Chesapeake Outdoors ~ by C. D. Dollar

 Vol. 10, No. 18

May 2-8, 2002

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Solace in the Silence

Every time I paddle a kayak, I am reminded of the beauty of solitude. Our Chesapeake — comprised of more than 11,600 miles of tidal shoreline, more than the entire West Coast — is one of the edges where the shallow water and land merge to create endless opportunities for exploration. Weaving through the spartina-laced marsh guts or heading into a light chop as waves slap rhythmically against the hull is, for some of us, as close to heaven on earth as you might ever hope to get.

But the fine art of listening is disappearing. Trying to ignore more than a few rude people among the crowd at a recent Patty Griffin show underscored the loss. (The inane banter went on as she was playing, no less; and the Annapolis crowd fancies themselves as music connoisseurs.)

We changed both the physical and biological landscape and in the process our connection to it. Still, wild places such as Goodwin Island in Virginia’s York River, are that much more special and precarious. Saltwater in your face is good; silence is cathartic.

You’d be doing something if in your lifetime you paddled just a fraction of the waters of our home. One thing is certain: You would find that elusive solitude. Lord knows we need it.

Fish Are Biting
Word is that trolling is hit or miss in many parts of the Bay, particularly when high winds make fishing either difficult or the waters too turbid. Capt. Mark Galasso of Tuna the Tide Charters in Grasonville caught his limit of rockfish quickly last week fishing #18 Tony spoons north of the Bay Bridge. Most of the fish being caught are post-spawn rockfish, and they can run better than 20 pounds.

Light tackle and fly action in shallow water on the Susquehanna Flats continues to be impressive; that season ends May 3.

The shad run on the tributaries of the Susquehanna is in full swing, despite low water on Deer Creek. Department of Natural Resources reports that fly fishermen continue to catch hickory and white shad using white shad flies or red and #8 yellow streamer flies. A seven-weight rod loaded with full sinking line — or at least a sink-tip line — better than 200 grains is recommended. If you want to toss lures, try shad darts, small spoons and twister tails.

In the middle Bay, Gum Thickets, Thomas Point, mouth of West River, Old Gas Buoy and Clay Bank all produced rockfish.

Last week, DNR reported that Kory Watson came close to breaking the state record for black drum after catching a 98.5-pounder off Crisfield using live shiners. Watson spent an hour and 45 minutes reeling in the drum.

Other catches of note include a red drum in Tangier Sound. Commercial fishermen have caught speckled trout between Tangier and Smith Island.

Copyright 2002
Bay Weekly