July is the time of year when the big amberjack show up at the navigation towers scattered off the coast of Virginia. Although it is a long run (about 65-miles) to the South tower, that is one of the best AJ holding towers, so we decided to make the ride.
When we arrived, the amberjack were everywhere. The water was clear enough to see about 40 feet down, and AJ’s swarmed throughout the water column. We used live bait on the first drop, and hooked up instantly. A battle with a big amberjack is no joke, so the fight was on. We fought over 30 big AJ’s, releasing them all to fight another day. We were tired, but happy.
Skip had never caught a sheepshead, and was itching to try. We ran out to the Chesapeake Bay to try out a few of my favorite sheepshead spots along the famous Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. There was nobody home at the first spot, so we shifted down the bridge several pilings to our second choice. I had my bait down for maybe a minute when I felt a tap. The wind and current were not completely aligned, so I struggled to hold my rod in place since I knew it was being examined. With sheepshead, the bait placement is of the utmost importance. I guess I did ok since my rod doubled over and I was suddenly in quick reaction mode to keep our first sheep from winding itself into the structure. The first fish weighed a hefty 10.5-pounds.
Once the first sheep was safely in the boat, we eased back up to the bridge to try again. This time I noticed sheepshead several feet below the surface. After a few minutes of fishing while watching one sizable sheepshead graze on mussels, Skip asked if I wanted to move. I told him I knew there were more there. Just about then, the wind and tide finally cooperated, and I was able to put my bait in a better position. That did the trick. After that, it was on. We missed 4, and pulled 8 big sheepshead from the same small area in about 30-minutes. We kept four fish, and released the rest. They ranged from 10.5 to 12.5-pounds. Of course, the guy with the horseshoe (Skip) caught the biggest one, so he was all smiles…again.
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Dr. Julie Ball and her crew went head to head with some huge sheepshead and amber jacks this holiday weekend. Get an insider’s peak at their hot weekend!