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Old 31-03-2016, 17:31   #1
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Fishing in the Chesapeake

I've made the plunge and We (Mindy and I) will be cruising the Chesapeake and beyond. I'd love some suggestions for a basic fishing setup. I hope to have frequent visitors, so part of this is for entertainment. However, I hope to catch some tasty dinners here and there.

Thanks!
Ron


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Old 31-03-2016, 18:56   #2
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Re: Fishing in the Chesapeake

Do you intend to troll while sailing? Or simply cast about while anchored or drifting? If the latter, get $70 medium heavy 6'6" spinning rod from bass pro, fitted with a 3000 series Shimano spheros reel and 14# fireline. That will handle all jigging/plugging/bait needs.

If trolling, someone else will chime in.
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Old 01-04-2016, 04:41   #3
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Re: Fishing in the Chesapeake

I'll be casting and trolling. There is a trolling reel attached to the rail at the stern, but I need to learn how to use it.

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Old 01-04-2016, 04:49   #4
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pirate Re: Fishing in the Chesapeake

My experience is very 3rd world.. just chuck a line over the stern with a 'fishy hook' long enough to run just below the surface so a tug will make it jump clear.. tie off on a cleat and keep the speed down to about 4kts.. usually can land a young hungry tuna in 10mins
of headlands where current swirl attracts fish..
Haul in by hand and pass over to the fish eaters..
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Old 01-04-2016, 06:27   #5
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Re: Fishing in the Chesapeake

The early spring "Trophy" rockfish (striped bass) season runs from 4/16 through 5/15 this year. Minimum size this year during that season is 35".


After that, the creel limit changes to 2x rockfish, one of which has to be between 20-28". The other must also be over 20", but may be over 28".


When trolling, these are usually like trying to retrieve a log. Some fight, but mostly passive weight.


We only fish during the "Trophy" season. We use 6˝" trolling rods with 30-lb test line. All our rods happen to be Penn Slammers or Shakespeare Tidewaters, and all our reels happen to be Penn 330 GTi or GT2. No need to exactly duplicate, but that might give you an idea of what kind of rig works for the weight.


Most common lures are parachutes with a white or chartreuse shad body. Usually run as either a tandem rig (two leaders of unequal length, each with one lure, on one line) or an umbrella rig (imagine a crossed wire frame with both real (hooked) and dummy lures). Latter is a pain in the neck, but sometimes catches fish. Spoons sometimes work. In the trophy season, big lures for big fish. Small lures attract too many under-sized fish. I think Bob The Mate chooses combos of 4 and 6 ounces, 3 and 5 ounces, and then runs some single 6 and 4s on some lines.


Your situation will be different, but we troll 16 lines using a thing called planer boards (instead of our outriggers) and 80' tether lines on each to spread the lines out further. We troll at approx 2.5 knots, no more than 3 kts. Lures are spread at various distances out from the boat, and further behind the boat... which in turn means they're running at different depths. Much of our catch comes from the top third of the water column, even when we're fishing in deep water (higher water is warmer). We often look for ledges or sharp contours where water temp differences might occur, or where current might swirl slightly differently, holding fish that might be looking for bait in those situations.


We are not classed as "fishing vessels" per COLREGS, so have no special privileges... but for other sailors in the Chesapeake who might be unused to seeing this, I'll just mention that means we have a functional beam of about 150' -- and we can't turn sharply, slow down, or even speed up -- so any space you can give us while passing will be much appreciated. Some of the local charters use up to 125' tethers, so their functional beam would be about 200'... and some of those Captains can be quite testy.


You could probably easily run three lines, one off each side at useful distances back (depths) and one much longer, way back behind you. The lure on our long line is usually about 300' behind the boat. (Another note about crossing closely behind; more distance is always appreciated.) That usually means a lighter weight lure so it's not tooooo deep.


Trolling works during part of the non-trophy season, too... but eventually folks change over to drift fishing or anchoring, and live-lining or jigging. Can't help you much there; we've got the rigs but no interest.


-Chris
(USCG license, MD Fishing Guide, etc etc etc.... but not chartering)
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Old 01-04-2016, 07:08   #6
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Re: Fishing in the Chesapeake

Good advice from Chris. I just hope he and others put flags on the planer boards. Its hard to avoid what you can't see, Look for clusters of fishing boats at the north end of Kent Island, just south of the Bay Bridge on the edge of the channel, Thomas Point, Bloody Point. I'm sure there are many others.
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Old 01-04-2016, 07:57   #7
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Re: Fishing in the Chesapeake

I don't fish. I have, in the past, with my uncle or friends, but I just never established an interest. It's an activity I respect, but just not for me. So, here's a strange, but true story from 1983.

Even though I had no fishing gear, I was inspired to do what I could for my four year old son who wanted to catch a fish while were were anchored overnight in the St. Johns River. Nancie and I found a safety pin that we tied to the end of our boat hook with a length of string. We gave our son some bacon to hang on the safety pin and let him fish! He spent about a half hour swinging the baited pin through the water and feeding the fish bits of bacon. We left the boat hook lodged over the transom with the pin and the last piece of bacon hanging just above the water when we went to bed. The next morning we were amazed to find a 6" fish hanging from the safety pin. Our son had caught his first fish! He still enjoys fishing now 33 years later and I still don't!
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Old 01-04-2016, 08:14   #8
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Re: Fishing in the Chesapeake

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Good advice from Chris. I just hope he and others put flags on the planer boards. Its hard to avoid what you can't see, Look for clusters of fishing boats at the north end of Kent Island, just south of the Bay Bridge on the edge of the channel, Thomas Point, Bloody Point. I'm sure there are many others.

Yep, good point. And yes, we do have flags, as do most of the charters. And the boards themselves are sometimes painted in more visible colors like chartreuse or (like ours (orange). White is only OK. Anyway, it's useful to keep an eye out, but folks who don't fly flags on brightly colored boards don't get much sympathy.

Sometimes you can see the lines themselves, but that's much more iffy. Ours are reflective chartreuse, but that's more for my benefit... so I can better monitor our spread from the flying bridge.

You all can probably imagine that all the fishboats dancing around amongst themselves are already having a bit of a difficult time staying out of each other's way, blending with the traffic... and then there are also fish guys who sometimes don't do all that well at going with the flow...

-Chris
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Old 01-04-2016, 09:10   #9
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Re: Fishing in the Chesapeake

What be you do about fishing lines and gear, which is a very personal and thing be sure to get a large round net to hook to a long pole and then end of May to middle to end of June be sure to slowly cruise the bay looking for crab.They float at the surface and can be easily caught. About 20 to 30 percent are soft shelled crabs and between the two you will have some enjoyable feasts
So good luck
D
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Old 01-04-2016, 09:26   #10
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Re: Fishing in the Chesapeake

I strongly suggest you contact the Maryland and Virginia Department of Natural Resources to find out about out of state, whole boat fishing licenses. I know Maryland requires a license to fish. JMHO
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Old 01-04-2016, 10:09   #11
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Re: Fishing in the Chesapeake

I'm not a fisherman but I do enjoy catching crabs at anchor with grand kids. We have a small cage that lies flat on the bottom. When pulled up the sides come up and it traps the crab. We also have some lines with weights and a large like safety pin on it. Attach the bait, usually chicken innards. Every so often raise the line very slowly and you can find a crab eating the bait. When he realizes he is at or near the surface he will let go and swim back to the bottom. One needs a net to catch him as he lets go.

If he is a male and greater than 4 inches tip to tip he is a keeper.

Cocking is another whole subject.
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Old 01-04-2016, 10:49   #12
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Re: Fishing in the Chesapeake

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I strongly suggest you contact the Maryland and Virginia Department of Natural Resources to find out about out of state, whole boat fishing licenses. I know Maryland requires a license to fish. JMHO

Yes, at least for MD. We always get a boat license, so no need for individual tickets... and that's also much easier when we host Wounded Warriors and other guest crew on some of our trips.

In MD, there's also a "Salt Water Angler" registry. No additional cost, but it's a must-do to fisherpersons in the Chesapeake. The link to that is also on the MD DNR website.


Crabbing needs a license too, but I'm not very familiar with that... See DNR website.

-Chris
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Old 01-04-2016, 13:57   #13
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Re: Fishing in the Chesapeake

Listen up charter captains and those employing big spreads. I do a lot of delivery work and frequently encounter you guys off the various hot spots. I always try to call as a courtesy to see which way you need room. It absolutely amazes me that I very infrequently get a response. You can't be that busy all the time. Why not leave a handheld on CH 13 so that we can talk? Also, orange or white planer boards are a big help.

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Old 02-04-2016, 05:10   #14
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Re: Fishing in the Chesapeake

Probably no watermen here.


The few charter guys I know usually do have their radios on, but not necessarily on a channel you might think of. Partly because there's so much clutter on the most likely channels (every other skipper in the world asking for a radio check on 16, bozos on 68, sailboat races on 72, etc.), and partly 'cause they only want to talk to their buds about where the fish are so they can satisfy their "sports."


Most use their cell phones, texting, etc.


Channel 16 is still the most likely choice, but even then it depends. Helps if you can see the name of his boat. Charters have their names forward as well as on the transom, and sometimes you might be able to make that out with a decent binoc (if sea states cooperate, and he chose an easy-to-read typeface).


Everyone else will usually be on 68, making noise just for the sake of it. Or some choose 73 or 74 just because of clutter on 68...


-Chris
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Old 04-04-2016, 07:43   #15
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Re: Fishing in the Chesapeake

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Originally Posted by bix85 View Post
I've made the plunge and We (Mindy and I) will be cruising the Chesapeake and beyond. I'd love some suggestions for a basic fishing setup. I hope to have frequent visitors, so part of this is for entertainment. However, I hope to catch some tasty dinners here and there.

Thanks!
Ron
If you are looking to just catch dinner, you can fish inside the cement ships at Kiptopeke using fish bites (available at any bait shop or even Walmart), blood worms, or squid.

You can anchor just to the SE of the park area and before the first set of fish traps in about 9' of water and cast toward the beach or fish near the sunken ships.

You should be able to catch a dinner of maybe Kingfish, Spot, Croaker, or maybe even a Trout
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