I spent Saturday morning running the Patuxent River and Middle Chesapeake Bay, looking for Striped Bass, Bluefish and Spanish Mackerel. I was joined by my cousin, who is a solid fisherman himself, and just getting into the fly fishing game.
We left the dock at 6:30AM, immediately finding a school of breaking young-of-the-year striped bass at the eastern-most edge of Solomons Island. After catching a few 8″-10″ fish on fly and spinning gear, we hit the shallows of a nearby flat looking for bigger fish. The water was clean, the fish were feeding actively on top, but regardless of what we threw at them, they were uninterested (including big plastics, little plastics, and tiny bay anchovy flies).
Frustrated, we headed into Solomons, where my partner bought a single can of Bud Light and some ice cream (a delicious mix at 8:30 in the morning), and I filled my fuel tank. With only three hours left of fishing, we bolted north towards the Little Choptank River. Arriving at my favorite location, we scanned the bottom, finding a couple bluefish willing to slice our 7″ plastic lures in half. Just as we were preparing to run south again, we spotted breaking fish under flocks of terns and gulls, and headed over to the action. For the next hour we caught striped bass up to 20″ on flies and jigs, and occasionally had flies and lures mangled by bluefish we never quite saw. I tried a two-handed retrieve for a while, moving my fly at light-speed for Spanish Mackerel, but they never appeared. Slowing the fly down with a fast strip-pause-strip retrieve resulted in bass after bass.
Fall is just around the corner, and with it the best fishing of the year.