Saturday, July 26, 2014

The Grasses of the Susquehanna Flats... First Solo Trip to Maryland (07/25/14)

Hello Folks,

Over the past week, I went on a fishing adventure to Maryland with my good fishing buddy, Mike Burton. I was actually able to "fish for free" because Mike had bought a "Chesapeake Bay and Coastal Sport Boat License". The DNR of Maryland gives the boater two decals to place on their rigs when they purchase this type of fishing license. It allows any of my guests the opportunity to fish for free on my boat... Pretty Cool, huh? I often wonder why Pennsylvania doesn't have something similar to promote the sport of fishing.

Grasses of The Flats
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I've never taken advantage of the "Boat License", but this year I thought, "I'll do it!" That way, Julie, Zach, and any of my fishing buddies can join me for a "free" trip to the Flats of Maryland.

Imagine what the picture above would look like in just a few hours when low tide moves in. You would think one could walk across it because of the thickness of the grass.

I had a tough day fishing. When I launched from the Havre de Grace at 6:30 a.m., the skies were clear and there was a stiff 10-12 mph wind blowing across the open water which made it very difficult to control the boat. So, I adjusted by allowing my boat to drift with the help of the wind. I would set the boat up in the direction I wished to float, pull up the trolling motor, and allow the wind to push me... and away I went.

High Tide was at 9:30 a.m.and Low Tide returned by 4:27 p.m. Since I launched at 6:30 a.m., I was able to fish a couple of hours of incoming tide. After 9:30 a.m., I sat in slack tide for over an hour before the tidal water shifted and  started to "suck out" the Chesapeake Basin. It reminds me of filling a bathtub and then draining it. During this slack tide, I tossed my swimbait trying to get a reaction strike. Bass definitely feed according to tidal movements. So, when the tide is slack, I attempt to impart movement on my lure to get the fish to respond.

Aberdeen Proving Grounds (Military)
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The "Proving Grounds" were quiet today. Sometimes when we are fishing this expansive area, the military is detonating arms and it can get quite loud and somewhat disturbing.

The fellows in the picture below had just caught a smaller bass on a swimbait. In the background of this picture is the town of Havre de Grace. There are a series of bridges, both auto and railroad, that pass over the confluence of the Susquehanna River as it enters into The Flats. One of those bridges is the mighty I-95 that runs almost the entire eastern coastline.

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I arrived at my first fishing spot at about 6:45 a.m. and continued to fish The Flats until 12:45 p.m. (6 hours). The river water temperature was warm 80 degrees. We had "Blue Bird Skies" throughout the morning hours and a stiff 10-12 mph winds. The water had a nice green stain and there were very clear spots here and there in the thick grasses from filtration. The air temperature was an absolutely chilly 58 degrees when I arrived and I actually wore my red fleece to stay warm... It's crazy how our air temperature goes from a balmy 82 degrees to a chilly 58 degrees in just several hours overnight!

Lures used in the grasses of The Flats
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Above are the three lures that I used most often during the six hours I was on the water. There are two SPRO Frogs - Bronze Eye 65 and JR., as well as, Reaction Innovation "Skinny Dipper" in a Sexy Shad. I have the "Skinny Dipper" topped with a 1/4 oz. weight that is pegged with a "Peg It" to keep it in place. The Skinny Dipper set up works well and is shaped so that it will come through the grass easily.

I also tossed a War Eagle 1/2 oz. spinnerbait, a 1/2 oz Cotton Cordell Super Spot, a classic7" Blue Fleck Power Bait Worm on a 5/0 Gamakatzu hook and a 1/4 oz. worm weight Texas rigged, and a 4" plastic Winco stickbait rigged on a 2/0 Octopus hook.

Reaction Innovation "Skinny Dipper" rigged to work in the grasses of The Flats
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My lower legs and ankles were a quite sore once I got home from my fishing adventure to Maryland. So, I decided to heat up the swimming pool and take a thirty minute much-needed nap on a float raft... just drifting on the water in the warm sun. It was extremely relaxing...

When I arose this morning, I was still hurting a bit, but felt a lot more rested than I have for quite some time. I still get worked up when I go fishing and often don't sleep well the night before. It has been three plus years since I've been able to fish solo without too much bother. Recently, I have noticed that I have been more flexibility. Physical activities last summer were very difficult on me. I was preparing to have my replaced left knee revised by Dr. Parrish in July (2013) and my lower back was still hurting quite a bit. If you remember, I didn't get the spinal fusion surgery done until December (2013).

I believe that my increase in overall flexibility has come from having the L5(6)/S1 spinal fusion done by Dr. Marotti. I can once again get in and out of my boat from over the bow. I can climb over the bow and step down onto the spare tire and then onto the ground. Last summer, I had to exit my boat by using the wheel-wells of the trailer. That meant that I had to step down into the water... That could get uncomfortable really fast when the water or air temps are cold... Ugh!

Take Care and Be Safe