By Captain Jason Seman
The Marylander – Denton, MD
The month of December on the Chesapeake Bay can be one of the most rewarding months in the calendar year. It is a month that has the potential to yield some of our most sought after targets, Sea Ducks and wintering Striped Bass.
Sportsmen who are willing to brave December’s temperatures on the Chesapeake Bay have the opportunity to harvest Sea Ducks in the special Sea Duck Zones. Aboard The Marylander we have hunters elect to gun as a group on our anchored vessel or use our lay down boats. To help brave the chill of the winter weather, The Marylander’s cabin is equipped with heat and generator. This can be a treat for hunters on the Chesapeake Bay who want to warm up, have a hot meal, and enjoy the comradery.
Lay down boats mirror the golden era of hunting on the Chesapeake Bay where hunters would choose to use sneak boxes to feed their families and villages on the Eastern Shore and surrounding areas for market hunting. They are small vessels that have a low profile allowing our hunters to harvest their ducks up close and personal just above the water. Our hunters function as a team and rotate during this activity. One group of hunters will actively hunt while the rest of their friends and family will assist in retrieving there harvest or partake in comradery. We choose to use these vessels on weather permitting days and are an experience of a lifetime for even the avid waterfowl hunter.
For those non-hunters or those that share our passion of hunting or fishing, the long-awaited wintering Striped Bass can be an enjoyable target. Typically during this season, we have had our best success on days that are unseasonably warm and calm. It creates an active environment for fish basking in the winter sun, ready to feed on our baits.
Trolling or jigging are methods used by anglers to target Striped Bass along the main stem of the Chesapeake Bay in December. Both methods can be effective and can be rewarding for anglers. In years past, the often sought after Trophy Striped Bass was an opportunity that anglers were able to seek. Whether this improves this season, time will tell, but enjoying a day on the Chesapeake Bay is still our goal no matter the size of our catch.
It is an awesome sight to see a fellow hunter harvest waterfowl on the Chesapeake Bay or a wintering Striped Bass. Whatever your activity is, if not both, be mindful of the weather, your environment, and your safety as a hunter or fellow fishermen. We elect to share in these undertakings as a sport and to create memorable and enjoyable experiences with friends or family that will last a lifetime no matter the harvest. It is the opportunity to do so that is most rewarding whether you choose to Blast or Cast.