From Monster Fishing to a Mess of Fish
By Cap’n Larry Jarboe
THE CHESAPEAKE TODAY
One of the great advantages of living in the Chesapeake Bay region is having the opportunity for almost anyone to catch a trophy striped bass during the Spring and Fall migrations. A few years ago, prior to the five year moratorium on striped bass harvest established during Governor Donald Schaefer’s tenure, you were lucky if you even caught a small striped bass. Now, we all have a shot at catching a big rockfish.
In June, most of those big fish will have moved on. If you want to catch a monster, the cow nose skates are prowling everywhere or you might target the big blue catfish that have moved into the fresher portion of the Potomac River.
I expect there may be a patient fisherman or two prepping to go shark fishing after witnessing the bull sharks caught in the pound nets last year.
For most of us, June through October is a numbers game. The fish may not be so big but you can catch a cooler full which is a whole lot of family fun. I admit this is my favorite kind of fishing. Pulling in a big striped bass on a trolling rig is like trying to reel in an open five gallon bucket being dragged behind the boat. Give me a double header of croakers coming up on a light spinning rig any day. Compound that experience surrounded by your friends all catching fish on their bottom or chumming rigs and you have the makings of a grand day of fishing.
In years past, I was a purist, well really just cheap, and tied my own double hook bottom rigs using dropper knots. These rigs often tangle which wastes valuable fishing time. The wire spreader bottom rigs that you buy tangle far less and the clip for the sinker makes lead changing quick and easy. Remember, that having three hooks on a single line is illegal for recreational fishing in Maryland. Also, another trick I learned quite by accident is to fish a wire spreader double hook bottom rig without a lead drifted behind an anchored boat.
Last August, I needed some fish pictures for the CHESAPEAKE and took a early morning trip out on the Patuxent River. The white perch were biting pretty well but they were running in the small category. My sinker hung on the bottom and the clip and sinker broke off leaving me with a two hook wire spreader rig and no weight.
So, I cast the baited but non-weighted rig behind the boat, flipped out a lot of slack line, and put the rod in the stern rod holder with an open bail while I baited up a bottom rig on another rod. By the time I got that rig to the bottom, the drift rig rod was jumping. I pulled in two big croakers on that rig and proceeded to catch my limit of croaker on the drift rig. I think the wire spreader has enough weight to drift to the bottom and move across with the current. Regardless of why it works, this is a good trick that you are welcome to forget but a smart fisherman won’t.
Regardless of whether you are catching one or two fish at a time, June is the time to catch a nice mess of fish with minimum effort. If you can’t catch them now, you might as well take up playing golf.
Larry Jarboe – firstname.lastname@example.org