by Capt. Billy Pipkin
This summer has offered some of the best fishing in recent years. We have been blessed with a wealth of species with above average sizes this season.
The Bay Bash and Dream Fields fishing tournaments are a testimony to how great fishing is this summer. The Bay Bash fishing tournament had over 20 different species recorded through check-in and catch and release. From cobia to mullet, 260 catches were recorded. The Dream Fields tournament only included Spanish mackerel, but there were plenty to be found with some monsters hitting the dock.
I had the pleasure of carrying special needs individuals in both tournaments so they can integrate through competition. They not only competed, they won money in both events! The crescendo of the efforts made by these individuals was reached at the Dream Fields tournament where special angler Jeff Cogswell landed a 4.48-pound, 27 3/4-inch mackerel which took the Calcutta top prize of $5,200. But wait, there’s more…. The special angler team also finished fourth overall in the tournament, bringing in another $500.
I’m so proud of them for overcoming their own limitations and excelling in a competition littered with talent. I have been fortunate enough to win many tournaments over the years, but what made this so special is that we had special anglers driving the boat and others catching fish. It was a total “team” effort that far surpasses any accomplishments that I have attained over my 33 years as a professional charter captain. If you want to truly be fulfilled in your life, take children or those less fortunate fishing and help make memories that will last a lifetime for both you and them.
Spanish mackerel fishing is strong from the lower bay up to the lower Potomac River and deep into Maryland waters. The locations holding the best numbers are from 20-40 feet of water. The Eastern Shore has slightly larger fish on average. Drone and Clark spoons are working well in a variety of colors from chrome, gold, hot pink to chartreuse. Using a #1 planer to keep the lures below the surface is a fool-proof way to catch them.
Bluefish are running larger this season. There are plenty of 3-5 pound fish available at the Northern Neck reef and the flats east as far as the Davidson wreck off Tangier Island. Smaller 1-3-pound blues have invaded the lower rivers and western shorelines. Since they are also feeding on small shiners, they bite on the same spoons as mackerel.
Speckled trout fishing remains strong in the grassy flats of marsh areas and creeks. We’ve had a good run of 2-5-pound trout this season, which should improve into next month.
Bottom fishing is strong with large spot and whiting leading the show. Oyster beds and hard bottom are best in the lower rivers. Bloodworms, although expensive, are hard to beat for bait.
Enjoy your time on the water. Be safe and don’t forget to pay it forward by sharing your experiences.
Until next time….Fair winds.
Capt. Billy Pipkin owns and operates Ingram Bay Marina and Capt. Billy’s Charters. 580-7292 www.captbillyscharters.com.