Fishin' with Rick
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Rick, Jr.

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Rick (Rich), Sr.
June 25, 1925 - January 2, 2002
We miss ya', Dad.

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Rick (Ricky), III

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Fishin' Log
I stopped keeping my logs on the website but started adding them occasionally on my Facebook Page.

Here are my older fishing logs:
2005 Fishing Log
2004 Fishing Log
2003 Fishing Log
2002 Fishing Log
2001 Fishing Log(
2000 Fishing Log (58 trips)
1999 Fishing Log(83 trips!)_
1998 Fishing Log (109 trips!)
1975 Fishing Log
1973 Fishing Log coming soon
1972 Fishing Log
1971 Fishing Log
1970 Fishing Log
1969 Fishing Log (slim pickin's)
1968 Fishing Log (46 trips!)
1967 Fishing Log( 111 trips!)
1966 Fishing Log(67 trips!)


In the good 'ol days it was just dad and me. We have the same name but everyone called dad 'Rich' and they called me Ricky. That worked well although I preferred Rick to Ricky. Dad seemed to be Rich all along and that was ok with him. Now things got a little complicated about 18 years ago when another Rick came along. My son is 'Rick' also although we tried calling him 'Ricky' but he didn't like that any more than I do. So the point of all this is that Rick could be just about anyone, but when it comes to fishin' Rick means me and the other two Ricks. Confused?

Rick is a genuine fish'n nut. One of the many benefits of being part of a Ricksom is that our collection of Fishing in Maryland Awards are all in the name -- Richard Holt. "Hmm! I wonder which Rick caught that 5 lb. 2 oz pickerel?"  My dad and I actually have a few of those award citations for which we haven't a clue who actually caught the fish! Must have been me. 8-) My son, Rick, started his collection of Award Citations this summer with a big White Perch he caught. Had it made out to Rick Holt III, sneaky little guy!

My favorite fishing is for Chain Pickerel in the tidewater of the upper Chesapeake. Click here for some pickerel fishing tips.

Fishin' Log 2002

Most Recent entries are on top:
(go to the bottom for ancient history)

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Time: 1 pm - 4 pm
Location: Magothy creeks
Weather: Sunny, 35*  Wind S very light
Water Temp/Cond: 40*F , visibility maybe 2 ft. , some areas had evidence of an oil/gas spill.
Tide: Fast rising tide
Fish Caught:  Two white perch

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With the recent chatter on the messages boards about pickerel, pickeral or pike, whatever they're called, I got to thinking about catching some. This can be a good time of year for such a trip. Virgil must have been thinking the same thing because darn if he didn't call this morning and try to make a case for a frigid adventure.

All I can say is we gave it a shot, froze our butts off, and beat the skunk, but came up pickerel-less. We found some white perch on the North side of the river and even some evidence of grass emerging where we hadn't seen any yet this winter. That was encouraging. But not a pickerel to be found.

The cruise between creeks was almost unbearable with the cold finding every which way under our layers of clothes. Did I say it was cold out there today? Gawwwd, it was cooooollllllddddd! We tried one creek on the South side of the river before calling it a day, but found it mostly iced in and un-fishable.  Luv them pickerel! And BTW, pink was the HOT color today. Actually it was quite a stretch to call anything hot today (brrrrr!), but my only fish of the day came on a pink tail. 

Two trips for the price of one!  

Time: 9:30 am - 4 pm
Location: Lower reaches of the Magothy
Weather: Sunny, 60*  Wind S 10
Water Temp/Cond: 53*F (I guess, didn't have a DF), visibility about 24", very clean with few floating leaves.
Tide: Good falling tide, low at Mt. Pt. Bar was 3:20 pm
Fish Caught: A mess of fat white perch (one whopper of 13"), and some micro-dink rockfish.

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I let Virgil catch up on his sleep and I hit the river alone today. I almost had Ricky convinced to come along, but he decided it would be more fun to run the loader and manure spreader for his mother on the farm (I think his mother paid him. What other reason would a boy miss a day's fishin' to spread horse poop.). 

This was my first trip of the fall season on the lower river. I found no grass and no pickerel. It was a gorgeous day on the river and I tried every trick in the book to scare up a pike. The area was infested with white perch though, so I never lacked for action. I hooked up with one whopper perch and enjoyed some incredible fall colors. See the pics.

Two trips for the price of one!  

Time: 11 am - 4:30 pm
Location: Mid-reaches of the Magothy
Weather: PC, 50* (felt like 30), wind NW 10-20
Water Temp/Cond: 53*F, visibility about 24", lots of floating leaves in the cove.
Tide: Kind of low and slow. Low at Mt. Pt. Bar was about 2 pm.
Fish Caught: A mess of fat white perch, and some scattered action from dink and micro-dick rockfish.

Time: 10:30 am - 3 pm
Location: Upper-reaches of the Magothy
Weather: Sunny, 60*, S wind of about 10.
Water Temp/Cond: 53*F, visibility about 24", lots of floating leaves just about everywhere we fished. A pain!.
Tide: We expected to catch the falling tide. Water levels were high when we started and never budged all day. In fact, it looked liked the tide had come in a little when it should have been going out. Blame the S wind for that.
Fish Caught: 3 chain pickerel, some white perch and dink rockfish, and 1 nice crappie.

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I got an email from my boss saying my mid-morning meeting was cancelled. A quick look at the weather seemed to indicate there was some hope the winds would die down a bit by mid-day or so. Virgil was a bit hesitant when I called suggesting we hit the river for a while. He'd just been outside watching the treetops sway. When we met about an hour later the treetops were still swaying.

We started upriver into the teeth of the wind with spray flying. We were getting wet and colder by the second so we short circuited our plan and headed for the cover of a tiny cove. In the cove we played with white perch just about everywhere we looked and mixed in were some micro-dink rockfish, but no pickerel, our primary quarry.  We worked every inch of the cove because it was so darn cold we really didn't want to face the wind again.

Every once in a while the breeze slacked a bit and we'd pretty much beat the cove to a pulp so we just sort of ended up out in the river hugging the shore and looking pathetic. Then we spotted a single gull doing gull stuff and an ever so faint flash that just might have been the splash of a single fish. With the electric motor on 5, our ultralights dragging jig/minnow on the troll and our frozen hands in our pockets we headed for the lonely gull.

As we got closer we could see some definite surface action and a couple more gulls appeared. We hooked up a couple times on the troll and landed some dink rockfish. "Hey, they are fish and it's too darn windy and cold to go any further, what'ya say we do the LTJ thing and save the pickerel for another day," says Virgil, a very practical sort of fella. We grabbed the rods with BA's and proceeded to C&R the baby rock hoping against hope the next one would be a keeper. Not even close. 

We stayed till sunset, a bitter cold event then zipped back to the ramp planning our next adventure. "I'll meet ya' at 10:30 in the AM." 

10/8 - I met Virgil at the ramp at the prescribed hour. And what a difference a day makes! BEAUTIFUL day! We had a nice water level and our hopes ran high as we motored upriver at a good clip. No cold spray and bitter temps today. This day was meant for fishin'. We were lovin' life.

We stopped by Cockey's Creek on the way upriver and gave it a good once over. Nice creek, very fishy looking when it's full of water and a bit of a disappointment when we put it to the test. Other than a nice school of perch/rock at our first stop we couldn't buy a fish. The creek was full of bait too. Schools of tiny shad-like critters and the usual minnows were everywhere. It's definitely worth another look on another day, but we logged out and zipped north for what we felt was a 'sure thing', those areas upriver that fished so well on Monday. 

Hotspot #1 looked good, real good. The shoreline cover that was exposed on Monday was now submerged and sure to be swarming with pike. HA! Fooled again. We did trick one pickerel into posing for a photo, but in spite of our best efforts we couldn't as much as get another bite there.

And that's pretty much how the rest of the day went. Our hotspots were all coldspots. In spite of the beautiful day, the perfect water levels and a year's supply of Bodkin Creek minnows we only managed an occasional fish for an exceptional amount of effort. So what's up?  Our theory -- it's nice to have water in the river, but it won't do you much good if it's not moving one way or the other. Water levels didn't budge today and as far as we could tell the fish were napping all day.

Time: 11 am - 4:30 pm
Location: Upper reaches of the Magothy
Weather: Cloudy, 50*, wind E 10
Water Temp/Cond: 52-54*F, visibility about 18-24", lots of floating leaves
Tide: Low slack at start, but fast rising for most of the afternoon.
Fish Caught: 12 chain pickerel, 16"-22 3/4", 6 fat white perch, one nice yellow perch, a slew of baby rock, one BIG fat carp, and a largemouth bass of about 1.5 lbs.
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Vigil twisted my arm and made me go fishing today. Well, maybe I really wanted to go, I confess. We hit the river about 11 AM and set to the task of catching the first pickerel of the fall season. Virgil had worked the river several times recently and come up dry for pickerel in our usual haunts. We were getting concerned that maybe something was up with the pike. This time last year we were nailing them good.

Our theory, for lack of a better idea was to hit some of the 'freshest' water we could find in the river. It had been a salty dry season and we wondered if maybe we'd have a better shot at the pickerel and maybe find some grass if we took a little longer boat-ride than usual. It was a chilly boat ride.

We pulled into a cove that we have only visited before from shore and that was decades ago. It looked fishy, had pickerel written all over it. Tides make a great excuse when you tidewater fishing. We blasted the shorelines and center of the cove blaming the low slack tide for our lack of results. Then we hit a honey-hole. Wham, wham, wham wham. I nailed four pike in a row from the same spot. Virgil, casting the same exact bait in the same general area was just watching me bail 'em. 

That didn't last long. Virgil got in on the action and before we pulled out of there we'd landed, tagged and released six pickerel. Things were looking up. We worked our way up-river and found more productive water as we went along. Pickerel bit every now and then. Virgil had the hot stick for perch. All I could catch was pickerel.

But Virgil didn't stop with perch. A couple times he got into stripers. Largest was about 16", and there were a bunch of dinks. At one point we had a school of dinks chasing bait in less than 2 ft. of water, splashing and carrying on like the big boys out in the bay. Then BUBBA came to call. Virgil was dancing all over the boat following a monster fish with his ultralight and 6 lb. line. It circled the boat a couple times before we got a look at it. That monster CARP put up one heck of a fight!

Just to round out his catch Virgil nailed a largemouth bass near a deep water pier. Yes, a bass in the Magothy! Is that cool or what! Well, it was getting cold and rain was threatening. We bundled up and ran for cover. Things are looking up on the Magothy.

Time: 8 am - 6:30 pm
Location: Leonard's Lake, Salisbury
Weather: Mostly sunny, 85 degrees, occasional light breeze
Water Temp/Cond: 72*-82*, not much visibility w/ the tannin colored water and lots of hair like algae suspended.
Fish Caught: 3 chain pickerel (largest 26 7/8, my personal best!), 3 bass (largest maybe 2 lbs.), a dozen or more fiesty bluegills and a half dozen nice crappie.
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It was gonna be an offshore trip, but that didn't work out. I met Virgil at the lake for a day of freshwater catchin' anything that would bite. Water temp was about 72F degrees at the start and air temps were in the 70's too. It was a beautiful morning to be on the water and all the comforts of home on Virgil's new Tracker.

Virgil had already kicked the skunk out of the boat by the time I got there. I saw him videoing a release of something right near the ramp. "Just a little one," he said. We slipped out into the main lake with guns blazin'. Working shoreline structure was the strategy and we mixed it up each working a different lure.

As we passed one particularly fishy looking tree Virgil passed it up in his usual gentlemanly fashion and offered me first cast. I tossed the red/white assassin just off the submerged branches and felt the first tug of a fish for the day, and in fact the first tug of a fish I've felt in well over a month. Man that felt good!

It was good one. My ultralight was put to the test with drag singing and some hootin' and hollerin' to boot. The fished circled around behind the boat and I struggled to keep him out of the prop. Still hadn't seen him, but he was tiring. In a moment I got a glimpse of him and realized it was a hefty pickerel. Now were talkin' -- pickerel, heehaa! I get excited about pickerel, can't explain it, just luv them darn fish. Virgil slipped the net under him and we admired him with a picture and measuring tape -- 26 7/8 inches. My personal best for pickerel. I was havin' a good day already!

I wish I could say the rest of the day was full of similar excitement. It didn't work out that way. We struggled to find something that would consistently put bass in the boat, but never found it. For some mid-day action we messed with the panfish and Virgil had some success catching bluegills on the fly rod with poppers. He's getting better with that thing ever time I see him. We never found any concentrations of crappie which is a bit unusual for this lake, but did manage to pick away at them here and there trolling tiny tubes.

We stuck it out hoping for an evening bite as the sun went down, but the only thing that happened in the fading light was the arrival of those pesky Eastern Shore Skeeters. We called it a day. Thanks for letting me join you Virgil, and thanks for passing up that first cast so the guy in the back of the boat had a shot at it.

Time: 2 pm - 8:30 pm
Location: Snake Reef and Podickory Point
Weather: Mostly cloudy, 80*, light southerly breeze
Water Temp/Cond: Forgot to make note of it. Visibility was maybe 2' max.
Tide: Fished the outgoing tide at Snake Reef and the incoming further south later in the eve.
Fish Caught: 30-40 white perch, one nice spot, a bunch of tiny croaker and one big croaker

Ricky and I used up a dozen bloodies drifting over Snake Reef from about 2 - 4:30 pm. We had steady action from white perch, but released them all since I still have some perch in the freezer. Our plan was to chum the rest of the day. We searched the lumps south of Snake Reef and came upon one with some life on it where we dropped anchor for about a half hour.

We managed to pull one whopper croaker from that lump, but not another darn thing. When it was obvious we hadn't hit upon a bonanza we moved on further south and set up off Podickory out near the channel in about 30 ft of water and began slinging chum in earnest. After an hour or so the tide finally started moving and we had a couple of hours of good currents just before dark, but returned to the dock with nothing to show for it. Didn't even lose a bait off Podickory this eve.

Date: 6/18/02
Time: 7:30 am - 5 PM
Location: Off OC, 20 Fathom fingers, Jackspot
Weather: PC, 80*, very light easterly breeze
Fish Caught: 1 small mako, 1 big bluefish

Ricky and I joined Virgil Poe aboard Lick-ad-Split for a mid-week offshore adventure. This was our first sharking trip of the season. With the light winds we made quick work of getting out to the fingers and then we began wishing the wind would blow just a little bit. For a while we had to start the motor occasionally to bump us along for some semblance of a drift. It took a couple hours of praying to the wind gods before the wind finally picked up to a whisper and got us moving a bit.

We saw sharks on this trip, but it seemed that the goofy things were more interested in our floats than they were in our baits. On numerous occasions we had what appeared to be small mako's in our slick that simply circled the floats and disappeared. And just to rub it in we had our share of bait stealers too. You'd get a good run and wait for that second move that never came. Pull in the line and the bait was gone or just chewed a bit.

We were thinking maybe it was bluefish, but through the entire day we never had a bait bit in half. Guess we'll never know, but we tried downsizing hooks, hitting them as soon as they ran, jigging baits, and darn if we could hook them. Maybe small sharks, maybe bluefish? Dunno. We hooked up one small mako which Ricky brought to the boat. Though we hoped for some shark steaks from this trip this guy looked like he'd just barely make the minimum if at all, so we let him swim off to be grilled  another day.

We worked our way down to the Jackspot near day's end and picked up one hefty bluefish. Cruised back at about 35 mph into a beautiful sunset. Virgil is still down there fishing and enjoying the second week of his vacation so we'll have to wait for his summer vacation pics for snapshots of this day.

6/10/02, 2 pm - 5 pm, Ricky and I fished Podickory this afternoon with the last of the bloodies left over from our Saturday trip. We set out on a low tide, just about the bottom of the tide and headed for Podickory. With only a couple of hours and a few bloodies this promised to be a short trip. 

We tried one or two drift up in close to the crab pots with only a couple little perch to show for it, then moved out near the 'lumps' and found a few croaker, bigger white perch and a big spot. That was a nice surprise. The croaker were in the 14-16" range. Feisty little buggers.

Time: 7:30 am - Noon
Location: Snake Reef and Podickory Point
Weather: Sunny, 70*, a mostly northerly breeze of about 10 mph.
Water Temp/Cond: Forgot to make note of it. Visibility was maybe 2' max.
Tide: Had an exceptional high tide when we left the pier. Fshed the Falling tide. Currents were ripping at Podickory later in the morning. High at Mt. Pt. Bar had been 5:30 am.
Fish Caught: 30-40 white perch and a few tiny stripers

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Father and son left out of the Magothy on a very high tide but quiet tide. We headed for Snake Reef for our first trip there this year and did a little drifting of bloodworms to pass the time. We were rewarded with quite a few perch, maybe 30 or 40 in all. We kept two dozen for a fish fry and then moved down to look around Podickory a bit.

By this time the currents had picked up to a roar and that combined with the slight northerly breeze made our drift just a bit too fast for Ricky's ultralight. To get his line on the bottom we anchored out near the drop and proceeded to get buzzed by the usual weekend armada of kamikaze boats. When one particular set of wakes sent half the stuff on the dash flying we gave it up for the day (after cleaning up the mess). We got a few perch at anchor but nothing like on the drift earlier.

While at anchor there we spotted the 'ladies in the Grady' aboard the Barrie Z II who were drifting Podickory and they caught a few as they passed by. I tried to hale them on the vhf, but I think I need to check my antenna connection. Wish I would have thought, I'd have snapped a pic of them in action on their VERY nice boat. We're hoping to slip out Sunday evening and use up the few bloodies we have left.

PS. When we returned to the dock around noon or so the water levels were actually higher than when we started, in fact almost over the pier in spite of the fact we were within an hour of the predicted low and the currents had been ripping out at Podickory for the entire time we were there. Guess that will have to remain a mystery. 

Time: 4 pm - 8 pm
Location: Podickory Point and inside the Magothy
Weather: Sunny, 60*, steady (sometimes stiff) NW breeze
Water Temp/Cond: Forgot to make note of it. Visibility was maybe 2' max.
Tide: Falling tide. Low at Mt. Pt. Bar was about 9:30 pm
Fish Caught: half dozen white perch

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Had to wait for my fishin' partners to get out of school this afternoon before we headed out. We couldn't get any bloodies so we settled for some peelers and squid. Bottom fishing the hard bottoms was the game plan. Just wanted to see if we could find any action.

Darn wind! It wasn't blowin' a gale or anything but darn if the wind and tide didn't conspire to give us a drift of about 100 mph. In spite of that we managed to hook up with a few perch. We gave it up after a while and slipped pack up in the river to try a few drifts out of the wind.

Picked up a couple perch there too and about 7 pm the wind seemed to slack off so we zipped back out to Podickory for one last drift. Of course, the wind picked up just about the time we dropped the lines in. I give up. It was nice to get out with my old fishin' partners (my son Rick and nephew Bryan.)  They each caught their first fish of the year and enjoyed the cool evening instead of doing homework.

I wouldn't go running out to the hard bottom looking to load up on perch quite yet, but there are a few to be had.

5/4&5/02 - Ricky and I venture out aboard "Hatless" on Sat. from about Noon - 4 PM. Only had two lines ready for this trip so we managed to dodge any fish that might have wanted a meal. El Skunko. On Sunday we had big plans for an early start, but found the boat 'lift bound' due to the low water. Couldn't get free till 9:30 AM. We put in a long day, trolling till about 3 PM. One weak pull early in the day was all we had to show for our efforts. We pulled four lines this day.

Report from Fishbone's was that on Sat. there was a short but sweet bite between 9-9:30 am, and a lot of complaining the rest of the day. Today, as on Sat., we worked from the LP bouy to the bridge over the old dumping grounds. Never saw a fish caught either day.

OK, I feel better now. The impression I got from this weekend is that timing was everything. That Sat. bite occured during the first part of the incoming tide in the AM and there were some good strong currents. Unfortunately we got a late start and missed it. We fished the same period on Sunday, but never felt the push of the tide. When we returned to the pier on what should have been a high tide, we found the water just a wee bit higher than it had been in the morning when we had to drag the boat off the lift. I'm blamin' it on the tides. Yea, it was the tide.

4/21/01 - A non-fishing report. Ricky and I headed out of the Magothy this morning just before daybreak. It was flat calm in Sillery Bay, but beyond Mt. Point Bar it was a different story. We headed out into the chop and started to set some lines after we crossed the channel at Baltimore Light.

We were rockin' and rolllin' and it was a challenge to work in the back of the boat. We actually got one line set and I was working on the second when we decided it just wasn't working. We were back at the dock by 7:30 am. There were as many boats going in as coming out so we weren't alone in our decision. The fish are safe today, the Holt boys are taking the day off.

Time: 11:00 am - 5:30 pm
Location: Chesapeake Bay south of the bridges out of Sandy Point SP.
Weather: Sunny, 50*, steady (sometimes stiff) southerly breeze that picked up to a good blow by quitin' time..
Water Temp/Cond: Water temp showed 50*F
Tide: Water levels high at start even though we were almost on the dead low.  (low at Mt. Pt. Bar ~11:30 am)
Fish Caught: 5 striped bass from 23"- 37" released.

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Virgil Poe and I got a late start for a spur of the moment shakedown cruise aboard Lick-A-D-Split. I got to his place about 9:30 am and we commenced rigging and loading the boat for the first trolling trip of the season. We left the driveway hoping we hadn't forgotten anything important.

We discovered one important thing we'd forgotten immediately after launching at Sandy Point. Virgil came running back to the boat after he parked the truck saying he thinks he forgot to close the seacock. Hmmm! "Quick, fixit it!" "No, I gotta get a pic of this Senior Moment!" Well, we snapped a pic and fixed it quick. Whew!

Just South of the bridges we commenced setting up a 10 line spread. Nothing was pre-rigged so this was a slow process especially with having to hold on for dear life just to stand up. The southerly breezes had the bay all chopped up and this being the first trip of the season we still had to develop our sea legs. It's was about 2 pm when we finally had the full spread out.

There were barren areas and then areas with good concentrations of bait and marks. Prime areas seem to be in the deep and it didn't take us long to key in on the gannets to find those areas. They weren't very active, but they definitely knew were the bait was hanging.

We didn't exactly set the world on fire, but eventually we beat the odds and hooked up. We had boated several fish by the time we had to start thinking about leaving for work. The wind had kicked up to a stiff blow and the gannets started dive bombing steady. More gannets appeared and we had about a dozen of them visible and being very active.

With the clock ticking away we hooked up again and bemoaned the fact that we might be leaving when things were going to heat up. This was somewhere right around the high. One more small fish came in as we pulled the spread and wrapped things up for the day. Only one color caught today -- chartreuse.

Date: 3/29/02
Time: 7:30 am - 11:30 am
Location: Magothy River, out of Cornfield Creek.
Weather: PC, 50*, light SE breeze at start that increased and was blowing steady out of the S when I left..
Water Temp/Cond: Water temp 50* F
Tide: Water levels were high at start with high tide at Mt. Pt. Bar at 6:29 am 
Fish Caught: 7 chain pickerel (all dinks except for one 20"er)

Fished alone today in some of my usual haunts on the lower river. There was a nice high tide in the morning with the water way up in the shoreline. If fished my way through my list of go-to spots with two small pickerel to show for it. No other bites or even maybe bites.

Finally about 10 am or so I noticed the water levels dropping. If I was going to get anything it had better start soon as I needed to be off the water by noon. I began working my way back to the ramp fishing over the same water I'd fished on the way out. The water was falling fast, I could almost feel it.

I anchored up off some downed trees since the wind was blowing me around too much to drift. On the first cast I had a fish on. For the next hour I played with a school of small pike laying on some grass off those trees. I had a heck of a time hooking the little buggers with the store bought version of the stumpjumper I was throwing, but with time running short and the fish in a frenzy I just kept at it. 

After losing a half dozen fish in a row I put down that rod and picked up one with a Poe jig on it. Next cast I had a fish on, tagged and released him. This is too easy. Next cast I snagged and lost the Poe jig. Bummer.  Since I'd lost confidence in that store bought stumpjumper I took the time to snip it off and tie on one of my home-made horsehead jigs. I make them with as big a hook as will fit in the mold.

Whether it was dumb luck, coincidence, confidence or the bigger hook I don't know. But from then on I had no trouble hooking up. My last fish was a 20 incher. That's about as big as we've seen on the last couple trips. Guess the big ones are too busy making whoopee to be distracted by a jig/minnow. Another fine day on the river. Hope to get out again tomorrow morning if the wind don't blow.

Date: 3/26/02
Time: 9 am - 1 pm
Location: Magothy River, out of Ferry Point.
Weather: PC, 50*, light SW breeze at start that increased to a steady 15 mph in the afternoon.
Water Temp/Cond: Water temp showed 46-52*F
Tide: Water levels were extremely low at start and tide was low/slack (low 8:05 am at Mt. Pt. Bar), for the next couple hours water movement and rise were imperceptible and we didn't notice more than a couple inches rise before we quit. 
Fish Caught: 6 chain pickerel (largest 14 1/2"), one yellow perch.

I really felt bad when I called Virgil this morning. He sounded like death warmed over on the phone, but he said he wanted to go fishing today so I packed up the car and headed for his place. He was still roaming around in a sleepy haze sipping coffee when I got there. I helped him with the checklist - camera, lunch, a couple rods, coffee...ok, let's hit the road.

We ramped at Ferry Point on very low water. This was to be expected as we were on a low slack tide -- not the best of conditions for pickerel fishing. He was throwing white, I tossed chartreuse. Virgil caught the first fish, the only fish in that creek I think. We waited patiently for some water to move, but the tide languished.

For a change of scenery we hit a couple other creeks, hoping, waiting for some tide. The tide never budged and the fish never woke up. We pulled a few dinks from the grassy shallows here and there, but that was about it. The wind came up and that was the last straw. We called it a day -- a sleepy slow day.

Monitoring Yellow Perch Run on the Upper Magothy

2/16/01 - Stopped by Catherine Ave. and found stream low and just a little bit cloudy. Saw no sign of fish or eggs. A DNR officer that stopped to check what I was up to said they were knocking the heck out of them down stream a little ways at Beachwood Grove.
2/18/01 - Stopped by Catherine Ave. and found stream low and crystal clear. Still no sign of fish or eggs.
2/19/01 - Stopped by Catherine Ave. and found stream high due to tidal incursion. Tide had pushed 100 yds or so beyond the undercut log and there was a couple inches of water over the log. Water was cloudy so I couldn't spot any fish in the holes on the bends. No sign of egg strings either.
2/22/02 - Hey, I scoped out a new fishin' hole today. I had a meeting at Lake Waterford Park this morning so I stopped at the headwaters and still didn't see any sign of perch or spawning activity. There were some big schools of some sort of minnow size thingy swimming around that I hadn't seen on past trips. After the meeting we went to a 70 ac. property the county just purchased in Beachwood Grove off Magothy Bridge Road. Neat place right on the river. There is a fishy looking cove there we'll have to check out one of these days. Don't know what the final plans will be for the property, but it definitely has some potential.
2/25/02 - Walked upstream from Catherine Ave till the greenbrier turned me back. Tidewater had penetrated as far as I went. Some minnows still schooled at the undercut log. No sign of perch or spawning.
2/26/02 - Walked upstream for Catherine Ave to the high bank with the house on it. Tidewater had penetrated to just beyond the undercut log with just about 1/2" water over the log. Just below the log the minnows were still schooled. No sign of perch or spawning activity.
2/28/02 - Walked upstream  from Catherine Ave. Spotted about 3-4 yellow perch at the first bend. No other signs of fish or spawning all the way up to the high bank. Water level was low. Water was clear and moving. Minnows were scattered and not schooled as before.
3/4/02 - Walked upstream for Catherine Ave. No signs of perch or spawning. Lots of minnows flitting about. Water temp in the shallows by the bridge was 43.5*F.
3/5/02 - Virgil said he stopped by today and found some perch in the hole by the undercut log that still spans the stream. No sign of eggs, but he did say the behavior of the few fish he saw kind of looked liked they had spawning on their minds. He said the minnows(shiners) are still evident all over the stream, but not schooled up as they were earlier.
3/7/02 - Stopped by the headwaters late this afternoon. Didn't see any perch. The stream was swarming with minnows. I saw two yellow perch egg cases between the bridge and the first sharp bend. Water temp in the shallows near the bridge was 50.5*F.
3/11/02 - Visited Catherine Ave. and found fish in most of the deep pools. Probably a couple dozen perch total. Counted 6 egg cases as I went upstream to the high bank house. Someone has removed the undercut log (cut it out with a saw.) There were a bunch of perch and shiners staged in that pool. Two of the egg cases were upstream from that area.

Date: 3/7/02
Time: 8:30 am - 2 pm
Location: Magothy River, out of Ferry Point.
Weather: Sunny, 60*, light southerly breeze at start that increased to 10-15 mph in the afternoon.
Water Temp/Cond: Water temp showed 44-51*F
Tide: Water levels were extremely low at start and rising, but slowly. We fished a rising tide. (high at 1:46 pm at Mt. Pt. Bar) 
Fish Caught: 16 chain pickerel (largest 19 1/4").  2 nice white perch.

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Looking back at the numbers today it would seem we had an action packed day. But all the action really came in an hour or so around noon. We pounded the waters of a couple creeks on low water and had little to show for it by about 11 am or so. A couple pickerel and small ones at that.

Water levels hung low till about that time and then finally we started to see some rise. Alas! This is the key to real action lately. Get some water moving, hit the right areas and the pickerel will oblige. It wasn't a really hot bite today, but we did see a flurry of action for an hour or so. It shut down as quickly as it started as we hit the high tide mark.

But all was not lost as this day was full of a different kind of action. Bird life was everywhere with Canada Geese, Mallards, Swans making all kind of racket. Belted Kingfishers making stealth runs on unsuspecting minnows. Great Blue Herons playing pterodactyl. Grackles by the thousands decorating one neighborhoods trees (and cars and decks, no doubt.)

We watched a fox watch us and stared at the ass end of a muskrat. The weather was beautiful. We had some quiet conversation with a nice lady enjoying the afternoon sun on her pier, enjoyed a little turkey on wheat, and liverwurst on white, both with onions, then headed for the ramp. Another fine day on the river.

Date: 3/1/02
Time: 11:30 am - 2 pm
Location: Magothy River, out of Ferry Point.
Weather: Sunny, 45*, variable breezes
Water Temp/Cond: Water temp showed 46-47*
Tide: Water levels were extremely low at start and falling. We fished a falling tide. (low 2:24 pm at Mt. Pt. Bar) 
Fish Caught: 3 chain pickerel (largest 21 3/4"). One yellow perch, 5 nice white perch.

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Virgil was coming off a double shift, dead tired, slept late. He got up late, looked out the window and saw clear skies and light winds. About that time my phone rings. I can tell he hasn't hardly finished his first cup of coffee, a little rough around the edges. "Wanna go out for a couple hours?" "Hell, yeah, I'll meet ya' at the ramp." I quickly scribble out a leave slip for half day and I'm on my way.

When I got to the ramp Virgil was just getting out of the truck. Water levels were low. Worrisome low. There was skim ice floating here and there and the water was still falling. We'd better get fishin' while there's still hope. We left the ramp on electric and started working piers. Water levels were so low we had to lay way off the piers and fish the ends and stray pilings. Not much happening.

We had a couple follows and taps, but the pickerel were not very aggressive. Finally I got bit and landed our biggest fish of the day. Not a monster but she had a belly. Nice fish. We were kinda on the clock today, with a deadline of 2 pm. This didn't give us much time to experiment. We needed a sure thing.

We picked a creek we felt would give us a fair shake and made a bee-line for it. Chilly ride, but quick. The water was still falling and we found ourselves basically sitting in the center of the creek and working the deepest water which was only 3 ft. or so.

Action was slow. Virgil hooked up with a nice yellow perch, we got a couple small pickerel and we were getting bumped by something that was stealing us blind. Finally we nailed one, a white perch of good dimensions. Virgil's eyes lit up! Dinner! If we could get him a half dozen or so, he and his buddy would have fish for dinner at work this evening.

The pickerel weren't cooperating anyway and time was short so we both gave the perch a shot. Never did reach our goal of getting a half dozen, but there were 5 fat white perch swimming in the live-well before we headed for the ramp. Another fine day on the river!

Date: 2/25/02
Time: 9 am - 2 pm
Location: Magothy River, out of Ferry Point.
Weather: Sunny, felt like maybe 45 when the S breeze was blowing and it blew steady at about 10 most of the day
Water Temp/Cond: Water temp showed 45*
Tide: Water levels were medium at start. We caught the tail end of the falling tide but the water never got real low (low about 10:30 am) and then fished a fast rising tide till quitin' time. 
Fish Caught: 13 chain pickerel (largest 22 1/2", but most in the 10-14" range). One yellow perch.

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Virgil Poe and I ran around the river for a while today. The weather was a disappointment as it was predicted to be in the mid-60's with a light S breeze. We had a steady S breeze of 10-15 blowing over that 45 degree water so it stayed chilly all day.

We got off to a good start on the tail end of a fast falling tide. First fish of the day turned out to be the largest of the day also. I had a pick-up from a fish that spit the hook and laughed at me right at the boat. As he was swimming away I spotted a tag in his broad shoulder. Darn!

Virgil made a cast back to the same area and wham! We got him that time. Turns out Virgil had caught him about 10 days ago right across the creek. We had a flurry of activity along that set of piers and ran out of piers and tide at about the same time.

While we were sitting on the slack tide with a cold wind blowing down our necks we decided to run down river and try some water we hadn't hit in a while. First creek was crystal clear and barren of fish as far as we could tell. We moved on. Next cove produced a flurry of activity once the tide started rising. One of them was a recapture from last November. We pulled another 3 or 4 out of there before we looked at the clock and realized time was running out for Virgil to head for work

One last stop on the south side of the river on the way back produced a couple more pike and we called it a day. Most of the fish today were caught on a chartreuse horse-head (1/16 oz) w/ minnow. My biggest of the day was caught on a mepps w/ minnow.  A moving tide was definitely a key factor.

Another fine day on the river!

Date: 2/14/02
Time: 11:30 am - 6:00 pm
Location: Magothy River, out of Ferry Point.
Weather: Sunny, COLD and when the breeze picked up it was REALLY COLD! A southerly breeze of about 10 mph pestered us all day.
Water Temp/Cond: Water temp showed 42-44* ( but we haven't calibrated the temp gauge so we're not too sure of that.) Some light skim ice on Mill Creek.
Tide: We caught the tail end of the falling tide (low about 2pm) and then fished a fast rising tide till dark. 
Fish Caught: 19 chain pickerel (largest 23 1/4"), 4 jumbo white perch, 2 yellow perch.

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Late start today. Virgil and I hit the river about 11:30 this morning. Water levels were low, there was ice on the creek and it was frigin' COLD in spite of the sun and clear skies. Just to test our manliness (I can't think of any other logical explanation) we ran down the river at about 30 mph to find the perfect creek for today's fishing. Brrrr!

We thought we had the perfect spot till we realized the wind was coming out of the south which made it hard to hide from the chilly breeze. Undaunted we trolled a bit with no success then decided to check out the back of the creek for a while. There was not much water back there but it was out of the wind, and we managed to hook up with a few small pickerel and a couple white perch. We fished back there till the tide bottomed out and what little action we had finally fizzed.

We were feeling a bit grim with the tide bottomed out, a genuine chill in the air and a pickerel bite that just wasn't happening. What made the most sense at the time was to 'get out of the wind.' So that we did by tucking up in another small feeder creek. It was rather shallow which turned out to be to our advantage since the water was a couple degrees warmer there. When I started tossing my Mepps/minnow combo in there on a sunny shoreline things finally started happening.

I had a ball getting bit, bait stole, minnows shredded and occasionally hooking and even landing the dink pickerel that roamed in that little cut. Virgil hooked up with a whopper yellow perch too. We were out of the wind and catching fish. It felt pretty good. "So whatya say we go back up the other end of the creek and see if we can't find a better grade of fish while the fish are on the feed," we both agreed.

It was a good move. The sun was dropping fast and the bright hardware didn't produce on our first pass so I switched to my old standby horsehead jig/minnow combo and that was the ticket. We had one brief flurry of real action with big fish. Three fish in a row over 21 inches with the biggest of 23 1/4". One of them was a recapture from 3 months ago. Virgil missed a big one right under the boat and he insisted that I stole his fish when I landed that big one moments later. "I dunno, I'm in the back of the boat and you're in the front of the boat, how could it be the same fish?" 

We continued to find pickerel right up till almost dark though we never found any more of those big ones. This was some unusual low light action at day's end, but it was mostly on small fish. All in all, it was a decent afternoon of fishing. The ride back to the ramp in the twilight was brutal cold, but we still had just a bit of that warm glow from an hour of real pickerel action with the sun on the treetops.

If we'd have landed every pickerel that bit today we could have easily tripled our catch. For some reason we weren't getting solid hookups. But a good time was had by all. Luv them pickerel!

Date: 2/8/02
Time: 9 am - 2:00 pm
Location: Magothy River, out of Ferry Point.
Weather: Sunny, brisk morning but it warmed up and felt nice as long as the wind didn't blow. Occasionally a breeze would come up from the NW and we'd shiver a bit.
Water Temp/Cond: How cold is ice? Mill Creek was iced over with 1/4" of ice in the morning. The ice was gone when we returned to the ramp at 2 pm.
Tide: Low this morning was about 9:15 am at Mountain Point Bar so we started on the low slack and fished a rising tide. 
Fish Caught: 4 chain pickerel (largest 19 1/4"), 3 jumbo white perch, one nice yellow perch.

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I joined Virgil Poe this morning for a peaceful day on the river. It was brisk and frosty this morning, but the forecast of high in the 50's gave us hope for a pleasant sunny day. We were shocked when we got to the ramp and found hard water covering the creek -- ice as far as we could see in the creek. It appeared that the river was free of ice so we launched and plowed our way out of the creek to clear water.

But wait -- let's back up a minute so you can appreciate our one moment of excitement at launch. Virgil had backed the truck down the ramp and the boat was beginning to float free as I gave a tug on the lines to pull the boat the rest of the way off the trailer. I was struggling because the water was frozen and the boat didn't want to move. All of the sudden I see the trailer sink out of sight and where the trailer sat was now the truck with wheels under water and muffler blowing bubbles.

I didn't have time to panic and couldn't have done much to help anyway so I just stood there dumbfounded. It seems the brakes had completely failed, peddle to the floor. Virgil stalled the truck in gear and slammed on the emergency brake just in time. After restarting the truck Virgil managed to pull out and park the trailer. Truck repairs could wait till later. We were going fishing.

We had trouble finding water that wasn't frozen and fooled around upriver for an hour or so without even a hit. The wind would kick up every now and then and the temps were warming up so we were hopeful we'd be able fish some creeks in short time. We poked along the shore and eventually slipped up into one our usual haunts. We trolled, we pounded shoreline and weedbeds. We tried this lure and that lure without as much as a hit.

About noon, way up in the creek Virgil got the first fish, a hefty perch or was it a dink pickerel. I forget now, but he was catching and I was watching. That was the beginning of our action for the day. Virgil was casting a plain white jig/minnow so to mix things up I put on a Mepps. The high sun and clear water let the Mepps put on a good show. I had a couple quick releases and then landed a couple of pike on the Mepps/minnow.

That's kind of how the day went. Our biggest pickerel of the day wasn't a monster, but he was special because he was a recapture. Virgil and I had tagged him back on Nov. 8, 2001 way down river. He had grown about a half inch and moved well over a mile upriver in that time.

Virgil called his old bass fishin' buddy, Ron who was gracious enough to come pull the boat and tow it home. Another fine day on the river!

1/29/02 - Virgil and I joined the hard working gentlemen from DNR's Stream Passage crew for a workday on the upper Magothy this morning.  We finished the work that was started about a month ago in clearing the passage from tidewater to the Lake Waterford Dam.  The perch run this year should have access all the way to the dam. We took the camera along, of course. Hope you enjoy the pics.

We wrapped up that project a little after 1 PM and since Virgil and I each had permission slips for the afternoon we headed for the river. Those big stripers that got away yesterday were calling us. Here's the report on that adventure:

Date: 1/29/02
Time: 2 pm - 5:00 pm
Location: Magothy River, out of Ferry Point.
Weather: Partly cloudy, almost 70 degrees!, pretty much calm all day
Water Temp/Cond: Not sure of the water temp as we didn't have a working DF. Water was crystal clear in most places and just a bit cloudy elsewhere.
Tide: Water levels had already started to rise by the time we hit the river today. We fished a fast rising tide. High at Mt. Pt. Bar was due at 7 pm. 
Fish Caught: 2 chain pickerel (one was BUBBA at 25", the other a dink), 3 stripers (largest was just over 19"), 1 giant white perch.

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Virgil and I took the opportunity this afternoon to return and try to even the score with those big stripers which broke us off yesterday. Our strategy was trolling with the ultralights under electric power. Our baits were the same jig/minnow we normally cast to shoreline cover for pickerel and perch. 

We didn't have a depth finder so we were relying on our instincts in coming up with a trolling pattern. With Virgil at the helm that was certainly no problem. The action we hoped for was a long time coming and we never did connect with the monsters we hoped for but I did get to battle one heavy 19 incher. No bubba striper today.

But in the pickerel category we hit the jackpot. Virgil hooked up with a bubba pickerel of 25" on the troll in a shallower part of the creek. That monster was impressive! In fact, it is the largest pickerel we have caught since we started tagging pickerel for the DNR pickerel tagging program. BUBBA is now swimming around the Magothy with a bright yellow tag in his shoulder.

Date: 1/28/02
Time: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Location: Magothy River, out of Ferry Point.
Weather: Mostly sunny, mid-50's, pretty much calm all day
Water Temp/Cond: Not sure of the water temp as we didn't have a working DF. Water was crystal clear in most places and just a bit cloudy elsewhere.
Tide: Extremely low water when we started on the last of the outgoing tide.. Low at Mt. Pt. Bar was about 11:30 AM so after noon we fished a fast rising tide. 
Fish Caught: 17 chain pickerel (largest was 23", we had 4 over 20" and the rest were mostly in the 13-14" range), 3 whopper yellow perch and 2 giant white perch.

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I was enjoying a bowl of Quaker Oats French Vanilla Oatmeal this morning when the phone rang. It was Virgil reminding me what a beautiful day it was and how much I wanted to go fishing. He was very persuasive. I ran next door to the office and emailed the boss to tell him I was taking the day off and then headed for the river.

We caught the tail end of the falling tide and the water was low and slow. We figured it would be a tough pick all day, but Virgil had a plan and I agreed we'd work his plan. We made some mental notes of some of our hotspots with good cover and deep water very nearby.  We planned on working the hotspots and skipping over a lot of shoreline we'd normally plug away at when we had some water in the river.

We slipped up into the first creek and quickly picked up an XL yellow perch and a nice pickerel. This boosted our confidence and kicked the skunk out of the boat. We we're feeling pretty good about our plan, but it was a slow pick as we could only seem to get a hit and maybe a fish from each location. By noon we had tallied 3 pike and 3 yellow perch pretty much hitting all the hotspots in the creek. Virgil was throwing a small mepps w/minnow and I tossed a small horsehead w/minnow.

About 2 pm with Virgil's work deadline looming we ran to some new water across the river that had just a few prime locations similar to what had been working for us in the morning. The water was still low but starting to rise fast. At our first stop we were laying offshore a way because of the low water and started to notice the pull of grass on the retrieve. And when bumping over the grass WHAM! we were getting hit.

Virgil's mepps was coming up full of grass and my horsehead was coming up with pickerel. It didn't take long for Virgil to make the switch and we both started enjoying the action. We were discovering grass where we had never noticed it before and the pike were there and on the prowl. By about 4 pm we'd tagged 17 pickerel for the day. Not bad for a January day. Not bad at all!

We were curious just how extensive the grass was in the creek and Virgil started a little trolling pattern on a flat washed by the incoming tide. We didn't find any more grass but we did hook up with a couple XL white perch and we each fought and lost a huge fish we're sure were stripers in the 20"+ range. They fought deep and hard, pulling drag and testing our little ultralights to the max. But alas, mine pulled the hook and Virgil snapped a leader that was probably worn from the recent pickerel action.

This was a day to remember. Shirt sleeve weather in January and plenty of action. The plan came together. I love it when that happens. I think Virgil was a little late for work, but heck, the fish were biting!

Date: 1/10/02
Time: 10:00 am - 2:00 pm
Location: Magothy River, out of Ferry Point.
Weather: Mostly cloudy, mid-50's, pretty much calm all day
Water Temp/Cond: Not sure of the water temp as we didn't have a working DF. Visibility of a couple of feet. No floating leaves on this trip, but a fair amount of floating grass.
Tide: Extremely low water, probably the lowest we've ever seen. We started on the low slack and fished a rising tide. 
Fish Caught: 1 yellow perch

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You don't get weather like this that often in January. I gave Virgil a call and he agreed in spite of feeling a bit 'under the weather.'  He quickly justified his decision with, "Well, if I can work 7 days a week while I'm sick, I can surely fish one day."  I couldn't argue with that.

We found the river to be low low and fishing was slow slow. We each lost one fish at the boat in the course of 4 hours of fishing and just when we agreed to fish 'one last pier' Virgil hooked up with a nice yellow perch and kicked the skunk out of the boat. I snapped a pic and we headed for the dock.

I must share with you a stealth fishing technique learned from Virgil this afternoon. I had made a cast and snagged a bulkhead. Virgil jumped up on a nearby pier to retrieve my lure (is that a fishin' buddy, or what.) When he was up there on the pier he called back to me, "Quick, give me my rod, there's a pickerel over here."

Hiding behind a piling he dropped a jig down to the pike. No reaction. Maybe that's why we're having such a slow day, the darn pike are sleeping. Finally in desperation he said he was going to hit the fish with the lure to 'wake it up.' The fish rolled over and revealed it's true identity -- a leaf.

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