, 2014

The Fishing Line

By Capt. Billy Pipkin

Between the scattered rain and scattered schools of fish, we experienced mixed weather and fishing this week. The variety of fish currently available is good insurance to keep coolers full regardless of weather conditions.

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Between the scattered rain and scattered schools of fish, we experienced mixed weather and fishing this week. The variety of fish currently available is good insurance to keep coolers full regardless of weather conditions.

Spanish mackerel are the highlight this week. Local anglers are joined by others outside our area in supporting the Lancaster County Little League and Youth Club in their sixth annual Spanish Mackerel tournament. This is a fun tournament with a community feeling. There’s also a category within the tournament for special needs participants. I was blessed to have had the opportunity to carry out a special needs group aboard “Liquid Assets II”  last year. Although we didn’t have any overall winning fish, we secured a resounding first place among all boats in our category. This group of anglers has grown substantially and I understand that I’m being challenged this year by several other private boats, another charterboat with my friend Capt. Jim Diebler, and even an unnamed little red canoe. Yes, if Joe Smith can paddle that canoe at six knots for mackerel, I believe he has a chance. I’m so glad to see a growing interest in fishing among youth with special needs. Words cannot express the enjoyment that I receive, much less that which they experience in the tournament.  

Mackerel fishing has been scattered yet productive over the past week. The influx of fresh water seems to slow the northward migration, yet the largest of the mackerel caught this week have been between the Rappahannock River mouth and Point Lookout, Md. There remains a strong population of these fish in the lower bay as well. Sizes range from 16 to 24 inches on any given day. The most productive lures remain both Clark and Drone spoons in silver, gold, chartreuse and pink. Trolling the lures behind a #1 or #2 planer works well.There is one secret color combination that I can’t share just in case Mr. Smith challenges me in that canoe. You know a man’s got to preserve his reputation. Can you imagine the hit I would take if beat by a canoe? 

Bluefish are spread throughout the region and are typically found along the contours of the channel edges both in the rivers and bay waters. Average sizes continue to run in the 1- to 2-pound class, yet during the evening hours larger 3- to 5-pound fish have surfaced to put additional stress on the poles.  In several situations during the afternoon hours, red drum will strike the same lures used for the bluefish. A loose drag will offer a chance to land these 15- to 25-pound tug of war champions.

Bottom fishing remains good in the bay and rivers. The lower Rappahannock is holding a nice mix of croaker and spot as is the lower Potomac and Tangier Sound. The edges of the shipping channel will provide good action as they migrate northward along the contours.  Bloodworms, FishBites and squid are all working well when fished on a simple bottom rig.

Cobia action has slowed in our area, yet large schools remain in the lower bay. Once this rain clears and if we get a slight warming trend, I expect to see larger numbers in our area again.

If you hear any trash talk from the SS Minnow or red canoe, you can tell them that Capt. Billy is still the “Mack” Daddy in his category until they dethrone me. 

Have a great week of fishing and always remember to have fun and laugh while you fish.  
Until next week, Fair Winds.

Capt. Billy Pipkin owns and operates Capt. Billy’s Charter Service in Wicomico Church and Ingram Bay Marina at the mouth of the Great Wicomico River. 580-7292 captbillyscharters.com


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