Fly Fishing the Middle Chesapeake Bay and Eastern Shore

With low winds and pleasant weather forecast, I spent two days fishing this past weekend out of Solomons, MD.

Morning on the Patuxent River, looking out over the Solomons bridge.

I woke up early Saturday, and took my boat out for a solo run.  I fished the shallows around Solomons with a popper as the sun rose, at the tail end of the outgoing tide.  I found a few fish willing to bite, but these were small.

After a quick gas-up in Solomons, MD, I ran across the bay to take advantage of the incoming tide on shallow water structure (sod banks, stump fields, and grass flats).

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Clean water on the Eastern Shore out of Solomons.  The shallow water shown in this picture held two nice striped bass 22″ long.

Arriving at my destination, I found clean water, and many aggressive striped bass spread out along shorelines.  A few times, the fish chased bait to the surface, and I was able to throw a fly into the mix.  The fish were between 18″ and 24″ long, and were a blast on a floating line and clouser minnow.

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A healthy, fat, shallow water striped bass.

The fishing was steady for three hours, with the low winds allowing me to watch fish appear out of the shadows of stumps and fallen timber to eat the fly.  At one point, I watched a large fish follow a fly for twenty feet, unwilling to eat.  I stopped my retrieve, and as the fly fell, the fish sucked it in.  Great visual fly fishing.

And I left the fish still biting.

The next day, I took my dad, sister, and sister’s boyfriend back to the same location.  I coached my sister and boyfriend on how to cast a spinning rod, and how to retrieve the 1/4 ounce jig and bass assassins.  We were fortunate – the conditions were identical to the day before, and after methodically working our way down the shoreline (and catching a couple 2 year old fish in the 12″ range), we found a nice school of keeper-sized fish.  Over the next hour and a half, we caught around 20 striped bass to 22″, with multiple double and triple hook-ups.

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First fish of the day.

I taught my sister and boyfriend how to hold the fish, and we managed a few good pictures before releasing the fish.

My sister landed the largest fish of the day – a fat, chunky striper we kept after seeing it had been nicked in the gills.

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A fat 22″ striped bass destined for fish tacos.

We left to head in to a brunch on the water in Solomons, with a boat full of happy people.

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6″ Menhaden swimming around the dock.  Good schools of these baitfish are peppered around the shallows of Solomons.


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