I’ve been getting out a bit and wanted to keep a record of where I’ve been and what I’ve seen. It’s been a hot summer here in Maryland and it’s had an effect on things. Trips below start in early June.
I can usually approximate within a trip or two how many times I’ve been fishing in a year, but not this year. I was good at keeping a log during the winter and spring, but in the summer as I went out more, I started grouping trips into comprehensive posts. I think the last time I went out was in early September when I was driving through New England with my wife and dog. My first actual fishing trip of 2010 was some time on march for chain pickerel at Unicorn Lake. That makes for about a 7 month fishing year. If I had to guess, I’d say I went between 15 and 20 times. Not bad considering I went around 20 times in 2009.
The theme for this year was quality vs quantity. In the spring and summer, when I had time, I fished Clopper lake very frequently and I got to know it pretty well. I also took two great camping/fishing trips: one to the Susquehanna Flats and another to Forked Lake in the Adirondacks. This past year, I might not have gone out as much as I usually did, but when I had the time, I usually had a fairly productive trip – from either catching or exploring standpoints.
I think that once you rig your kayak up it’s easy to leave it the way it is. On my Native Ultimate 12 I initially rigged 2 RAM tubes behind the seat with a Scotty fly rod holder up front on the right side. This setup is good for trips when I bring 2 spinning rods and a fly rod, like in the spring on the Susquehanna Flats or in the fall when fishing the shallow water around Jane’s Island, but it isn’t perfect for every outing.
Some nice things about RAM and Scotty mount accessories are that they’re relatively cheap and by design they’re very easy to swap out. Once the base is mounted to the boat it’s a simple matter of changing the rod holder itself. During a fishing season in Maryland I can fish a variety of waters and configuring the rod holders specifically for the type of fishing I’m doing helps me make the most of each trip. One weekend I might be bass fishing on a slow moving river, the next I might be jigging bridge pilings for stripers.
Got a late start today (my fishing buddy is not a morning person) and fished the first half of the rising tide at the Bay Bridges. We got to the put-in at Hemmingway’s @ 10am and fished until 2:30pm. While we were unloading two other anglers were just coming in from fishing the morning bite – Mike and Brian from The Maryland Fisherman’s Annual magazine. We chatted about their morning on the water and they gave us a few copies of their magazines. The said that they had picked up a few stripers early but that the fishing had been slow. They did mention that there were large white perch in schools along the pilings.
I fished Unicorn Lake this morning with my dad. Even though it felt like Spring was just getting started here, the water looked like it does in mid-Summer: there was already a good amount of algae on the lake surface and the wind had pushed patches and clumps of it down the lake to the the spillway end. Temps today were in the 70s with steady clouds until 1pm and a stiff breeze all day. I fished from my Native U12 and dad fished from shore.
I’ve been fishing Clopper Lake a lot lately. Seneca Creek State Park is just 5 minutes away from my house so it’s turning into one of my quick-fix spots. The weather here in Maryland has been up and down this spring. One week the temps will be in the 80s with the bass and bluegill on beds. The next will be cooler with wind, overcast skies and temps in the 50s. One nice leftover from the blizzard this winter is the new batch of trees and branches that have fallen into the water. There’s a lot of new structure and the fish seem to be enjoying it.
Here’s how I made a set of rod leashes or scupper plugs from everyday items. Some materials you may have sitting around, others might be at a local store. Kayak fishing equipment is obviously very specialized and in today’s economy, it’s best to keep purchases to a minimum. The cost of an average rod leash or scupper plug set is @ $10 so it’s kind of pointless to order them specifically when you factor shipping costs. Save your money for a dry suit or a new paddle.
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.
Fished Unicorn Lake from 8:30 am to 3:30 pm with David. Temps were in the 50s but there was a stiff breeze early in the morning so it was pretty chilly on the water. I was wearing fleece underneath my waders along with a dry top and could still feel the chill. The water on the lake was high but clear. Aquatic vegetation was just starting to show and there were buds on the trees, but no leaves yet. Overall feeling that we were a week early before things would really kick into gear.
The anchor trolley on my Trident 13 goes from bow to stern on both sides of the kayak. It’s kind of a blend between Cory Routh’s original install and Lt.FireDog’s (from the kayakfishingstuff.com forum) no-drill anchor trolley. I used the existing deck line mounts to act as line guides and then added 4 deck loops on each side of the kayak to secure the bow and stern pulleys to the hull. In total I have 4 shuttles – two in front of the side carrying handles and two behind.
Some people just install one trolley on one side of the kayak. I like having the ability to anchor from either end – or either side of the boat – so I installed anchor trolleys on both sides. Shifting winds and tides, and varying fishing locations can call for different anchoring scenarios, so I wanted something versatile. So far I’m happy with the install and like that I only had to mount four deck loops for the entire system. It’s clean, neat, and was easy to install using materials I had leftover from other projects.