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ICW fishing

A timely reminder from the folks at ‘Take me Fishing” as boaters prepare for going south down the ICW. There’s some fine fishing to be had along the way —


The Intracoastal Waterways – An angler’s paradise

“Whether you’re a newcomer to saltwater fishing or a seasoned pro, the ICW offers some of the most accessible and enjoyable light tackle action in the country.

The Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) is comprised of various bays, inlets, saltwater rivers and other manmade water canals that offer boat passage and protection from the open sea. There are three separate ICW regions: the Gulf of Mexico ICW stretches from south Texas to the panhandle of Florida, the Florida Gulf Coast ICW connects Tarpon Springs to Ft. Myers, and the Atlantic ICW reaches from the Florida Keys all the way to Virginia.

ICW waters are typically calmer, and readily accessible to smaller recreational fishing boats. They’re also home to prolific schools of baitfish, as well as larger sport fish that migrate, feed, and breed there. Indeed, the ICW is the ultimate “inshore” fishery in America.”

…………… for the full story go here

Good news for crab lovers!

Fed figures show Md. led nation in 2011 crab catch


Posted: 5:41 pm Wed, September 19, 2012
By Associated Press


Maryland’s crab harvest last year led the nation. That’s according to figures released Wednesday by the National Marine Fisheries Service.

Nearly 200 million pounds of blue crabs were landed nationwide last year, with Maryland accounting for more than 25 percent of the harvest. Louisiana was second with 22 percent and Virginia third at 19 percent

I’ll take the average!

Wildly divergent forecasts for Saturday weather led to an extended email exchange and finally a decision to relocate the destination for the weekend SOS raft and a shorter sail. What we got was north winds 15-20kts with gusts into the upper 20s and 2-3ft waves on Saturday. That made for a great, sometimes exciting, sail down past Thomas Point and up Eastern Bay into the Wye River. The normal 4-6kt boat speed became 6-8kts motor-sailing with only the head sail flying, and bucking frequent steep chop. A good indicator of conditions was encountered as we passed Thomas Point. An ongoing race to Oxford was in progress with lots of colorful spinnakers flying. We witnessed one boat broach, put the rail under water as well as the spinnaker  – not once, but twice before they got control and sail down. I’m sure that story will get re-told many times!

On Sunday, the return trip was motoring all the way in less than 5kts of breeze – thus the title. An average of the two days would have been about perfect!

Saturday evening was the typical SOS circle raft with 15 boats, and a good time visiting around the circle with each boat crew. Good company and a chance to hear about that day’s and other adventures.

Just part of the 15 boat circle raft


Once again, we got a beautiful sunrise with mild temps and a light breeze….


Sunday sunrise


We created a parade of boats as we sailed/motored back down the Wye River…


 …. and around the light house point.


We also got an up close look at a freighter at anchor that happened to be on our course home. The fishing boat that was taking advantage of the temporary ‘reef’ provides a sense of scale.


I think they’ll have a tough time landing this one!

Labor Day cruise – part II

After a great cruise south of the Bay bridge (see ‘Less Labor – more fun!’) and a re-supply stop at my home slip in Back Creek, it was off to catch up with the ‘Northern’ group.  In brief, I anchored Wednesday night at Bodkin Creek, then sailed across the Bay to Fairlee Creek to meet up with the other CCYC boats – Mugwhump II and Resolve  – Thursday night, then back to Bodkin on Friday to be joined by Scarlett and Riannon; weathered a storm Saturday evening then sailed home on Sunday.

Wednesday brought a steady 8-11kt south wind making for a nice downwind sail of about 13nm to Bodkin Creek. It was a short run to the north side of the Bay Bridge ..

Bay Bridge looking south

.. a close look at Sandy Point light

Sandy Point Light

..and not quite so close to the Baltimore Light

Baltimore Light

Navigation markers offer benefits other than their intended purpose. Birds (Cormorants in this case) welcome the resting perches and provide wildlife interest …..

After a pleasant night in Bodkin Creek and a great sail across to Fairlee Creek, I arrived ahead of the other boats and waited at anchor to raft up later.

My early arrival provided the fun of watching as the others navigated the VERY narrow and shallow entrance.

Resolve slipping in behind the trees..

This was my first trip into Fairlee.  Mike (Resolve) had offered his best advice on entering the creek – ‘just don’t go aground.  I’m sure it was offered in jest. In any event, justice was served as I watched him put Resolve on the ground coming around the point.   After a bit of maneuvering he managed to motor free.

Snick the boat cat surveys the world from her perch on the bimini.

Boat cat…

We enjoyed a quiet evening, a great dinner and good company aboard Resolve.  Friday morning arrived clear and with a brisk SW wind – unfortunately just the direction we were headed. That made for a motor trip, against wind and tide, across the Susquehanna flats sprinkled with crab pots. Now, I do love crabs!  However, sailing through the aray of pots in 2-4 ft waves with limited visibility is NOT a fun trip. The crossing back to Bodkin Creek was a challenge. Up to 4ft waves and 8-14kt head winds made for a long trip, and a very welcome arrival back in Bodkin at Jubb Cove where the others were already anchored. Their longer and heavier 42’ boats managed the conditions more easily than my 30ft. 

The Saturday morning forecast promised the arrival of severe weather later in the day and overnight. We watched the radar carefully, and the marine weather alerts suggested prudence. We chose to stay in the protected anchorage and break up the raft to anchor separately. The storm arrived on schedule and lived up to all the warnings.  Winds blew at 20-35kts, and torrential rains fell for the better part of two hours.

It eventually passed and left behind a very pleasant condititions.

I made an early departure Sunday morning after struggling to retrieve the anchor that the storm helped set firmly.  With 10-15kt winds from the north, it was another great downwind sail home.

I watched with interest the wise choice another sailboat made to change course and allow the tanker first passage under the bridge.

A simple right of way matter

From the bridge to home slip is less than an hour, and my slip neighbor Ron was at hand to help with lines as I pulled in. Two hours of clean up, reorganizing and arranging for pumping out the holding tanks  brought to an end a great 10 days on the water that provided a lot of great sailing as well as new experiences with storms and anchorage entrances!

Less labor – more fun….

Part I …

Labor Day always seems miss-named.  After all, it’s an occasion to take a break and spend some time doing things we enjoy – away from the routines of work. Such was the promise of my yacht club’s ‘No Labor Day’ cruise.  This weekend is a traditional time for many sailing clubs to take 3-day or longer cruises.  Both of my clubs, Singles on Sailboats and Chesapeake Catalina Yacht Club planned such cruises. I chose to take the longer of the two and headed off with CCYC and 8 to 14 other boats depending on the day.

The float plan began at an anchorage in the Rhode River near Camp Letts – a spot I visited just two weeks ago. From there we sail to San Domingo Creek (back door to St Michaels), then Baby Owl Cove and Knapp’s Narrows Marina on Monday the 3rd.  Other CCYC boats are cruising the northern part of the Bay, and I plan to connect with them mid-cruise and head home Sunday the 8th.

Friday noon – arrived at Rhode River anchorage after a great sail down. Made record time under sail to Thomas Point. Had 6-10kts of wind just astern on starboard side, and a favorable tide flowing. The tide added up to 1kt of speed over the ground giving a steady 5.5 – 6.5kts all the way.  Turning into the Rhode put tide and wind on the nose, so motored up the river and set an anchor to wait for the other CCYC boats.

High class duck blind

Always admire this duck blind as you turn up the creek.

By late afternoon 5 other boats had arrived for good company.

Went bed with the full (Blue) moon  …

….woke up with the geese

Once again the weather forecasters missed the mark. They got the wind direction (north) right, but the predicted 5-6kts turned out to be 10-15kts. A pleasant surprise and a fast sail down Bay and up the Choptank River!  It was close to a beam reach all the way. That and an outgoing tide made for 5 to 7kts boat speed – pretty good for this boat dragging a dingy J Played tag with a tug and tow crossing the main channel, but not a close call.

The anchorage at San Domingo is nicely sheltered and was not crowded despite the holiday weekend. Our now 9 boats rafted in small pods, enjoyed a swim and gathered together on one of the rafts for an excellent meal prepared by one of the couples.

..called to dinner to the sound of the conch shell..

Learned a lesson about verifying destination before setting out.  With overcast and storm threatening it was especially dark. Having left anchor light on and a small stern light, I thought finding Valinor in the dark would be no problem – wrong. After circling a bit and approaching the wrong boat, I headed back to the raft to get a flood light and re-start. With a bit of re-orienting – a wind shift had changed all the boat positions – got back on board. Radar was showing an approaching storm, and it arrived about 11pm with prolific lightening and intermittent heavy rain. Fortunately the worst went south of us and there were no strong winds to challenge anchors. By 1am all was quiet and time to go back to sleep.

Waking up on the Bay does not require an alarm clock. Every morning begins with ‘goose music’.  About 6:30 you can count on multiple, large flocks of geese honking their way to feeding grounds – a friendly, if noisy way to start the day J

Two nights in San Domingo Creek was a pleasant stay. It was group consensus to pass on Knapp’s Narrows’s marina. Weather was threatening and we were down to only three boats, so headed out early about 8:30. It was a fast broad reach down the Choptank River then downwind coming up the Bay until first the wind died, and then the squall blew through.

What looks calm in this picture quickly became  turbulent – sorry no pix, too busy!

Winds steady at 18-20 gusting to 25kts made for an exciting ride. As the waves built to three feet from behind, it was clear a full main sail was too much. At first lull in the wind I made a quick 180 turn into the wind and dropped the sail. Clearly the better option would have been to fly the headsail which can be easily furled – next time.

Made it back to home slip without major incidents, though I did have to wind through an ongoing race making every attempt to not interfere with any of the racers.  A pretty sight to see all the colorful spinnakers flying.

Now to decide if/where to sail for the rest of the week…………see Part II later