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Vol 48 | Num 21 | Sep 20, 2023

Offshore Report Ocean City Report Delaware Report Virginia Report Chum Lines Ship to Shore The Galley Issue Photos
Chum Lines

Article by Capt. Mark Sampson

With the editor of this paper kindly (or maybe foolishly) giving me free reign over what I want to write about each week, anyone who has had the stomach to read this column more than just a couple times knows that I take full advantage of my liberties by hashing out a mishmash of topics in no particular order. One week the discussion might be how to anchor your boat and the next it could be about keeping bait alive, local sea birds, making bottom rigs, or how to net a fish. And while I don’t profess to remember much from my years of formal education, I do recall from writing class something about the last paragraph should pretty much be a summary or a conclusion of what the story or article was all about..

So with this being the last issue of The Coastal Fisherman for the 2023 season, I thought I’d try and drive my messages home by grabbing the last few lines from this year’s columns and just put them out there one last time. I guess you might call it a “review” of some of the points I was trying to get across all summer. Dates indicate the issue, see if you can guess (or remember) the rest of the story…

May 10
Fog is nothing for boaters to take lightly, often it unexpectedly descends upon us and we have no choice but to deal with it, other times we can make a simple and safe decision not to venture out in it. Even the best captain in the world, doing all the right things, can end up in trouble if some ding-dong plows into them while running too fast in zero visibility. The best a boater can do to avoid catastrophe is to have at least some understanding of fog, follow the rules, slow down, and always err on the side of caution.

May 17
Don’t get lazy! When the bite is a little slow it’s all the more important to ensure that you’re fishing with good bait by changing it frequently. Too long in the water and any bait is going to get washed out and lose much of its appeal, and it’s when the fish aren’t biting that it’s most important to do what you can to make sure that your bait is the best it can be. But then again, if you actually don’t want to catch fish...

May 24
My friend Bobby and I caught a lot of fish together, and though I don’t remember a single one of them I sure remember the good (and the bad) times we spent on the water, now that he’s gone, memories and a few old photos are all I have left of him. As this new season unfolds and we fishermen can finally get back to doing what we’ve been looking so forward to all winter, I wish everyone the best of luck at catching a few pounds of fish for dinner and tons of memories for the future.

May 31
Local store owners recognize repeat customers and make the extra effort to help ensure that their fishing and boating experience is safe and enjoyable. They’re genuinely concerned about the wants and needs of local fishermen and boaters because in the long run it helps their business too. So if they can point you in the direction to catch some fish, show you how to rig a lure or bait, or explain how to properly apply a particular paint on the deck of your boat they’re happy to do it. It’s good for you and good for them. Try to get any of that kind of service from “operator-29” when you place your online order.

June 7
So anyone who has a powerboat should have a “fuel” discussion with whoever does their engine service and ask about what kind of fuel they should be using and what additives (if any) are recommended to be used, and then still be ready for potential problems if they chose to fill their boat up at the convenience store.

June 14
With fuel prices hitting all-time highs, charter prices have risen to levels where, for most folks, it’s probably more important than ever to milk every bit of enjoyment possible from charter or guided fishing trips. A little research and a few phone calls can be the difference between fishing-fun and fishing-flop!

June 21
As sportsmen we have access to some of the freshest, best tasting, and healthiest food imaginable. But such quality meals are not guaranteed just because someone is successful at making a shot or setting a hook. The tastiest rewards come to those who make the effort to properly take care of their harvest from the time it hits the ground or thumps down into a fish box until it’s eventually slipped onto their dinner plate.

June 28
There’s no excuse for any captain ever to be rude to other fishermen, but I just hope that folks will understand that, if they get the impression that a charter captain is being a bit too selfish or evasive, it might just be that he’s putting his livelihood before his concerns for being sociable, and I’m pretty sure that no one should fault a fellow for doing that!

July 5
But since the Geographic Range Table takes into account only the curvature of the earth, the ranges given assume perfect viewing conditions without allowances for the hazy kind of weather we so often encounter on a typical hot summer day. Humidity alone can reduce visibility by more than half, add to that, illusions created by heat waves as well as each person’s unique vision impairments and it should be easy to see that there’s no stock answer to the question “how far can you see land?”

July 12
Finally, just like taking notes in school, anglers who keep a fishing log which includes such details as time and location of catch, weather and tide conditions, water temperatures, baits or lures used, and any other details they think might have contributed to their success or failure that day will have a wonderful asset to refer back to days, weeks, or even years later. Logs not only serve to remind fishermen of where and how they caught fish on a particular day, over time they can also show trends in a fishery and help anglers predict what to expect as a season unfolds. So if you want this to be a grade “A”, first class fishing season – don’t forget to do your homework!

July 19
Every new season provides Delmarva anglers with a lot to look forward to, good reasons to have high expectations, and maybe even the chance to set and pursue some challenging goals. But those fishermen who also take the time and make the effort to share some of their experiences on the water with those who do not have the opportunity to do so on their own are sure to end their season with so much more than just a freezer full of fish.

July 26
The coastal waters are a dynamic and complicated ecosystem, and knowing the surface seawater temperature in any given place won’t always tell you where you will or will not find fish, but add that information to whatever else you might know about what’s going on under and around your hull, and you might just be able to figure it out.

August 2
By the way, as I noted, the fellows in the stricken boat were in the water but not wearing life-jackets. I imagine that things happened so fast that they didn’t have time to don their PFD’s before finding themselves in the water and swimming for the safety of the inlet jetty. Obviously if they were wearing their life-jackets before the trouble ensued there would not have been as much risk of tragedy.

August 9
It would be comforting to think that most folks who operate boats on our local waterways have even the slightest knowledge of what the Navigation Rules or “Rules of the Road” are But since most don’t - my only advice is to “be careful out there!”

August 16
There are 73 species of sharks known to live in the Atlantic coastal waters and since 1962, volunteer recreational and commercial fishermen, scientists, and fisheries observers have tagged over 128,000 sharks representing 40 different species.

August 23
Whether you’re a little kid catching spot from a dock, or big kid catching them from the stern of your million dollar sport fisherman, a fish on the line is a fish on the line, and someone who is really crazy about fishing should be able to sap a little pleasure out of whatever is that’s “jerking” at the other end!

August 30
All these changes (and a whole lot more) have occurred around here since the 1st Annual White Marlin Open. It’ll likely be from a different vantage point, but I can’t wait to see what things will be like in another 50-years!

September 6
Whether walking down the beach, or in a boat miles from shore, at any moment Delmarva residents could suddenly be blessed with a view of one of the most incredible, beautiful, and largest creatures on earth! §

Coastal Fisherman Merch
CF Merch



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