Striped bass fishing with Captain Chuck Cook of First Light Charters

Captain Chuck Cook of First Light Charters
Captain Chuck Cook of First Light Charters with a keeper striped bass at 31 inches.

I have been trying to find the time all season to catch up with Captain Chuck Cook owner of First Light Charters, when he has time to do a little fishing.  Like my new job, his job charter fishing, doesn’t allow for any “personal” time when one fishes.  Unless of course you both get in a boat, ignore the phones, and go for the morning.  I met him this early a.m. in Pot Nets Bayside, we “jacked” two of his friends for live eels, it was too early for stores.  He had permission to grab the eels, but I am sure we looked funny bouncing from boat to boat, and cat walk to catwalk, pulling minnow buckets.  “If anyone comes running with a gun let me know” … Ummm … sure thing Captain … ( I would be long gone, yelling over my shoulder).  We loaded up, headed to Massey’s Landing, dropped his boat in the ditch, and we headed to the Indian River Inlet.  It was cold and rather windy, something I am not used to, thanks to our Indian summers.  We would be fishing the top of the incoming tide into slack tide.  He set up the rods we would be using.  I make it a point to stay out of a Captain’s way unless otherwise asked.  They know their gear better than anyone, as we all do with our own.  We were rigged up with live eels, he set the drift, and I turned on the camera.  The tide was coming in fast, and we switched to 3 ounces from 2 ounces.  We did a few drifts, with only one strike on each one, nothing caught yet, but we found where we wanted to fish, or catch I should say, and the birds working the water were changing positions rapidly.  There were a lot of shad swimming around as well.  Chuck found a nice rip and drift, and he hooked up.  WHAM!!  Big bend in the rod, I grab the net, and he lands a 31 inch striped bass.  We agreed before we even left the ramp that dinner was coming home this morning.  We are the only boat catching, there are more boaters adding to the few that showed up earlier.  Now we are not alone, and everyone is paying attention to one another.  We drift the same line a few times, and I hit a nice fish, not a keeper.  On the third drift I hit a keeper at 29 and set her free for another day.  I was in catch and release mode, dinner was in the box.

delaware surf fishing, indian river inlet, striped bass, live eels
Rich King with a keeper striped bass we released today. They are great looking fish though a tad skinny, but lots of energy.

We kept at it all morning, drifting and chatting the day away.  The rail was empty save for a few folks.  Bubble Gum beach was rather crowded, and it looked like everyone was trying to fish the same rip.  Pulling in shorties, and we think a few shad.  Roy Miller member of the Saltwater Fly Anglers of Delaware, was catching a ton of shad the other day, fly fishing.  I have been catching them at Massey’s at night, as have a few friends of mine.  The birds today were all over the place either chasing the shad schools, or whatever the shad were eating.  Like a mad pack of locusts, they would move from one area to the next.  When we first arrived, the North rock wall was being hammered with huge waves from the winds.  The birds were thick on the end of that wall, and then a while later they were working both walls with a ferocity … angry, hungry birds.  We would drift through the flocks working the water, get hit or hook up, and then start all over again.  One thing I have to say, Captain Chuck Cook fishes with a “clue” and respect.  He knows not to speed back to position through all of the boats, and on top of the fish.  “Driving back along the edge, keeps you away from the schools, and away from other anglers” …  He has always been highly recommended by the Saltwater Fly Anglers of Delaware club, and is one reason why we are proud to have him as a DSF sponsor.  He respects his fellow anglers, and has the passion for his craft.  Unlike the boat that decided they just had to troll through the area, where everyone was trying to drift … yup, there is always one.  By this time there were 12 boats all trying to fish the same rips, where we were catching fish earlier.  We drifted farther back, and out of the way several times,  just to check out the back bay.  Earlier that morning we were getting hit farther back, something our neighbors did not know.  The Coast Guard was out there doing some type of maneuvers, and it seemed … keeping the boats broken up a bit, it was a tad crowded.

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tautog, first light charters, delaware surf fishing, wreck fishing, green crabs
Jim Renieri and group Tog fished with me on Saturday 12/08/12 on an inshore wreck. A very foggy morning but the 3 anglers still managed to catch several keepers including this one pushing 8 lbs.

I had a great morning fishing with Captain Chuck Cook of First light Charters.  We discussed the sea lice on the fish we were catching, a positive indication these fish are from the ocean, and not a resident of our bays.  One of our conversations turned to his favorite fish, Tautog.  He just loves catching and eating these fish, as well as sea bass.  He is not a vegetarian either, and neither am I.  Speaking of which, I have to go get my fish filet sometime tonight.   He had a charter out the other day, and they had a good time … “Jim Renieri and group Tog fished with me on Saturday 12/08/12 on an inshore wreck.  A very foggy morning, but the 3 anglers still managed to catch several keepers including this one pushing 8 lbs. plus.  A good trip with a good group of guy’s.”  Thanks for the report Captain, and I look forward to another trip with First Light Charters.  I had a great time fishing with you today, Chuck.   So, Whenever you want to go fishing, just let me know, I can always use the break.  Don’t forget gang the Geminid Meteor Shower will peak tonight.  I am of course going to the beach, to check out this stellar event.  I will post video later tonight or tomorrow of today’s trip.  My Go Pro Hero 2 fogged up the case, we need to address that issue, and I hope the footage is good enough to view.  We will see how the Go Pro Hero 2 does under starlight with falling stars, filming the universe on a dark beach.

Fish On!!

Rich King

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