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Jim Baugh’s Hooked – Lets just get a little sensitive

By Jim Baugh
VBSF Contributor, Host of Jim Baugh Outdoors TV

“I don’t have any idea Jim! I mean I have been out here Spade fishing and I have never seen it this slow.”

“Yeah, I know captain. It is amazing that we can just look at them swimming around the boat, and not a bite. Oh look, here comes Monte again!”

“Jim, you are the only person I know who names fish.”

“Well I have seen the same darn fish swim across the stern, that by now, I feel we are beginning to have a relationship. This Spadefish is becoming more of my pet rather than dinner fare. I sure wish they would bite soon before I get more emotionally attached.”

“JB we have done everything I know of, no one at all out here at the tower has gotten a bite, so we are doing just as bad as everything else.”

“Captain, if you don’t mind I would like to try something. A little trick we used to do Crappie fishing at Smith Mountain Lake.”

“Jim, what ever you want to try is fine with us, and if it works, I will of course claim it was my idea.”

“As you should captain!”

“Now, mate, go get me the lightest rig you have and the smallest hook. Put about 10 feet of fluorocarbon on it.”

“Here ya go Jim, and I brought you some bobbers and split shots that I know you will need.”

“Thanks, but no thanks. The rod and reel are fine, but nothing else. I am rigging my bare bones crappie rig, and it will get the Spadefish to bite, or we are going home and cook steak. Get the Picture?”

“That’s it Jim??? No bobber, not even a split shot?? Nothing??”

“That’s right my new little friend, this is called free lining with a lot of free will. Think of it as Jazz fishing. This tiny piece of clam is all I am putting on, and STOP chumming those clams. Keep it calm down there.”

Now at this point everyone on the boat had thought I had lost my mind. Maybe the old TV show host had a little too much shine while up in mountains. I laid out about fifty feet of line all the while these Spadefish were swimming by us like we were all at a swim meet or something.

About 8 minutes pass…….

HOOKED UP!!!! Big one two! As I was reeling in the Spade, a bunch of them were following him to the boat. Next thing I hear from everyone on the boat is,

“Strip your rigs, downsize now!!!! Get the lines in the water! Don’t use any shot, nothing, and downsize your baits.”

Within about 45 minutes we had limited out on Spadefish and no one else around the tower area and done much of anything.

The trick is this. Sometimes it takes a sensitive presentation that is about as simple as it can get. Be patient, and you will get the hook up. I have seen times when a Spade fish will swim up to even just a small split shot, get spooked, turn around and swim away. I have seen this many times.

Now, if the fish are in a feeding frenzy when you first arrive to your spot, just reach down and grab one, they are that easy to catch. BUT, if they have lock jaw, downsize everything including rod, reel, line, bait, and don’t put anything in the water that will spook them including chum.

Once the bite turns on, start chumming again and it will attract other fish.

It is a little like going to an all you can eat crab leg buffet bar. You may not be all that hungry when you start, but once you dive in, it is hard not to say,

“Pass the melted butter please.”


Skip the Chesapeake Light Tower and fish the artificial reef surrounding it. There is so much structure out there it is unreal. THAT is where the fish are!


Some years ago we filmed the sinking of the Redbirds, train cars that were sunk as a part of the artificial reef program by the VMRC. I saved some of the GPS numbers during the sinking and have posted them over on our HOOKED page. Mike Meyer from the VMRC gave me permission to re post their GPS chart of the entire reef area. FANTASTIC RESOURCE!! If you have not checked it out, please do.

Link is below:
Just scroll to the bottom of the page. I also put an excerpt from “The King Of The Sea” this was a part of our offshore White Marlin excursion that is in the book HOOKED. Filmed out of Hatteras NC, This was a wild ride!

Try these numbers and check out the reef chart. Here are some other things to check out.

Suzuki Outboards is working with us on some promotions and they have a new Facebook Page, on FB just search Suzuki Outboards, everything we are doing will be there or on our Jim Baugh FB Page. We have some cool giveaways coming up so check it out.

Hampton VA Aug 18th

Come meet all of us at Victorian Station for drinks, food, music, and THREE authors signing books. It is going to be one fun evening and we really would like everyone to come out and swap fishing stories, recipes, and enjoy the music. All the info, directions etc is at the link below. It is free and is open to the public.


This one cannot be anymore simple. First, get some fresh Spadefish and filet them up, and no bones about it. Clean the meat very well and strip out that small red line down the back.

Soak the filets in a mixture of four cups of milk and 1\2 cup of Cajun seasoning. Let sit for a couple of hours.

Then bread them in your favorite Cajun batter and pan fry in a cast iron skillet. Squeeze fresh lemons on top of the filets once patted dry.

Serve with a variety of sauces including tarter, BBQ, and remoulade.

Your friends and neighbors will love you!

Now get HOOKED on Spadefish today!


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