Fishin' with Rick
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Rick, Jr.

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Rick (Rich), Sr.
June 25, 1925 - January 2, 2002
We miss ya', Dad.

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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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Date: 12/4/03
Time: 11 am - 3 pm
Location: Magothy creeks(CF,RHC,Spriggs)
Weather: Frigid, 40*, very light breezes, mostly cloudy
Water Temp/Cond: Water in CF was clean, but a little milky looking. RHC was clean and clear. Same in Spriggs.
Tide: Normal low about 9:30. We were on a rising tide most of the day, and water came up pretty good.
Fish Caught: 6 pickerel, largest 14-15". a couple white perch

Virgil and I returned today and headed for my regular stomping grounds. Water levels were decent and rising. We couldn't buy a bite. Virgil picked up a small pickerel and one white perch at the head of CF. From there we shot up to RHC and fished the usual hotspots. It was dead. Virgil pulled one small pike from the trees by the golf course.

With time running short we headed back up-river and stopped at on of the 'ponds' along the way. Nice water levels and clean water but we couldn't scare up any fish till just before three oclock when we got the rest of our catch for the day. All in all it was very slow fishing today, but looking at the numbers we bested our take from yesterday.

It's a toss-up whether it was colder today or yesterday. Either way it was COLD today!

Date: 12/3/03
Time: 11 am - 3 pm
Location: Magothy creeks  (OM)
Weather: Frigid, 35*, light NW breezes, sunny
Water Temp/Cond: found some clean water that wasn't frozen in this creek, but elsewhere water was a little cloudy and skim ice kept us out of the other creeks we looked in.
Tide: Low, low water. We were on a rising tide most of the day, but it barely moved and only came up a  couple inches.
Fish Caught: 4 pickerel, largest 21 3/8". One nice yellow perch and a couple white perch.

It was one of those 'spur of the moment' trips. Virgil called early this morning and I was thinking he was calling to plot the minnow trapping adventure we'd planned for today. But he convinced me I'd rather go fishing instead. So we took the few minnows he had and the usual assortment of jigs and soft plastic in that floating tackle box he calls 'the Tracker' and away we went.

We launched the Tracker at Ferry Pt. and headed out of the creek since up the creek was frozen. We tried another creek on the north side of the river hoping to get out of the frigid breezes, but found that creek frozen too. Virgil swore me to secrecy and we headed for a creek where he'd connected with some 'bigguns' recently.

It was a fishing looking creek and other than some floating icebergs it was fishable. We spent the afternoon in there on some very low water alternately casting, trolling and freezing. Occasionally we got bit. I was on my way to a grand slam with a pickerel, yellow perch and white perch to my credit, but never found that fourth species before we came to our senses and went home to thaw out.

Another fine frigid day on the nearly frozen river.

Date: 11/23/03
Time: 10 am - 4:30 pm
Location: Magothy creeks (CT & BH) 
Weather: Heavy fog early then PC 60*, calm early and light breezes in the afternoon
Water Temp/Cond: lots of floating leaves and debri. Visibility maybe 18" in most places. Water temp 54*
Tide: Fished a rising tide. Very high water by the end of the day.
Fish Caught: 16 pickerel, all small topping out at 14". A nice mess of good size white perch.

It was pea soup when we left the ramp and stayed thick foggy for the first hour or so we fished. We followed the shoreline to our destination and once up in the creek just sort of forgot about the fog and concentrated on finding some pickerel. The pickerel obliged but they were small and scattered.

Old wooden bulkheads were prime today. The fish were tight to the shoreline and we found we did best by laying back and lengthening our casts a bit. That made for a few more casts "out of the ballpark" than usual and we found ourselves landing the occasional tree species as well as the pickerel.

I stuck with "pink on pink" with a minnow attached. Virgil constantly varied his baits all day. In fact, for the first hour or so he fished without the usual 'Magothy minnow' attached and did just fine, thank you very much.  Basically it didn't seem to matter what we threw today as long as it had a hook in it.

The first creek produced pickerel and the second creek would only cough up white perch, but nice ones. It was a creek that has yet to produce any numbers of pickerel for us this season and we were a bit disappointed till the last hour of the day when we connected with a few, again tight to the shoreline with one exception. Our last pickerel was caught on the troll in about 7 ft. of water in the middle of the creek. I think he was lost.

Beautiful sunset. Another fine day on the river.


Date: 11/17/03
Time: noon - 4:30 pm
Location: Magothy creeks (Blackhole, Spriggs, Forked) 
Weather: PC 60*, calm with an occasional puff of wind
Water Temp/Cond: a little murky on the north side. Much cleaner on the south side. Water temps in the low 50's I forget the exact temp.
Tide: high water and falling slowly
Fish Caught: 11 pickerel, all small topping out at 14 1/2". A nice mess of white perch.

Virgil and I got a late start today and hit the river about noon. We made a beeline for the north side of the river to hit a creek that we hadn't tagged very many fish in this fall. The water was a bit murky there and all we managed to catch was one small white perch. Clear water is usually the ticket for pickerel so we headed into the light breeze to the south side of the river hoping for cleaner water.

We found clean water and also some fish. It was like pulling teeth though as we could only manage one or two pickerel at each stop. We made the rounds of that cove and then moved downriver a bit to try our luck at another fishy looking spot. Pretty much the same action there except there were lots of white perch.

We kept a mess of perch for Virgil's neighbor and almost forgot to take some pics today. Luckily we remembered before I tossed the last white perch of the day back in the creek. As we were having our little photo shoot we hear a voice in the background say "Is that picture going to be on TidalFish?"

Startled we both turned to greet the gnarly old curmudgeon in the jonboat that had slipped up behind us. Darned if it wasn't that Tidal Fish regular and pickerel aficionado HJS. We exchanged the order of the day and Virgil snapped a pic of Howard in action. We gave Howard a hot tip on a big perch hotspot across the creek and headed for the ramp.


Date: 11/11/03
Time: 7 am - 4 pm
Location: Out of OC and east to the rising sun.     
Weather: Beautiful shirt-sleeve weather by afternoon, 2-3 ft. seas building somewhat in the afternnon.
Water Temp/Cond: crystal clear blue water on the fishing grounds.
Fish Caught: kept a dozen and a half nice sea bass and caught a bunch more smaller ones, 3 whopper bluefish, a fat albie and a couple spiny dogfish

Today I joined Virgil Poe aboard Lick-a-d-Split for a trip offshore in search of what ever would bite. Joining us for this trip was our friend Martin Gary. We were counting on Marty, with his knee deep connections in MD fisheries to point us in the right direction. Marty said head into the rising sun for about 15-20 miles and look for the red X, so that's what we did.

We fished over some very interesting bottom which Marty described in detail as he was familiar with what went into creating this offshore fish attraction. We're sworn to secrecy, but you can learn more about this and similar sites by visiting the Ocean City Reef Foundation at http://www.ocreeffoundation.com/ .

Conditions were fairly calm at the start but gradually picked up as the day went on. We drifted some squid and also jigged stingsilvers and other metal and had some fun with the seabass. There was one sweet spot that must have been thick with bass and it was a sure thing when we drifted over that spot. If you could keep your bait/lure on the bottom you were guaranteed a hit.

Marty was the first to feel the tug of a really big fish. He was near landing a nice seabass when a big bluefish came crashing to the surface and nailed the bass. Thrashing and shaking his head the blue bit the bass right in half and disappeared below the waves. "Did you see that!"

As the day went on we all had that telltale pull as we were landing a fish and pulled up half a seabass or were bit off completely.  Marty fished a stingsliver most of the day and three times he battled fiesty blues to the net. With his light tackle and light line it was always touch and go. The last blue he landed fought for well over a half hour.

Virgil had his turn with a 'bigun' and landed a nice false albacore after quite a battle. My own entry in the 'other fish' category were several lowly spiny dogfish. That's what I get for fishing squid most of the day.

About 2 pm with seas building considerably we headed inshore for a few drifts near one of the 'gull' shoals. We were seeing some good marks here and there, but the high seas made fishing tough. We made a couple drifts with a motor running in reverse to slow us down, but never landed anything.

My heart jumped into my throat when for a brief moment I hooked what must have been a freight train or maybe a big fish of some sort. My reel was singing. Virgil and Marty looked my way and, POP,  he was gone. We would have liked to stay and try for a rematch, but daylight was winding down and the wind was winding up, so we called it a day.


Date: 11/1/03
Time: 10 am - 5 pm
Location: Out of Ferry Pt. and upriver.     
Weather: Beautiful, Sunny, light breeze, maybe 80*
Tide: Started on high water and fished a falling tide most of the day.
Water Temp/Cond: Water clarity varied from cloudy to clear with most areas fairly clear and visibility of 2 ft. or so. Water temps 61*.
Fish Caught: 21 chain pickerel from about 10" to 23". Most were small, but about a half dozen were 17"+.  Also 4 yellow perch, a wholebunchalotta white perch, and a small striper of about 15".

Virgil and I hit the river for our first pickerel trip together this fall. It was a gorgeous day and even without a fish I don't think you'd have gotten a complaint from us. We headed for some of the fresher reaches of the river and fished various combinations of jig/minnow.

They seemed to prefer the simple jigs today and we found for the most part a small dart with a live minnow would temp just about anything in the river. Lots of action today. We put tags in 21 pickerel and caught a mess of perch too. Virgil gets credit this trip for a 'Magothy Grand Slam' as he landed pickerel, white and yellow perch and a striper.

Strictly catch and release today though we could have creeled a nice whiter perch dinner or two or three. We fished till the sun dipped below the tree tops then waited in line at the ramp to end this delightful day. It's nice to see some pickerel numbers for a change.


Date: 10/30/03
Time: 11:30 pm - 2:30 pm
Location: Cornfield Creek and James Pond   
Weather: Beautiful, sunny, light breeze, maybe 60*
Tide: Started on very high water and fished a falling tide .
Water Temp/Cond: visibility not much more than 2 ft. in most places. Lots of SAV's still evident. Water temp 57-59*
Fish Caught: half dozen white perch

I fished alone today. Virgil was up to his ears in something important and couldn't be persuaded. Of course that meant I had to get my own boat ready. I hate when that happens. The boat was full of disgusting wet leaves, I had to put the pedestal seats back in that we had removed for crabbing and I needed a new battery for my bow motor, and of course I had to enjoy breakfast at Friendly's so I was a little late getting started.

While I was prepping the boat I had dropped a minnow trap in the creek and when I returned to get it, all I'd caught was one scrawny little sunfish. Should I go pickerel fishing without minnows? I hadn't been fishing in so long I said what the heck, I've got a lure or two. I can do this.

I fished one of my favorite creeks and a tidal pond on the lower Magothy River tossing my old reliable horse-head jig with a twister tail. There were remnants of weed beds everywhere I went, which kind of surprised me since Virgil and HJS had reported seeing nothing in the way of SAV's further upriver on recent trips.

To make a long story short, I never saw a pickerel on this short trip. I managed to hook a few white perch and even had a couple good hits that felt like pike, but got skunked on the pickerel on this trip. Guess I need to take some more lessons from Virgil (or at least borrow some minnows from him.)


Date: 8/27/03
Time: 8 am - 3:30 pm
Location: Out of Indian River Inlet  to area of "B" bouy
Weather: Pleasant temps, light winds, sun and clouds depending on when you looked up
Fish Caught: About 30 sea bass to 16", but only 7 were 'keepers' and a few small bluefish we caught in the inlet from some 'breaker' action.

Virgil and I got lots of bites today. Bites from those nasty little 'housefly' type flies. It was like Alfred Hitchcock's "Birds" only with flies instead. At one point we counted 203 of those little buggers on the boat, well it might have been 204, I don't know, but they were nasty. It is amazing that they can fly with those huge teeth that they have.

The more aggressive we got, the more nasty they got. The boat was littered with fly carcasses from Virgil's expert aim with a hunk of rag. We tried motoring at cruising speed and shoeing them out of the boat as we went along. When we stopped they were back with ankle biting vengeance. I finally got fed up and put on the bottoms from my rain suit which made the last few hours a little less challenging if not a little bit toasty warm for me. Being the manly man that he is, Virgil just toughed it out.

Did I mention that the flies were nasty today? Ouch, ouch, ouch!

 


Date: 8/22/03
Time: 8 am - 3:30 pm
Location: Out of Indian River Inlet     
Weather: It was a scorcher at the ramp, but offshore it was downright pleasant, PC and 3 ft. chop
Fish Caught: About 30 sea bass to maybe 17"

Virgil pulled a skunk out of Ocean City yesterday (maybe I'm not supposed to tell you that) trying to troll up some bluefish for his daughter and crew who were vacationing at the ocean. So when he called to see if my son Ricky, my nephew Bryan and I wanted to do a little time on the ocean the talk turned to a more sure thing -- sea bass. Virgil had done the headboat thing out of Indian River earlier in the week and was pretty sure he could put us on some sea bass.

Our rendezvous was one for the books. We were to meet at the ramp at about 7:30 am. I was headed down Ocean Highway at about that time and gave Virgil a call on the cell. He tells me where he's at and I realize that if I stop paying attention to the cell phone and watch where I'm driving I'd see him right in front of me. Talk about timing. We followed him straight to the ramp.

Using bent rod sonar, info gleaned from his headboat trip and a little of his usual fish sense Virgil put us on some fish. We motored about 12 miles or so out, directly into the rising sun and drifted in 70-80 foot of water dragging squid on top/bottom rigs. We had some pretty good action for the first couple hours or so, and then things kind of pooped out.

The weather radio was talking about a cold front and some nasty storms but wasn't being very precise about the timing so when things got kind of close and hazy we opted to go closer inshore and follow a lead Virgil had on some croaker and trout. Nothing ever panned out there and we were all kind of tired from rockin' and rollin' all day so we talked one another into calling it a day.

Had the fish cleaned right there at the inlet. That made my day. The ride home was brutal as I wasn't feeling too great and was pretty much exhausted, but made it home safe and sound. Virgil stayed in Lewes with some friends and was trying to decide his next move -- should he go home and mow the lawn, or stay and fish some more. What ya' think?


Date: 7/29/03
Time: 2:30 pm - 8:30 pm
Location: Podickory Pt.     
Weather: Beautiful, PC, light breeze, maybe 80*
Tide: Started on a dead low and fished a weak rising tide.
Water Temp/Cond: Didn't look at the temps, but early the water was somewhat off color with a lot of floating foam, the incoming tide cleared things up and the water was clear and 'fishy' lookin'
Fish Caught: Two croaker, some white perch and some juvenile rock.

It has been a month and a half since I've even wet a line. Since reports indicated there were still some of those 'Wish-a-fish' croaker around and Virgil wanted one for dinner we left Sandy Point for an afternoon trip. No tide and funky water at the start made for a slow start. We cruised looking for bottom marks and finally settled in the 26' range where eventually we got the only two croaker of the day. Missed a couple for sure, but it was a very slow bite, almost sleepy.

We did our best to make the most of the lackluster tide by motoring over marks and dropping the lines baited with table shrimp and soft crab. Other than some perch and small rock we had nothing to show for our efforts. Talked with some fellows at the ramp who got 8 or 9 over near Love Pt. and they even felt pity on us and gave us 4 of their croaker to round out our creel. Nice fellas.

And oh yea, you gotta see Virgil's new truck. It's a manly man truck for sure.


June 14, 2003 - I joined Virgil Poe aboard Lick-ad-Split and served as mate for the day hosting a family for Wish-a-Fish 2003 out of Sandy Point State Park. We caught a mess of perch and a whopper croaker then joined the 30 other families and crews for a picnic at the park. For more info on Wish-a-Fish visit their website at www.wish-a-fish.org . Here are some pics from the day:


Date: 5/8/03
Time: Noon - 7 pm
Location: Unicorn Lake  
Weather: Started off in the rain, after an hour or so it cleared up and was beautiful and warm.
Water Temp/Cond: 67-70*F, clean and clear but with a fair amount of floating algae on the windward shores.
Fish Caught: 2 bass, 15+ chain pickerel to 23" and two gills.
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Virgil and I went bass fishin' today. The bass saw us comin' and played hard to get. They were in cahoots with Mother Nature too and made sure we got dumped on by some passing clouds for an hour as soon as we launched the boat. I  swear it was a conspiracy to throw us off our game. After an hour of fishin' in the rain we were totally befuddled and wonderin' what happen to all the bass in this usually bassy lake. In fact, we were wonderin' if there were ANY fish in the lake.

Virgil was the first to fish with pink today, actually 'Neon Mercury' was the name on the bag of 4" paddle tail bass assasins. He kept callin' the lure 'Big Red.' Don't let him fool ya'. That darn lure was as pink as a baby's pajamas. He started nailin' some pickerel. Nothin' big, but he was havin' fun and I was just sittin' there watchin' and resisting the urge to go pink.

Finally I gave in and started catching as well. The pickerel were tearing up the lures, literally. The boat got kinda messy with all the bits and pieces of pink plastic strewn about. We were steady going thru our one bag supply of this hot little lure. As we rounded a point way back in the lake and I tossed out over a shallow flat I got slammed by a biggun. After a quick photo and release of our biggest fish of the day I realized the lure was in shreds and needed a freshenin' up.

As I reached for the bag Virgil smacks me with his fishin' rod and says, "You caught a bigger fish than the captain, that bag is off limits, captain's rule."

 "Crap, I forgot about that rule."

  Ya' don't mess with Captain Virgil.


4/25/03 - Virgil fished this morning with Rod Rice and I understand they fished from about 7 am till 1 pm or so and got their limit. I hopped on the boat about 2:30 when Virgil brought Rod back in to Sandy Point. We were back fishin' again by about 3 pm. Not much current to start with and by the time the currents got moving the wind had picked up. We fought the wind for a couple hours and got one 31 incher for my entertainment and rode the high seas back at about 5 pm. It was snotty out there.


Date: 4/22/03
Time: Noon - 5 pm
Location: Chesapeake Bay  
Weather: Mostly cloudy and threatening at the start. After an hour or two of spitting rain and wind it settled down and eventually got downright nice
Water Temp/Cond: 52*F, a little off color but not bad
Fish Caught: Two stripers caught (39" and 37"), boxed and filleted.
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Virgil and I put in an afternoon at location X. As we were leaving the marina there was a steady stream of boats heading in making us wonder if we were heading in the wrong direction. To the west the sky was black, but the WX on the vhf seemed to indicate that the weather would pass to the south of us. Hedging our bet we set out a partial spread and kept an eye on the sky.

A little pulse of weather moved through spitting rain and kicking up a little chop for maybe an hour or two, but it was never threatening. We eventually had a full spread out and settle into trying to locate some fish.  With the weather no longer a factor we worked over a lot of water dodging a considerable amount of floating debris.

On one pass near a channel marker we noted the currents were finally running out strong. Virgil commented that he'd bet we'd find some hungry fish within the hour. Well, it didn't take an hour. Maybe a half hour later we boated a respectable fish and soon after a second was in the boat -- both from the outriggers, way back, high in the water and in the shadow of that big structure in the area. Another fine day on the bay!


Date: 4/14/03
Time: Noon - 6 pm
Location: Chesapeake Bay  
Weather: Mostly sunny, Light breezes early, but the wind gradually increased and kicked up quite a chop
Water Temp/Cond: 52*F, a little off color but not bad
Fish Caught: Two stripers caught, photographed and released.
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Virgil and I slipped out for an afternoon on the bay in our super secret spot we call location X. We knew the breezes would be picking up but for a couple hours we enjoyed an absolutely beautiful day with a light chop. With most of the rigging taken care of yesterday we had 9 lines in the water in short order. The hunt was on....

Round and round we went. Not  much in the way of marks and not much in the way of current either. Being a weekday there wasn't much in the way of boat traffic. That was nice! Ever so gradually the wind began to build and before long boat control was an issue we were rockin' and rollin' with a stiff southerly breeze testing our sea legs.

We stuck it out and were rewarded eventually with some concentrations of marks and a 31 incher. That got us interested and made enduring the whitecaps a little more bearable. Round and round we went, sometimes going sideways as fast as we went forward. We worked over what seemed to be some good water and had one short pull, but finally decided to bail out and head for cover on the north of a couple bridges in the area.

Just as we pass under the span the starboard rigger goes off and Virgil was in the hot seat. This line was WAY back and the wind was pushing us along making poor Virg work to gain some line. About half way to the LP bouy we had her in the boat for a photo op and called it a day. The tape said she was just a tad over 40 inches. Not bad, not bad at all.


Date: 4/13/03
Time: 9 am - 7 pm
Location: Chesapeake Bay  
Weather: Mostly sunny, variable NW to maybe 10 mph
Water Temp/Cond: 47*F, varied water clarity with some areas of floating debri, but not bad considering it rained all week
Fish Caught: Two stripers caught, photographed and released.
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I joined Virgil Poe and a couple of our Tidalfish buddies, Chickennecker and Chickenwing(Bob and his son Dave Weist) for a bit of pre-season trolling today. It was an absolutely gorgeous day on the bay. We spent the better part of the first three hours setting the spread since we had to rig as we went. Actually Virgil did most of the rigging as the rest of us offered our unsolicited advice. 

The light steady breeze over the still cool water kept us bundled up and avoiding the shade of the T-top most of the day, but it wasn't a wintery chill and we enjoyed it immensely. You might say we spent the day watching paint dry, or washing lures, or well.....you get the picture. It wasn't an action packed day, but we kicked the skunk and snapped a few pics for posterity.

There was no color preference that we could detect from our small sampling, but for the record, all the fish and a couple of near misses came from the upper portion of the water column. Thanks for the invite, VP and nice to fish with the Chicken Crew once again. And from the sound of the chatter on 68 I'd say Tidalfish owned the bay today. Heard news of a few 'radio' fish, so we weren't alone in enjoying some pre-season action.


Date: 3/25/03
Time: 10 am - 5 pm
Location: Leonards Lake  
Weather: Mostly sunny, variable breezes to maybe 15 mph
Water Temp/Cond: 53-60*F, Other than some globs of floating algae water was it's normal tannin color, but clean.
Fish Caught: 3 pickerel
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VP and I decided we needed to give the Magothy a break today and headed for the Eastern Shore. It was a beautiful day. Gorgeous! Such bluebird weather isn't always the best for catching, but it sure is great for fishing. We hit our favorite mill pond at about 10 am. Launch was uneventful, but for one glitch. Across the parking lot comes this big BLACK CAT. It didn't phase me, but VP was shakin' in his boots. Seems it was an omen. "Might as well just pack it up and head home," he says.

"You gotta be kiddin'" says I.

 He was serious!

Well, I pleaded with him to at least give it a try and he went along under duress and he wasn't even too grumpy about it. I'm thinkin' he's just giving me a hard time, but I wasn't really sure. 

We fished hard and threw everything in the tackle box at them without as much as a bite. It was well past lunchtime when I tied on a pink lure. What the heck, nothin' else was workin'. VP just grinned and said something about I was spendin' too much time with Capt. Skip lately.

Wham! Hooked one, a pickerel. Took a picture. Wham! Hooked another one and released it. VP was flabbergasted that I was catchin' on a pink lure and he was still SKUNKED. The action stopped just that quick. We worked our way back through everything in the tacklebox, changing lures, changing retrieves, chanting rituals to appease the curse of the BLACK CAT. Nothin' was workin'.

Finally I tied on a bobber above my jig and tossed it out. Wham! Another pickerel. "This is cool, maybe they want it dangled in their face today."  VP was skeptical. The wind was blowing us all over the place, the place seemed devoid of fish life, and for VP the idea of bagging it and heading home was sounding better than ever.

I persisted and he went along to humor me, I guess. Now this is a hoot. We took our newfound technique of bobber fishing and applied a little twist to attempt to salvage the day. VP marked the channel in a prime part of the lake with some floats, and with the wind howling down the lake he anchored so we could drift our jig/minnow under bobbers along the channel edges and nearby flats. It seemed like a great idea and if the fish wanted it low and slow we could serve it right up for them. Didn't work.

VP went home with a SKUNK and he reminded me about that BLACK CAT.


Date: 3/24/03
Time: noon - 7:00 pm
Location: Lower Magothy     
Weather: Mostly sunny, calm
Tide: High water and falling slowly as the afternoon progressed
Water Temp/Cond: 51-55*F, varied cloudy to clear 
Fish Caught: About 15 white perch and a small rock

I was determined to take advantage of the outstanding weather and get in a little fishing today. As I was hooking up the boat I got a call from Capt. Skip who was hot on the trail of a white perch dinner. I agreed to pick him up at the ramp at about 4 pm.

The river was flooded when I arrived around noon. Instinct said to head 'upstream' and hit the head of the creek. I fished my usual pickerel bait -- jig/minnow. It seemed the waters were barren of fish. The only way I could loose a bait was to wear it out and lose it to loose minnow lips. I pressed on till I reached the limits of travel in the creek and was teased by one white perch up there, but couldn't find any of his cousins.

I jumped around the creek from there without as much as a bite till I finally headed back to the ramp to meet Skip. There was one more cove to fish and we pulled out the 'secret' bait to fill the cooler. The new cove seemed equally devoid of fish. It was downright discouraging, but it was a gorgeous evening and we stuck it out in hopes we'd eventually stumble on some fish.

Just as the sun hit the treetops we started seeing some splashes and bubbles on the slick calm waters of the cove. In the shallows of the cove we quietly drifted among the swirls and bubbles left by the feeding fish. One by one we boxed Skip's dinner. The white perch weren't giants but they were respectable by and large. 

Fishing shad dart/grass shrimp under a bobber proved to be a workable technique and we stuck with it till it got too dark to see the bobbers and the surface action fizzed. Thanks for joining me, Skip. Hope you enjoyed those fillets.

Date: 3/17/03
Time: 1:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Location: Upper Magothy     
Weather: Mostly cloudy, calm
Tide: High water and rising slowly all afternoon, not much movement
Water Temp/Cond: 51-58*F, varied cloudy to clear 
Fish Caught: One pickerel, one shad and a wholebunchalota white perch
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Last year this time we were bailing pickerel. Today Virgil and I fished the river in search of the elusive pickerel and came up mighty short. We're getting a little concerned. Last Fall and now the Spring pike fishing has been slim pickin's. What a difference a year makes. We can only hope we just haven't managed to 'dial them in' yet, outsmarted by a fish! Let's hope the fish got smarter and not scarcer.

I did manage to land one pickerel today, on the second cast of the day. So we were pumped for the challenge right from the getgo. Nothing like kicking the skunk out of the boat to get you fired up and ready to slay some fish. When the first creek shut down after that one pickerel we zoomed upriver for a look as some new territory.

Fisherman lined the banks at Beachwood Grove as we motored by. Quite a crowd including a fly guy wading and waving one of those long poles. It was flat calm and the water reflected the gray skies. Great day for fishing and it looks like we weren't the only ones out to slay some fish today.

We found some fish eventually, but not pickerel. With the high water we worked some areas that  we wouldn't normally be able to get near. The depth finder was reading 1-3 ft and we were bailing white perch just about every time we got in shallow enough to worry about getting stuck. We could have literally filled a cooler with them if we'd have been in a 'keeper' mood.

We slayed 'em all right, but only for the camera today. There are a wholebuchalota  white perch out there this evening with sore lips, one 16 5/8" pickerel with a pretty yellow tag in his shoulder and a sad lonely shad with Virgil's finger prints on his fins still swimming in the river. We'll be baaaaack!


Date: 1/12/03
Time: 11:00 am - 5:00 pm
Location: Deep Creek Lake, a cove on the south side of the lake.. 
Weather: Mostly sunny, freezing cold and breezy.
Water Temp/Cond: Frozen hard, maybe 12" ice 
Fish Caught: A mess of pickerel

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Back in my college days in the Terrapin Trail Club we'd do these weekend trips we called 'idiot trips.' Usually these trips involved driving ungodly distances to some remote wilderness and hiking like mad for a day or two, then driving back to the university in time for classes on Monday morning. Well, in the fine tradition of my youth I embarked on an 'idiot trip' this past Sunday.

I left Pasadena at about 5:30 am for a solo drive to Western Maryland to fish a little on the frozen lake near Oakland. As I was crossing the mountains my cell phone goes off and amid the scratch and static I could hear Virgil's voice and made out something about how he was somewhere behind me. We agreed that I'd wait near the Rocky Gap exit (at least I was pretty sure that's what he said) and he'd show me how to find the WalMart in LaVale where I could get a new fishing license and he'd pick up some dry gas for his finicky car. I followed him to the WalMart amid the puffs of blue smoke coming from his exhaust.

Well, the WalMart at 8 am on a Sunday morning is an adventure in itself. To their credit the staff there did finally find someone who knew how to issue a fishing license and Virgil found his dry gas and had breakfast while he waited. By 10 am we were at the lake and by about 11 am we were set up with 10 holes and tip-ups on the frozen lake.

The thermometer on the roadside in McHenry had said 11 degrees when we passed at 10 am. I don't know if it was really that cold or not, but it was pretty darn cold. My strategy was to stand upwind of our 'spread' and watch for flags with my gloved hands in my pockets. Virgil and I took turns chasing down flags and landing pickerel. When one of us grabbed a tip-up the other grabbed the video camera. 

We had a ton of fun with the very cooperative pickerel in the lake and each time hoped for maybe a yellow perch, or pike or walleye or gill. We did not hook up with anything other than pickerel all day. But heck, I luv them pickerel so I was having a ball. And we did watch fellow TF'er Todd  hook up with a walleye, largemouth bass, yellow perch and bluegill. He was mostly jigging and that seemed to be the ticket for variety. 

Virgil did a little jigging late in the day and hooked up with, you guessed it, more pickerel. Guess we're just destined to be pickerel catchers. We hung in there till the sun dipped below the ridge tops and we were just about frozen solid. Never did catch anything but pickerel, but we caught a mess of them, lost count after about a 12 or so.

As we left the resort area the thermometer read 16 degrees. Wow! It warmed up during the day! And in the fine tradition of my youth I drove the 4 hours back home. By 10:30 pm I was back in good 'ol Pasadena, totally whooped, but content with yet another 'idiot trip' under my belt. Luv the pickerel!

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