As the water temps in the upper bay are warming quickly the Rockfish in our area are leaving just as fast. Typically when the water temps hit 70 degrees the majority of Stripers have left the upper bay. Currently, there are still some fish in the Sassafras, Elk, and Susquehanna Flats area but they are few a far between. Last Tuesday I fished with Craig Pesetsky a customer at the shop. We left his slip at Triton Marina and fished all the way down to Worton Point. No schools of Rockfish were encountered and no fish were caught. The wind shifted at the change of tide and blew 30 mph from the east. We had 3 to 4 foot rollers head on all the way back… No fish and a rough ride was not what I had planned.
After resting up on Thursday Ange Harclerode and I headed down the bay with local fishing guide Carter Dudzinsky to find some Stripers in their traditional early summer locations. Carter is a very good young fishermen and knows how to find fish about anywhere. He uses similar techniques to mine in finding fish and in just a very short time we put our heads together searching for quality fish. Often I was scanning the the Navionics App on my phone looking for ledges and likely spots while Carter focused on the fish finder and boat GPS. While he was looking at this spot I was scanning a wider area looking for the next spot. Some places held fish some didn’t… Teamwork!
We found groups of 16″ to 20″ fish just about everywhere we looked. We all believed it was just a matter of time until we would find the quality fish we were looking for. While running to the next spot the motor sputtered and died due to an issue with the fuel system. We drifted with the wind and currents trying to make repairs and get back to fishing. Soon, we realized that we would need some parts and supplies to get up a running again. It turns out that we had a mutual friend in the area Ron McMorrow who after getting the call ran over 15 miles by water to bring us the supplies we needed. Thanks Ron… not many people would do that to help a buddy stranded on the water. It pays to have good people in your fishing network! While waiting for help to arrive we decided to at least fish while drifting. It was here where we held our “Cow Nosed Ray Rodeo”… I cast my jig ahead of the boat… Bam! A large ray maybe 30Lbs had eaten my jig. Carter cast next to me and soon he hooked up with a similar sized beast as well. We fought the fish around the boat doing the “Ray Dance” keeping the strong fighting, drag pulling creatures from tangling with each other. Carter got his jig back and mine broke off at the boat. Ange hooked up next and had quite a tussle landing his fish and getting the jig back. We were giggling like little kids while fighting these rays….
Shortly after Ron showed up with supplies and with-in minutes we were back up and running! The chase continues! We started to retrace our trail looking at likely spots that might hold fish. As we approached the ramp nearly ready to call it a day we found a group of schoolie fish that were suspended, schooled tight and active. We stayed on these fish for over an hour catching fast and pulled a few goods ones out of that school too! Like Winston Churchill said “Never, Never Never give up!”… The rewards of being persistent below.
Carter Dudzinski is a competent guide and fishermen. His 23′ C-Hawk is a larger version of my own boat and a great platform to fish out of. At 21, he is wise beyond his years. I have got to admit, I am somewhat envious of this young man… I wish I had his knowledge and wisdom when I was that young! Fishing the open bay with a knowledgeable guide will shorten your learning curve tremendously. If you want to fish the Chesapeake Bay with a guide that will work hard to put you on fish and improve your jigging skills give Carter a call at 443-553-7874 you won’t be disappointed!
I hope to see you on the water or in the shop!