Volume XI, Issue 16 ~ April 17-23, 2003

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NOT Burton on the Bay | Chesapeake Outdoors | Sky Watch | Tidelog
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Chesapeake Outdoors by C. D. Dollar

Spring’s Quick Elixir

I was sick of the mud in my yard and tired of the endless wind and ceaseless rains that forced me to cancel fishing trips on the Susquehanna Flats. I had been up to my eyeballs clearing brush from a neglected landscape. My fishing gear was as good as it was going to get, and the boat was ready — or close enough.

Like the surrounding flora that radiated varying hues of green, I turned my own shade of green envy watching an osprey sail aloft, making the return flight to its nest from a nearby creek. The fat perch in its talons forced it to undulate and swerve awkwardly in the headwind.

Almost a month after the official start of spring, a true day of sunshine, natural aroma and bustling life was everywhere. So I stored the tools, stopped tinkering with the boat and loaded the kayak into the pickup to indulge in a quick elixir fix of spring waters.

I dropped the boat at the public landing just up from Greenwood Creek and headed out into the Wye River. The boat moved quickly and quietly over the water, and for just one of the few times since duck season ended, I could feel my connection to the Bay re-energize. I was quite content to just paddle along with no destination in mind.

I snuck past Lloyd Creek, then lit out toward Pickering Creek but didn’t make it nearly that far. The sun slung low in an awakened sky, creating crazy combinations of day-glow orange, streaks of pinks and ambers that crisscrossed over a canvas of blues and grays. My paddle lay listless, and I let the ebb carry me toward home. But I then realized that I was already there.

Fish Are Biting
The warm-up these past few days had an encouraging effect on fishing throughout the area. After weeks of mostly miserable fishing conditions, the Susquehanna Flats action was fair. Mid-Bay guide Mark Galasso reported decent catch-and-release action on the Flats. Even a few big fish, better than 20 pounds, have been caught and set free. Deer Creek and Octorraro Creek offer the chance at white perch and hickory shad.

Scouting trolling trips in upper and middle Bay are resulting in hook-ups of big migrant rockfish. Traditional big baits of white and chartreuse bucktails dragged in the upper 25 feet of the water column have been most productive.

From field surveys, the Department of Natural Resources’ Fisheries Service reports more hickory shad in the Patuxent, Nanticoke and Choptank rivers than there were just last week. I also heard a reliable report of big stripers caught and released (mandatory!) above the Woodrow Wilson Bridge, as well as catches of hickory shad, herring and white perch at Fletcher’s Boat House farther upriver. Shad darts, twisters, minnows and small gold or silver spoons should do the trick.

Last week’s information that big rockfish continue to be taken in pound nets in Virginia leaves no doubt that the coastal rockfish are definitely in the Bay looking to spawn. Add to the mix large croakers, some of which were caught on bloodworms off Point Lookout Fishing Pier, and it’s looking like a real fishing season again. Whew, thought it’d never get here!

Got a good fish tale or fishing report? E-mail them to fishosprey@earthlink.net.



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Last updated April 17, 2003 @ 1:57am