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I was just curious to know if the fishing, this year, at the CBBT has been as good as years past. Are you catching as many fish? Are you catching as many big fish?

There has been questions raised lately as to whether the fishing in the Chesapeake is getting better or worse. Are we headed for another moritorium?

An inquiring mind wants to know.

Ele
 

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Capt Chuck Fisher said it was the worst year he's had in the past 12. Quantity-wise anyway. The quality was up for him. 2 over 50 pounds this season with a dozen or so over 45. Did not limit out many days. He strictly LT eels.
 

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Ele,

There is a lot of different types of fishing going on at the CBBT.

As far as actual bridge fish, I would say the CBBT was slightly off from last year as a whole although right now it's very good. It is in no way shape or form even close to where it was several years ago.

As far as the eeling bit, that was way way off from where it had been the past few years.

As far as the trolling, it was off too.

The lck of the big fish may have more to do with temperature and patterns than anything else. Ocean City and IRI has been better than it has been in years so maybe the fish are just more spread out.

The small fish at the bridge get smaller and harder to catch every year. I did not see one bird show with big fish this year within sight of the bridge. Normally, I see a few down there each year. Ten years ago, we saw one nearly every day.
 

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Maybe some people have bad luck i fish about 250 days out of the year at the cbbt. This year the striper run seemed to start a little later but they are running thick in there now. We are averaging about 32 fish and hour with fish up to 42. I caught several flounder citations and two spadefish citations this summer. The speckled trout was great this fall with one day catching 32 nice keeper fish which we released. The red drum bite was h ot. And i got a black drum citation at the third. I would say the fishing is very good if you know what your doing and know when to go. Also luck never hurt. Ive fished the bay since i was 5. Im now 31 and have never had a year as good as this one. Im either learning more or the fishing is good.
 

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I think the fish from sizes 24-26" are very abundant at the bridge....personally I think the good fishing is gettin' ready to start in the next few weeks.....weather is playing a key role....to warm.......just my .02
 

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I don't have years of experience, but can say for certain that it's quantity up/quality down so far. Agree with Jamie that it's just getting time for the bigger fish though.
 

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I think Ele is asking because what happens or happened at the CBBT will directly affect or correspond to how the season will be on the flats this year.

I would say that the last two years were off for me at the CBBT but I don't get down there very often. The catch size is down, and even the schoolie, 20 something size fish have gotten considerably smaller and fewer. Not the case for everyone but it's what I have noticed at the CBBT, plus I noticed the same thing on the flats and on the Potomac in the Spring. Where have all the schoolies in the spring gone to?

Lets ask this question, how in relation to previous years has the Susquehanna Flats been fishing? Is the trend on the rise or fall? I love the flats season and would say the fishing there was very good the last few years, just fewer smaller fish so therefore just fewer fish.

You may get a better response if you ask this on the Virginia Board.
 

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Hmmm?

I fished yesterday at the CBBT and had birds on small bait and a fairly nice grade of fish on that small bait and actually very few fish smaller than 26"! It was like everyone expects from the stories you hear. We caught about 150 in 2 1/2 - 3 hours with 3 guys, you know when you are all laughing after tripling up for the umpteenth time:D. As far as Francis's big fish showing at the bridge to me no big bait means no big fish and I don't recall anyone mentioning any kind of bunker near the bridge yet this season. I did have an interesting conversation with an older gentleman that was recording information from the carcasses of fish behind Kipto 3 weeks ago ( he was with the Virginia fisheries mgmnt) and he said that there are TOO MANY ROCKFISH:eek2::confused: and that they eat everything in site!
I don't think many would argue the big fish population is down but remember qty. of fish has to do with the spawn of the year. The big fish are at least 15 years or older I believe, so we can look forward to decent years if the spawns were good and those fish don't get hammered before the get over 28".
I did take a ride to the ocean and didn't find much, marked some bait and fish but again no big bait or big bait pods no fish. The bite was good up in MD waters the past 2 fall seasons,hmmm? lots of big menheden around:pp.
I try to appreciate my surroundings and be practical and follow the laws when fishing but if the rockfish go on moretorium again I will find something else to fish for and know I followed the rules and did my part to keep the water clean! My 2 cents:D

Johnny O
 

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It's been off from my experience last year (quality), but as Jamie and Shawn said I too believe that it should improve over the next 45 days.
 

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I think the fishing has been the same as in the last few years. The bigger fish always seemed to show when the temps got around 44.Temps today at the bridge are 48 degrees. If that temp drops a few degrees slowly I think you will see more big fish. For me the magic numbers have always been between 42-46 degrees.
 

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I have only been once and therefor cannot offer any usefull information........but you can bet I'll be testing that "Next 45 Days" theory:D divorce be damned.
 

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Ele I am but will be heading home on Thursday to deal with the inauguration. I'll be coming back to Florida after that. I will get down to CBBT before returning to Florida as long as the temps are in the 44 degree range. I just can't help myself.:D
 

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A fairly steady downward trend. We've done two trips this year. We did poorly right after Thanksgiving. We got 100 in the mid twenties on Sunday in 44 degree water. Biggest was 30". Talked to Newsome who had one 40 incher.

Quite a difference over a winter day in 2002 with multiple beehives of 5,000 gannets diving on mid thirties fish, with several fish over 40". It's not really worth the haul down there right now.
 

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....... It's not really worth the haul down there right now.
Your standards must be way higher then mine. I don't have a whole lot of history to base my opinion on (only my second year running down) but when 4 guys can boat an estimated 350 fish with 15% being in the slot or over, I would say that is a pretty decent day to me and worth a 4 hour drive.

The first trip in the beginning of December with a crew of two boated over 100 with the best being 42" but only a few slot fish. Did have a few gannet storms but the 100 boats running through the middle of them killed that pretty quick. Still not complaining.

Maybe the big ones will show. Who knows? Guess we'll just have to wait and see. There are so many variables that effect the fish and location you never know what is happening or going to happen.
 

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Ele, It certainly doesn't help the situation when you have pirates taking 3 tons of striper of OC twice in one week. That's 900+ fish in the 15lb range in two days. How long can the fishery support that?
I spent 8 days at CBBT this year and we caught some real cows the first trip(2 days), but had more fun with the schoolies 24" to 36" fish so we didn't even take the trolling gear or eels on the remaining trips. We could have easily taken our limit but only took what we would eat that week.
 

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Your standards must be way higher then mine. I don't have a whole lot of history to base my opinion on (only my second year running down) but when 4 guys can boat an estimated 350 fish with 15% being in the slot or over, I would say that is a pretty decent day to me and worth a 4 hour drive.

The first trip in the beginning of December with a crew of two boated over 100 with the best being 42" but only a few slot fish. Did have a few gannet storms but the 100 boats running through the middle of them killed that pretty quick. Still not complaining.

Maybe the big ones will show. Who knows? Guess we'll just have to wait and see. There are so many variables that effect the fish and location you never know what is happening or going to happen.
There is actually a term for this 'bias', I think someone posted an article on this type of 'bias' a while back. Essentially its generational bias, or generational standardization where in you as a new CBBT fisherman think the fishing is great, and if it declines should be brought back to the level it is now.

More experienced CBBT fisherman recall days prior, like in 2002, when hundreds upon hundreds of 40 inch fish were brought to boat, birds were everywhere and you couldn't drop a lure without a hook up and drag peeling. Now, as older more experienced CBBT'ers are replacee by those that use todays fishing as their standard, the fishing doesn't seem bad and in fact is great and it's now the measuring stick going forward instead of using the amazing fishing from 6 years ago as the standard.

If someone can recall the exact term for this generational bias or generational standard effect, there was an article some time ago on it. Then again it could have been in a SWS or other magazine.

TIGHT LINES
 
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