: Last of the incoming tide thru slack and beyond.
Fish Caught: 2 striped bass(40",31") caught, measured, photographed and released.
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It was time for the annual shake-down cruise aboard Virgil's Lick-ad-Split. We took a quick trip out of Sandy Point and dropped some lines south of the bridges. I guess our first line was in the water by about 4:30 pm and it took a good hour of leisurely rigging to get the rest of the nine line spread in the water. Really that was as much the purpose of this trip as anything. 

Once we were set up we trolled a bit, dodged a freighter or two and generally enjoyed an absolutely gorgeous evening. We were marking next to nothing in the way of fish. But that didn't seem to matter this evening. We got slammed twice and boated a couple beauties. Ricky topped his personal best with a 40 incher.

One fish hit shallow, one fish hit deep, one hit a white tandem on the outrigger, one hit chartreuse umbrella deep.. All systems are GO aboard Lick-ad-Split.

Date: 3/31/01
Time: 8:00 am to 2:30 pm
Location: Magothy River creeks
Weather: Mostly Cloudy, 45 degrees, Very Light breezes from variable directions. Spit and drizzled for the first 4 hours.
Water Temp/Conditions: 48* F, 2 ft. visibility on the N shore, 45*, off color water with maybe 1 ft. visibility up in Deep Creek on the south side of the river. 
Tide: Decent water levels, high at Mt. Point Bar was 11:30 am, only fish caught on the tail end of the incoming tide.
Fish Caught: 1 chain pickerel (18 3/8" recapture of tag #0273))

I couldn't persuade Ricky to go fishing this morning so off I went on a solo adventure. It was damp and chilly at launch and the flat calm water showed the steady spit and drizzle that was falling. With no one to please but myself I thought I'd take a boat ride over to Deep Creek. Haven't fished there in a couple years. I did remember my raincoat today, but forgot my gloves. It was a damp cold ride. I was hunkered down watching the shoreline go by, when I realized I missed the creek and was practically at the Little Magothy. Darn!

I turned around and headed back west. The water on the south side of the river was off color and up in Deep Creek it was no different. With the funky water I really didn't have much confidence, but I worked some shoreline and gradually went to the head of the creek. Not a bite. Water temp in the creek was 45*. Time to leave.

I headed back over to the North side of the river and slipped up in Magothy Narrows. Water temp was 48*. Stopped at the 'perch hole' along the way but no fish there. It was coming up on the time of the high tide so I slipped up in James Pond and gave it a shot. Not much doing there, but I did manage to hook up with one pike that had already been tagged. He had grown about an eighth of an inch since November and was caught pretty much in the same spot as where he was first tagged. Another couple of casts and I hooked up with a dink, but lost him when I tried lifting him into the boat without a net. I'll never learn.

That's about the story for the day. I spent the next few hours zipping from here to there and working the water hard. Not even a bite. Mostly cast jig/minnow today. Fooled around a little with some grass shrimp hoping for some perch. Never even had a follow. There were a few moments of sunshine after noon which warmed me up a bit and gave me a glimmer of hope that Spring will be here soon, but then the clouds rolled in again and chilled me to the bone.

Nonetheless a fine day on the river.

Date: 3/24/01
Time: 8:00 am to 11:30 am
Location: Magothy River creeks
Weather: Partly Cloudy, 50 degrees, Light breezes early, but the wind came up as expected just before lunch. We left the river.
Water Temp/Conditions: 48* F, 2 ft. visibility, just a wee bit off color. 
Tide: Outgoing, high at Mt. Pt. Bar 6:12 am,  but not a whole lot of water moving. Water levels were high all morning

Fish Caught: 1 chain pickerel (21 1/4", tagged #0767, one yellow perch (8.5")
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Father and son and nephew Bryan fished the creeks this morning hoping to find a few fish before the wind came up. With three of us casting a variety of lures and baits you'd think we could have scared up a few fish. It just wasn't meant to be today. Ricky caught the only fish today. He was casting a small horsehead jig with grass shrimp. Maybe we all should have tried that.

Date: 3/19/01
Time: 11:00 am to 6:00 pm
Location: Magothy River creeks
Weather: Mostly sunny, 50 degrees, N breeze blew fairly steady most of the day, we had about a half hour at days end of flat calm.
Water Temp/Conditions: Early 45 degrees F at launch, but as much as 52 F up in the shallows. Visibility was about 3.5 ft. in most places. 
Tide: Incoming, high at Mt. Pt. Bar 3:27 pm,  but not a whole lot of water moving. Water levels were low all day
Fish Caught: 22 chain pickerel to 21 5/8" , 3 Yellow Perch, 1 White Perch
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This past weekend life conspired to keep me from fishing, so when Virgil called this morning it was a no-brainer. We were on the water by about 11 am and took a boat ride to start the day in a nice cove we haven't fished in a while. Water levels were low. The tide was suppose to be rising soon.

We fished our way around the cove working piers and shoreline. The hot lure this morning was a small horsehead jig with white twister tail tipped with a minnow. We tagged about 15 pike as we worked our way around the cove. As I pulled the last fish from under a boathouse I heard Virgil say, "I've got another spot we can try, but it might be a little tough to get into on this low water."

I reminded Virgil that he had about 250 extra pounds in the boat, but I guess he didn't hear me. His little jonboat doesn't draw much water, but let me tell you, there was almost no water where we had to wind our way thru a narrow cut in the shoreline. I moved my considerable mass toward the center of the boat and with Virgil pushing in front with a board and me pushing in back with a paddle and just a little 'english' applied rocking the boat back and forth we managed to get inside the tidal pond and find some fishable water.

The wind had picked up a little and was kind of a pain. And nothing we did seemed to interest the fish. The water was not as clear as it was in the other cove. Then Virgil tied on a small mepps and on the first cast, WHAM! Another cast, WHAM! Looks like that's the ticket. I tied on a gold Johnson spoon and after a couple casts I too hooked a good one. Biggest fish of the day as a matter of fact! And that was the first pickerel I've ever caught on a Johnson spoon. We caught about a half dozen pike in there and 4 of them including that big one had been tagged already.

We soon realized the tide had stopped moving and we had better make a run for the river before we got stuck in that fine little fishing hole. The trip out was a little easier as the water had risen an inch or two. Out on the river the wind was blowing steady out of the NE and there was a sailboat out there having a grand time. We headed back upriver. It was about 4:30 pm.

The balance of our day we spent up in Dividing Creek trying to figure out  where the heck the fish went. Action was slow and we blamed the slack tide. Eventually the wind died down and the tide started moving just a bit. It was like pulling teeth, but we did manage to hookup with a few pike and a perch or two. Only one pike actually made it to the boat. There is something about those Dividing Creek pickerel. They can spit a hook quicker than you can say #%^&.

Another fine day on the river.

Date: 3/7/01
Time: 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm
Location: Magothy River creeks
Weather: Mostly sunny, 45 degrees, N breeze kicking up at first but died down quickly and it was flat calm at day's end.
Water Temp/Conditions: Early 45 degrees F at launch, but as much as 47 F up in the shallows. Visibility was about 2 ft. in most places. 
Tide: A fast rising tide, high was 5:10 pm at Mt. Pt. Bar 
Fish Caught: 6 chain pickerel(16 1/8", 18 13/16", 17 7/8", 22 9/16", 18", 16 1/2"), 5 yellow perch to 10 5/8", 4 hefty white perch.
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Virgil called about 2 pm saying it looked like the wind had died down and he was going to hit the river for a few hours. What could I do but drop everything and join him? We were on the river by 3 pm and motored to the headwaters of a creek. The water level was just a little bit low, but it was rising fast. We fished piers and shoreline cover without much luck. 

But when we moved just a little further out we began to pick up some fish. Even then we weren't in particularly deep water (maybe 3 - 6 ft. at the most). Virgil connected with a couple real nice yellow and white perch before I nailed the first pickerel, then the second, then the third, then the...well you get the picture. I won't rub it in, much. 

Between the two of us we connected with maybe a dozen pike, but only 6 made it to the boat. Ol' Virg brought some kind of jinx with him today. I even had one pike jump off his line and right onto mine. I can't help it, it's the darn fish. And to add insult to injury he caught his truck door on a piling when backing down the ramp, spilled a coke in the front of the boat and battled with a spastic tagging gun till he was blue in the face. 

It was a gorgeous evening ending up flat calm with an almost full moon rising.  Just a little chill in the air as we headed for the dock. A might fine evening of fishing! And fella's, those perch are ready, bustin' with roe and sitting right at the head of the feeder creek.

Date: 3/3/01
Time:9:00 am to 5:30 pm
Location: Magothy River, Cornfield Creek, James Pond
Weather: Partly Cloudy, 50 degrees, light breeze almost calm
Water Temp/Conditions: Early 44 degrees F, late 47 degrees Visibility was about 2 ft. in most places. 
Tide: Very high water all day till it started to fall about 2 pm. High at Mt. Pt. Bar was 1:05 pm 
Fish Caught: 3 Chain Pickerel (13 5/8 tagged #0764, 12 5/8 tagged #0765, 18 1/2 tagged #0766), 3 yellow perch (10, 11, 11 1/8"), 1 striper (17")

My son had other things to do today, so I hit the river alone. I did try to connect with Capt. Skip, but realized he was probably down in Va. togging today. It's just as well I was alone today since I never did get my little Johnson outboard going. I couldn't travel far without it, but I could at least get around on my electric motor. 

All in all it was a slow day. I had high hopes when I saw the tide flooding the shoreline grasses. Lots of water in the river. That can be a good thing. Well not for me today. I hit the headwaters of the creek and picked up one small pike, but couldn't buy another bite for quite a while.

Since I was on electric power anyway I trolled on out of the creek toward James Pond stopping every now and then to fish a pier or quiet corner. Not even a bite. Took about an hour on electric power to get up in the cove (James Pond.) I spent the rest of the day there working over that little cove several times. With the high water I got up in some areas that usually aren't even fishable. Every once in a while I'd get a bite or hookup, but it was like pulling teeth, slow and painful. Tagged a couple dinks, missed a couple dinks, hooked up with several nice yellow perch and finally when the water got a little lower in late afternoon I hooked up was one more respectable pike.

I pulled out of the cove about 4:30 pm knowing I had at least a 45 minute cruise back to the ramp under electric power. I stopped at one pier up in the creek and pulled a 17" striper from in front. That kind of made my day and I decided to troll slowly back to the ramp following the N shore of the creek. I was pulling only one line with a dart and very large minnow.

Just before the green can I could tell my minnow was getting nervous. Then WHAM! My little ultralight doubled over. I stopped the boat and stood to fight the fish. I was sure it was a respectable striper. Then fawooosh like a rocket he comes flying out of the water about 75 ft. behind the boat. Biggest dam pike I've ever seen! With gills flaring and head shaking he came crashing down and the NOTHING! I reel in to find my 12# mono leader shredded for about 5 inches and dart gone. Next time BUBBA, next time...

Date: 2/27/01
Time: 9:30 am to 5:30 pm
Location: Magothy River creeks
Weather: Mostly sunny, 50 degrees, light N breeze only occasionally kicking up.
Water Temp/Conditions: Early 41 degrees F, but as much as 56 F up in the shallows by late afternoon. Visibility was at least 2 ft. in most places. Even clearer in some places.
Tide: Outgoing most to the day, low was 2:48 pm at Mt. Pt. Bar 
Fish Caught: 19 chain pickerel to about 21", 2 small rock of about 12", 2 white perch, 5 yellow perch
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Virgil Poe and I fished most of the day today. It was an absolutely gorgeous day and the bite on the falling tide was terrific. We thoroughly fished a creek on the S side of the river from high slack to low slack tide about 3 pm. All the action was from pickerel. With the clear sunny sky we found that having a little flash in the way of a spinner seemed to help. 

We spent the balance of the day in a creek on the North side of the river. The big story there was the water temps. In the shallow flats at the head of the cove we found temps in the mid-50F's! We found some perch, a couple small rock and a pike in that creek. Were it not for the setting sun we would have stayed for the rising water. That area had some potential.

The real fish story today concerns BUBBA pickerel. There were at least two BUBBA's swimming around the Magothy today. Virgil hooked them both long enough to get a look. Let's say 4 pounds, conservative. Virgil knows where they were,  I know where they were...and we ain't tellin'.  Next time it's my turn...I hope.

Date: 2/23/01
Time: 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm
Location: Magothy River, Dividing Creek
Weather: Partly Cloudy, 45 degrees, Variable breezes with occasional gust out of the NW
Water Temp/Conditions: If memory serves me right the water temp was 41 F, 18" visibility, just a little murky
Tide: Incoming, High at Mt. Pt. Bar was due at 7:22 pm
Fish Caught: 4 chain pickerel (20 7/8  tagged #0653, 14 3/4  tagged #0654, 18 1/2  tagged #0655, 16 5/8  tagged #0656)

Virgil called this afternoon to touch base about the lead melting party on Sunday and we somehow got on the subject of fishing (can't imagine how that happened.) Before you know it we were planning on getting together for an afternoon pickerel trip. We dropped the boat in Mill Creek about 3 pm and headed straight for the upper reaches of Dividing Creek. The temps were tolerable, but the breeze was blowing right down the creek which made boat control a bit of a pain and also chilled us down pretty quickly.

The tide was on the way in and water levels were just a little lower than we'd like.  We worked shoreline cover and everything in between with our jig/minnow. Virgil was casting his plain white 'Poe' jig and I my little horsehead 'greenie'. Virgil put the first fish in the boat (a nice pike of almost 21") and we took advantage of the photo opportunity while the sun was still up above the trees. Unfortunately I did the filming and there must have been something set wrong. Virgil says the images just weren't up to snuff, so no pics today.

I caught my only fish of the evening, a little guy of  about 14" shortly after that. Virgil continued to put fish in the boat and put me to shame. Final tally Virgil 3, Rick 1. Now if you count 'almost' fish I might have evened the score. :) For some reason I wasn't hooking up today, but I pulled the minnow out of the mouth of 4 fish, shredding the minnow every time. And we won't mention that one of the fish Virgil caught tried twice to get caught by me and missed. Life just ain't fair. :) But it sure is fun. :D

We ramped the boat about 6 pm and headed straight for the WWA gathering on Kent Island.

Date: 2/20/01
Time: 3:30 pm to 5:30 pm
Location: Magothy River out of Cornfield Creek (James Pond)
Weather: Partly Cloudy, 55 degrees, light S breeze
Water Temp/Conditions: Early 40 degrees F, late 44 degrees F.
Tide: High at Mt. Pt. Bar was 5:37 pm
Fish Caught: 3 yellow perch, 8 chain pickerel(13 1/8" tagged #0756, 14 5/8" tagged #0757, 13 7/8" tagged #0758, 14 1/2" tagged #0759, 12 1/2" tagged # 0760, 13 1/2" tagged #0761, 13" tagged #0762, 17 1/8" tagged #0763)
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Father and son couldn't resist the temptation to fish on this beautiful afternoon. I had the boat ready so when Ricky got home from school we headed straight for the ramp. James Pond had provided some action yesterday late in the day so we were hopeful we could pick up where we left off yesterday. The plan came together. 

We fished plain jig/minnow for about 40 minutes without a tap and were beginning to get discouraged. I added a green tail for some color and on the first cast hooked up with a small pike. Ricky added a little green on his jig and hooked up too. And so it went. We had little flurries of action at each spot we fished as we moved around the cove.

Lots of action. These little guys come right to the surface and a few of them left the water. No big ones today but by all measures a mighty fine evening.

Date: 2/19/01
Time: 9 am - 3 pm
Location: Magothy River out of Cornfield Creek
Weather: Mostly Sunny, low 40's with a chilly breeze from the SE/SW
Water Temp/Conditions: Early 39 degrees F, late 40 degrees F.
Tide: Dead low with extremely low water at start, Water came up about 1 1/2' by the time we called it quits.
Fish Caught: 12 1/2" yellow perch, 5 pickerel (19 1/2" tagged #0275, 14 1/8" tagged #0775, 13 7/8" tagged #0751, 19 1/2" tagged #0753, 13 1/8" tagged #0755)
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Father and son ventured out on the Magothy today. The weather forecast seemed tame enough. We took our time getting started, enjoyed breakfast at MikeyD's and launched from the community ramp on Cornfield Creek on a dead low low tide. The breeze was steady blowing right down the creek almost from the E. It was tough working the piers in the breeze but that was our game plan until we got out of the creek. We pulled one yellow perch from under a sailboat and finally gave up working the piers because boat control was such a pain.

We back-trolled out of the creek without a bump on the jig/minnow. We made up a new plan--GET OUT OF THE WIND! We headed into the wind under power and kept going up into Red House Cove. It looked fishy, but a bit shallow. We tried every trick we knew, hit all the hot spots, enjoyed a bag of BBQ chips and gave it up as a lost cause.

James Pond (it's actually a cove off Cornfield Creek) was our last resort. The wind was blowing right thru the cut so there was no escaping it. We fished from anchored positions drifting some territory by casting bobber/minnow upwind and letting it ride the waves. Every place we stopped produced a least a hit or two, but we were having trouble connecting.

Finally with our blood thickening from the cold and thoughts of a warm dinner calling we got a couple of successive hits on the bobber rigs but failed to hook-up. Ricky pulled the bobber off and made a quick cast back to the same spot. Wham! Finally a fish, not a big one, but it warmed us right up. If they want us to cast, I guess we'll cast. I pulled the bobber off too. In about 10 casts we landed another 4 fish and missed a couple more. 

It seemed a shame to leave with the fish biting, but tomorrow is a school day and we were about frozen anyway. We pulled out and headed for home. Another fine day on the river.

Date: 2/3 & 4/01
Time: All day Saturday on Deep Creek Lake, Half day Sunday on Piney Reservoir
Location: Deep Creek Lake (Sat.), Piney Resevoir (Sun.)
Weather: Sunny and 20 with a breeze on Sat.(Brrr!), Partly cloudy and 40 with no wind on Sunday (Nice!)
Water Temp/Conditions: Ice Fishing, ice 12"-16" on both lakes
Fish Caught: Skunk on Saturday at Deep Creek, half dozen yellow perch and 3 bass on Sunday at Piney Reservoir
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My son Ricky and I joined Virgil Poe and his young nephew Josh for a weekend adventure in Western Maryland. We left Friday after the kids got out of school and arrived at the Comfort Inn near Deep Creek Lake by early evening. It was snowing lightly, windy and collllllld on our arrival. 

We set the clock for 5 AM and got a restful sleep in anticipation of a long day on the ice. Neither of the boys had ever been ice fishing. We were all psyched! Virgil has been dabbling in the ice fishing up here this winter now that his sis has a place in a nearby town. We were well equipped -- lots of warm clothing, hand warmers, 15 tip-ups, 4 home-made jigging rods, two buckets full of minnows, mealworms, ice jigs and a POWER AUGER. If the fish were biting, we'd be on 'em.

Virgil's telephone reconnaissance had us zeroed in on a point across the lake from Paradise Point. Access to that area is a bit of a problem if you don't know someone with property or are not willing to trek. Our only option was to trek. We parked at the end of Boy Scout Road and snuck between some deserted condo's to the lake. I'll be the first to tell you that a power auger gets real heavy when you carry it across the lake.

The trek across the lake was about 3/4 mile. We were psyched, so it didn't matter. But boy was it cold! We had eyeballed a likely spot on the map with some steep contour, but found someone already set up there by the time we arrive. So we just moved a little way around the point and set up in water from about 15' to 35' of water. The power auger made quick work of the holes, but setting up the tip-ups still took us about an hour. 

Early in the day we had 4 or 5 good pulls on the tip-ups, but missed every one. We blamed it on our experiment in 'back hooking' the minnows. This was suggested to Virgil by a friend who did a lot of ice fishing up north years ago. Our theory is 'when in Rome do as the Romans do' so we gave that technique a try. We concluded though, that perhaps our bites were coming from yellow perch and not the bigger pike or walleye that might better take a minnow hooked in that manner. By late in the day we had gone back to our own method of 'lip hooking' the minnows, but the bite was early that day and we never got to see the results. Skunk on day one!

Day Two. We left the Deep Creek area before dawn and headed back east a bit to Piney Reservoir. We had talked with Brad Hak, son of WWA board member Larry Hak the evening before and he was headed for Piney too. Brad is going to school up near there and has been fishing the area through the seasons. He suggested a spot we might try.

At the reservoir we were the first to arrive. This is a small lake and access is easy. We headed for what we believed was the spot Brad had suggested and set up our 'spread' just off a little ravine that feeds the lake near the dam. The weather was great. We were quickly shedding hat and gloves. And every once in a while a 'flag' would pop up. The kids each caught their first bass ever and we also put a few yellow perch on the ice. 

Virgil accomplished one of his ice fishing goals on this trip. He had acquired a Vexlar sounding unit that is popular with a lot of the ice fisherman. It is basically a flasher style depth finder that shows it's marks in various colors. Virgil could 'see' the fish as well as his jig on the finder, but getting the hookup had eluded him until today. One particular mark on the finder would follow his jig up and down. Determined to beat this one Virgil downsized his jig to a teeny plain jig with a mealworm. He dropped it down to the 'mark' and pulled the sneaky little yellow perch thru the hole. Success!

We could only stay a half day since we wanted to get home at a reasonable hour to get the kids back in 'going to school' mode. Mid-morning we finally hooked up with our new friend Brad who had arrived at the lake and set up in the spot he had suggested to us. Seems Virgil and I had misinterpreted the secret directions and set up in the 'wrong' spot. Didn't matter, we caught a nice mess of fish anyway and Brad got to fish his own spot by himself. When we left we stopped by to see him and he had caught well over a dozen yellows jigging a Swedish pimple with mealworm. After a photo op with Brad we headed for home. We were on the road home by about 2 PM.

We had a wonderful adventure in wintery Western Maryland.

2/1/01 - Virgil and I trapped a whole mess of minnows this afternoon. 4 traps and 40 minutes produced well over a half gallon of minnows. Decent water level and the water was fairly clear.

Date: 1/28/01
Time: 9:30 am - 11:30 am
Location: Magothy out of Mill Creek.
Weather: Sunny, 30's, N and W variable breezes
Tide: high at 9 am.
Water Temp/Conditions: Ice on the water except at the mouth of Mill and Dividing Creeks
Fish Caught: Nuthin'!

Ricky, Bryan and I loaded up the boat this morning and headed for the community ramp at Long Point. Wouldn't ya' know it, they changed the ramp key for the new year last week and somehow I missed the notice. Couldn't launch there without the major hassle of tracking down a new key, so we headed out to Ferry Pt. Marina and launched there. No one was in the office so we dropped a $20 in the mail slot with a note and headed out.

Up in Mill Creek it was iced up so we had no choice but to fish the mouth of the creek and the mouth of Dividing. The N breeze was blowing right down the creek and we quickly froze solid. Can't cast when your fingers won't bend so we headed out to the shoreline piers at the mouth of Dividing to duck under the lee of the high bank there. That worked for about 30 minutes. We worked the piers hard with the 3 of us casting jig/minnow. Not even a tap.

The breeze swung around to the W and we could no longer hide from it there. We tried a couple of passes slow trolling with the electric along the front of those piers without a tap. My crew was about to mutiny. The odor of hand warmers wafted about the boat. My crew had stopped casting and insisted that 'deadsticking' was the way to go. That way you could keep your hands in your pocket with that toasty hand warmer. I continued casting, ignoring the pain.

We worked our way back up into Mill Creek near the ramp and the crew requested a 'potty break' at the marina. That seemed like a reasonable thing to do since we were all pretty cold and the wind continued to whip. A short break and quick conference on shore and we decided to call it a skunk. We came, we launched, we froze.... (Hey, VP. The girl in the office didn't have a $10 to give me for change. I told here you'd pick it up sometime when you launch there if I didn't get back there first.) Sorry, no kodak moments today.

1/21/01 - Dropped a couple traps in the minnow hole on Locust Cove and picked up about a pint of minnows in about 40 minutes. Got some a couple days earlier too, so there is a nice supply of bait in my 'tank.' Waitin' for the weather to warm up......

1/14/01 - Ricky, Bryan and I fished this afternoon on the Transquaking River. Caught a couple crappie. Click the pick for the story. transquaking011401.jpg (44809 bytes)

Date: 1/4/01
Time: 11 AM - 3:30 PM
Location: Leonard Lake near Salisbury, MD.
Weather: Mostly sunny, near freezing temps, light but noticeable breeze.
Tide: N/A, fresh water pond
Water Temp/Conditions: Ice fishing, ice about 5/12"
Fish Caught: 1 chain pickerel (21 1/2"), 2 largemouth bass (12" & 15 1/2")
leonard010401.jpg (67193 bytes)

Virgil and I met this morning at 8 AM and headed south to the frozen waters of Leonards Mill Pond near Salisbury. A couple of necessary stops along the way at Angler's for a fishing license (ouch, $50), the WAWA for the usual lunch supplies and enough gas to avoid walking part of the way, and KFC (oops! closed), and English's for some mashed potatoes (yumm!!)

We hit the frozen waters of the lake about 11 AM and commenced drilling and setting lines. Five lines per person gave us a 'spread' of 10 lines. The fish didn't have a chance. Well, maybe they saw us coming. We did the ice trolling jig (stare intently at the rod tips of ten rods simultaneously, rock from one foot to the other, flex fingers and toes and attempt to absorb as much sunshine as possible), chatted with a local newspaper photographer Matthew, and generally enjoyed a rather pleasant though chilly afternoon.

Three times our reverie was interrupted by the manic dance of an ultralight diving toward an 8" hole in the ice. All the action came between 12:30 and about 2 PM. We enjoyed every one of them. Pictures taken, congratulations, high fives, and a gentle release for each fish.

Some technical details. Out lines were set in 6-7 foot of water. We fished most of our baits less than a foot from the bottom. Our shallowest lines (6 ft) caught the fish today. The baits that caught today were small white darts with a medium to small minnow attached. We also fished assorted small jigs with mealworms attached, but they didn't provide any action. 

As always I enjoyed the spending the day with my buddy Virgil. Many tales of fishing trips past, super secret spots, and the ones that got away were discussed during those long minutes between bites. Quite a fine day on the lake!

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