November 21, 2019

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Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Message From the Captain Aug. 2017

ospreys return

Jack Russell at shoreMessage 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.

From the Interpretive Buoy System: Salinity has been hovering between 13 and 14 PSU and the water temperature is about 80 degrees F in the lower Potomac and St Mary’s.

From the self-proclaimed Osprey Capital of the Chesapeake, St. George Island: The 56 to 60 nesting pairs of osprey have finally got all their young birds “on the wing” after a mediocre nesting season. The rainy March thru April degraded many nests. On a good year, two to four offspring will be produced. This year one to two young birds hatched and survived. The adult birds start to migrate to South America shortly after the young birds can fish for themselves. The young birds follow the migration stream down the 77th  parallel later in the fall.

The Purple Martins have left the area. Our crab dock is a very lonely place in the morning after being used to “bird songs”.  This year we had about 4o nesting pairs. They arrive between the 10th and 13th of April and after settling in go to the mud ditches and get material for their nest construction. They had a good nesting season, having from two to five young per nest. They are very clean birds, taking excrement in the nest, wrapping it into a ball and flying away to dispose it elsewhere.

Barn Swallows were noticeably absent this year under the dock. Yes, they make nests under the dock and martins make their nests in boxes. Swallows have a rusty breast whereas the female martin has a grey breast and the males are all purple.

Bottom fishing has been good, mostly in the evenings with the hot weather this summer. Seems like the fish stay in the deep in the daytime where it is cooler and then come into the shallows and feed on the oyster bars in the evening. Perch, spot, Atlantic croaker and Redfish (Drum ) are the main fish of record. Some small blues and Spanish Mackeral and speckled trout are showing up, also.

Blue Crabs are always slow in August as we catch up this years’ crop of adults. Crabbing will pick back up in September and October as crabs migrate back down the rivers. Remember, male crabs seek fresher water than the females and work during the summer toward the headwaters of our rivers and bays.

Bay grasses are doing well. Horned pondweed is the most pervasive in our area. The water temperature and salinity have been very supportive of this cover for many local species.

Waterman’s lore: Sun Dogs portend falling weather

Till next time, remember “It’s Our Bay, Let’s Pass It On.”

Cap’n Jack


3 Responses to “Message From the Captain Aug. 2017”
  1. Fred and Becky Benton says:

    Thanks for update. We are not catching many fish but a few Perch have made our dinner plates, especially when Trinity fishes! She is a lucky fisher person.
    Would you and Viki come to Pax River Naval Air Museum to hear our guest batik artist/pilot/photographer on Thursday, August 24 at 6-7pm? We hope to see you there. More info at
    Thank you,
    Becky Benton

  2. Stephanie Waikart says:

    What the heck is a Sun Dog?

    Sun Dog should be high lighted for the explanation. pls take your mouse and hover over sun dog in the article

    A sun dog is a reflection of the suns rays off ice in the clouds causing a discoloration.
    like a mini rainbow

  3. Joe Berry says:

    Thank you, Jack. Very informative!

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