Volume XI, Issue 48 ~ November 26- December 3, 2003

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Chesapeake Outdoors ~ by C. D. Dollar

Take Your Lumps

I guess I was due for a good old-fashion piscatorial beat-down, particularly after enjoying such a good run from September through last week. But it doesn’t make it any less painful, especially when one of my best clients was on board — with his octogenarian dad, no less.

It’s not uncommon for fishermen to sugarcoat a bad day, but I figure I can’t expect the good fishing vibe to return without owning up to the fact that sometimes you can work hard, do all the things that have worked before and still not come out on top. Anyone who has played competitive sports knows that scenario all too well, but it still leaves a bitter taste.

There are the few who always claim success, no matter what reality says. Take this local fisherman I know who, when I ask how he fared, offers this standard response: “We did well, very well.” That’s even if it was blowing a gale and the waters were unfishable.

The morning bite yielded just two strikes, a complete downer since the shallows had held good fish for weeks. I headed out of the Chester River and beelined for the Bay Bridges. Solid numbers of legal rockfish held tight off to the west of the Stone Pile, and you could see thick layers of white perch on the sounder.

But a ripping ebb tide made it tough to get even a 400-grain, sinking fly line in the fish’s strike zone. Add a host of other boats jockeying for position, and the scenario wasn’t optimum for the people I had on board or the style of fishing. So back to the river I went. Then on to Eastern Bay, and back to the Chester once again.

I worked just about every honey hole I had and threw so many different lures of various color combinations that my eyes blurred. It made no difference; the silence was deafening. Finally a fish, a single glorious fish! At least I can be thankful for that.

Some day soon the bite will return and when it does, I plan on cashing in that dismal day’s marker.

Fish Are Biting
Fishing is either good or slow, depending upon with whom you talk. Rob Jepson said several nice fish, some in the 30- to 35-inch range, have been checked in at Anglers over the last week or so. Many of those fish have been taken chumming above the Bay Bridges. There are good reports of keeper rockfish hitting feather jigs at the Bay Bride pilings, and monster white perch. But the crowds can be substantial and the manners of the fishermen are occasionally lacking.

Fred Donovan from Rod ’n’ Reel said the pace of rockfish action has slowed in recent days but that Capt. Monty King of the Jodie Lee brought back three rockfish in the 40-plus-inch range. Overall, Donovan said that the fishing isn’t gangbusters but still worth the effort.

I’ve heard nary a word about weakfish from anyone in the last month. Its a pretty safe bet that they are a no show, but perhaps other anglers have had better luck on the sea trout than this writer.

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Last updated November 26, 2003 @ 2:10am.