Bag Your Trophy Rock for a Buck

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By Cap’n Larry Jarboe

The best way to guarantee catching a trophy rockfish is to fish with a pro. The price for a six passenger charter boat is usually around six hundred bucks. How can a single buck insure that you have one or more big fish to brag about with pictures and a freezer full of filets as proof?
If you squirrel away a buck a day for fishing adventures, you will accumulate 365 dollars a year to apply toward fishing with your favorite charter captain.

Find five other fishing fanatics willing to do the same and you will have enough funding for three trips, tips included.
Personally, I am not too proud to admit that I am a lousy trolling fisherman. My specialty is catching fish with bait and, in many cases. the liberal application of chum.

I can hold my own live baiting, jigging, and chucking lures, but trolling is my weakness. Plus, I like the peace and quiet of a boat at anchor or adrift with the engine shut down.
If you’re going to catch those big striped bass that prowl the Chesapeake, you will most likely be trolling a lot of big lures, teasers, parachute rigs, and planer combos. Just decking out the proper gear and quality trolling rigs can cost well over a thousand dollars.

Add a couple hundred bucks in fuel for a day’s trolling with the big outboard and that charter boat looks like a pretty good deal. Throw in the working captain’s daily experience and it’s better to fish close to home with your boat but pay the pro’s price for a day on the Bay.
My first big rockfish was caught on a cold early December day when the wind was screaming at 25 knots from the WNW.

Capt. Greg Madjeski who fishes the Temple M out of Ridge suggested that we try the lee side of the Potomac River prior to battling across the Bay.

The fall run stripers should be on the Virginia side of the channel not far from the dock.
Sure enough in less than a half hour, the first rod doubled over.

 On the way out, we had drawn cards for pole position.

Since I drew the Ace of Spades, I was assured to get the first shot at one of those big fish.

While cranking in the first fish, it dropped off the line. If looks could kill, I’d be dead, but Capt. Greg got back on the fish and our whole party of six each got a big fish. Even I got a second chance which this time came into the boat. We were maxed out for our limit of striped bass over 28 inches before 9 A.M.
Capt. Greg proceeded to set his course to cross the Bay in search of six smaller rock and, maybe, some sea trout.

I suggested that we had witnessed a phenomenal day of fine fishing. Instead of beating ourselves and the boat in rough open water, why not enjoy our success with an early trip back to the dock for a cold beer?
Everyone in our party agreed and I think Capt. Greg forgave me for missing that first fish.
What a wonderful charter fishing trip we had. I am saving my bucks for the next one.

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