Chesapeake Outdoors by C. D. Dollar

 Vol. 10, No. 39

September 26- October 2, 2002

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Sometimes That’s All It Takes

Every day we’re bombarded with enough external stimuli from junk mail, highway billboards and obnoxious Internet pop-up ads to choke a hippo. The constant advertisements have gotten so bad that musical geniuses like Bob Dylan are fronting jeans for one of the country’s leading clothing stores. As a friend remarked, can you imagine Keith Richards in a Gap ad? Thankfully no.

So those of us who are by nature outdoor dogs yet who have somehow lost our way and now spend far too much time inside, realize that when the opportunity arises to extricate ourselves from the mad rush of modernity, we must grab it like the last life jacket aboard the Titanic (after all of the women, children and infirm have donned theirs, of course).

My moment came at the onset of my favorite season, when the morning air is crisp and the watershed bristles with life. And just in the nick of time, because after doing an unjustifiably long stretch chained to my desk, I almost forgot what marsh grass and fish looked like.

I could tell you I spent a great morning reconnecting with the natural world by casting to marsh points to entice a rockfish, or better yet a red drum, to strike. But I won’t. Frustration mounted as I threw the perfect game: no hits.

That my parole from the daily grind was mostly an exhaustive exercise of repetitive casting is a hard truth to swallow, but a necessary one. That I was fishing one of my favorite haunts, Cedar Island in lower Tangier Sound, was barely consolation. Let’s face it, you can only tell yourself that just being out on the water is good enough so many times before it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. So I choose to beat down that sentiment every chance I get.

But getting skunked happens, and if anyone tells you different, then you’re apt to believe them if they offer you a waterfront home for under 200 grand. It just ain’t possible.

Just when I was ready to call it a morning, my perseverance paid off. I threw the glittering white Opening Night Bass Assassin to a point that was no different than the one I cast to the previous 50 times. The difference was a hard bump, telling me someone was home. So I immediately tossed it again, then felt that blood-pumping resistance of a fish that had been duped. A lone fat 24-inch rockfish salvaged my brief trip.

I didn’t pick the perfect lure or the ideal tide. I simply kept fishing until I found the fish. Sometimes that’s what it takes.

Fish Are Biting
Water temperatures are dropping quickly with each cold front, and with these changes the fishing can only get better. Larger rockfish have moved into the shallows, so cast to any points, ledges or drop offs in the rivers and the Bay’s main stem. Bait is also balling up, so breaking fish are increasingly becoming more reliable an index of bigger fish underneath. Sea trout are less scattered and in Eastern Bay, off Choptank River and Poplar Island.

Copyright 2002
Bay Weekly