Some have better luck than others on Chesapeake Bay

Jan. 05, 2013 @ 07:29 PM

It’s a little embarrassing to report that I came back from the Chesapeake Bay last Saturday empty handed (well, I did bring home a couple of crabcakes and some leftover Oysters Rockefeller).

Dan Whelan and wife, Susan, from the Beach Pub restaurant in Virginia Beach, Va. were great hosts and Dan tried his best to put me on fish, but between the weather not cooperating and the fish not biting, we were skunked (that’s what fishermen call it when they don’t catch anything).

I do feel a lot better now that I have returned home to find emails with photos and reports from a number of others who caught giant stripers up there before, during and after my trip. Actually I don’t feel any better. Truthfully it hurts my feelings, but hey, I will get over it.

Now that I think about it I am probably deeply scarred for life, but that’s the breaks. I know better luck is coming just around the corner.

I arrived in Virginia Beach at around 6:30 a.m. last Friday morning after leaving Henderson at 3 a.m.

After a breakfast of corned beef hash and eggs, we headed out of Rudee’s Inlet in a 26-foot Parker boat into rough seas and giant waves.

The 20-mile ride to Cape Charles on the eastern shore of the Chesapeake Bay took an hour when it should have taken less than 30 minutes.

One fellow bounced his head off an exposed bolt as we slammed through the chop. It was rough, but at around noon it calmed down nicely.

We tried trolling striper lures and drifting eels under the bay bridge but for whatever reason the fish didn’t want to eat. We came in at dark with only ice in the cooler (and it hadn’t melted much). We didn’t have a bite, and didn’t see anyone in any of the hundred or so boats out catch a fish.

Saturday morning we again left out early knowing that a small craft advisory was to be in effect starting at 11 a.m. We hoped to get in a few hours fishing before the strong winds hit, but after punching through a few giant waves coming out of Rudee’s Inlet, we turned right around and headed back to the dock without wetting a line.

Oh well, we tried. I do know that there were a few fish caught during the time I was up since Oxford resident Susan Burgess Hughes (originally from Epsom) sent photos of fish landed by her husband Lyn and their sons Bryan and Nolan. We will get those in the paper soon.

Earlier in December up on the Chesapeake, the team of Henderson residents Tray McLendon, his grandfather, Darryl McLendon (Bojangles), Tray’s father, TD McLendon, and family friend Chuck Sharpe won the Catchin’ for Kids Rockfish Tournament with a 52.9-pound striper.

Team Jus’ Chillin,’ fishing aboard the boat Jus' Chillin' won the event that was held Dec. 7-9 in Virginia Beach. It’s great and rare to see a three-generational win like this. The annual event helps collect toys for Christmas gifts and also to raise additional funds for needy and underprivileged children in the Hampton Roads communities.

Kerr Lake fishing report – After returning home from Virginia Beach, I spent several days on Kerr Lake fishing with jigging spoons with limited success.

Each day a few stripers, largemouth bass and some white perch were hooked near the bottom in 25 to 40 feet of water. It seemed that the fish wanted jigs with either gold or green in them, but the deep bite was slow. I heard that some fish were still closer to the banks, but that should change as we start to see temperatures below freezing at night.

Next week’s report – Report from the Big Rock East Dealer Show in Raleigh where the latest in hunting and fishing equipment will be on display for sporting goods dealers to choose from for stocking their stores. I may get out on Belews Creek Lake for a little while on Sunday.

Tip of the week — Be sure to put a quality ball bearing swivel above your jigs to reduce line twist. Otherwise you can expect a mess as the day goes on.

Contact the writer by email at waltbowen@yahoo.com, on Facebook under Walt Bowen, or on twitter at @WaltBowen.