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Lady Luck Smiles

When you get your fish, all’s right with the world

Fish-finder Schooling rockfish up to 30 inches are establishing themselves at Love Point, Podickery, Hackett’s, the southern tip of Gum Thickets, Thomas Point and down to the Diamonds and the Hill. They are falling to chumming and fishing cut bait, with trollers scoring on smaller bucktails and soft plastics. Kayakers jigging around the Bay Bridge are reporting early success. The evening and early morning bait bites at Sandy Point, Matapeake and Thomas Point are also holding steady. Big trophy-sized rock are still being caught at Chesapeake Beach and farther south. White perch action is increasing, but there are not many reports as most anglers are focusing on rockfish. The spot aren’t here yet, and the early-arriving croaker have spread out. Fishing College Learn to fish with light tackle on June 7, when I teach Chesapeake Bay fishing (AHC 362) at Anne Arundel Community College: www.aacc.edu/noncredit. Register at 410-777-2222 or iscenter@aacc.edu.

When you’ve gone through a long series of skunks — as anyone who has fished much has — you start questioning your skill. Where were you going wrong? What else could you do? Serious uncertainties also creep in: Was the past season’s long string of successes real?
    That’s about the way I was thinking the other day, anchored a bit south of Hackett’s with only one other boat near. The finder screen was lit up like a fireworks display, but once again my baits went untouched.
    After almost an hour, one of the rod tips began to twitch. It stopped. I lifted the rig and moved the bait just an inch or two but felt no resistance. My heart was heavy. It had been a long spring with virtually no success chasing rockfish. Either the weather or the bite — or both — had been consistently horrible.
    The morning had started badly. Having gone to bed with excellent weather and good tides forecast for dawn, I opened my eyes at the appointed hour to the sounds of an approaching jet. Then I realized that it wasn’t airplane noise at all, it was thunder, lots of it.
    Another fishing trip scratched, I feared. Would things never go my way? Then, as if in answer, rain drummed down on the roof as if being poured from a giant bucket.
    I got up, reluctantly, to call my partner to cancel. But by the time I had a cup of coffee and picked up the phone, the skies had cleared and the sun was bright. Could lady luck be smiling at last? Or was she toying with us?
    Once on the Bay, we looked out over calm waters and a nicely moving incoming tide. It was looking good, but I steeled myself for more disappointment, reminding myself that dry spells make the good bites that much more enjoyable. But it was getting to be a very difficult sell.
    Then a rod tipped down with a serious run, the reel chattered as line poured out and all of those dark thoughts vanished. Feeling the weight of a good fish heading off against the drag, I smiled.
    It was a lively fight for a few minutes before my partner slipped the net under the six-pounder — and just that quickly our day had changed.
    As I buried the thick fish in ice and gave my buddy, Moe, a fist bump to celebrate the end of our rotten luck, another rod slammed down hard in its holder, and a 10-pounder took off for the other side of the Bay.
    With a couple of throwbacks and a pulled hook or two, we collected our limits in short order. The summer had officially started, and that miserable series of fishless days receded into the dim and forgettable past.