As the 2016 season comes to an end I’d like to wish all my family, friends, customers and especially my fish buddies a very Happy Christmas and a wonderful New Year! The shop will close late on Christmas Eve and re-open in March. Stop by and pick up a special gift for the angler in your life. Everybody loves nice gear!
At this time of year I usually reflect on the past year. This has been my best year ever! The winter fishing last year was excellent for Yellow Perch and Rockfish, followed by a strong run of White Perch and Hickory Shad. This year was one of the strongest showing of Hickory Shad that I have seen in years. I spent a lot of time fishing the river for Walleye and had great fishing for a variety of fish, in addition to Walleye; Smallmouth and Largemouth Bass, Musky, White and Hickory Shad, Catfish and White Perch. The Susky is a wonderful fishery!
My largest YP this year, a 14 1/2″ Yellow Whopper! Here’s Timothy Smith with a 13 1/2″ taken on our best day of Yellow Perch fishing ever! The last day of January we found a big school of monster YP in 16′ of water, it was non-stop doubles on big fish for about an hour or so. The YP fishing was good throughout the month but this day was special!
Gerald Eldreth and John Rodgers got in on the action too!
January was not all Yellow Perch, Ange Harclerode and I traveled to Buzz’s Marina with Frank Bonanno.We had an excellent trip catching and releasing well over 75 fish per man. Many of these fish were 30″ or better and a nice change from Perch Jerk’n.
January 10th I went back down to Buzz’s Marina with Mike Seal and Alan Batista. We had a fast bite most of the day…on some very nice fish. I had released well over 100 Stripers by the end of January…a first time event!
In February the Susky was blown out all month from rain events. Ange Harclerode and I found White and Yellow Perch in several different Upper Bay rivers the entire month. Catching was good and using our techniques we can usually manage to catch them if we can find them.
We also made a few trips down the bay fishing the rips at a warm water discharge.
Ron McMorrow hosted Ange and I on several big fish trips trips. This guy knows his stuff!
Even I got a couple nice ones!
Jamie Clough had this impressive fish in early March on a trip with Rich Jenkins and me.
Mid-March found us Walleye fishing the Susky. Tim Smith with a nice one…
Stripers are an unintended by-catch. We do not target them here at this time. Fishing little lures for Walleye on light rods and small line makes landing a larger Rockfish in that current on light gear is a true challenge!
Walleye catching was consistent most of the month. John Rodgers and Ange below…
Smallmouth and Largemouth Bass gave us a show for about two weeks. During that time Ange and I both caught Smallmouth Bass over 20″. One morning we had 18 Smallies.
This one came while fishing with Timothy Smith, my largest SMB of the year at 21″. Ange had one the next day almost as big. It was an amazing time to be on the river.
The first week of April I caught a 41″ Musky, a year and a day to the time I caught my last one there. I will forever fish for Musky there the first week of April! I watched this fish come up and whack the lure on the surface not 10 feet away. The first run was stronger and faster than anything I have ever caught. Landing this fish on light gear was a miracle!
The next night we were overrun by giant Rockfish. Several big fish attacked our little lures and ran off with them. We lost several river monsters but we did manage to land a couple. When big Rockfish show up the Walleye hide. They’ll be eaten if they don’t.
My biggest Striper of the year came while fishing with Timothy Smith, again in the river. This 42″ beast was taken on light gear and quickly released to swim another day.
The Hickory Shad showed up early and stayed late. In my opinion, it was the best run in years. It seemed every creek in the upper bay was full of them, White Shad in the Susky.
Hickory Shad in the creeks with Phil Kerchner.
My grandson Braeden is an impressive young man. He is deadly accurate with a #13 Tony spoon and knows how to reel it in to catch fish. He fished with me and his father Chris Brown many times but on this day he was catching “Hickory Jacks” at will. Fun to watch!
Towards the end of April the conditions on the flats became right for good catching and we fished them often. I never caught so many 30″ fish and so few over 40, just the way it was. Ange Harclerode and Chris Brown flats fishing “Plug’n the Skinny Water and Ditches”.
I made some new friends while working at the tackle shop. Sonny and his cousin Al fished with me a couple times; they were new to light tackle fishing now can’t get enough of it.
The good catching lasted into June with lots of fish most days. We used several different styles of fishing including top-water, swimming plugs, spoons, flies, jigs and plastics. Bad weather days we fished up river from shore and on good days we fished the flats…
June 1st brought the opening of the Striper catch and kill season. I spent the day with Timothy Smith up in the rocks on the Susky. I had my best day of top-water fishing ever! We had a hundred fish day with fish up to 32″, it was a fish every cast for hours! Three days later they were gone. This was an another epic day!
As the bulk of the Stripers moved out of the area Timothy Smith and I started chasing Catfish in the C&D canal. We entered the Eric Altemus Catfish Tournament and caught many, this being the largest…big for a Channel Cat but not big enough to win.
The next memorable trip was in mid July when I took my son John and family “Truck Fishing” for White Perch. This is about as much fun as this old man is allowed!
I had only a few trips in July and early August. The heat and I don’t get along. The trips I did make were on summer breakers and White Perch. For breakers few things catch better than one of my Mac-Whacker rigs. I was often catching them two at a time with Brian Pelisek and Ron McMorrow south of Tilghman Island.
Late August Ange and I fished with Jesse Rossmann on his beautiful new boat. A few days later I fished the same Upper Bay area with Timothy Smith. Snap-jigging under breaking Rockfish caught the better fish. “Little ones on the top, big’uns on the bottom”…
In early September I went on a fish/camp trip to Buzz’s Marina in Ridge, Maryland, one of my favorite places on earth to spend a couple days. It’s like a 3-day tailgating session with some fishing thrown in. What a great three days with Jesse Rossmann and Brian Pelisek.
While I was chasing the exotic species down south, Gerald Eldreth encountered some exotic species in the Upper Bay… Bluefish, Weakfish and Hickory Shad.
The fall fishing was excellent this year with nice fish taken on most every trip and good numbers of them too! My fall fishing echoed my spring fishing with lots of 28″to 30″ Rockfish.
The Chester gave up White Perch and Stripers with Phil Kerchner.
The “THUMPER JIGS” caught a lot of nice fish for me this year.
Ange and I fished the “Creekboat” all over the Upper Bay, it was our weapon of choice.
We started fishing with Dan Kilroy…whacked ’em every time we found ’em.
One night while fishing with Dan, Ange had four fish over 30″. Ever see a man on fire?
We fished with our old friend Tim Campbell and caught fast on “Thumper Jigs”.
The next trip with Dan Kilroy was a big fish night all around…
As the bulk of the Stripers migrated south we followed them as far as Point Lookout, fishing out of Buzz’s Marina on the “Dream Maker”. Great winter fishing as Capt. Mike Henderson kept us on fish all day!
We had to get back on that good bite, so five days later Dan, Ange and I made the long drive down to Buzz’s looking for another good bite.It was slow catching most of the day.
It was a great year of catching a variety of fish with some of the best people on the planet! I was blessed to be able to do it and I thank all that fished with me this year. Wish you could have been there!
My 2017 resolution: “I’m gonna try to fish a little more often”.
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