My wife was at a scrapbooking workshop all weekend, so my Fishaholic boys, Brian (age 9) and Darin (age 6) wanted to have an all-fishing weekend .
Since Saturday was a washout, we spent the day organizing our tackle box, making bottom rigs and LL rigs, re-spooling reels, making a trip to Marty's for some new tackle and our first spot pen, and finally at end of day when rain finally stopped , fished off the marina dock at 8pm and caught a few small perch to finish the day.
When the boys woke up Sunday morning, they were ready to go and had the spot pen at the front door ready to go with life jackets on and Steve F custome rods in hand asking me when I'd be ready to go so we could catch some spot and fill the Spot Pen.
We headed out at about 8am and installed our spot pen. We went to a nearby location to bottom fish hoping to get some spot... did a drift and then anchored, but we were getting mostly tiny croakers, a few perch, and only 2 spot . But the boys were excited about the Spot Pen, so we ran right back to it and deposited the 2 spot.
We then ran over to a nearby oyster bar and anchored on a ledge about 14 feet of water where it drops to 26 feet . The tide was changing and current was just starting to go out. We were using top-bottom rigs with one oz weight and small circle hooks and catching one or two fish within seconds of every cast. About 1/3 of the fish were spot and went into the 5 gallon bucket and the other 2/3 were a variety of juvenile rockfish, perch, croaker, and Darin even managed to catch a small flounder and a Redfish which were all released. He was super excited about the Redfish since he knew that he would get a citation for the Maryland Fishing Challenge for the release of that one . And they were counting up the number of species they were catching for the MSSA Youth Angler of the Year contest - this was going to be a good day for that for sure! We had also picked up a clicker counter with 2 counters in one so the boys were keeping track of how many spot were caught, and how many other fish were caught... which they thought was super fun.
Remember our real goal was to fill the spot pen... so since we don't have a live well, we had to regularly change the water in the 5 gallon bucket... more and more frequently as it filled. When there were about 20-25 spot in the bucket, it was time to run back to the spot pen and empty the bucket.
We did a 2nd round of bottom fishing at the same location and it was just as good. Filled the bucket with spot again, added them to the spot pen and then went to Annapolis City Dock for lunch.
After lunch we wanted to go find some blues to add a 7th species for the day... on the way, we came across some decent size rockfish breaking and stacked up underneath, cast stingsilvers and jigged on them for awhile, but they weren't quite keepers. Didn't matter, the boys loved catching them one after the other.
Next it was on to the location I was hoping for blues... we found mostly juvenile rock, but Darin managed to catch one 9" blue, and a tiny one, too . Again, these were caught on stingsilvers which nicely matched the minnows the juvenile rock and blue were feeding on and the blue was spitting out.
After that we did some light tackle trolling with diving rattles of various types, hoping to get a bigger rockfish... caught several, but biggest was about 17"
By now it was about 5pm and boys were ready to catch some more spot at another oyster bar as the tide was changing again. We filled the bucket again, tried some LL as the current started to flood - we had a few hits that missed, and one strong fish on that got under the boat and broke the line .
We dumped the remaining spot in the spot pen, ended up with 65 spot in there for the day and were at the dock at 8pm. The clicker said we had caught a total of 195 fish for the day... the boys wanted to get to 200. So they got their shad darts on their lines and started jigging from the dock in the marina. It took almost an hour, but they got their 5 fish to hit 200 fish for the day while I cleaned the boat.
Darin had a nice surprise for his last fish of the day... a red eared sunfish which made 8 species he caught in one day (spot, white perch, croaker, redfish, flounder, striped bass, bluefish, red eared sunfish)!!! Photos of all species follow below.
Finally at 9pm, with all goals completed, it was time to go home and get to bed .
This was definitely a day my boys won't soon forget. If you have kids and haven't taken them out fishing lately, now is the time for the non-stop action that they love. And take some photos and submit to the MSSA Youth Angler of the Year contest and they might be asking you to take them fishing every day, too. Great times with the kids to be cherished forever.
By the way, do I need to feed the spot in the pen or will there be tiny creatures swimming through there for them to eat? I have heard to stick a crushed crab in there... if I don't have one of those handy, what else?
If you are using a 5 Gallon Bucket for the spot go to Walmart and buy a bubble box brand areator. ( $15 dollars I think) If you have more than 12 spot use 2 and change the water a lot because they poop up the water
21Parker - I was wondering about the bubbler idea and unsure if that would reduce the frequency of water changes needed. I have been changing the water every 10-15 minutes or even more frequently once I get 20 spot in the bucket. With the double bubbler, how fequently do you change the water?
Those cheapie bubbles do work well. You will still need to change the water, but it should double your "exposure" time. Sounds like a great day with the kids. Congrats. I've been looking at the pic's trying to figure out what type of boat that is?
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Thanks for sharing your day with your two young fishaholics. Remember to give me a shout at the end of November so that we can try to get the boys each a biggun. As long as your pen is on the bottom, the spot pretty much forage for themselves. I rarely have them in the pen for more than a week. If I do, I crush up a hardshell or peeler crab for them. Also if possible, drop the pen so that it is under your dock so that it is in the shade as the shallow water will be quite warm. See ya out there soon.............................................. Mark
I picked up one of those bubblers and going to give it a try...
Chilli - It is a 2006 Sugar Sand Tango Extreme, 16.5ft jet boat with a wakeboard tower and 200hp Mercury Optimax engine... I pop off the wakeboard racks on the sides and replace them with rod holders and voila, I've got a flashy little fishing boat that can get me where I want to go at 50mph in flat water. Of course, if the chop picks up, it is a really slow bouncy ride home. Here is a photo of my boat in wakeboarding mode.
Mark - Thanks for the spot pen tips. I told Brian that you offered to take us trolling on your boat in November to catch the big ones, and he can't wait! Thanks for the offer. By the way, that 23" fish that Brian caught when we were with you last week... when I opened the stomach, I fought not one, but TWO spot with holes through their back in front of dorsal fin. So that fish that hit and hook came up bare... well, I guess he figured easy eating and came back for seconds! My boys thought that was just amazing.