Getting Out, In Small Ways
Like slivers of radiant apricots, the sun's rays exploded across the purple horizon. I snaked my way along the shoreline toward the beach, hoping that the melancholy of the day's last breath would linger just a while longer. And as I paddled, the sound of the paddle hitting the water was rhythmic and soothing.
By some anglers' standards, I suppose my fishing excursion was not a booming success: a handful of small rockfish caught on olive-and-white Clousers. But if we did things solely for the approval of others, it'd be a mighty tough life, particularly with regard to fishing.
Like many people around Chesapeake Country, I too have discovered the advantages and pleasures of fishing from a kayak. My reasons are relatively simple: kayaks (any canoe or small boat for that matter) don't harm the environment, they require less maintenance and are easy to transport. With fuel costs shooting through the roof, the price is right, either via trailer or atop your car or truck.
Over the last couple years, I've chased small-mouth bass (pound for pound one of the most exciting and toughest gamefish taken on fly gear) from canoes on the Shenandoah River. In the fall, when the rockfish hunt the Bay's myriad marsh guts where natural cycles are in perpetual motion, surface poppers and soft plastics like Bass Assassins bring hair-raising strikes in shallow water. In these places where water and land merge to create thousands of miles of tidal shoreline, the opportunities for exploration are only limited by your skill and time.
Last week I spent an inordinate amount of time gazing out windows for far too long, momentarily disengaged from the work conversation. It was a clear sign that I needed fresh air - not the processed kind from air conditioning vents but heavy salt air or the crispness of the mountain morning.
Fish Are Biting
Rockfish are scattered, and reports of big fish are scarce. Chummers above Love Point in 25 to 35 feet of water are catching limits of rockfish and the occasional croaker. Good numbers of croaker hang over shell bottom at Choptank River, Eastern Bay and off Chesapeake Beach. Bay Bridge stone piles have rockfish, and some of them are keepers. Kent Narrows is becoming more active, and live-lining spot for stripers at the Gas Docks and Kent Narrows Bridge should be producing soon.
Spanish mackerel are in the Bay and heading north, although the flush of freshwater might delay their arrival up this way. Spot are active at night off Breezy Point, Cove Point and West River.
Flounder are at the mouth of the Patuxent River, Eastern Bay off Claybourne and around Punch Island. Live minnows and squids are preferred. On the seaside, there are plenty of flounder at Wachapreague, but most of them are undersized fish.
White perch are making a better showing lately in the Severn River and a few other tributaries; grass shrimp and bloodworms are best bets for bait.