January 16, 2019

Message From the Cap’n: Cold Snaps a Comin’

Message From the Cap’n is a compilation of fishing advice, waterman and weather insights, Chesapeake lore, and ordinary malarkey from the folks who keep their feet wet in the Potomac and St. Mary’s rivers

The Interpretive Buoy System, which provides a compendium of information on the seawater conditions in the Chesapeake Bay and tributaries,  is currently unavailable now due to lapse in appropriation. I would guess that the salinity at Point Lookout and below in the lower Potomac, is around five parts per unit (ppu) reflecting the record-setting rainfall of 2018. A normal ppu for this time of year at Point Lookout is from 12 to 15 ppu.

The abundance of rainfall in 2018 ( 67+/-) changes many patterns within the Chesapeake:

Historically, Catfish, Channel and Blue were caught around the Potomac River bridge (Harry W. Nice Bridge) and above.

Catfish were caught in abundance as far south as Point Lookout with hook and line, crab pots, and in the pound nets.

We also had very few Atlantic Croaker and Spot fish to catch over summer 2018 in the Lower Potomac and Patuxent. One can only assume that the tremendous influx of fresh water changed their migration and feeding patterns.

Jellyfish also were practically nonexistent over the summer for the same reason. Oyster recruitment will suffer also.

Oystermen are just plodding along with the small growth rate over the summer and fall. The DNR Police have been “active and had their hands full” as of late in their efforts to keep the undersized oysters on the bottom until they reach the legal limit of three inches.

This warm weather will not last. The next full moon in January is the 21st and will have with it a blast of cold air. Likewise the full moon in February is on the 19th. Here again these clear bright nights are the coldest time of the month. If the rain pattern does not change we can also see some significant snowfall during these periods. Dig out your Farmers Almanac and / or your Ramon’s Calendar to follow along.

Watermans’ Guide to “wellness” in this damp weather.

Broth from the arster stew cures the “sniffles” and generally makes one feel positive about themselves.

1/2 teaspoon of sugar with several drops of kerosene always makes one stop coughing, especially children.

Remedy to clear a stuffed up nose at night: Vicks salve on a rag pinned to the night shirt on the chest breaks up congestion.

REMEMBER : It’s Our Bay, Let’s Pass It On.

Till next time,

Cap’n Jack

arster694@gmail.com; 240-434-1385

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