Walters remains a master in art of striped bass


September 04, 1994|By LONNY WEAVER

My son-in-law David Navarre and I spent a delightful day last weekend with Keith Walters, considered by many to be the finest striped bass angler on the Chesapeake.

His book "Chesapeake Stripers" is in its third printing. Last year he put together a 43-page pamphlet, "Catching Striped Bass, Modern Tackle & Techniques."

In 1964, his 32 1/2 -pound rockfish, which was caught off of Love Point, was the Maryland record holder.

The three of us cast off from Walters' backyard dock and worked our way down Broad Creek and into the Choptank. We had decided to run out into the bay to investigate a report of flounder being caught in the area of Sharpes Island Light.

The weather conditions were terrible -- uncomfortably warm, humid and so hazy that you couldn't tell where the bay ended and the sky began.

The water was flat, and so was the flounder fishing. We came up empty on flatfish, watched a nearby angler toss back a couple of undersized fish and decided that it was time to move on.

"Let's run up to Knapp's Narrows and I'll fill the tank with fuel, then run down to Cook's Point and see if we can catch some speckled trout and maybe occupy ourselves catching and releasing some rockfish," Walters suggested.

We ran back out into the bay in hopes of spotting some of the Spanish mackerel and breaking schools of bluefish wandering that area, but again came up empty.

The only activity anyone was getting out in the bay was bottom fishing for spot and hardhead, so we cruised to Cook's Point and unlimbered the light-action spinning tackle.

Cook's Point, opposite Black Walnut Point, is a favorite fishing hole of mine. It's tops for striped bass and trout in the middle-bay area.

This is a very shallow spot.

The outer side of the point is liberally punctuated with partly submerged stumps and trees that hold fish like magnets. We tied on leadhead jigs dressed with plastic twistertails and cast right up against these obstacles.

"If you're not losing jigs here, you are not fishing in the right place," said Walters, who began to catch and release 15-inch rockfish with amazing regularity.

"You have to retrieve very slowly just off the bottom to catch speckled trout and little faster to hook a striped bass," Walters said.

An hour and many striped bass (and a single keeper speckled trout) later, we decided to head for home.

Early dove season promising

The early mourning dove season began Thursday and will continue through Oct. 22.

The daily shooting hours are noon to sunset, and the daily limit is 12.

Good numbers of resident doves are reported around the county and Southern Maryland. Top hunting areas are sunflower fields, chopped cornfields, gravel pits and ponds.

Improve your chances of success by using a skeet or improved-cylinder 12-gauge loaded with a quality 1- or 1 1/8 -ounce trap load of #8 or #7 1/2 shot and confining your shots to 35 yards.

Solomons Island pier opens

The new Solomons Island fishing pier opened last week at the site of the existing boat-launching facility. This state-of-the-art pier accommodates crabbing and fishing.

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