SOLOMONS -- Jerry Bascomb prefers things simple. Fewer lures in the water might mean fewer fish, but it also means fewer complications.
And, it's not a bad idea.
His boat, a 25-footer, is big enough to troll four rigs -- maybe five or six if he cared to -- but that's not his idea of fishing. He likes maneuverability. Also, he doesn't like tangled lines.
"Pick a good lure because you'll only be using one," warned Bascomb of Silver Spring as I climbed aboard. "This is going to be hands-on fishing -- no rods in the holders."
Because Spanish mackerel are here in addition to blues, I chose a small Crippled Alewive of gold; Bascomb selected a gold Cather spoon. Then when he suggested rigging a spinning rod in the event we encountered breaking fish, I tied on something new.
L.B. Huntington, which pioneered spoons (Huntington Drones) for saltwater gamefishing when headquartered at Luce Creek in Annapolis more than 75 years ago, has tried something different. It's aptly called the Double Drone.
The Drone has always been among my favorite spoons for blues and rock. It's slimmer and causes less line twists -- and when rigged with two small rings at the snout has incredible lifelike action.
The only trouble is that the traditional Drones are light; certainly too light for casting into breaking fish where distance is important because getting close to surfacing fish usually drives them down.
So Drone, now located at Norfolk, Va., has joined two spoons together -- belly to back -- with the result being a lure of the same length and width, still not too thick, and with enough weight for long distance casting. More important, it maintains the wiggle
that makes it so effective at trolling speed.
Bascomb chose an Atom Plug for casting. A surface popper, it had originally been of white, but he spray-painted it gold and added silver flecks.
We set the spinning tackle aside and started trolling at 10 knots between Calvert Cliffs and the LNG Plant where we quickly tied onto a couple of mackerel. My light rig was fishing halfway down; Bascomb's on the bottom.
He made a tight turnaround, and we hit the school again with the same results, then duplicated it a third time. With only two lines over, we could make a U-turn without worrying about tangling lines -- or having them drop to the bottom and getting snagged.
In addition, two rigs is all two trollers can handle conveniently when working a school of hungry fish. There was no confusion, no leaders and lures all over the deck.
Several more times we hit schools of blues and mackerel and got enough to keep us busy. We might have taken a few more with twice as many lures overboard, but this simple fishing was fun. We felt the fish hit -- no rods in the holder to deprive us of that thrill -- and things were so simple.
Only once did we encounter a breaking school; mostly blues, but when one fish leaped a couple feet out of the water, I knew macks were mixed in. We cast and as soon as my Double Drone landed, a mackerel of 2 1/2 pounds grabbed it -- and Bascomb's plug took a blue of 3 1/2 pounds, then the fish vanished.
Those interested in the Double Drone can write L.B. Huntington Inc., 2704 Arkansas Ave., Norfolk, Va. 23513.