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Posted on September 17, 2015 | Permalink

Report Boats in Distress

Type: Chesapeake
Region: Upper Bay
Location: below the Susquehanna Flats

My uncle started out around 6 AM this past Saturday to fish below the Susquehanna Flats. As we approached our fishing spot I noticed a boat looked to have beaten us there. As we got closer I noticed the boat had a mast and as I motored up to the sailboat my fears were confirmed. A sailor had become stuck on a rock jetty. We tried to pull him off but the sail boat did not budge. It was high tide and we informed the sailor that he was on huge rocks and boulders, not sand. He indicated he had been stuck for the night and was going to wait until the next high tide (2 AM according to him). We encouraged him to call a tow company given his keel was likely stuck between rocks and it was already a high tide. We fished the area for about 2 hours and no tow boat showed. I had a bad feeling he was going to wait for the tide.

By the time we left the approximately 30 foot sailboat was a foot out of water with the bow curve showing as well as half the rudder. It was not listing which, to me, indicated the keel was stuck between two rocks.

In hindsight I wish I would have called DNR police just to alert them to the situation but they cannot force the sailor to call a tow, could they? I also felt at the time since he was not signaling distress I would be overstepping calling DNR. Hindsight says I should have called DNR because I felt the sailor may have been unaware of the seriousness of his situation.

As for the fishing, my uncle caught a 20.5 inch rockfish. At Sandy Point there were hundreds of very small (5 inch) rockfish feeding off the top water which was nice to see. I caught at small bass in the Susquehanna River. There were areas of the flats and river that were clear to the bottom. Other areas were chocolate milk. Not a lot of action but always good to be on the water.

DNR Response: Thank you for your report and as you surmized - always report boats in distress, the Natural Resource Police will decide whether or not it's necessary to intervene. Here's the Chesapeake Bay hotline to call along with situations to report:
Call 1-877-224-7229 to report any of the following:

  • Boating accident or reckless activity
  • Fish kill or algal bloom
  • Floating debris that poses a hazard to navigation
  • Illegal fishing activity
  • Public sewer leak or overflow
  • Oil or hazardous material spill
  • Critical area or wetlands violation
  • Suspicious or unusual activity

Tags: striped bass

Posted on November 18, 2014 | Permalink

Susquehanna Smallie

Type: Tidal
Region: North Eastern
Location: Susquehanna River

I was out fishing for rockfish below the Susquehanna Flats last week and pulled in two smalls about 14 inch. One on the rattle trap in the picture and another on a jig-head with soft plastic. The top water was 50 degrees. I motored up the Susquehanna River past Port Deposit and into the rocks. It was low tide and calm. The temperature raised to 54 degrees. I caught this nice smallmouth (which I thought was just another largemouth) on the 1/2 oz rattle trap. He was sitting in some rocks where it just looked like there would be fish. It is probably the biggest smallmouth I have landed.

I do not know if anyone has done this before or if it is a common practice but I fish a lot of rocky areas. My rattle trap gets hung up regularly so I took off the treble hook on the front and it reduced my hang ups by at least 75%. It still tracks well and catches fish so I may expand this tactic.

Tags: smallmouth bass

Posted on November 13, 2014 | Permalink

Sick Carp

Type: Chesapeake
Region: Upper Bay
Location: Below the Susquehanna Flats

Last Saturday my friend Matt and I were fishing for rock below the Susquehanna Flats. As nightfall approached Matt noticed what he thought was a tail splashing about 50 yards away near a shallow rock jetty. The binoculars confirmed what looked to be a carp. We decided to motor over to get a closer look thinking if it was a carp it was probably eating off the rocks, but it still looked strange. As we moved in I figured it would swim off but it did not. I noticed it was inverted (belly up) in 1.5 feet of water. Matt netted it and we took a quick picture. The carp did not look damaged and we placed it back in the water. It immediately inverted and started splashing its tail again. I thought it must have been sick and thought about a mercy killing but not knowing enough figured I would let nature take its course. DNR, any ideas? Carp do not eat inverted and this behavior is not "normal?"

DNR Response: As described, the fish was definitely under distress, you did the best thing by letting nature take it's course.

Tags: Carp

Posted on October 27, 2014 | Permalink


Fun Fishing Below the Flats

Type: Chesapeake
Region: Upper Bay
Location: Below Susquhanna Flats

My uncle rented a place in Buxton, NC to fish and invited me to join him. I was able to get two things off my bucket list. I was able to fish "the point" of OBX. I have heard my uncle speak of it and it did not disappoint. It is an awesome sight to see by itself but to see all the surf fishermen working it, well I can cast a surf reel but felt out of my league for the first few throws. Caught a nice blue which ended up being dinner. I also was able to go on my first deep sea charter. Again, this did not disappoint. My uncle and three others headed out and ended up bailing dolphin until we limited out. We all were able to also bring in 4 wahoo and 1 king mackerel. It was 370 lbs of fish (28 lbs for each of us after cleaning).

While this was fun, you can't beat your own boat on your home turf. On 10/18/14 my uncle and I went out below the Susquehanna Flats and landed about 12 rockfish. Most were in the 15-17 range. My uncle had two keepers. One 20, one 18.5". The 18.5" went back being too skinny. I pulled in a 20" as well and they are pictured below, we ate them for dinner that night. Chrome Rattle Trap and bass assassins did the trick.

Tags: dolphin, wahoo, king mackerel, striped bass, bluefish

Posted on May 8, 2014 | Permalink

Gunpowder Shad

Type: Freshwater
Region: Central
Location: Gunpowder River

My mother and my two sons went on a hike along the Gunpowder River off Route 1 this past Sunday 5/4/14. The water was still raging from the last rain. I was able to show my boys that even on the path the water mark on the trees was over our head! We made it down river to the boulders and saw hundreds of these fish attempting to make it up the falls. It was really cool to show my 5 and 6 year old sons this event. I was able to pick one up with my hands and get this picture before returning it to the water. Of course, my son's thought this was the neatest thing so they wanted to try. They were determined and ended up catching a few. My mother caught the one on the second picture. As you can see in the background the water was raging. A lot of the fish had bad cuts and bruised sides from there failed attempts to make it up the falls and tumbling back down the rocky edge.

DNR, 1) what type of fish is this? I have heard herring and shad but I can not make them out. 2) Will these fish make it or is their run a set time making the liklyhood of their success limited given the pounding water? 3) What was the sewage spill sign at the start of the trail? I noticed it but of course forgot about it when I saw the fish. We all took good baths but could not find anything on the website off the sign.

DNR Response: The fish is a Gizzard Shad. Loch Raven Reservoir has Gizzard Shad and they are also present in most of the tidal Gunpowder. I am not sure they could run upstream of Rt. 7 from the tidal river since there are some pretty serious rapids there so I suspect they may have washed out of Loch Raven from upstream. Gizzard Shad are somewhat fragile and if they are cut and bruised I would not think they will live too long. Also we gave not heard anything about a spill this year. Last year there was a sewage spill up near Harford Rd.

Tags: Gizzard Shad

Posted on July 5, 2013 | Permalink

A Good Fight on The Flats

Type: Tidal
Region: North Eastern
Location: Susquehanna Flats

My uncle and I went out 5:30 AM Thrusday 7/4/13 to try to pull in some rockfish. The southeast wind was strong below sandy point so we made a couple drifts over a good spot and then decided to move north and try to get out of the wind. We ended up on a point in on the west side of the Susq. Flats where my uncle was able to land this huge largemouth. It was a good fight with the fish jumping once, making a run for it and my uncle having to adjust the drag (gotta love when that happens). Once he got him to the boat it was not over with the fish running back and forth around the stern and my uncle trying to keep him from getting hung up in the prop. We are to cheap for a scale to weigh but it was 22 inches long and 12 inches in girth. Fish was returned, tired, but saftley.

Tags: Largemouth Bass

Posted on June 11, 2013 | Permalink

Late Spawning Rockfish

Type: Tidal
Region: North Eastern
Location: Susquehanna River

I fished the Susquehanna Flats on May 17 and caught some nice largemouth but was looking for rockfish. I ended up the Susquehanna River and landed two nice keepers. Yesterday I went out with my uncle and besides hitting him in the head with a lure on a bad cast it was a good day. I landed these two fat rockfish 22 and 20 inch. My uncle and I had some other fish including catfish, largemouth, perch, and small rock. All of my fish were caught on a 3/4 oz rattletrap, chrome sided with black top. Quick retrieve. Of the 4 keepers I have had so far I was pleased to see none had any roe except for the last one I caught. I was then surprised that the roe was green. Is this the normal color? In the past I thought it was always yellow. Also, what is the plan for the Fishing Battery sand?

DNR Response: In the late winter, early spring, the ovaries will be thinner, and golden brown, with obvious blood vessels surrounding the outside of the ovaries. In more mature females, especially during the spawning season, you can actually see the eggs within the ovaries. Ovaries of mature females in early pre-spawn phase will be orange in color with the obvious blood vessels running on the surface of the ovaries. Testes and ovaries of both males and females are quite a bit larger during the actual spawning period, and will be quite noticeable when looking inside the body cavity of dead fish.

Just prior to spawning, ovaries in females will be swollen, filling up a large portion of the body cavity and turning an olive-green in color. The blood vessels will remain visible. After the spawn, ovaries will shrink back to the smaller size.

The female you caught was normal and had normal colored ovaries. It was just a late spawner.

Tags: Striped Bass, Largemouth Bass, Catfish, Perch

Posted on September 25, 2012 | Permalink

Fishing Report from North Eastern MD

Type: Tidal
Region: North Eastern
Location: Kingsville Pond, Carpenters Point, Susquehanna Flats

This past weekend (9/22/12) I fished a small pond near Kingsville. I had my 5 year old son with me. On my first cast to check that the sinker and bobber were set up OK for him this little fish hit the bait before the sinker hit the bottom. It was really cool but my son thought this was going to be how fishing worked at this pond. Consequently after five minutes of no bites he proclaimed "I'm done fishing!" It is hard to explain luck to a 5 year old. I do not do a lot of pond fishing and assuming this is some type of sunfish?

The two rockfish were caught by my uncle on 9/24/12. Both were 18 inches and he limited out by 8:30 AM. He stated he was off the west side of Carpenters Point in the grass bed. He was using a rattle trap. On 9/25/12 he caught a 19 inch and a few smalls. I will be out with him this weekend to try my luck.

The three pictures of the needlefish were caught around the beginning of this month. We were drifting across the grass beds on the Susquehanna Flats and my uncle was using a surface lure when it hit. Very cool fish! It was the same day I ran the boat into a rock off of Sandy Point. The new lower unit was $1900.00 for what I am going to call a "nick" in the cone. Lesson learned. I was "done fishing" that day.

Tags: needlefish, striped bass, hybrid sunfish

Posted on July 10, 2012 | Permalink

What is this fish? A Stargazer.

Type: Ocean
Region: Eastern
Location: Bayside at Ocean City

While fishing with my friend captain Matt on HAPPY OURS and his father-in-law this past Sunday I caught this fish. It hit on a spot and at first I thought I was snagged. We were drifting and I thought it might be a fish when the drag starting going faster then the drift. Wonderful feeling! I have no clue what it is? We were bayside at Ocean City. It was a great day of fishing and while no keepers we landed some flounder, different types of crabs, some spot we ended up live lining, some small fish that may have been ocean perch.

DNR Response: It is a stargazer. The fish is unique. It is called a stargazer because its eyes are on top of its head and look skyward. It supposedly has electrical capabilities and can shock you if you put your hand right between its eyes, although I have never witnessed this first hand. They are common In the bay and near shore waters.

Tags: flounder, crab, spot, ocean perch, stargazer

Posted on November 10, 2011 | Permalink

Susquehanna Flats

Type: Chesapeake
Region: Northern
Location: Susquehanna Flats Area

My uncle tried his luck near Carpenter's Point early last week and described the water as "fishing in chocolate milk." I put in around 7:00 AM last Thursday 11/3/11, while my uncle stayed behind. I saw a bunch of boats off Red Point but headed down to Rocky Point. There were working birds off Rodney and a boat fishing them, at Rocky Point there were more working birds and I caught these two nice fat Rockfish within 90 minutes. I also had other hits which shook off, as well as a smallie. I finally realized they were shaking off because I was using a lure I had bent the barbs down on in the summer when I was catching smalls and did not want to mess them up, that's what I get for not checking my tackle. The two keepers were caught on a 1/2 inch rattle trap with a black top and chrome sides. The water at Rockey Point was not clear (about 6 inch view) but after hitting my limit earlier than I anticipated I drove around the flats. It looks terrible, I would estimate that 80 to 90% of the grass is completely gone. There are still some pockets but they are covered in silt. Has DNR taken a look at this damage? I was told by some that they thought the storm pushed out some of the silt yet other think more was dumped in. I was reading 6 feet on my depth finder in areas that were normally 4 but I figured the absence of the grass I am usually getting my reading over may account for the difference?

Moving on, when I returned and showed my uncle my catch he asked if I was going out Friday morning. He did not have to twist my arm. We left early Friday 11/4/11 and again saw boats off of Red Point. We headed to Rocky Point and I caught two more keepers. The armada that was off Red Point on Friday appeared to move towards Rodney and Rocky Point and appeared to be jigging deeper water in the channel. I caught all my fish off the same rattle trap. One in less than 4 feet of water close to shore.

The Rockfish are definitely biting and fat. I hope the storm's destruction of the grasses is only temporary. Oh, and a word to other fishermen. When you see working birds and a boat working the outside of where the birds are feeding, this is on purpose! Please don't run full throttle into the area the birds are working and start fishing. Not only do you look like a novice fisherman but you mess up the fishing for those trying to actually catch fish!

Tags: Striped Bass, Smallmouth Bass

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