Now that the cold weather has locked in till mid-February or even March in the Chesapeake Region there are far fewer fishing opportunities. Sure, you can go fishing, but why near freeze to death to not catch anything in frigid water?
This is a good time to go on-line to pick up some gear you will be needing this year to enhance your fishing adventures in 2015. For example, last winter, while my wife enjoyed her new Florida residency, I recuperated from cataract and hernia surgery in Maryland. During this time, I bid on a half dozen different Penn 349 narrow spool 6/0 reels. For an average price of about fifty bucks each, I now have enough reels to cover deep dropping braided line in the Gulf Stream or trolling topside for dolphin (the fish) and wahoo. During my Internet search of these quality American made reels, I learned about Carl Newell’s 349 reel conversion kits. Despite not having modern internet connectivity, the fishing fraternity of forty years ago communicated through a network of fishing fanatics who competed with each other while sharing successful techniques and equipment modifications.
Likely, the Chalk Point power plant on the Patuxent River is one of the most protected areas that can be fished in winter in Southern Maryland. The outflow canal below the Eagle Harbor community offers supreme protection from both wind and waves. In addition to Channel Catfish, in recent years, we have put both Red Drum and Blue Catfish in the cooler while fishing in the warmer water. There is an excellent public launching area at the Rt.231 bridge DNR sub-station in Calvert County. Make sure your boat has enough length and freeboard to handle a rough winter chop to get to and from this quiet anchorage at the power plant. A 10 foot square nosed pram has no place on the Pax river in blustery conditions.
One important trick to improve your catch in the canal is to choose the outgoing tide for your fishing expedition.
For the time being, I am enjoying establishing my Southern fishing base in Key Largo. Key Largo is close to the mainland but also has great access to the best coral reefs in the U.S. Both the deep blue Gulf Stream and the shallow Everglades back Country are just a short boat ride away. Those Penn 349 eBay antique reels are being put to work in blue water while the spinning rods work best on the patch reefs. I have been practicing my bowfishing in our canal with submerged balloons to get used to the refraction change at different depths. The fish cleaning table is a work in progress but the chum grinder has been bolted down and the pirate flag is posted.
Though I am really looking forward to returning to the Mid-Atlantic when the waters warm, winter in the Keys provides phenomenal fishing opportunities under blue skies and warm temperatures. Also, there are many fishing techniques that can be used in the Keys that we successfully use in the Chesapeake Region. Although the water is quite clear, bowfishing is not common here. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission police has assured me that Mangrove Snappers are fair game, also, Southern Sting Rays. Though, I am looking forward to shooting the sting rays up the coast in the Banana River where they are a danger to swimmers and wind surfers.
Each week till sometime in March or April or May (if the winter is really brutal), I’ll be posting fish tales from Florida. If you have specific questions about fishing from the Chesapeake to the Keys, send me an e-mail. My address is posted at the end of every fish story.