Saturday, September 1, 2012
Bay Bridge & Bellevue
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Sorry there are no pictures with this report...I did take some pictures, but the white balance was way off on my camera, and it would just hurt your eyes to see them. I'm going to have to fix that before the tournament next weekend...
I had two goals for this trip - catch some fish for the dinner table, and get at least a little bit of experience fishing by the Bay Bridge before the CBKA tournament next weekend. My mother-in-law is coming to town again, and she likes it when we cook her up some fresh fish from the bay. It was mainly for that reason that my wife allowed me to take a day to go fishing, when I'm going to be spending another whole day fishing the following weekend (it's very rare for me to get 2 kayak fishing trips in a month).
The day started at 4:30AM when I met Chexone from the MKF forum at the Bay Bridge Marina for launch. We were planning to meet a couple others from the forum at 5, but we were still the only ones there by the time we finished rigging up so we headed out. I had fished in the dark just once before at Point Lookout State park, so it was still a bit daunting to be paddling out before dawn. Luckily the full moon provided enough light to see where we were going. Still, what made me even more nervous was the large waves that were chopping up the waters in the bay outside of the marina. As I was paddling out into the bay, I thought to myself "I'm crazy...I'm going to turtle...at least Chexone's here to call for help if that happens." I honestly think I would have turned around if Chexone had not been there with me. I know others have paddled through much worse, and I'm just being a sissy because it was my first time in those conditions.
As we were paddling to the bridge, I put out a silver Rat-L-Trap crankbait to see if I could get a striper to bite on the way out. I also tried casting it near the pilings when we got near to them. I didn't get a single hit on it, so I switched gears to try jigging with a BKD. I've read Shawn Kimbro's book, I've watched videos, I've done it with smaller jigs for other fish...but I just couldn't figure it out at the bay bridge. I would position myself to face the bridge against the current, cast next to a piling, let it drop, and bounce it back toward me, paddle back up-current, and repeat. I went piling-to-piling, and after a while got tired of trying to fight the current. I kind of wished at that point that I had a Hobie kayak. Chexone had gone ahead of me further toward the middle of the bridge, so I decided to catch up to see if he'd had any luck. He hadn't caught anything, but he suggested that we try further down the bridge where there's a deep drop-off.
We went over to the drop-off, and I tried jigging again, again to no avail. I ended up snagging my jig twice, and decided to give up on jigging for a while. At that point I noticed a flock of birds some distance away. I decided to check them out to see if they were on any fish. Unfortunately, it seemed like as I paddled closer to them, they'd fly away from me, and it didn't look like they were feeding...so I gave up on that.
At this point, I wanted to give up on trying to catch the monster striper, and fish for some perch in the shallower water. With perfect timing, Shadyfisher85 from the MKF forum showed up and asked how we were doing. We told him that neither of us had caught anything, so he suggested that we try for some perch in shallower water. Catching perch is more familiar to me, so I happily joined him. We all jigged the pilings in shallower water, and caught a handful of perch, small stripers, and Shadyfisher caught a nice red drum. When that slowed down, we headed closer to shore to try some other shallow areas for perch.
On the way in, I saw some breaking fish and a flock of birds picking up baitfish from the water. This time there had to be fish around! So I cast my jig around the splashing fish, and caught my first bluefish of the year. After that, I caught several feisty juvenile stripers. It was fun actually catching fish, but it also soon got exhausting trying to chase them around. They were moving all over the place, against the current and wind too. I didn't want to venture too far from the others, so I gave up after a little while. I paddled back to the shore where Chexone and Shadyfisher were, and we jigged for some perch for a little while before heading in to call it a day. On the way in, I let the current push me through the inlet as I tried to jig up some more perch. I hooked up with the biggest fish of the day - a 15 inch rockfish. Unfortunately he flopped off of my hawg trough before I could snap the picture.
We all went back to the marina and were off the water by around 10:30. Shadyfisher was going to go home, but Chexone was going to try another place for some perch. By this time I had about 5 fish on the stringer and thought it would be nice to catch a few more to impress my wife, so I asked to join him for his next trip. So we were off to the Bellevue ferry...
Bellevue was a beautiful place. The shoreline is not very developed, and it was just a quiet place. It reminded me of the Severn a little...just not as busy. We crossed the river from the ramp, and entered a creek on the Oxford side where Chexone had some good luck on a previous trip. It was low tide when we started, and we could see that the water was pretty low...so the fishing was pretty slow at this time. We both still managed to catch a couple perch here and there, and I caught an occasional small striper. When we were about to call it quits, Chexone suggested we try a spot on the way back that he had caught several fish earlier. After a little while, we were both catching fish - the fishing seemed to be turning on. We kind of forgot about heading back in, as we were catching perch non-stop. As the sun rose higher, I remembered that I told my wife I'd try to be home for dinner, so I had to head in. Chexone was going to stay out a little longer, so I paddled in before him. Chexone had a good time after I left, as the fishing got even better. It had been a long day, and it was a long paddle back in...and an even longer drive back home. It was great to be on the water again, and even greater to have caught some fish. I added 5 more perch to the stringer at Bellevue, and my son was happy to see them when I arrived home.
I accomplished both of my objectives for the day. I'm not confident about the tournament next weekend, but at least I have some idea of what the fishing should be like by the bay bridge. I also scaled and cleaned the fish when I got home, and look forward to having some fish with my family and mother-in-law.