Four hours and more fish than energy to land them

OUTDOORS

August 07, 1994|By LONNY WEAVER

Chesapeake Bay fishing doesn't get any better than what I enjoyed last week. Joining me in the angling bounty were my son-in-law David Navarre, Kermit Henning and Dennis Scharadin.

"We're going to have a heck of a day," Capt. Eddie Davis predicted as he steered his Edith Rose charter boat down Smith Creek and into the Potomac River, a few miles upriver from the Chesapeake Bay.

"Yesterday, this place was crawling with breaking bluefish, and my party of four put a limit in the boat inside of an hour. That's 40 fish, and I guarantee they're still here."

Davis said that we would fill the fish box with some bottom fishing, then spend the rest of the day playing with the blues.

A 45-minute run put us east of the Target Ship and within sight of Smith Island. Davis cut the engine, and we dropped double-hook spinning rigs baited with crab into the shallow water.

The moment Henning's sinker hit bottom, a striking fishing was hooked. I barely had time to see him swing aboard a 3-pound croaker when my line signaled a solid hit.

Before I could get my 16-inch sea trout aboard, Navarre's rod bent under the weight of a trout of equal size. Then, just as Henning plopped his line back in the water, Scharadin hulled aboard two jumbo spot.

In less than two hours, the four of us boated 33 spot, none under 12 inches, 19 trout averaging 3 pounds, with a few approaching 6 pounds. We put 68 croakers in the fish box during that 120 minutes as well as two tasty blowfish. Then, we went to play with the blues.

About midway between the Target Ship and Point Lookout, Davis punched me in the shoulder and asked, "Is that what you've been looking for?" He pointed to a dozen or more birds swarming on the bay's surface.

Those birds signaled breaking blues and the baitfish they were chasing. Davis set five light trolling lines out then pointed the bow of the boat toward the action. Henning and I each grabbed a spinning rod.

When we got into casting range, we tossed our lures right into the middle of the boiling madness, and Henning immediately got a hit that nearly jerked the rod out of his hand.

I quickly retrieved my lure, but before a second cast could get off, four of the five trolling lines violently jerked at nearly the same instant.

Navarre and I grabbed the two rods on the right while Davis and Scharadin jerked the left pair from the rod holders. These blues fought like crazy with countless leaps and runs. Henning, in the meantime, was struggling to get a 5-pound spitting-mad snapper blue unhooked.

We played with this school for about an hour, and when the 30th blue went into the box, we called it quits. Not for lack of fish -- we could have caught 400 -- but out of sheer fatigue. Davis had put us into practically non-stop action for something like four hours of actual fishing time. It was the best bay fishing I had experienced in a couple of years.

This smashing action, which includes catch-and-release striped bassing in many areas, will continue throughout August.

Farm ponds hopping

Visit a farm pond one of these muggy August evenings armed with a popping bug or lure, and a trophy-sized largemouth might try to tear the rod out of your hand. That's what Frank Bush and I experienced at a Hampstead area pond one evening this past week.

The same goes for Liberty and Piney Run. Hit the water early in the morning, too.

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