This month we decided to do something new for our readers. The Commonwealth of Virginia is nicely situated between the Allegheny mountains in the west and the Atlantic Ocean to the east. There is a marvelous stretch of water on the mainland’s east coast called the Chesapeake Bay with the Delmarva Peninsula separating it from the Atlantic Ocean.
The Chesapeake Bay is a fantastic fishing ground for sport fishermen not willing to brave the wilds of the ocean beyond. Here calmer waters prevail most of the time. Many fishing communities have sprung up here, alongside of residential areas harboring residents who love waterfront views. Vacationers and sightseers frequent the villages dotting the coastline to enjoy hearty seafood restaurants and explore the beauty of the Chesapeake Bay. One such community is know as Solomon’s Island.
It is here that my son ( and magazine’s photographer) Joseph O’Donnell) decided to begin exploring the area by taking a chartered fishing trip from Captain Bunky’s fishing station. Our charter was scheduled from 1:00 pm in the afternoon till 7:00 pm on a Sunday evening. Solomon’s Island provided a large parking lot just across the street for tourists and fisherman, so we found no problem parking our vehicle. The weather was pleasantly warm and no rain was in sight. This was a break from the many rainy days that we experienced before the trip.
The fishing charter was booked for trolling for rockfish (known up north as stripers ) and gear was provided for us. We brought our own lunch and snacks along for the trip as well as drinks (although the boat also provided liquid refreshments). We left the dock promptly at 1:00 pm then headed north along the Chesapeake Bay to where the fish were biting. That leg of the trip lasted about an hour and a half so we were able to view the coastline along the west side of the bay.
As we began pulling in the fish on lures at the ends of our fishing lines the captain announced that all fish would be ‘pooled’ so that everyone could share in the catch and at the end of the trip the first mate would gut, skin, and fillet the fish for all the participants. We all readily agreed to this. Each of the participants drew a card from a deck of cards so that we could rotate by numbers along the boat’s rail. This was an ingenious and simple solution to prevent everyone from getting in each others way. Poles were then set in stations along the rail and at each ‘hit’ on a pole the number drawn in rotation would then respond accordingly. Fishing proceeded in this manner for the next two hours and each fish caught needed to exceed the legal size minimum of nineteen inches in order to be kept. All others needed to be thrown back into the bay as prescribed by law.
The fishing lasted for approximately two hours for which the final retrieving of the fishing poles and gear and placement of the equipment for the ride back to the dock. We snacked on the return trip which lasted past sunset and we were greeted by the lighted harbor upon our return. For our readers who wish to book a charter on Bunky’s Charter Boats (as this is needed to be done in advance) You can do this on line on the internet or call them for info at (703) 268-1589. Believe me….the adventure is worth it.
We hope to bring you more articles on the fabulous Chesapeake Bay in upcoming issues. Until then…..Happy Reading !