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Fishing report - 12/2/2017


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#1 2-N-TOW

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Posted 02 December 2017 - 10:29 PM

Got up this morning intent on fishing the outgoing tide at the Monitor/Merrimac Bridge Tunnel.  Had most of the stuff loaded on the boat yesterday, so all I had to toss on there this morning before leaving was my back pack.  Stepped on the gunwhale to wipe the frost off the curtains and darn near busted my butt due to the frost on the floor.  Saved myself by grabbing the radar arch.

 

Launched out of Bennetts Creek to slick calm water.  30 minutes later set up the trolling equipment (stretch 25 on one rod, 3 way on the other with a 4" shad) at the small boat channel and started working the down current side of the pilings towards the tunnel.  As I rounded the turn just before the tunnel, I see an orange RIB heading my way and commented to myself the Coasties were out early this morning.  Then he turns directly for me and turns on the blue lights.  I idled away from the bridge, reeled in everything, and got my courtesy boarding and inspection.  Everything went smooth and was back fishing in 15 minutes.  Only complaint was the one black scuff on the deck from their work boots.  Other than that, they were very courteous.

 

Back to trolling,...made 3 passes along the bridge then headed over the tube.  The bottom machine indicated very scattered bait with possible stripers under them, but I could not entice them with either of the trolled baits.  Even tried dropping the 3 way rig down to bounce on the rocks and only accomplished getting hung up.  Spent 5 minutes jockeying with the current trying to retrieve the rig and finally got it unhung.

 

Headed back to the bridge to try once more time, and still no love.  There was a head boat out there with 28 people casting jigs at the pilings, and that captain said they had only caught 4 fish all morning, and only 2 were legal size.

 

Well, I think my striper season on the river is over.  Hearing reports of some decent class of fish gradually moving down the Chesapeake Bay, so time to start targeting them.  Hopefully next report will have pictures of fish!


Dan
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#2 FullThrottle

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Posted 03 December 2017 - 08:37 AM

Hope you're right about them moving south. Only a few more weeks before the bay season closes. After the last few years of non-performance in coastal waters I'm hoping for at least a few big striper before the bay season is over.

Our best hope for a striper return appears to be a few years away with the 2019 menhaden study unless Omega buys everyone off again. That study or fishing outside of Virginia is the only way to be sure of a big striper catch.

 

In any case getting skunked when fishing for striper in Chesapeake Bay seems to be the normal this year. Really, really hoping for a return of the bluefin tuna run like a few years back. I didn't catch a bluefin, but saw some being caught while trolling about 8-10 miles out down by the Carolina line and we caught and released multiple big striper. Since we weren't targeting striper, it was all legal -- and lots of fun. When the bite is on they'll bite anything including bluefin rigs and ballyhoo. Got to admit catching big striper on 8/0s isn't as challenging as on lighter tackle, but a catch is a catch.


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#3 2-N-TOW

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Posted 03 December 2017 - 07:19 PM

What I would give to see ocean season back like it was 10-15 years ago.  Back then, I never fished inside the CBBT except for chunking at the Mionitor / Merrimac (and even then it was loaded with slot stripers).  Back then, by 12/15, I was running north of Fisherman's Island looking for the beehives of gannets we knew were heading south, feeding on the baitfish the stripers had pushed to the surface.  Funny thing back then was we released anything under 30 inches 'cause we knew there were bigger ones in the mix.  Remember trolling the 3 mile line with Coast Guard patrol boats sitting just east of us waiting for somebody to stray too far out.  They had their hands full when  there were a couple hundred boats straight out from the Green Can working the inbound channel (and I am not making that up about the number of boats!)

 

Just about when the stripers started changing their migration habits the blue fin appeared.  Many times we saw tuna on the docks when in Rudee Inlet.  Darn fish would wreck striper rigs even though a few were landed on 320GTI reels.  I used to chuckle when we would look at the boat next to us and they were trolling with big gold reels inside the 3 mile line.  Yes, the tuna were there as we did see their unique signature on the bottom machine a few times.  I saw 2  marks under out boat one time and had the boys reel in the 4 trolling spreads with 3 way (mojo - trailer " shad).  With the possibility of loosing $100 of trolling rigs if one of those fish got curious, I decided to play it safe!

 

Did a little work on the boat today.  Trim system acted like it had air bubbles in the line, so cycled it numerous times to work them out of the system.  Fluid level was fine, but I think the last time my son used the boat, he or a friend of his trimmed the motor all the way up and ran it against the stops.  I am guessing the high pressure relief valve may have opened, and the escaping fluid  cavitated when going through the small orifice. 

 

Did a quick check on lower unit oil after getting a harmonic vibration yesterday at 5,000 rpms.  Fluid look good.  Had this happen once before and it only occurrs in cool slick water.  Just wanted to confirm all was good before heading out again.


Dan
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