Logan Lucky and the White Perch Adventure
It seemed, at first, a great plan. My 7-year-old grandson, Logan, was visiting us from Miami where he and his mother Monica, and sister Bella, had fled the pandemic. The Chesapeake was to be a great place for their respite and a definite change from the restrictions of apartment life in the heart of that crazy city.
Launching with Logan early the first morning in my 17-foot center console, we planned on a white perch expedition for a fish fry that evening. I had previously found concentrations of both white perch and spot just off the Magothy’s main channel. Unfortunately, they had been consistently very small fish, good for live-lining but little else.
The day before, I heard reports from a usually reliable source that a lot of larger perch had moved in and the bite had become excellent. Hoping for a change from my poor luck, we cast our dice on a perching adventure.
Logan Lucky was the title of a movie my wife and I had seen recently, depicting the fortuitous change of luck for the Logan family when they undertook a particularly preposterous adventure involving lots of explosions and currently popular actors. I hoped that turn of luck would apply to our Logan, the fishing trip and an optimistically planned dinner.
Our first disappointment that morning was the inability to secure bloodworms or soft crab, two surefire baits for larger, discriminating Bay panfish. Hoping that ordinary redworms would do the trick we began fishing along the channel edges in about 12 feet of water. Top and bottom rigs tipped with pieces of worm and a one-ounce sinker would have to be the answer.
Drawing bites almost immediately, we soon found ourselves inundated with 4- to 6-inch perch and spot. After an hour or so of searching, we were rapidly going through our supply of worms. Though we did release dozens of the little guys, even Logan was getting discouraged with the constant throwbacks.
Logan, surprisingly, was proving a trooper, despite the difficult bite. But into the second hour I wouldn’t have faulted him with a desire to return home and the comforts of air conditioning and better distractions. Not wishing to press his endurance too far, I decided to swing for the fence, hoping Logan had at least another half hour of effort in him.
There was one last, distant location I hadn’t yet fished this season that had sometimes proven good in the past, a rocky shoreline with some adjacent shade trees and an occasional dilapidated pier or bulkhead. It was, though, going to be our last effort of the day. After a hard run up a distant creek we reached our destination and re-rigged our light rods with perch-sized spinnerbaits.
Advising my young friend to cast close to the rocks, we began to work the area. But almost immediately Logan was snagged up solid. Leaning over to take the rod from his hand to help him clear his line, I noticed the tip surge. Then his drag buzzed. A fish fight had commenced.
Ignoring the beast’s frantic surges and my cautionary advice, Logan promptly reeled the brute ever closer and then, despite another plea to wait for a net, he hoisted the rascal up out of the water, holding a very large perch, dangling and struggling over the water. My heart was in my mouth.
Swinging it finally up over the gunnel, my grandson miraculously got the fish on board where it immediately spit the hook and began flapping about. The beast measured 12½ inches, black-backed and as thick as a book. A white perch trophy.
He followed that big perch moments later with an 11½-incher with the same black back and nearly as thick; I was convinced we were now on a streak. Luck had changed big time for this Logan and his family.
Within a half hour we had more than enough thick, hefty perch in the cooler for a family fish fry. The bite was still hot but I decided to leave while things remained interesting for our newest angler. Plus, cold drinks and a cooling shower were waiting for us on shore and I was more than ready for both.
The rockfish bite remains concentrated north of Swan Point though it wanders up and down the Eastern Shore a bit. Live-lining is the key for bigger fish but chumming is getting a fair share of limits as is casting soft jigs. Lots of charter boats are gathered there but if you’re really early or patient you can find a spot. Perch fishing is picking up but DNR’s promise of bigger fish is hard to realize without extensive searching. Crabbing remains mediocre and the best results require some searching. The southern Bay has a superior bite if you don’t mind traveling. Try Point Lookout or Tangier Sound.