Thursday, August 4, 2011

Spade. It's What's for Dinner.

About to land one
Photo by Justin Mayer
It was as if Mother Nature was apologetic for her excessive bitchiness on my last trip out to the CBBT.  I was granted a full 9+ hours on the water with almost no wind.  It was sexy.

The target for the day was spadefish.  It is the fish I probably curse at more than any other.  In the last three years, I've fed more spades than Asians eat rice.  Their ability to strip a hook clean is almost as uncanny as their strength once it's finally hooked.

My personal best has been stuck at 12" for a while, so I really hoped to break that on this trip.  But it started off with only a few the size of my hand and a bunch of little bait stealers.

Kevin says Hi
Baby Black Sea Bass
aka PunkassBait Stealer

I kinda think they're pretty cool looking though...

...but not as cool looking as these guys.
Pretty little thing
Kevin put on a show as Justin and I were swinging and missing with empty hooks.  He had several up to 17" with some amazing fights that took him in and out, zigzagging, through and around several pilings.  Justin had a few decent ones then eventually hooked into a real nice one, but dropped it at the boat.  I finally broke my personal best with a 13"er.  It put up a great fight for a relatively small fish.

Photo credit: Justin Mayer
But on my next to last clam strip I hooked into what I was really hoping for.  After watching Kevin's fights, I was dying hook one myself.  

Inch for inch, spadefish are definitely one of the strongest fish out there.  The second you hook one, there isn't that pause before it reacts like with some fish.  It's absolute pandemonium from the split second it's on there, and their brute strength is phenomenal.  They go completely spastic and ballistic at the same time.  I love 'em!  I can't wait to get back out and try again.

From what I understand, spadefish don't take forever to grow like big sheepshead, nor are they in serious decline like many other species, so I decided to take a few home.  I made a few spade nuggets for the wee one...
Natalie with the smile of approval
And I had my panko breaded yummy deliciousness with veggies and of course...


  1. That looks delicious! How long are they around? I wouldnt mind trying my hand and catching one.

  2. Nice Fish! How far North do they go? I have never seen one of those up here on Long Island. I spend most of my time (saltwater time that is) hammering blues and stripers but those spadefish look cool.

  3. Well, I guess this means I need to finally keep and eat them. I'd heard of people eating them, and I even cleaned one myself, but it had purple meat and it kinda turned me off.

    Did ya'll catch those under a bridge or a pier? I usually find HUGE schools over wrecks.

  4. Thanks guys!

    Charlie, they're here through mid September I think.

    Kiwi, I'm not sure how far up north they go. I'm guessing Maryland/Delaware. But like I said, I'm not sure.

    Alex, I cut off the dark meat. And yeah, it was under the CBBT (Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel).

  5. Nice goin' Rob! Things are lookin good for the Club challenge in a couple weeks. you plan on sharing all your secrets and favorite spots with you teammate(s) right? :)

  6. Yup, definitely planning on sharing with you guys. Looking forward to it.


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