Close quarters on the Upper Chesapeake River

This week we turn our attention to the Upper Chesapeake Bay out of Northeast, Md. It is the first trip for the top-level B.A.S.S. tour to the fishery since 1991 — when I was 3. Going to new fisheries is always exciting for both B.A.S.S. and us anglers.

It will take some time in practice to figure out where the best concentrations of fish are on the Upper Chesapeake. Hopefully, I can do that and figure out the best baits.

I do know one place not to fish there, however — the Aberdeen Proving Grounds. On my scouting trip there last summer after the Delaware River, I unknowingly stumbled into that restricted area and got a nice fine. That wasn’t much fun.

My best guess on the winning pattern is flipping and pitching. On my scouting trip, it also looked like a swim jig or square bill could be players this week, so that fact will also be in the back of my mind.

One reason “close quarters fishing” will be effective this week is the fact that the bay is a tidal fishery. This is my fifth tidal event, and that experience tells me the fish get very object-oriented with the fluctuating water. There’s no better way to catch them in the tides than to drop a bait on their heads.

I’ll start practice with two flipping setups rigged and ready. First, I’ll have an MHX-FS-904 rigged with 20-pound Vicious fluorocarbon for my lightweight flipping setup, which is for flipping at wood, rocks and laydowns.

Second, I’ll have an MHX-FP-936 rigged with 65-pound Vicious braid and a big weight for punching matted grass in the bay.

At this point, there’s no telling exactly which lures will end up being tied onto my Mustad Grip Pin Max flipping hooks by the time the tournament comes around, but I will probably throw a Gambler BB Cricket and a Strike King Rage Craw. I will probably also flip a 1/2-ounce jig a good bit this week too.

But then again, they might eat a frog.

Two things are for sure: I won’t be fishing the Aberdeen Proving Grounds and this event is going to be a challenge. So the whole place is going to be one large Proving Ground this week!