We are a full-time, professional fishing charter operation located on Solomons Island, Maryland from April to December and Virginia Beach from December to March. Fishing is what we do for a living. We don’t have a “day job”. Fishing is it so we’d better be good at it.
Your captain is Pete Ide. He has been fishing area waters working charters since 1981 at the age of 13. He has been a US Coast Guard licensed captain since 1986. From 1981-1993 he worked as a mate and then a captain for Scheible’s Fishing Center, a local company which had several boats. In the spring of ’93 he bought his first boat, a 44-foot wooden boat, the Fish ‘N’ Fun, which was 33 years old when he bought it. It was old and slow, but fish were plentiful and business was good so he bought the Pelican new in 1998 and finished it that spring. It’s been a great boat up to this point.
When Pete bought the Fish ‘N’ Fun he began taking charters from Smith Creek, Md. It is located about seven miles up the Potomac River from Point Lookout, the southernmost tip of the Western Shore of Maryland. Rockfish were rapidly recouping their numbers which by the late 1980′s were so low the State implemented a moratorium. For several years you couldn’t keep rockfish at all. Rockfishing rapidly improved during the mid-’90′s and was best in the fall. After a few years of pounding the Fish ‘N’ Fun up the Potomac into brisk Northwest winds and heavy chop (common during fall and winter months), the boat landed at Drury’s Marina on St. Jerome’s Creek on the Chesapeake side of Point Lookout. It was a much shorter run to the fishing grounds. Croaker were plentiful through these years as were seatrout and rockfish.
After a good run of ten years or so at St. Jerome’s Creek, Pete moved the boat up to Solomons Island, MD, its current home port. He did so to get closer to his customer base which is mainly from DC, Northern Virginia and Baltimore. Also, Solomons has the amenities customers want like good restaurants, hotels and even a little night life. You can’t even get a cup of coffee in the morning down at Point Lookout. Fishing is great at Solomons as well. In fact, in the past couple of years the summer rockfishing has been much better at Solomons than at Point Lookout.
All the while Pete traveled to Virginia waters in the late fall and winter to take advantage of longer seasons and huge fish. First he traveled to Reedville, Va., the terminal point of the Potomac River on the Virginia side. The next stop in the southbound travels was Windmill Point, Va., the terminal point of the Rappahannock River on the north side. Fishing was AMAZING there at the Cut Channel, Ghost Hole and Buoy 42 for several years. After several very cold falls when fishing in the Virginia Bay wasn’t as good, the Pelican was once again migrating south. Virgina fishing eventually led all the way down to Rudee Inlet on the Atlantic Ocean. Once again Pete found phenomenal fishing and it remains so to this day at certain times of the year.
The Pelican is a 40-foot custom bay built-style boat. It is powered by a 420-hp Caterpillar diesel engine and has a top cruising speed of 17 knots. It was built in 1999 so it’s still relatively new. It is equipped with radar (essential for navigation in fog and darkness), GPS, fish finder, VHF and CB radios. It is Coast Guard inspected annually (boy can those guys be picky) and is licensed for 17 people on the Bay and 6 on the Ocean.
We do several different kinds of fishing. We troll, jig, bottom fish, live bait fish and sometimes, when we’re desperate beyond words, we chum. The method we use is determined primarily by the fish and what’s best to catch them. When you book your trip, tell us if you prefer a certain method and we’ll tell you the best time of year to have the best shot at being able to catch fish your favorite way. In the end though, we just try to put fish in the boat any way we can.
One of the most popular things we do is swimming live spot for rockfish and bluefish. It’s very exciting (not for the spot). Ask Capt. Pete about it and give it a try!
Capt. Pete has been doing this seemingly forever. He has lots of great stories from days gone by to entertain you on your way to and from the fishing grounds! He is friendly and outgoing when the fish are biting. When they’re not, you may want to stay on the back of the boat and fish harder!