This is just a cruel reminder of what the LT fishing was like almost precisely 2 years ago to the day. We caught a dozen of these slot reds on the morning of July 20, 2013 in skinny water on the Rapp/Corrotoman River. The river is a desert this year. Hopefully better times are coming!
It would be nice, but I'm not expecting that kind of action for another few years. I am no expert, but from talking to a few of the people that I consider very knowledgeable about fishing the bay (at least the lower portion), we have really good spawns of reds about every 5 to 6 years. The fish we were catching in 2013 and 2014 were from a good 2011/2012 spawn. Those fish have now grown to over 30 inches and have, for the most part joined the big boys that migrate out to the ocean. If that pattern holds true, we may not have that kind of fishery on slot sized reds again until maybe 2018. Just my thoughts, but maybe someone that is more knowledgeable about the redfish spawning habits will chime in.
Edit: Found this post from the Virginia board that Byrd posted in 2011. His prediction was pretty darned close IMO and falls pretty much in line with what I have been told by others. I think its interesting:
"Seems like every 6-7 years there is a pup explosion. I first remember catching them in 1996 on the flats. In 2002 -2003 I found them all over Back river. They were there for two years, then gone. In 2008 - 2009 they were back like gangbusters, last year sucked as did this year. It will be 2014 before we have another great year on the pups."
I'll see your 20" fish and raise you a 25" Potomac Red from Sept. 2013. One of a dozen or so caught that day.
I agree on the cyclical thing. Every 6-7 years seems right assuming "good spawns" and no die offs of the good spawning class (2013 and 2014??? uh oh...).
Assuming the 2013 fish survive ok and make a good spawn in 2017 or so then that puts the return at 2019 or 2020. If the pattern holds we should know or have an inkling of good fishing to come in 2018 though because that's when the next big mass of fish will be 12-15" fish and catchable on hook and line. I had a good indicator 2013 was going to be great because in 2012 I was catching tons of shorts all season and by the end of the summer they were all 16-18" class fish. Cmon 2018/19.
Same story 2012, 2013. Had multiple days where the boat caught over 30, all above the Norris Bridge. I got my girlfriends family good and hooked on it and then the bottom dropped out. I caught one keeper all last summer in the same areas, and some shorts on the creeks off the bay. This year, zero. Had a good run on slot rock early, but that died when the water warmed up.