Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Tuckahoe Creek

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3 friends and I were looking for a place to fish today, and I asked a friend from the MKF forum about where he had gone last week. He gave me some details about the Tuckahoe Creek in Hillsboro, so my friends and I decided to give it a shot.

We arrived in Hillsboro around 8:30AM, and pulled in front of the sportshop to get some bait. It hadn't opened yet, and there wasn't even a sign with store hours. We decided to check out the creek first, set up and come back for bait. When we arrived at the creek (the downstream side of the bridge), there were a few bank fishermen. No one had any luck this morning, which was bad news for us. I asked around about the sportshop, and apparently the owner is inconsistent in the time that he arrives at the shop to open. They suggested trying a gas station nearby. I tried 2 of the nearest gas stations and neither had any live bait. We ended up going into Ridgley to a gas station that had some nightcrawlers. I was hoping to use some live minnows, but that was all that we could get. On the way back to the creek we saw that the sportshop was open so we went in and got some live minnows and grass shrimp. Now that we had all our bait we headed back to the creek.

We set up on the bank next to the wooded area by the boat ramp. I took my kayak so that we could rotate and paddle around to fish. One of my goals for this trip was to introduce them to kayak fishing. I was the first to paddle out so that I could scope out the area and give the others (who had never kayaked before) some tips on where to go. The current drifted me downstream, so I let the kayak float down while I tried casting a shad dart toward the shore to see if I could catch anything. I got a couple nibbles, but didn't hook into anything. As I was drifting, I saw one area that looked particularly fishy - there were even fish coming up and eating stuff from the surface. I paddled up to it, and it was pretty deep compared to the other parts of the creek. I knew it had to be a good spot. I let down some minnows and hooked an undersized YP. I tried again a few more times and ended up with about 5, with 3 keepers. It seemed to be a good spot to direct my friends to. I paddled back toward the launch ramp and thought I'd try fishing under the bridge a little bit before switching off. I caught a couple undersized YP and some small sunfish there.

After lunch my friend tried the kayak, and he said it felt too tippy, so he got off after a couple minutes. It was disappointing that he didn't try it out more, but I told him that there are other kayaks out there that are more stable that he could try out sometime if he wanted to. Next my other friend wanted to try it out, so he hopped in, and he kind of just paddled around near the bank where we were fishing for a while. I told him to go back down to where I had been fishing earlier and to try it out. He went down, and came back a little later with a nice 12" YP. He also said he hooked into something really big in 10 feet of water. He fought it for about 5 minutes before it snapped the line. I guess it could have been a catfish... But he said he had a blast fishing from the kayak. The big fish that snapped his line was the highlight of his day.

When fishing from shore, I tested out my new ultralight outfit that I got from BPS's sales. I was using a green 1/32oz feather jig that the small fish seemed to love. I tipped it with some grass shrimp, and I was catching small sunfish and small YP pretty much every other cast. Even though they were small, it was fun on the UL outfit, and it was also better than sitting in my chair waiting for a fish to hit my bottom rigged minnows in the middle of the creek. One YP that hit my jig was just barely larger than some of the minnows we were using for bait.

By the end of the day, we ended up with 5 YP and 1 sunfish to take home. I taught the guys the 10 second method of cleaning YP. It was kind of fun watching them clean the fish haha. They timed me, and it took me 2 minutes instead of 10 seconds. We had a fish fry and ordered some pizza to satisfy the rest of our appetites.

The weather was perfect today, we caught fish, had a good time with friends, got one of them hooked on kayak fishing...couldn't have been better.