Chesapeake Outdoors by C. D. Dollar

 Vol. 10, No. 45

November 7-14, 2002

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Fall’s Aerial Symphony

The marsh points and undercut banks cried out ‘Try here!’ A fishy spot, but turbidity and a surface water temperature reading of only 48 degrees overruled that intuition, making our chances for nailing a few keeper rockfish in shallow water slim at best. But bored with the seemingly endless supply of sub-legal stripers that were busting bait on the chilly late afternoon, Chuck Foster and I gave it a go anyway. Turns out the bigger fish were to be had a little farther south. Sometimes you choose the wrong spot; just the nature of the game.

Cast after cast of surface plugs gleaned no hits or rises, but the action was far from mundane. Earlier in the week, one of my hardcore waterfowl friends e-mailed me a heads-up about Arctic blasts sending legions of geese and duck south to Chesapeake Country. As the gray, pre-winter sky loomed large, draping silken sheets of magenta and amber over the water, the torrid yellow sun sank fast behind the clouds. On cue, they came in droves: flocks of 20, 50 and 100 ducks cascading from dizzying altitudes onto a salt pond tucked several hundred yards inland from the Chester River.

Silhouetted against the fading light were widgeon, mallards, scaup and black ducks. Hundreds of Canada geese settled on an offshore bar in the lee for the night’s roost. For the next hour, the skies were busier than Chicago’s O’Hare Airport during the Thanksgiving holiday, taking my mind off the fruitless fishing and springboarding thoughts to the much-anticipated opening day of duck season.

It also underscored the ever-present fact that if you cry boredom with our national treasure, you just aren’t looking in the right place. Perhaps the bright city lights are better suited for your perceptions.

Fish Are Biting
Reports of slightly unusual but definitely cool catches continue to reach this writer, including the landing of a three-pound speckled trout in waters near the South River by Dave ‘Moon Pie’ Cola, who took the trout in shallow water before the recent cold spell. T-Bone Granberg, once again working her home waters of Meredith Creek, seined up, then released, a juvenile spec recently.

Hordes of breaking rockfish can be found from Swan Point south past Drum Point. The feed is definitely on for stripers as they fatten up for the move out to the ocean or deep-water Bay hides. To date, dropping heavier jigs, such as Stingsilvers and Crippled Alewives, have yielded precious few trout for this angler, but the fish are visible on the sonar screen. Bait seems to take them, and I have yet to try feather jigs in earnest.

Solid reports of ocean-run rockfish from the Middle Grounds north past Poplar Island are coming in, which is good news for trollers and light-tackle enthusiasts alike.

Copyright 2002
Bay Weekly