Let me tell you
a story about a young man and his
passion. There once was a fellow who
liked to saltwater fish. He liked
it so much he thought he could make
a career out of it. First, though,
he had some travelling and learning
to do. So, the man went to college,
got his degree, and tried working
in the world of corporate America.
It didn't take long for him to
realize that fishing was what he
was meant to do. So the man came
home, bought a seaworthy boat and
started a charter service when he
was in his early 20's. The rest
of this story will go down in history.
This is a brief description of
Captain Pete Ide, a hard-charging,
31-year-old charter captain known
along the Chesapeake Bay as a master
of his profession despite his youthful
outward appearance. Look carefully
at Ide, though, and you will see
the glint of a veteran angler in
his eyes, one who has seen rough
water over the bow and thousands
of fish come over his gunnels.
Ide was the guide of a recent early
June trip to the middle/upper Bay
I took with Garvey Winegar, outdoor
columnist for the Richmond Times-Dispatch,
syndicated columnist Bob Gooch and
Vance Hopkins, Vice President of
Green Top Sporting Goods.
Like many anglers, we had heard
of Ide, known as a master with the
trolled umbrella rig. In fact, Ide
is known for trolling 8-10 lines
at once without tangling them. We
would save the trolling for another
day. This trip we would chum for
rockfish, bottom fish for hopefully
jumbo croakers and jig for big grey
trout. Add the exciting caveat that
we would fish from 3 p.m. until
well after sundown and you have
another great Destination File adventure.
Ide fishes from Drury's Marina
near St. Mary's in Maryland. A great
location that keeps him near good
fishing just about year-round. For
our trip, Pete first had us chumming
the Middle Grounds region, about
seven miles from his pier, within
site of the American Mariner target
ship. Most of our evening croaker
fishing was done further north near
Buoy 72 in water nearly 60 feet
deep. The water was 72 degrees.
Ide runs a 40-foot fiberglass rig
with a new diesel. Like many of
the new, young captains, Ide likes
a relatively light, fast boat that
offers extended range and fuel economy.
The college graduate has also embraced
the new technology available to
today's anglers. His cockpit looks
like the helm of Navy super carrier
with four VHS radios, a Garmin GPS/plotter/depth
finder, a Loran and Furuno color
Nothing beats a little seafaring
intuition and days on the water,
but Ide knows good electronics are
assets not to be dismissed. At our
first stop, Ide and his mate, Billy
(Ide's brother) anchored the Lisa
Ann and started to grind fresh bunker
to start our chum line. Billy was
put in charge of obtaining the gizzards
of these baitfish as well as cutting
bits of fish for bait.
As soon as a decent stockpile of
bait was collected and the chum
line out, Pete had us bait up and
flip our lines out into the slick.
The trick was to let the bait float
naturally along with the chum at
the same pace as the tide. The moment
your line pulled on the rod, you
had to open your bail and let more
At this initial spot Bob, Garvey
and Vance broke off eight fish before
Winegar actually managed to land
one. We were in a school of hungry
bluefish and Ide wasn't happy.
"If I had wanted to do this
I could have just bought a box of
hooks and thrown them into the water
back at the dock," he joked
and told us to pull up the lines.
Capt. Pete was moving on, further
up the Bay, to where he knew rockfish
would come to the chum line and
After a 12-mile run to the Buoy
72 area, and some 15 minutes of
scanning the bottom with his Furuno,
Ide shut the Lisa Ann down, set
his anchor and started the chum
again. While we passed a couple
of dozen boats in one area, Ide
chose to set up north of the massed
anglers, without a single boat around.
It was a good decision.
Within moments, stripers were all
over our chum line. They were swirling,
splashing and gobbling up the chum
and our baits as fast as we could
get them out. The fish were all
around 23 inches and lean. Our simple
rigs consisted of light monofilament
line and 1/0 hooks. While I didn't
turn down the gizzards tipped with
hunks of fresh fish, I did land
all my fish on my trusty Fenwick
fly rod. Ide kept us on the fish
until we limited out, then said
he wanted to move on to croaker.
Pete is one of the rare captains
I've met that strictly enforces
the catch-and-release ethic. Once
you limit out, Ide switches species,
so as not to accidently and inevitably
"catch-and-kill" any rockfish
with gut hooks. This is an angler
clearly doing his part to ensure
good fishing into the future.
We didn't move far to find the
croaker. Ide saw them on the depth
finder around the nearby Airplane
Wreck and set the boat up so we
could drift chunks of peeler crab
along the bottom. These were very
fresh peelers, Ide sectioned them
and we used the "knuckle"
portions of the legs on tandem bottom
rigs Pete had tied himself.
They had spinners and beads and
long-shanked hooks and worked like
magic. He does not use the metal
tandem rigs since they tend to twist
up after a couple dozen nice fish.
Hopkins and I started fishing off
the stern. I used Ide's rig on a
Berkley Signature Series 6'4"
Lightning Rod and ABU Garcia Center
Drag reel. Vance had brought some
3/4-ounce chartreuse Mann's jigging
spoons he wanted to try. Tipping
both our rigs with the fresh blue
crab, we dropped them to the bottom
some 58 feet below.
Vance's spoon trick worked immediately
as something with shoulders struck
his offering and fought its way
to the surface. A cheer went up
as Hopkins decked what would be
the first of many croakers caught
that evening up to three pounds.
Around eight o'clock we were all
pleased with the action and Ide's
skill. We four fished without a
spoken word, listening as the gentle
gonging of a distant buoy bell bobbing
from the wake of a cargo ship lulled
us into relaxation. The sun was
setting orange behind huge cumulus
clouds, the water was calm and the
air warm, but not stifling. Jobs,
deadlines, orders, yardwork -- all
were set aside, at least for that
moment of transcending beauty on
About the only thing you want to
disturb a moment like that is the
tug of a big fish on the line. With
plenty of croakers on ice and a
boat limit of rockfish, Ide once
again wanted to shift species.
The big grey trout were hanging
out around some nearby deep rockpiles
Ide had located years ago. With
the help of his GPS, we were soon
drifting our bottom rigs over them.
Vance was once again at it with
his spoon and Ide was drift bouncing
a 3/4-ounce RoadRunner jig with
a green tail. All this was done
with Ide's bright boat spotlights
illuminating the surface water and
hopefully attracting the nocturnal
While Garvey and Bob kept at it
with the croakers that must have
followed us, Ide, Vance and I tried
to land that first big trout. I
never did have one on, however I
watched as Hopkins hooked several
and fought one that appeared to
be over six pounds boatside only
to have it flop off. Once again
Ide had put us on the right species.
Around 10 p.m. we pulled up the
lines and stowed our gear, satisfied
we would have plenty of fish to
clean the next day. Ide turned off
the boat lights and turned southeastward,
back to the pier and the drive home.
I was a little sad to say farewell
to the calm, warm, nighttime waters
of the Bay, but knew there would
be another time to fish with Capt.
Pete and his fish.
Editor's Note: If you would like
to fish with Captain Pete Ide aboard
the Lisa Ann call him at 301/994-9219.
Ide will be fishing for rockfish
throughout the summer in Maryland
waters, as well as Spanish mackerel,
bluefish, croaker, trout and flounder.