Guess how I spent my summer vacation ... fishing

July 23, 2011
All hail summer fishing victories. SOURCE SUBMITTED

While some people think I am always on vacation, nothing could be further from the truth. Sure, I can go fishing or hunting almost anytime I choose, but only close to home. My idea of a vacation is going somewhere different, and there is no place I would rather be than in Virginia.

Barbara and I headed out last Tuesday for Accomack County, where we planned to spend two days visiting with Ken and Sandy Schultz. They recently moved down from New York and have found Virginia’s Eastern Shore very accommodating.

Wednesday morning found Ken and me fishing for flounder at the mouth of Folly Creek and inside Metomkin Inlet. The flounder were hungry and we caught 19, but nothing over 16 inches. By noontime, the short flounder, falling tide and the biting flies convinced us to call it a day.

Thursday morning Barb and I drove to Virginia Beach and a visit with our two sons, Ric and Roger. Both boys teach summer school, but it is only in session four days a week, so they have off on Friday.

Ric and I headed to the lot where he stores his boat around 6 a.m. and were ready to go a short time later. As we were driving out the gate, Ric noticed one of the tires on the trailer was flat. No problem, we had a jack and a spare.

The jack was fine, but when we attempted to remove the spare, we found one of the nuts holding it to the trailer was rusted tight. No matter how much WD-40, Liquid Wrench and brute force Ric put on that nut it would not budge.

There was a Firestone store less than a mile away, so we slowly pulled the crippled trailer there. They could not remove the nut and did not have a trailer tire that could replace the flat.

Back to the lot, unhook the trailer, off to several auto parts stores where we heard the same song; we don’t stock trailer tires. By now, the only place left was West Marine and they did not open until 9 a.m. Thinking for sure they would have a tire we waited for an hour only to find they were out of stock on that size.

A quick stop at Ric’s house to pick up a hacksaw, then back to the lot. By this time Roger had joined us after waiting at the launch ramp since 6 a.m.

The hacksaw did its job; the spare was put on the trailer and we headed to the Crab Creek launch ramp. By now it was 11 a.m., and the chance of having a good day on the water was all but gone.

We headed to the Yancy Wreck at the First Island of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel because it was the closest place where we might find some fish. And find fish we did. On the first drift Ric put a 23-inch flounder in the boat. On the second drift he had a 22-incher. I started to get in on the action by putting a few more keepers in the box. Roger, who usually out fishes both of us, was having an off day. He kept dropping fish, and then Ric knocked two off his line with the net. As the last straw, Roger brought a 6- to 7-pounder almost to the net before the biggest fish of the day let go of the bait. The final score was Ric and his dad nine flounder, Roger one. We all used the same bait, a 2- or 3-ounce bucktail with a Gulp! 6-inch jerk shad.

When the flounder bite finally slowed, we started cruising the CBBT pilings looking for cobia. We saw none.

Things went much better on Saturday morning. Ric and I met Roger at Owl’s Creek launch ramp at 6 a.m. for a morning of Spanish mackerel fishing. Trolling small spoons produced plenty of action from small blues and one Spanish.

Once we tired of cranking in small blues we headed out to a wreck about 12 miles off the beach. I rigged up a top-bottom rig in hopes of catching a sea bass or triggerfish. Ric and Roger stayed with the bucktails. Ric used the Gulp! jerk shads while Roger chose to use a strip of bluefish.

Rog was back in form. He caught four flounder from 22 to 17.5 inches while the best I could do was one 22-incher on a Gulp! crab. We both had a couple of shorts. Ric spent most of his time keeping the boat over the wreck.

So that is how I spent my summer vacation, and I had a great time.

  • Eric Burnley is a Delaware native who has fished and hunted the state from an early age.  Since 1978 he has written countless articles about hunting and fishing in Delaware and elsewhere along the Atlantic Coast.  He has been the regional editor for Salt Water Sportsman, Field and Stream, Outdoor Life and the Fisherman Magazine.  He was the founding editor of the Mid-Atlantic Fisherman magazine.  Eric is the author of three books; Surf Fishing the Atlantic Coast, The Ultimate Guide to Striped Bass Fishing and Fishing Saltwater Baits.  He and his wife Barbara live near Milton, Delaware. Eric can be reached at