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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I could fill pages on this but will not.

Anyone who fished the flats in the sixties will tell you that in April they could fish anywhere in the river up to the dam, or flats and beyond, could keep all the fish they wanted from 12 inches up to 15 pounds, whole schools of 40--50 pound fish were common in shallow water and six boats in the 50 square miles of the flats on a weekend were a crowd. Those are facts. It was wonderful. I was a real greenhorn in those day. At first I only knew about two lures and used them all the time, but caught loads of fish anyway. How could you not?

It was a different time. Most people who fished the area thought of it as a summer time activity. Only a few hardcore fishermen were out there in April. Boats were smaller on average and outboard motors were smaller and cranky.

On the negative side haul seiners were out there scooping up the fish by the thousands of pounds.

Times change. Today the flats are much different. It is even different than the first couple of years the flats C & R season opened. The word spread, as it always does today, and on good weather days the flats will be crowded. The saying, "You Can Never Go Home Again" applies to those who fished the flats in an earlier time.

It is what it is, and we either deal with it or fish elsewhere. Courtesy and consideration for others is the key to having a good day.

I much prefer fishing up and down the coast in the ocean for stripers today, but the flats are close and easy. It can be real tough at times. We all remember the great days but you often have to put in some stinkers to get them. You will see me out there many days if the water is not too muddy for lures and flies.

Say hello.:rockon:


Feel free to add your complaints about the flats to this dedicated thread.
::rolleyes:
 

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Bill,

Unfortunately, such is the fate of just about any fishery that gains notoriety at least as far as the crowded conditions are concerned. I was on the San Juan in New Mexico on Sunday and it was incredibly crowded, and not just with fishermen up from Santa Fe and Albuquerque. there were a significant number of out state plates in the parking lots.

I did not get up on the flats at all last spring since I sold my boat in anticipation of moving to Colorado and it wound up selling faster than I had thought. I would only get to the flats a couple times a year and had not had a really decent day there in three years. Given the current state of the striper fishery and "health" of the Bay, it seems that the prognosis for the return of the flats as a destination fishery even remotely similar to the past is not likely. I hope the politicians get off their collective duffs and get serious about cleaning up the Bay or 20 years from now people will be talking about the current times as the good old days.

Guy
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hey Guy-

I am accepting of it because I do not see it changing. We adapt or do other things. I enjoy all my time on the water whether catching or not. The crowds do make it more of a challenge. Like you said it is most everywhere the fishing is good--particularly if there is the lure of big fish.
 

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Ya Bill I know what you mean. Like you. I grow up fishing up their. My uncle started taking me their to fish for bass. Back in the early 50's. We caught stripers and got pissed. we were after bass. Shows you how times have changed. In fact, just like you said. most people were up in the river fishing for shad when we would go for bass. So we had the whole flats to our selfs. You will never see that again. The only time I think you can fish it now and not see to many people. Is in the summer in the evenig. The last time I was up their in the summer, was just before I retired. entered the water just below the first parking lot below the dam. their is a stairs and a under water slab type jetty that runs out to a deep drop off. I fished it from their down river. well into dark. caught planty of white perch, smallmouth, rockbass and a few stripers on streamers and poppers. I also didn't see another person. I don't think that would happen again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Hey Walt-

Times change and we adapt. Like you said it will never be like it was.

I provided this thread so guys who want to complain about the flats would have a place to go.

As for me, I will just fish it as always. Some days will be poor and once in a while we will hit a good one.:innocent:
 

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I won't bother any more. One of the guys in the club, asked me if I wanted to go up there with him this spring. I told him no. I think I'll stick to in shore and off shore instead. Its alot closer for me now. And their is a few diferent specie to fish for over here. I'm going to be spending alot more time combing the back bays and cuts in the marchs. their is some good fishing that no one does. You just have to use tackle to fit the fishs size. I will also spend more of late fall and winter at cape charles. Its only about 125 miles or so from me now. makes for a easy days trip if I only want to fish for the day.
 

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Well I'm a young guy and have only been fishing the flats for about 5 or 6 years and I'd have to say last year was by far my best year. Clear low water most of the time and eager fish in shallow. However, it was one of the worst striper spawns in many years because of the low water. http://www.dnr.state.md.us/fisheries/fishingreport/chesapeake.asp

So do we hope for low clear water again so that the fishing will be great again or do we wish for high muddy water, horrible fishing and an excellent spawn for future fishing?

Who knows, all I know is that if the rain holds off, I'm fishing the flats again. If it doesn't, I'll head further down the bay in search of clearer water. If it's too crowded, there are plenty of other C&R sections in the bay area.

Quick "bad" story of the flats. It was about 5 or 6 years ago when my girlfriend jumped on to tidal fish, sorry, World Wide Angler, with my screen name while I was unaware and found someone offering a flats trip. (bless her heart). I'd been dieing to go and she was well aware of that. Well out of sheer determination, she somehow found someone offering a trip, MLewis, who took us out for a day of fishing. We arrived to perfect weather, perfect conditions and plenty of fish. Well, plenty of fish for Mark and Courtney but those fish either broke me off, straightened my hooks or just plain ignored my 7 inch chartreuse bassassasin. What were Mark and Courtney using you ask? A 7 inch chartreuse bass assassin. I even broke out the fly rod and did a little flailing around with a sink tip (one of my first attempts with sinking line) that didn't look too pretty. All this was done while in ear shot of Lefty Krey himself. First time for that too. Lefty was consistently into fish by the way, like anyone would think otherwise.

Well, I continued to watch my girlfriend hook, fight and land fish after fish. This was her first time using a medium action rod, her first time jigging, probably her first time using anything other than a worm and a bobber and she was banging fish left and right. Every color she used got bit but especially some funky watermelon green/purple thing that I would never try or even consider but she bought because they were "pretty". Well… that day the fish thought so too. Later I went back in the cooler for something else to eat and for a helping of my second BANANA. I was promptly told to through it over board and wash my hands thoroughly. I had no idea, this was a first for me remember. I was a Potomac River raised smallmouth man at heart, what did I know about banana curses?

Well.. the day continued on with many fish brought to the boat by Mark and Courtney but I just pulled the big old skunk card. Well, all until both Courtney and I both hooked up on the last cast of the day and we both landed our double. That picture is framed in our house right now. I was hooked from that day forward on both her and fishing the bay with light tackle. I fish all over the bay during the spring run and there's no where that compares to the sheer numbers of fish that concentrate on those flats when the conditions are right. (okay, besides power plants) Yes, there are a few variables involved but if you hit it right, you'll be finding yourself cursing the summer months and warm weather and only wishing you could rewind the clock back to April on the flats.
 

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Crowding will only get worse as the Baby Boomers start to retire... indeed they have already started. We'll have lots of money and plenty of time to enjoy a sport that doesn't require too much physical exertion.
 

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hey howard. Your right of coures.
The thing that bothers me more then anything. Is actually two parts. One is the state of the flats. this is the saddest part of it. When I was a kid. in the 50's. The flats were so full of life. Their was grass every where you looked.You would go out to the edge of the channel and look down into the water. you could watch the bass swim in and out of that grass in 10 feet of water.The grass being so thick was part of the reason for this. Then if you looked at the rest of the bay. Its wasen't much different. grass was ever where. Their were so many different type as well. I know some will not beleive this, but orange carp were all over the place. They looked like 20 to 30 inch gold fish. They were their for the bass eggs. The second part will most likelly piss a few people off. But you know me. Who cares. Tournaments. It seems to me that some people can't fish unless their in one. Their all over the place. And here is the kicker. they only repersent about 10% of all the fisherman out their. Now why is this a problem? Simple. The attitude they being to fishing. stinks. On the flats one year, and this was during the ban by the way. I saw a number of dead stripers. My budy and I followed the dead fish back up tide. Well it lead us to a tournament boat. The guy wasn't in the money. So he caught a few striper. and then sat on the spot and was catching them one after the other. Him and his partner were riping the hooks out and bounceing them off their boat. most of them were dead before they went 50 ft. I said somthing to him about it. I was told to mind my oun#@#%&^%$# business Or he would kick the hell out of me. Well those that know me. Know the first thing I did was to invite him to shore, so he could try. my budy who was bigger stronge and wiser then I. Said let's just go get the cops. Which is what we did. Now what's your point. You are saying right now. This mantility is just spreading thru to many of them. Its what is best for them and to hell with the fishery. Don't tell me the problems of the bay. Can't you see I'm fishing a tourment? This attitude is spreading. And its not good for any one. The problem is we all know people that fish these things. Take them out of that game and their good people. Its the compatition that brings on the monster. Fishing was not ment for that. Its for relaxtion. Go fishing on a body of water. See how relaxed you are if a tournemet is bring run. Well I'll get down off my soap box now. Hows it going Howard. been fishing latlly?;) :D
 

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Salmo trutta , first, great story! I guess Courtney is a lurker now, but clearly has read a lot of Tidal Fish stuff.:clap:

Next, I am not as old as Bill or some others here, but I have been fishing the flats since about 1991 when I lived on Still Pond Creek. At that time the flats was open to "fishing". Honest truth we did not know you could not know that C&R was not allowed, we knew we could not keep them, we knew is that it was a short run in our Jon boat, there were a lot of fish, there were guides on the flats (I'll leave out names to protect their identity) we did not care about keeping fish and we had a blast all the time with a lot of big healthy fish. Not to overplay the big fish, not all were big as back in the hay day so to speak, however there were tons of fish and a really good number of big ones that would tow our 12 jon boat. If we did not catch 100+ fish in a few hours we considered it a bad day.

Time passed and the movement came to open the flats to C&R. I helped do the study along with a bunch of other dedicated anglers and DNR. That year we did the study we had great fishing, tons of fish and some big fish. At this point it was coming in to the public eye.

Then it opened....

The first two years fishing was really good. I fished almost every good weather day that it was open in those years and we had a ball.

Since the fishing has declined, but I still fish it as many days as I can because it is close.

Now what is different today?

1) more boats

2) more boats is OK, but more boats that do not understand how to fish the flats and run around like crazy is not. It scares the fish and they will leave. I have seen this happen and seen fish change their pattern because of it up there. When you fish 15-20 days and are able to watch the fish and where they go, you see it. And there are experienced people and guides out there who are totally guilty of it.

3) possibly the biggest factor, weather!
What I have observed is that we have had more rain days, more rain = more mud coming down the Susquehanna River. This reduces the water quality, once that happens the fish can not see the fly or lure. Then the bite for artificials dies off and people start saying, "the flats stink" this that and the other. The Flats do not stink, the weather stinks. The big fish are there, all you have to so is look at what the bait guys do, they smoke'm.

4) Possibly as big a factor as weather, the Conowingo Dam: The situation at the dam with the sediment at the bottom and it building up and coming down the river in the spring is something the MD agencies do not want to talk about because of the politics or better put, money to clean it up situation. There is a ton of sediment behind the dam that has built up over the years and when it does rain it makes the silt and everything else coming down the river that much worse then it would be with out the build up there is there. No one has mentioned this, but it really is a huge issue that is kept hush hush. If fixed it could improve water quality, thus our fishing success.

I save my comments about bait fishing up there for another post in this thread as I need to get some work done;)

Brandon
 
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