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Old 12-09-2017, 03:35 AM
5th Tuition 5th Tuition is offline
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Default 5th's Last Trip 2017 ?

What can I say? As you can see from the time of my post, it's the wee hours of the morning, and I'm still stoked Because it's so early, I can't imagine anyone posting in between my posts, and interrupting my thread. So, I am going to post in short segments and put photo's at the end, so it's more of a timeline with photo's where they belong

Every year, I like to make a trip south to end the year. The fish tend to stack up in southern Maryland and feed heavily. Fish can still be had north of the bridge, but it's stupid simple fishing with birds showing you the way down south.
Most of the gannets, pelicans, and bigger gulls have followed the bait south, and they are a sight to see when working over feeding rockfish.
The information I received, was that the afternoon bite was the most predictable, so we didn't race to southern Maryland. I had Lou and Mike (Garlein) meet me at my house at 6am. This would put us in Solomon's around 8am, and with launching the boat, and the ride south to buoy 72, we should be dropping lines around 9 or 9:30am.

Winds were calling for "light and variable", but once outside the protected waters of the Patuxant, it was a tad bumpy. No problem, the Judge ran south as if she knew it might be her last trip
I am always amazed at how big the water is down that way. I sometimes think we have a lot of water to search up north when no other boats are around or no birds to show you the way However, there really is a lot of water to search between Solomon's and Point Lookout.
I have always had success around buoy 72 when running out of Buzz's Marina, so that was my initial destination. I ran the western side of the bay south looking for signs of activity (birds, breaking fish). Every bird I saw was flying east. At one time, we had about 30-50 gannets flying high (real high) but steadily circling in an easterly pattern. A quick check under them found no bait or fish They quickly vamoosed to the eastern shore as well.
There is a large flat of 35' water on the western shore before you get to the channel. Once across and into the channel, the eastern shore side is relatively skinnier water east of the channel. I told my crew that these birds were either headed to fish on the eastern side, or there was a Walmart parking lot over there that they all wanted to sit on Of course, the other thought was a big landfill attracting birds also.

We scooted across to the other side and soon found working birds..................
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Old 12-09-2017, 03:50 AM
5th Tuition 5th Tuition is offline
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These birds were working smaller fish. Most were "shorts" 16-20 inches long. We jigged on them and couldn't produce bigger fish; until; Lou hooked into a monster.
With rod bent, he slowly worked the fish closer to the boat. Of course, this was the time to finally get the net out from behind the back curtains, snagging on the chair, sliding the handle into position, and generally taking too long to get ready
Why do we do this every time The first good fish has us looking like a "Chinese Fire Drill" (oops, that's not P.C.).
Anyway, as you can guess, Lou lost the first big fish of the day But hey; that didn't matter, that just gave Mike and I something to "rib" Lou about the rest of the morning
With the thought that there must be some bigger fish under the small ones, I broke out the trolling rods I only put out three deep rods, trying to get below the small fish and entice a large one. We ran two 20oz hip rods back 75ft, and a center rod 28oz back 75ft as well.
We caught more shorts

With nothing to show from these birds, we pulled the three rods and once again headed south.

Lou, on his big fish.
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Old 12-09-2017, 04:31 AM
5th Tuition 5th Tuition is offline
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Arriving at 72, I scanned the area for signs of life. It looked promising with lots of bait on the meter, but no bird activity. Over went the trolling rods. I normally run 7 rods off the boat in the fall, but because this might be the last trip, I threw 2 more rods in the mix without weight and high in the water in case we found breaking fish.
With 9 rods behind us, we began "mowing the lawn" and searching.

A considerable amount of time went past. and I was starting to question my "plan A". It must have been 45 minutes into the troll, when we all decided to have lunch to wash down the beers that Mike and Lou had been drinking during the "down time" Mike always brings me a couple of Michalobe Ultra's, but he brings the weirdest crap for him to drink. I think he must walk into the liquor store and ask for anything he can't pronounce
I try not to drink while I'm at the wheel, and especially when the water gets this cold. We were showing 51.6*
I work the binoculars constantly. If by chance, we don't catch fish, it's not because I am lazy at the helm The bait was coming across the screen in "ribbons". A never ending supply of food for rockfish, and I was scratching my head as to why no predators were working this food.
Then, I spotted them We had a bird show about two miles away. Damn, with trolling rods out, it was going to take us a good while to arrive at the action And, with 9 rods out, it was going to take some time to bring everything in and run to the birds to jig. What to do?
The birds up north were not staying too long over feeding fish. Once you spotted a bird show, you had maybe three minutes of action before the pod of fish would move off and congregate somewhere else. But these birds were staying in place and there weren't a bunch of boats on them. So we trolled north, picking up our speed to about 4.5mph to get there just a little quicker (I normally troll between 3.5-3.8mph this time of year.

We got there with time to spare. The birds were still working and I watched the meter with trepidation. "Watch your rods", I yelled to Mike and Lou as the fish started to appear on the screen. The first rod went down HARD. Mike grabbed the rod and said, "This is a nice fish", as if we needed confirmation Lou grabbed the next bent rod, and when numbers three and four went down, Mike yelled to me to leave the wheel (and the comfort of my Mr. Buddy heater) to grab a rod. As rod numbers 5,6,7,8,and finally 9 bent towards the water, chaos ensued.
Some rods had two fish on the umbrella's, both pushing 30+ inches With a seasoned crew, we made quick work of bringing in fish and quickly tossed three "overs" into the box. Three "unders" (25 inches) went in as well; and the rest went back overboard as quickly as possible to catch another day
It was a well oiled machine. It went something like this, net the fish, lower to the deck, SLIDE the net out from under the fish, drop into the fish box (or over the side; and repeat
My tackle was a mess. Some of the umbrella's were destroyed The pliers came off the hip and the cutting of braid began.................
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Old 12-09-2017, 04:49 AM
5th Tuition 5th Tuition is offline
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With 3 overs and 3 unders in the box, we racked the trolling rods and went looking to jig (Catch and Release).

What a day. We were catching 30+ inch fish on the jig and laughing at Mike's little conventional rod and reel combination. Rods were bent almost to the water when the fish was within netting distance.
By this time, we had about four or five boats working the area; some charters trolling, some boats jigging. We saw Walleye Pete (Four Season's Guide Service) putting his customers on some nice fish
The action was "crazy". Mike took a photo of me soon after hooking up a nice fish, and I got a few pic's of he and Lou holding some fish before release.
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Old 12-09-2017, 05:03 AM
5th Tuition 5th Tuition is offline
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Knowing we had a long ride home, we left the fish biting. Lou was "done" for the day anyway He just turned 71 years old last month and I hope I still get out as often as he does to enjoy this resource.
The weather was supposed to deteriorate as the day went on, and indeed, it started snowing on our way back to the boat ramp. The intensity progressed as we ran north, and we soon found the boat covered in snow
It couldn't have been a more fitting end to the day, and possibly the season.

I can't think of a better way to finish. We arrived at my house after dark, and cleaned fish. Man, were they cold I was hoping not to cut my fingers with the filet knife, because odds were I would never feel the blade until it was too late



Mako Mike; I hope you enjoy the post. Heal quickly and we will get you out of the house for a couple of beers, some winter fishing shows, and ultimately back on the boat to catch some 2018 rockfish.
Thanks to Mike and Lou for a great trip, and yes, I did have one "celebratory" beer to mark the end of 2017 with Mike (Garlein) and Lou.

5th
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Old 12-09-2017, 09:54 AM
Breakaway Breakaway is offline
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Nice work Marty! That afternoon bite has been very predictable. Out of six trips I missed it one time. Did a spur of the moment 2 hour solo trip the day before you, and it was absolutely the best. It was getting dark, and I knew I needed to go, but the fish kept biting. I decided to quit as soon as I made a cast that didn't result in a fish. After 8 straight nice fish I finally failed to catch a fish and ran back in complete darkness.

Anyone still fishing up the bay, they are having a similar late afternoon bite. I fished yesterday afternoon out of Deale with a friend, and the fishing was very good also!
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Old 12-09-2017, 11:06 AM
5th Tuition 5th Tuition is offline
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Have to thank Jeff (Breakaway) for the info about fishing his area
5th
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Old 12-09-2017, 11:57 AM
Mako mike Mako mike is offline
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Damn talk about detailed! I thought I was reading the old man and the sea for a minute! Thanks for the report, I.T lifts my spirits even though I canít be there.
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Old 12-09-2017, 07:53 PM
5th Tuition 5th Tuition is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mako mike View Post
Damn talk about detailed! I thought I was reading the old man and the sea for a minute! Thanks for the report, I.T lifts my spirits even though I canít be there.
Mike, I wish you could have been with us. There probably won't be many more fishing reports; so you can re-read this any time this winter to get your fishing "fix"

I'm hoping the snow on the boat rinses all the salt of her. Looks like she is wrapped in cotton sitting across the street

5th
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Old 12-10-2017, 01:09 PM
Rockin' Robin Rockin' Robin is offline
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Thanks for the great report, Marty... I feel like I was there. I no longer feel like I need to make the 2 hour run to experience it!
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