I spent 3 days at Elk Neck State Park, camping at the campground and fishing off the beach there. Fishing out of Elk Neck gets you away from the zoo at Tydings and other Havre de Grace launches. It also puts you within easy distance of Turkey Point, Carpenter Point, and most of the Eastern Flats. The only drawback of fishing out of that beach is that the rangers can’t open the gate until 7am. I think it’d be nice to eventually organize a kayak fishing event there, like the guys do up on Jamaica Bay, where we could camp within that section of the park and launch as early as we want.
It had been a busy spring at work and at home so I decided to take a few days off to myself to fish. There were good reports about the Susquehanna Flats so I decided to stay there for 2 nights. I camped at Elk Neck last year so maybe this is turning into a yearly ritual.
Thursday was very windy so I took my time getting up to North East. Once I got into town I stopped by Herb’s Tackle Shop to get a local report. I ended up buying a map and some 7″ Bass Assassins. It was even windier once I got to the park so I just set up camp and relaxed. With some serious fishing in front of me, it was nice to be able to pack lunch, organize tackle, and calmly retie leaders and knots before I got out on the water. After having some fish break off during my CBBT trip, I’m now a believer in the Brandon White method – 30lb fluorocarbon leaders and palomer knots.
Friday morning was calm and the wind had completely laid down. With an ebbing tide and no wind I found that I could cover a lot more water than I anticipated. I paddled from the beach right above Rocky Point, out past the channel that runs along Elk Neck and into the shallow water, and then north to Carpenter Point working into the flats themselves.
The action that morning was relatively steady. Nothing huge but a great grade of fish – fat schoolies in mid 20s. With 30″ fish visibly jumping around me the feeling that the next fish could be a big one was palatable. I started out fishing light tackle but switched to a fly rod once I started catching fish regularly. I headed in around lunch time to take a break and save my energy for the evening bite.
I was back on the water by 4:30. It was still calm and the tide was about the same – slack and low. Because the water was so low you could really see the weed beds of the upper flats.
I decided to use the low draft and stealth of my kayak to my advantage by paddling deeper into the weed beds than any of the other boats could go. As the sun started setting fish started jumping everywhere. It was one of the most memorable things I’ve ever seen on the Chesapeake: 30″ stripers finning and rolling all around me in the weed beds. I was fishing a weightless Bass Assassin (that was about all I could fish in that mess.) but the fish didn’t want anything to do with it. I just sat back and watched for a while before heading back in.
Saturday morning was a little breezier, there were more boats on the water, and a rising tide didn’t do much to jumpstart the fishing. Ended up getting skunked on Saturday morning but paddled my butt of against the wind and current. I’m not sure if I’m going to make it up there again before this year’s trophy season is over, so another year’s gone by where I haven’t landed the monster that got away 11 years ago.
One thing I can say for this trip is that I’m getting more confident with being able to cover more water. I think the Trident and better paddling technique have a lot to do with this. The Chesapeake Bay just got a lot smaller.