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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
After a long weekend of family obligations, not fishing, and housework I woke up on Monday morning to grey skies, no wind, and temps in the 60s. I promptly called in sick and called my friend David to see if he’d be interested in playing hooky too. It didn’t take much convincing to get him to call out work so after a quick trip to Bass Pro Shop and a bite to eat we were on our way east to the Chesapeake Bay.

The plan was to scope out conditions while crossing the bay bridge. If the water was calm, we’d put in at the beach by Hemmingway’s restaurant and jig the bridge pilings. If it looked too rough, we’d continue on to Eastern Bay and the Narrows where it would be more protected.

Driving over the bridge I saw that the water was flat calm on the western shore with a slight chop on the eastern shore. We decided to give the bay bridge pilings a shot. It’s not often that the conditions on the open water of the bay are so kayak-friendly so we went for it. We were on the water by 1pm.

My fish finder was acting funny at first but it eventually started reading fine. Not sure what’s going on. We marked a lot fish and baitfish but there just wasn’t a whole lot of activity. I saw some birds working south of the sewer pipe but not much else so we just kept heading west, trying the pilings and schools of fish. While we were fishing we got a lot of honks from drivers on the bridge – simple tributes from fellow anglers who had been at work all day.

The paddling was very easy. We made it out as far as the first channel (@ 80 feet deep!) and were almost underneath the main suspension part of the bridge. It was a little intimidating being out that far but I’m glad that we gave it a shot and got back safely. On a nicer day we might’ve tried to get to the eastern shore rock pile. Next summer I’d like to try crossing all the way to Sandy Point.

After a few hours of paddling with no fish to show for it we decided to try fishing the pilings of the northern bridge on our way back in. This proved to be a good decision. I caught 2 nice 15” stripers off the first piling and David ended up catching one right after me – his first striper. He ended up catching another after it - a fat 17”.

On our way back in we started marking fish in @ 10’ of water so we made a few casts. I caught one 12” dink on my fly rod, a nice treat since I hadn’t caught a striper on a fly in a while. It was getting dark by then. Daylight savings had officially caught up with us.

We didn’t exactly slay fish but we didn’t get skunked either. I’d say that this trip was more about the adventure than the fish caught: skipping out on work to fish, being out on the big water like that, and watching a good friend catch his first rockfish. It was a pretty good day, all things considered, and better than a day in the office.

The fishing was a lot like last weekend on the Honga. We were in a prime location and marking fish, we were just waiting for the bite to turn on. As it was getting closer to dusk, the wind picked up and it seemed like the fishing picked up too. Not sure if we were just hitting the right spots or what, but it seemed like the action was turning on elsewhere judging by the birds working off the eastern shore rock pile.

I also noticed that boat position in this kind of fishing is just as important as a good cast on structure. With the fish stacked on the pilings and in eddies just in front and behind, the depth and direction that the lure was swimming seemed to play a big role in drawing a strike. Ideally I would have anchored above the structure and cast down into it, letting the lure swing through, but the current was too swift and the water was too deep. I’ll keep the “above” approach in mind next time.

Launching at the beach at Hemmingway’s was very convenient. There’s plenty of parking there that’s close to the water. There was also a street light at the corner of the parking lot so loading my truck up in the dark was much easier than usual. On top of that, a great oyster dinner at Hemmingway’s was right there after we packed up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
i hope so too. i took your advice and just tried to cover some water this last trip. it was a lot easier than i thought. i need to refine my paddling technique. i'm not really using my core or turning my body - all arms right now.
 

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Good report and nice pics. Any other year and you would have done much better. Seems the whole length of the BB has been "off it's feed" ever since the blues left. Dunno whats up with that. Fishing has been slim pickins there the past week or two, and that's certainly rare for the BB during the fall. I guess the exiting blues left a void that has yet to be filled with stripers.

I was on the Patapsco a few hours earlier than your time at the BB. It was calm there too. Us riders of the "short boat" just gotta love near calm conditions... not to be confused with riders of the "short bus"... although sometimes I have my doubts:D.
 

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Great report. I have the exact same kayak you have. I was thinking of going out on the day you went, but my schedule did not allow it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
hjs, i've actually only fished the structure of the bay bridge a few times before. back when i had a boat we'd usually look for breaking fish and if we couldn't find any, we'd jig the pilings. it's crazy how many fish you mark around there. too bad me missed the blues by a few weeks. i would've loved to have gotten into a few of them. i definitely know what you mean about appreciating calm water. it was so nice just being out there and being able to get so far out. the one pic really puts it into context. it was that calm in the middle of the bay. i think i'm going to try the narrows and eastern bay next time i'm out.

moc, that's my buddy in the T120 in the pics. i paddle a native ultimate 12. see pic.

 

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Dunno about Kent Narrows either. During the past 2 months I have fished there twice after dark from the western end of the bridge. I got skunked there both times... and that has got to be a rarity when compared to previous years when I was a KN bridge rat. However, there were a lot of dinks and micro-dink stripers there. They kept pecking at my 5" BA but were too small to get hooked. Also, both trips there this fall I was the only one fishing from the western bulkhead, conditions were good too... that's a really bad sign too. When action is good at KN the western bulkhead can get crowded after dark.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
man, that sucks. i remember when you could always count on decent fish from KN, especially in the fall. i'll give it a shot but that's disappointing. i've had some good luck farther south @ janes island and the nanticoke this year. i love it down there but it's nice not having to drive so far.
 

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bay bridge

If the fishing picks up at the bridge again, it would be fun to organize a kayak fishing flotilla. I fish it a lot with a couple other guys, including MOC who posted earlier in this thread. At the very least, the perch fishing can be outstanding. I'm out of town this coming weekend but could be available Nov 15/16 or on either weekend on either side of Thanksgiving week.

Maybe we can put something together.

Steve, Greenbelt
 

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I'm probably in too... just took the boat down for some warranty work, and I heard the yak calling me from under the porch saying she'll take me back if I'm sorry.
 

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brettgaba,
Why didn't you play hooky today? I was going to fish today but I couldn't. One of our servers at work was corrupt since the last evening. I had to work today. I hate when I can't take advantage of good weather. So I will be fishing in the rain (good chance) tomorrow.
 

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Bey Bridge, Nov 12

Well, guys the striper situation at the bridge is not encouraging. I fished yesterday afternoon from the eastern shore all the way to the eastern rock pile and managed 2 17" fish. It was pretty dead. There was some bait being harrassed by 9-12" rockfish, that's all. No one else was catching much either. I ran into Josh, who peddled all the way out from SPSP and he'd had a slow day as well. I hope that I'm wrong given the relatively lackluster reports coming in from all over the bay yesterday, however, it's getting late in the season and the bigger fish are certainly schooling up at points south of the bridge. Perhaps pulses of upper bay fish will populate the bridge as they head south.

Otherwise, points south are looking better all the time although finding kayak-fishable structure is tough. My fishing window, if it exists, is Sunday. If I can get out, I might do Hooper's Isl. bridges. It's a hike but there's plenty of pilings!

I used to fish Kent Narrows but with all the shoreline fishermen casting lead out to mid-channel here's only a narrow band of safe waters and then you have "share" that with the stinkpots which means you have to breathe their fumes and keep out of their way.

Steve, Greenbelt
 
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