Thursday, December 13, 2007

Great Striper Fishing along the Maryland Coast

This month has provided some great striper fishing here on the Maryland coast. The past week or so we have had great fishing both on the fly rods and light spinning gear. The fish are on the migratory path south towards their wintering grounds off of the Carolinas and Virginia, and take advantage of the abundant baitfish along the way.

I have yet to make it south of Ocean City , Maryland as the fishing here has been awesome. We had some great days fly fishing over hungry fish, where the staple half and half flies took loads of good fish.

Scott Burns (above)tied up this good bunch of flies and used them to catch a few sweet stripers.  The crew below including Robert Bacon, his dad Bob and buddie Will had a banner day catching some beautiful stripers and bluefish on both fly and spinning tackle.  Many of the fish fell for topwater plugs, and the takes were wicked.

Tom Kane and his buddie Chris braved the cold earlier in the week and caught some great fish on the fly after having to shovel 2 inches of snow and ice off of the boat before leaving the dock.

I think Tom might have got the Christmas card photo for the year with this shot.  Good job fellas.  I think this is gonna just about do it for this years striper fishing for me .  We’ll get going again on the Susquehanna Flats in March /April.  Might do a few power plant trips over the winter if I get real bad cabin fever.

Happy Holidays to everyone.  I have Gift Certificates available for the fisherman in the family.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

More Middle Chesapeake Fly Fishing

The only complaint that I have this week on the fishing is that the damn wind would only let us get out 4 days. The fishing on Eastern Bay and surrounding areas has been great, especially the last few days. We’ve had loads of breaking fish, and finally lots good bait to fish over. The peanut bunker have made their way out of the rivers and the stripers are taking full advantage of the meal.

Troy Morter, from Chambersburg PA, sent this awesome shot of the sunrise one morning this week at Little Creek on the south side of Kent Island as we geared up for fishing.

We have had good fishing from the Chester River throughout Eastern Bay and as far south as the Choptank. Fishing was good amidst breaking fish, especially when there were schools of bunker present. We caught well on the our usual Chesapeake Bay fly rod rigs. I feel like a broken record sometimes when writing updates, but if you want to catch stripers on the fly consistently, in the widest variety of situations, here’s what works.

Rods- 7, 8, or 9 weight fly rods 9 or 9 1/2 feet
Reels- Dependable, Sturdy, Disc Drag Reels Holding a 8 or 9 wt line with 150 yds of backing
Lines - Sinking Shooting Heads in 250 to 300 grains, with an intermediate on hand.

Don’t over think your gear too much. You don’t need more than 100 yds of backing on a reel for striper fishing, I don’t care what anyone says. If a fish is that far away from you, you are doing something wrong. The sinking shooting heads now days are super versatile. A quick sink head should be as long as necessary to load your rod properly. Make sure the rod and reel are durable.

I use Scott, St. Croix, and Thomas and Thomas Rods paired with Abel Reels. I like the Rio outbound lines. I build simple tapered leaders on board.

Any of the gear I use and friendly advice can be found at our local fly shop Backwater Angler in Monkton, MD.

Troy Morter and his buddy Slappy (sorry Craig, didn’t get your last name) are pictured above with some nice stripers they caught in the Kent Narrows. We used clouser minnows in gray and white, and chartreuse and white to catch most of our stripers. Again, keeping it simple. I like to use sparse clousers in a 1/0 or 2/0 when the bait is smaller, and when we get larger baits like bunker and perch I switch to deceivers or half and halfs in 3/0 or 4/0. I like a lot of white in my flies, and tie most with a white or gray belly and darker topside.

David Hone and Steffi Mueller caught some great stripers on the fly while fishing in Eastern Bay amongst breaking fish and around structure. The fish took small clousers in a variety of colors though Steffi says that blue and white was the best color fly hands down.

Frank Dickinson, and friends Denny and Al had some of the best fishing for breaking stripers I’ve seen all year. There were some solid fish in the middle of the action some to 15 lbs +. The fish took a chartreuse and white clouser all day. On light tackle we had great success with 2 ounce vertical jigs like crippled herrings and sting silvers. Some of their fish are pictured below.

The fishing should hold for another week or so in the Middle Bay, then it’s off to the coastal waters of Maryland and Virginia for some awesome fishing for the big late fall stripers.


I need some anglers who want to fish the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel this December. The fishing should be awesome and we’lll catch some huge stripers on the fly. I have some dates still open from December 5 through 16. Give me a call for more info. or to book.

I’ll keep you posted

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Fly Fishing for Stripers on Eastern Bay

I‘ve spent most of the week on the Chesapeake chasing fall stripers. Most of our fishing efforts have been concentrated on Eastern Bay and surrounding areas. There are lots of bait and fish around, and quite a few breaking fish on the moving tides. The shallow water fishing and fishing around structure and shorelines has been slow getting rolling, but we have managed some decent fish shallow. Water temps are 62 to 65 degrees. I’m hoping the fishing will continue to get better in the coming week.

Bill and Karan, from Fayetteville, Arkansas, caught some good stripers on the fly this week on Eastern Bay. Most of the fish they caught ate 2/0 clouser minnows fished on sinking lines.

Under the birds and amongst breaking fish the trick is not catching fish, but catching big fish. There are, as usual, alot of small fish present in the breaking schools. They are quick to take a fly, especially when fishing a small flytrying to imitate the small baitfish they are eating. We have been using 1/0 clousers in gray and white and they eat them quick. Most of the schooling fish are 15-17 inches and you just have to commit to fishing through the smaller fish, and keeping your fly deep in hopes of the big ones, which are around. We catch several fish each day over 18" and some over 20" in among the breaking fish.

Fishing shorelines and structure has been spotty, but the fish we catch have been decent. We had some good 22 to 25 inch fish and a few pushing 30" this week while fishing our flies in shallow areas with a hard bottom. The best of the fishing was on the outgoing tides. There are still some decent bluefish around too, keeping things interesting, some up to 5 lbs.

We’lll see what the rest of the week has to offer, and I’ll keep you posted.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Gearing up for the Fall Bite

We’ll if you have waited all year to get out fishing, now is the time.  The fall brings us some of the best fly fishing of the season around Maryland and the Delmarva Coast.  By far my favorite time of year to fish, I spend lots of time both on the trout streams around the state, and on the Chesapeake Bay chasing Stripers on their way south for the winter season.  The fishing stays great well into the late fall and early winter, so don’t put your fly rods away yet.  Now is the time to fish.

Cheasapeake Bay Fall Fly Fishing Update 

The fishing in and around some of my favorite spots on the Bay has been slow getting started for the fall.  Water temps have been really warm for this time of the year, and the normal push of baitfish and fall stripers have been slow to arrive.  Up until the last day or two water temps were still 72 -75 degrees.  I’m sure the last few cool nights have dropped temps a bit, and I hope to see some better fishing any day now.  To be fair, I have spent much more time fishing trips on the Gunpowder than on the bay, but my last few times out the fishing has been lackluster targeting mostly the Middle Chesapeake.   I know the folks fishing live bait have been catching some decent fish, but the typical bunches of bait and breaking fish we like to fish on the fly are just showing up.  I postponed a few trips this past week, but will fishing hard here the next few days.  I will keep you posted with some pics and updates on the fishing.  I hope to contact those of you who fish with me often as things get hot.  Hope to see you out this fall.

Gunpowder River Update

Stream flows on the Gunpowder remain high due to the need for water in Loch Raven Reservoir.  300 as of yesterday. With high flows , however, comes some good fishing so get out there while you can.  I have seen some of the biggest fish I have seen in years get caught the last few weeks on the Gunpowder.  Several over 20 inches ( check some out at )  Streamers and nymphs are still working well as I reported recently.  The fall is always good fishing as our steambred browns get aggresive and are adorned with their spawning colors. Here are a few shots of some pretty Gunpowder browns.

Also pictured is a kamloops strain rainbow trout that you might come across while ishing the upper river. The rainbows were stocked as fingerlings with hopes of starting some new rainbow trout reproduction in the river.  We already have some limited rainbow reproduction. Good Luck Fishing.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Gunpowder River Fly Fishing Update

Great Flows ,Trout Fishing on the G.P.

As I have reported the last month or so, the fishing on the G.P. has been great, again due mostly to excellent stream flows.  Flows have been steady due to the lack of rain and the need for water in Loch Raven Reservoir.  For now, a good thing as we still have a good clip of water in Prettyboy, athough losing capacity each day.  Some good rain would really help our cause heading into the fall. Unfortunately for the last few days, flows have been way up around 350 cfs, making wading a tough chore.  However, the fishing remains good, just be careful if you go.

I’ve spent most of the last three weeks taking trips on the Gunpowder.  We have had ssteady morning hatches of tricos and caddis all through September, offering lots of dry fly action.  The fish taking the tricos are tough, as they tend to the glassy water making them tough to fool.  You can find fish rising to caddis in most of the riffles making for a bit easier fishing.   I like a size 16 x caddis overall in tan or olive as a go to fly.  Keep it floating high.  Had some success last week during a hatch of flying ants.  A snowshoe winged ant pattren w/ a brown body took fish during this episode which I see from time to time.

Overall , though, I stick to nymphing for the most consistent fishing.  Day in day out nymphs will catch you lots of fish on the Gunpowder.   I like a size 16 pheasant tail fished in a dropper rig along with another larger attractor type nymph, you pick.  Don’t be afraid to use some weight.  Most of the time you need more, not less weight.  I always use an indicator too, and strike at anything.  Most of the sports I have had fishing in the last few weeks have been able to catch using the high stick nymphing method.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Ocean City Update, Great Flounder Bite

Paul Botzler sent this great picture he took as we left the commercial harbor in West Ocean City on a recent trip.

The last 2 weeks have seen continued good flounder fishing around the Maryland Coastal Bays. Loads of bait in the bays have had a good impact on the fishing.  Finger Mullet and Bunker are thick and the fish are eating good.  We caught some great fish up to 5 lbs the last few weeks while drifting live baits on fish finder rigs.  Near shore wrecks are also offering some great fishing for flounder and some of these fish are up to 7 +lbs.

It was good to have lots of young anglers on board the last week or so.   Hank and Max Bethel pictured above, each caught their first rockfish while fishing on the South Jetty using live bunker and mullet for bait.  Emily Rose Caplan and Julie Ann Lorndale, below caught some nice flounders while drifting live bunkers in the bay north of the Rt.50 bridge.

Ben Weaver caught some schoolie stripers and snapper blues on the fly rod today, and got this huge croaker on the fly too.

The fall striper fishing will be heating up before long, and we should be able to start targeting more and bigger fish on the fly in the Chesapeake, and on the coast.   Keep checking in for weekly pics and updates on the fishing.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Gunpowder River, Great Flows, Late Summer Fly Fishing

I have spent much of the last week fishing trips with folks on the Gunpowder.   We have been real lucky this August, and so far this month, to have great stream flow levels.  The moderate flows ranging from about 100 to 140cfs have been cause for some great trout fishing.  I have argued for years that if we only had these moderate stream flows all season, our already awesome trout fishery would become even better.  I have guided fisherman on the Gunpowder for 13 years, and can say for sure that the fish feed more actively, and the fishing is ten fold better during these periods.  We always seem to catch more and larger trout , and I don’t even mind flows up to 200.  That said, the fishing  has been great, when you fish early and late and stay away from traffic.  We saw great hatches of both tricos and caddis all of the last 2 weeks especially in the early morning hours.  For those naysayers who don’t think we have tricos on the Gunpowder, you obviously aren’t morning people.  We had swarms of tricos from 7:30 to 9:30 am all last week.  The caddis were hatching right in the mix, tans and olives in size 16.  The fish usually take the tricos in the slacker water, caddis in the riffles.

We caught lots of trout, browns from 6 to 16 inches, and lots of the newest stocked fingerling Kamloops rainbows while fishing above Falls Rd.  Our best flies were a size 16 x caddis in tan, and a 20 reverse hackle trico.  Mid day a pair of pheasant tail nymphs in a dropper rig worked fine.  Get out there and fish while it is good.  Go during the week, if you can’t, go early am on the weekends.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Fishing Update Busy, Busy, Busy Fishing - Ramble On

Wanted! Someone to help me keep my update up to date! 

Just Kidding, Sorry if I have not had a chance to post updates a bit more often.  I have been fishing the last 2 weeks nearly every day, we’re catching all kinds of stuff, all over the place.  I fished all last week as a mate during the White Marlin Open Billfish Tournament in Ocean City.  That took me offshore over 80 miles a day 3 of 5 days last week, with the time in between spent rigging baits, and keeping the 55 Viking I fished on shipshape.  As is normally my luck, I didn’t end up rich with the winning fish, but I did catch a White Marlin, see a few others, and manage to lose the biggest Blue Marlin I ever had hooked, nearly 700 lbs.  Heartbreaker to say the least.  So much for early retirement.

Spent the week previous week fishing inshore around Ocean City, my normal summer haunt, and we went every day.  Caught lots of flounders and a bunch of hardheads, some 18-25 inch rockfish, some trigggerfish, a couple tautog, some sea bass, a few dusky sharks, some snapper bluefish, and who knows what  else.  I’ll post some pics as I get them from everyone.  Managed to forget my camera like 3 or 4 days.

Somewhere in between all of this I did take 2 trips on the Gunpowder Falls River for stream trout with good success each time.   Had a great duo yesterday who managed to catch 7 or 8 nice browns on hoppers and nymphs.  Sharon/John if you read this please send me those shots you took and I will put them up. The river is fishing great with a constant flow of about 90 cfs.  Get out there while the flows are good.  Terrestrials are working great.

Joe Menale and company sent this shot of some flounders they caught in late July while fishing with live peanut bunkers in the Assawoman Bay.

Randy McCuaig sent some shots from a day we spent Striper fishing this Spring fishing in Eastern Bay.

Mark Wilcox shot me a picture of this nice rainbow he caught while fishing the Deschutes River in Oregon.  He never catches anything near this big when he comes with me, so I’ll just assume that is your hand Mark.

For those hunters amongst you all, my good buddies Mike Widzbor and Rob Levine sent this photo posing with their bow killed bucks from 2006.  These two 8 pointers were shot within 3 days of each other in stands only 50 yards apart.

Going fishing again in the morning, good flounder bite today on some of the near shore reef sites using 4 ounce ball jigs and live finger mullet.  We had 5 keepers in 2 hours of fishing.  Hope for some more success tomorrow.   I’ll keep you posted.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Susquehanna Flats Update April 21

We’re back on the water after last weekend’s noreaster threw us for a loop. Water temps are gradually rising again with the pleasant and overdue warm weather. Water clarity was pretty murky towards the end of the week, but gradually started clearing up in parts by the weekend. We caught fish each of the last two days, though the bite got spotty on the slack tides. Water temps ranging from 47 to 51 degrees in most areas. The east side of the flats near the Northeast river channel has been providing the best fishing. Got one close to 30lbs. on Friday evening.

Here are some photos from Friday’s trip with Chris and Adam. Nice catch guys.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

God Bless the Hokies

Once a Hokie, always a Hokie.  My thoughts are with all of you.

Blown Out on the Susquehanna Flats, Chesapeake Bay

Gale warnings and big rain in most of the Chesapeake Bay region have kept us from fishing the last few days.  I was hoping to get back out fishing on the flats today, but no luck with still heavy winds.  River levels are surprisingly stable for the moment, though the water is a bit dirty.  Hopefully we won’t get any big push of runoff and we’ll be back at it Thursday.  I’ll keep you all posted.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Chesapeake Bay Fly Fishing, Susquehanna Flats Striper Fishing

We’ve been busy fishing the Susquehanna Flats all week, and doing quite a bit of catching. The wind just won’t seem to stay calm this Spring, and temperatures have been much lower than normal all season. It has made for some cold mornings and tough conditions, especially for the fly fishermen on board. Nonetheless, we managed to catch some really nice striped bass.

Here are some of the highlights:

Russ Weber and Bill Spire were on board Tuesday. They paired up and landed some of our biggest fish of the season.

Russ, always a hot hand, landed numerous big fish on the fly, and is pictured on the left above with Bill with his biggest to date fly caught striper. We figured it to be 30 +lbs. It ate a purple/white 3/0 deciever. Bill finished off the double with a nice fish of his own he caught on a albino bass assassin jig, and then landed the monster below which taped out at 49 1/2 inches and was in the 50lb range. Bill holds claim for now to the biggest fish of the season for us. It will be a tough one to beat.

These fellows set the bar high. Good fishing Russ and Bill.

Dan Nadler, and friends Bill Castle, Gary Smith, and Ed Rich came in from Pittsburg on Thursday under the threat of big winds and rain to fish for three days. Toughing out the weather paid off for them, and they are pictured below ,as listed, with some of their best fish. We didn’t meet our goal of bottoming out the 30 lb. boga grip, but we were within 4 lbs. , not too shabby, and we caught a bunch of other fish.

and a couple more…

Nice job fellas!

Talley Kovacs along with husband Louis, and dad Rick who flew in from N.Carolina finished off a great week yesterday evening, catching stripers on the flats just shy of the catch and release line. Again, just barely beating the poor weather we were able to catch some fish. Talley and Louis, pictured below, both caught their first stripers on a fly rod. Pretty work. They look like old pros posing for pics.

Thanks also to Brett Coakley pictured fishing in the background above who helped put us on the fish last night.

No Bait Neccesary!

The fish took a variety of flies and lures all week. The old reliable chatreuse and white half and half proved lethal as always. Close second were black and white and purple and white 3/0 decievers. We fished all sinking tip lines in 250-300 grains.

Best lure bets were a half ounce soft bodied jig. Chartreuse (a given), white, albino, and black shad worked good too. Jerkbaits took some good fish, and the surprise catcher of the week was on a gold Tony Acceta spoon #14 which caught us lots of fish.

Most of our fishing were in 6-10 feet of water on channel edges. Not much action on topwater for us yet, though we didn’t try much. Today and tomorrow a blow out with gale force winds and heavy rain forecast. We’ll get back at it on Tuesday.

As always, I thank all of you who came out fishing and fished hard.