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Fishing

To a North Sea fisherman, we’re in heaven

I coaxed the bow of my skiff in close to the Bay Bridge piling and shifted into neutral. The tide had slowed to a crawl, and the southerly breeze was still soft, so it was no problem holding our boat a half dozen feet off the down-current side of the piling.     My fishing partner in the bow, Richard Fraser, thumbed his reel into free spool and lofted a six-inch spot toward the back eddy. The baitfish hit the water about a foot from the pier and zoomed down toward the bottom some 30 feet below. It never made it.

Four ways to cook the Bay’s favorite fish

What a year we’ve had for rockfish! In our fifth month of abundance, big fish are still just about everywhere in the mid-Bay, with anglers catching them using just about every method.     Eating fresh Chesapeake rockfish is one of the perks of living in the Tidewater. One of the many attributes of the fish is that its flavor can be influenced by the addition of easy-to-make sauces, which can give a fresh rockfish dinner a completely different taste each time you serve it.

Head to a new place, and the fishing gets better

It was in the middle of the week and we had our Norfolk spot for live lining caught by 7am. Jumping up on plane, we headed toward the Bay Bridge. It was already too late. The concrete supports where we had had such great luck a day earlier had two skiffs anchored at each, and our third and fourth choices were being eyeballed by a couple of approaching charter boats.

Perhaps the most exciting and demanding of the angler’s art

It was minutes short of sundown. The shadows were getting long, blending into a solid blackness along the nearby shoreline that hinted of the night about to fall. My casts were tempting the fates as they landed just off the edge of the riprap where I hoped a striper was lurking. Another foot or so and I would foul the top-water plug among the rocks. In water this skinny, I would have to break it off.

Cracking crabs speaks volumes

The water was 90 degrees, murky with algae and the skies overcast. We all peered intently at the barely visible trotline gliding through the water next to our skiff. One chicken neck bait after another appeared, slid over the roller and went back down. But there was no mistaking the first blue crab to appear. That jimmie was seven inches across.

To catch in this heat, you’ve got to fish early or fish lucky

My alarm clock sounded at 4:30am. Shutting it off, I took a deep breath and laid my head back for just a second to collect my thoughts. If the cat hadn’t knocked its dish off the table downstairs two hours later, I probably would have slept on until noon.

… A white perch will do. If you can’t catch either, God bless you.

Setting up just north of the Sandy Point Light in 40 feet of water, our chum bag was soaking deep on its weighted line, and we were waiting for the rockfish to start to eat.     Our planned destination had been farther up the Bay. But as we passed the spot where we now fished, our electronic finder had marked such a large school of big fish that it stopped us short. Setting up about 75 yards off of the flank of a commercial hook-and-liner that had obviously noticed the same thing, we prepped our tackle,

It’s the dawn bite that pays off this time of year

July is here, and with it the heat waves that inevitably mark summer on the Chesapeake. Ninety-plus degrees with a blazing-hot sun will slow the fish. Even if it ­doesn’t, that sun can make being on the water after high noon uncomfortable if not unhealthy.