A look into fishing and hunting for the many species that inhabit the Chesapeake Bay. Tips, tactics, recipes, fishing & hunting pictures, and what's biting in the area. Oh yeah and a few mixed in unrelated calamities as well!
Speckled trout are dying off rapidly after bay temps drop from record cold winter. As a result there is a FULL CLOSURE TO SPECKLED TROUT IN VA UNTIL JULY 31 and NC UNTIL JUNE31. Hopefully they make a speedy recovery and are looking good by july. Alot of the dying fish are trophy sized at that!
So this lure making stuff is addictive. With parts not running a whole lot considering you get them in lots of 100, I have started expanding here and there. This week I starting making my own classic style DucknBuck Classic Spinnerbaits, Saltwater Spinners, and Spinning Jigs. These are much heavier weight wire, larger blades, and stouter hooks. The jig heads are 1/4oz weight and tipped with a 3/0 sickle hook that really locks on a fish, and the wide gap hooks on the spinners are 3/0. All of this equals up to one heck of a fish catching piece of hardware! They are going to tear up the specks, redfish, striped bass, largemouth, and probably Pike as well.
Check'em out and if you like them, I have some for sale on EBAY or on Etsy. You can click on either of these to go directly to my listings.
With freshwater trout season quickly approaching I decided to forego spending an arm and a leg on inline spinnerbaits or other style trout lures and start making my own. In anticipation for doing this, I saved feathers from the waterfowl I harvested through duck season and also fur scraps from some of the other animals I had harvested as well. This saved me a TON of money not having to buy this stuff and the colors mother nature provided are quite beautiful.
Next was getting the components ordered up to actual assemble them. I received a fly tying set for christmas from my girlfriend's family so that was off the list, so all the was left was a few odds and ends.... you know hooks, beads, wire, wire bender, treble trailers, spinnerblades, clevises, round nose pliers.....WAY MORE THAN I REALIZED!
I took up fly fishing a little bit this year so I wanted to make some regular flies but what I really love is Ultra Light Tackle fishing for mountain trout so that is where the wire came in. With standard inline spinnerbaits I was missing alot of fish due to lure weight so I found that if I instead use a spinner/fly hybrid and go with a weight clamped on my line instead, I hooked alot more fish.
I am demoing different sized blades to get the perfect lure as well as multiple spinners on a couple too. Here are a few of the finished products. I call them "Duck n Buck Spinner Flies"
If you are interested in purchasing these or one of the other many items I sell, please visit my etsy store at:
I just started doing some decoy carving this year. Currently I am finishing up putting the final touches on some hooded mergansers I have been carving and painting over the last couple weeks to put up for sale on my Etsy store. Its a lot of work but I find it relaxing and a way to make a couple extra bucks. Plus it is a dying art that I want to master and pass down to my boy, Jackson.
Regardless whether he picks up the carving blade or not he is going to be one lucky boy because for every species I carve I have been saving one or two just for him. His are special though... they are not just show pieces... they are hollowed.... they have keels... they are balanced to handle the local waters, they are true gunning decoys ready for action when their day comes. One day that day will come and boy I can't wait.....
Stay tuned for my next carving project... a 6 pack of Greenwing teal!
Saturday was the final day for Waterfowl season in Virginia and it was a cold one. With temps below freezing all week, things were starting to freeze up and birds were heading for bigger water. We decided to do the old find a spot that was holding birds and break a hole for them to land and wait for the to pile in. We drove to our spot breaking ice with the boat the last 1/4 mile.ONce to where we wanted to set up, we broke a big hole in the ice with the boat maybe 80ft x 50 ft and peppered it with decoys. Before the decoys were in the water, our trail in had refroze locking the place back up.
Once set up we waited, and waited, and waited. Nothing decoyed. Saw a few birds but nowhere near the numbers that we saw just days before and all of them wanted to be on the river. By 10am I decided we needed to make moves to salvage the day the view was great but the hunting was not!
We headed back to Seaford to one of my shoreblinds to try and scratch out a few birds but it was doubtful it would be a memorable finish to the season... boy was I wrong. We were setup by 1pm for our evening hunt praying for even a couple buffleheads to slip in just so that we didnt get skunked on the final day. Boy were we surprised... we did end up with some buffs in the decoys... along with canvasbacks, bluebills, ringnecks, ruddy ducks, black ducks, mallards, mergansers, and even a couple surf scoters. Most variety I have seen from that blind.. EVER. We proceeded to close out the season on a good note after all. One of my good friends even managed his first canvasback an hour before the season ended.
Lesson learned is that when we get a heavy freeze, stay close to home and hunt saltwater. With all the backwaters and local ponds froze solid they had nowhere else to go but migrate south or open saltwater... I guess they chose the salt!
Monday, since it was a holiday for me and Kegan, we headed back to our scouted spot eager to see what the day would bring. We took our 6 jugs with us again to see if the first time was just good luck. Pulling out of the ramp at 5:15am we deploy our jugs along our route this time all closer to the spots we caught our fish the day before. After getting those out we make our way to our location and get the decoy spread out and looking good. Time is running short and legal shooting time is 15 minutes away. We get in the boat start to set the blind up and I hear that sound we all love to hear just a hair too early, the sound of birds landing in the water 25 yards away. We have no choice but keep setting up and quickly the pair of wood ducks flush just as fast as they had appeared.
First a group of 5 teal pitch in and I manage one at about 15 yards. While that sounds like an easy shot, those who have seen a teal on the wing and know how small of a spread you have at 15 yards know that this was no easy feat. It was a beautiful drake at that. minutes later another wave of teal this time I get a misfire on a #3 heavy shot... dud... WTF!
By this time the tide had gone out and we were sitting high and dry on mud so we were in it for the long haul, no moving the boat or retrieving ducks for a couple hours but the way the bank was, the downed birds would be waiting for us on the way out of this narrow creek.
Next bird to come in range is a black duck he circles once and on his second pass looks like he might just commit fully as he is dropping altitude steadily. Then right overhead at 45 yards he flairs and decide now or never and pop two shots. First fluffed it and second took out the wing. BIrd crashes down with a THUD! on the dry bank across from us about 50 yards away. No biggie we will pick him up on the way out.
A little while passes with a few flocks not giving us attention or no birds in sight thne I see 4 birds speeding towards us from about a mile away and sky high. I give one long hail call and they lock in like a missile and here they come. As they get close I can tell they are black ducks and so I am out on them as our limit is one per person so it is all on Kegs. Just as they are about to get in range 2 flair left, then one more, and and as the last one begins to flair he crosses the invisible "TAKE EM" line and my partner seals the deal with a great shot.
You remember my duck on the other shore, well about this time I look over to see him hobbling towards the water through thick cover. I quickly shoot two times and it jumps in the air a couple feet and appears to be down from where I am.
We get a couple more uninterested birds, get checked by undercover game wardens who are dressed to look like duck hunters and then proceed to pack up.
we grab our birds and I go to grab my black duck and low and behid he has vanished... GONE! Just an indent where he landed a few feathers and blood. I looked for a solid 45 minutes but to no avail he pulled the Houdini on me.
We check traps and find two nice muskrats then off to pull jugs. Two more nice catfish and we are officially all smiles for the ride home and a successful Land, Air, and Sea SLAM!
With duck season winding down here in Virginia next weekend, me and my buddy Kegan decided to try for the trifecta of fun. The land, air and sea SLAM.
We loaded up some 110 conibear traps on bamboo poles for muskrats, some of my homemade catfish jugs, and set out to scout for ducks on Sunday to hopefully get us the upper hand for Monday. We launch the boat at 8am and set off for the spot we have seen ducks in the past. While in route we stop every so often and throw out a jug with a piece of cut menhadden on the hook. We put out 6 in all covering 3 miles or so.
Next up, the muskrat traps and look for ducks and geese at the same time. Jackpot! Muskrat huts and ducks... all in the same marsh. We nose in slowly to gently push the birds out and begin setting up traps for these marsh detroying critters. You see, muskrats bore tunnel systems all through a marsh and eat the roots of all the grasses that hold the delicate eco-system together. This is why trapping them is important and they are also worth about 8 to 12 bucks each for their fur so its a win/win!
With birds found, buoys soaked for a while, and traps set we start back for the ramp.
First jug, go to pull it up and once i reach the end of the slack I feel that tell tale twisting roll of a catfish on the line... a nice little 6 pounder. Not too shabby for my first time jugging in years. Next one.....nothing..... next one nothing..... After two cleaned out hooks we pull up to our 4th and just as I think that nothing is on the line, I feel something come tight and some serious weight. BAM!!!! A 23 lb catfish! We retrieved the rest of our jugs and called it a day. Pretty good way to spend a sunday in my book.