Working the Birds

Birds Indicate Where The Fish Were

Dave and I took this Halloween Friday off to do some fishing on the Bay.  We launched out of the South River and motored out onto the Chesapeake Bay, south of Annapolis.  Very few boats were on the water and the afternoon temperature hovered around 60-degrees, but with a modest cold wind.  The water temperature was 59-degrees.


This cloud phenomenon is known as an alto-stratus cloud line.


The very distinct line was along the western shore, and more or less clear skies over the Bay.


We hunted for fish along the underwater contours of ridge lines, shoals, rock shorelines, bridge pilings and pier structure.  We watched the Garmin Fish-Finder for indications of “bait-balls” and schools of fish, which seemed infrequent and hard to come by.  We watched for fish breaking the water, and of course we watched for feeding birds.

Our only action on the day came when we observed this flock of gulls actively diving and feeding.  We approached carefully, and while still 100-yards out, stopped to watch the direction the school of fish was moving.  We then slowly moved into position above the direction of fish movement.  With no wake, we worked our way toward the feeding frenzy.  Now engine off and drifting . . . its time to cast.

Wham, Dave took two fish together almost immediately.  One fish came as he cast a soft-plastic swim bait and laid the rod on the floor of the boat, while he then dead-sticked a weighted jig to the bottom under the bait fish.  Both rods connected at the same time.  I reeled in my line to help Dave and possibly get a few photos.

Just as soon as the fish action turned on for us, it then turned off.  The school of fish scattered and the birds too.


Both striped bass dialed-in over the legally required 18-inches.


At least we were not skunked!  Generally when it comes to fishing on the open Bay, it’s either feast or famine.  When it’s hot, its wonderful.  When its cold, you wish you were fishing somewhere else, like maybe the fresh tidal Potomac or several other fun and generally reliable locations in Maryland.

None the less, its always great to be on the water!  Happy Halloween!

October 31, 2014.  Dry slot carved out of clouds by Chesapeake Bay as air sinks between opposing weather systems.  It was sinking air forced between the storm to our west and the east wind from the Atlantic.