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Greetings All!

In spite of a series of last-minute catastrophies - some great, some not so great - Ed and I were happy to welcome Jason (FL FISHERMAN), Anthony, and his father aboard the Sawyer.

We sailed southeast out of Rippon's Marina towards the shipping channel armed with a variety of baits (including about three dozen live spot Jason and Anthony caught at the Choptank Bridge/Pier that morning), a case of beer, plenty of bottled water, and a half bushel of steamed crabs. Jason and Anthony also brought along a half dozen rod and reel combos with enough terminal tackle to cover any situation.

When we reached the Buoy 72A area, we were greeted by two sights. Off one side of the boat, several commercial hook-and-line striper boats were busy trying to fill their daily quota (800 lbs per man.) Off the opposite side the navy was doing its best to add hundreds of new holes to the target ship.

In spite of the noise and activity we anchored up, and first mate Gilbert began ladling out the bunker chum. Even with the hot sun bright overhead, we soon began getting hits on hooks baited with bunker guts. The stripers could often be seen flashing in the slick, but they weren't easy pickings. The fish were running from about 16 to 22 inches, so we were able to enjoy some catch and release action while filling our limits. Some nice fish were lost at the side of the boat, a few easy keepers with sores were released along with a half dozen or so 18 inchers, plus a couple of dozen undersized fish. Anthony lost a good fish that grabbed his bait and ran straight under the boat.

Capt Dave tried to wait out the Navy (his choice spot for bottom fishing was in the "no sail" zone) but we were running out of chum and bait. So with the final keeper rock in the box we moved to a nearby spot that showed some activity on the screen. We anchored up, switched over to bottom rigs, but only had a few small hits. Luckily the PT boats moved off, and Dave hurried over his "choice" spot. We began hooking up on our squid and crab baited Hi-Lo rigs, but the fish were small -- 9 to 10 inch croakers, 7-8 inch spot, and an occassional 10 inch kingfish (whiting). Ed, Jason, and Capt Dave were having a ball catching these little critters off the stern, but they were definitely not the fish we were looking for.

Then Anthony's dad's rod doubled over, and the word "big drum" flashed through everyones mind. Well, everyone except Capt Dave, who proclaimed the run to be a "skate". A few minutes later, a large cownosed ray came to the surface, then began a game of tug-o-war. All lines were brought in to avoid tangles, and after what seemed an eternity the ray was brought along side the boat, lip-gaffed, photographed and released.

Then some nice 2-4 lb blues found us, and began chomping on every bait that drifted away from the boat. Anthony volunteered to bleed some of the larger blues, while the rest were released. In the mean time Jason had thrown out a live spot, which survived unmolested. I began trying Perdue Peelers in hopes of enticing a something big. Gilbert found time to drop my old Hi-Lo rig over the side and hooked a second cownosed ray.

The wind began to pick up, and it became clear that the bottom fishing wasn't going to yield any giants. Capt Dave made the call to head home early to avoid the building chop.

In spite of this being the worse trip we've booked with Capt Dave, we still managed to land about one hundered fish. The size wasn't there, but its been bad all-around for fishing. Everybody on board was praying for a great Fall.

I'd like to thank everyone involved for making the trip enjoyable, even if it was not a complete success. Hopefully everyone made it home safely. The waves were coming up over the road on the causeway when Ed and I finally left. Capt Dave was never big on compliments, but he did have a few words about Anthony and Jason: "Seems like them fellas have been fishing before..." It was Dave's down-home way of recognizing experienced anglers.

Special thanks to everyone for helping me through a rough time, and hoping to fish with all off you under better circumstances....
 

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Great time by all Jake, even if the fish we caught weren't what we were hoping for. Anthony and I definitely had all terminal tackle covered! Capt Dave has a pretty good setup going there. Very nice boat, great rigs(hardly even used my own stuff), and great mate.
 

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Greetings All!

With all the rain today, I decided to upload some pictures, including pics from the Chessie Charter 2003. Just go to:

http://photo.epson.com/

And punch my email address ([email protected]) in the visitors box. Not all the photos are in yet -- most of the action shots are on another camera that still has a few pics on it... hoping to catch SOMETHING soon so I can use the film up!
 

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Greetings Cdog!

A limit of rock seems to be "automatic" with Capt Dave. I think most of the Chessie charter boats measure success by how quick you limit out on stripers.

It WAS a good day on the water -- but we were hoping to pick up something a little bigger than the stripers and blues. Last year during August Capt Dave was able to put quite a few clients over big red drum. I guess it was a longshot, but we were hoping for a shot at the big reds, even if they had to be released.

Hindsight is 20 - 20, but maybe we would have had a shot at a big fish if we were able to try the target ship. Problem was, we had to wait until the Navy was done shooting holes in it to even get near the area. Thats why we spent so much time with the rock -- if we were keeping 18 inch fish, we would have had our limit in less than an hour. The one 19 incher was kept because it was dropped on the deck, and Capt Dave won't throw a fish back if its likely to die. Most of the released fish were unhooked over the water with a "hook-out" tool. One flick of Gilbert's wrist, and the fish was gone!

The fact that there were no trout around was also depressing. I hope the weakies aren't in a decline again, but it sure seems that way.

Again, all-in-all it was a good day, but we're used to GREAT days. Guess we were getting kind of spoiled....
 
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