Good Friday Fishing on the Pocomoke

It’s becoming a tradition to take-off and fish each Good Friday prior to Easter, and this year was no exception.

As usual, Dave Knorr and I went to Shad Landing State Park on the Pocomoke River, and met up with Jeff Kvech and his two sons, Paulie and Nate.

Launching our boats, we noticed this artist painting a scene of the confluence of Corkers Creek and the Pocomoke River.

The whirligig seeds of red maple, which I suspect is not Acer rubrum, but rather Acer rubrum trilobum, the obligate wetland hybrid of red maple, with a tri or trident of three forward-facing lobes in the leaves, as these maples were observed growing in the inundation of the twice-a-day high tide of the fresh-tidal Pocomoke.

Jeff works with his boys, as they pitch jigs to the forested banks.  The Cubby mini-mites and soft plastic white grubs were the lures of the day for these pan fish.

Blackhaw viburnum and swamp azalea were in bloom along the banks.

I probably caught in excess of 30 black crappie on the day!

Dave catches a large-mouth bass, and we went on to catch bluegill, yellow-breasted sunfish, shiners, chain pickerel, yellow and white perch.  Black crappie was the dominant catch of the day.

Highbush blueberry in bloom, and which was a common species along the forested, swampy shoreline.

We were hoping that Steve Kolbe would be able to join us, but he could not due to work obligations, so we made a point to messenger him several pictures from the field.

Most every undercut, submerged woody debris and outside meander bend held fish.

Cross vine, an uncommon vine with southern Maryland representing the northernmost extent of its natural range.  This vine will have beautiful orange-yellow trumpet flowers in late May and early June.

A blue-gray gnat-catcher flies away just as I’m trying to take the picture.

The parasitic Christmas mistletoe, a common observation within the Park, appearing as evergreen pom-poms growing from the trees.

It never gets old, as each of us catch well over 30 to 40 fish each, several species, with a total for the day between us of upwards of 200 fish!  It comes at a cost though, as we all loose lures, snagged on submerged wood or in overhanging vegetation.

Now for an interesting story.  We floated our boats past a man in a canoe, within a tidal gut.  He had high end video equipment and was filming northern parula’s.  The chatter was significant and a parula or two was flitting around the boat, agitated, possibly claiming territory, and/or mating.  We thought the guy was the bird whisperer, as he was able to hold these parula’s nearby and get awesome close-up footage.

. . . well now for the rest of the story.  For the rest of the day we discussed how lucky this guy was to capture the parula madness on film.  Was there a nest immediately nearby?  Once I got home and looked closely at the pictures on my computer, and then enlarging the images, I noticed that the video-photographer was using a fake dummy parula with clip-on stick legs, a microphone clip and a speaker with parula song.  I used this particular photo rather than others because the upper of the two birds is a real parula that was just three-feet away from the camera lens!  Click on the photo to enlarge, and see for yourself.

I don’t claim to be a bird whisperer, but here are the photos that I was able to get of a prothonotary warbler (Protonotaria citrea) up close and personal.

Prothonotary’s are forest interior dwelling (FID) bird species that require substantial woodlands for breeding.

They prefer wetland swamps and rivers as critical habitat.

They primarily feed on insects, but will occasionally eat worms and snails.

The bird is bright yellow with blue-gray wings and large eyes.

The bird is a cavity nester, primarily taking advantage of old dead trees worked over by woodpeckers.

They migrate from Central and South America each spring to breed in Maryland and points just north, and primarily observed on the coastal plain, and again, typically on rivers and swamps, with large woodlots.

Typically shy, this bird was concentrating on feeding and not being annoyed by our fishing nearby, allowing for a great photo set.

Wow, what a beautiful bird!

We motored back to the Shad Landing boat launch and campgrounds.  The smell of wood fires and cooking dinners hung in the early evening air.

On our drive back home to the western shore and hungry, but also being Catholic gentlemen observing Good Friday, we stopped off at Popeye’s in Salisbury and got cajun fish sticks and butterfly shrimp for dinner.

Thank you Dave and Jeff for a great day of fishing.