Sunday, November 5, 2017

I'll Take Luck Any Day

My friend mentioned to me that some people think I'm getting soft.  And in some ways, perhaps I am. Long hours with clients were followed by a myriad of never ending chores, kiddo piano lessons, nerf gun battles, and making sure to create lasting birthday party memories.  With timing being what it is, I've been playing make believe fishing in Lego land with my youngins more often than I was actually casting lines in the water.  And that's ok.  The richness in my life doesn't feel diminished in the least.

I also haven't felt the need to keep this site updated as much and even thought about shutting it down.  With social media being what it is now, I wasn't sure it was needed anymore.  Then I went back and read some of my old posts.  I used to tell stories and really had a nice following.  I suspect not many will keep coming back but I don't think I can just delete such great memories.  I decided to keep updating from time to time more for my own sake than sharing with others.

On that note, yes I finally had a chance to have a productive fishing session.  As in years past, I went on a fall marathon.  Time of departure, 9:30pm.  First stop, good ol' HRBT.  It took a while but I cruised the light line and found the the schoolie stripers chompin.  Along with them were a gazillion baby bluefish and grey trout.  I had to work the dark paddletail deeper and very close to the pilings to get the stripers to eat it before the blues.  I iced two at 22" and took a nap in the car.

A few hours later, I met my good friend and fellow Werner Paddles and Kokatat Team member, Drew Camp.  I've been wanting to check out his local lake for some time and the standing invitation had been there a while.  After all this time, I can't seem to pull myself away from the trophy/citation hunt.  It was a good lake for big channel catfish I was hoping to check that off the list.  While catching bait, I suddenly found myself in a familiar mode saying "Get in the boat.  Get in the boat!".  I went from catching 6-7 inch bream to hooking into what I thought was a nice crappie.... until I realized it was a massive dinner plate size sunfish.  

Citation starts at 11" for a Virginia sunfish so needless to say, I was a ecstatic.

Drew was tearing up the bass as usual...

21.5" bass caught on a tiny blade bait vertical jigging

 Drew went on to mention how he's caught tons of the sunfish in that area but never anything that big.  

I said I'll take luck any day.

Just then I noticed a grasshopper sitting on the very tip of my bow.  Thought it was pretty cool and perhaps lucky. 
I went back to fishing and not long after hooked into a really nice channel cat an inch shy of citation on the same tiny ultra light rig with night crawlers that I was catching sunfish on. 
 That drag was SINGING!

I went on to catch several more in the 28-29" range on normal medium heavy catfish gear but kept coming up shy of that 30" mark needed for trophy. 

A few hours went by and I was thinking of calling it a day since I already checked a new trophy specie off the list.  On the proverbial "last cast" I hooked into one that pulled me along.  I've caught tons of much bigger blue cats and flatheads as well as smaller channel cats.  I have to say, I was impressed by the citation class channel cats' strength.  They put up a good fight for their size.  
And yes, it turned out to be the trophy I was looking for. 
 And no, I didn't get a grip and grin, like a dummy.

On my way back to the launch I paddled by a downed tree 
and my lucky cricket jumped ship.
I smiled and thanked it for the luck. 
And on a more serious note, messaged Drew about how much I appreciated him showing me around his spot. 
As timing gets tougher and tougher, it's really hard to fully express how amazing it is to have friends willing to help out someone getting "soft". 

Like a proper marathon though, on the way back home I stopped at the HRBT again and took my newbie kayak fishing friend Mike.  He did better than last time (last year) and hooked several schoolies while managing his kayak better in the current/structure.  
I ended up scoring a fat 23"er and one just shy of 28".  

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Tarpon Portrait

Tarpon Portrait
Oil paint on Wood panel
Original not for sale
Limited Edition reproductions (25 signed & numbered) available. 
Message with inquiries.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Things I've Neglected to Post Earlier

Citation Sheepshead back in August

Only Cobia I caught on the kayak this summer was 37"

First Billfish (White Marlin) on Jay Brook's Boat
Blueline Tilefish from same trip

When you hook into what you think is a really nice smallmouth but during the fight you realize that's not the case
18" Smallmouth
Flathead on the James


Puppy Drum prefixing the TKAA tournament

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Sharky waters

Had a few live spot and croaker in the flow troll...

 Decided to leave it out of the water after shooting this video.

Later on I hooked into a 10+' lemon shark.

It eventually bit through the 100lb leader.  I went back and anchored up in the same spot and had another that was even bigger.  Same result.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Sharing the Love

I tell ya, sometimes I just feel like a goofy, giddy little kid when I'm out on the water; stupid grin and all.  Is goobery a word?  Either way, that's me.   Happy and goobery.  Especially lately as I've been falling in love with the near by lake.  After work on a Thursday, I decided to invite a few friends to share the love.  Lockhart, Beck, and Britland joined me on what turned out to be a gorgeous evening out on the water.

Alex Britland enjoying the pedal drive on the new Old Town PDL

I quickly picked up two bass on a texas rigged Cut-R Worm and that aforementioned grin was clearly visible to all.  I shared with my buddies what I used and how I was fishing it to pick up the 16.5" and 18.25" fish. 

 "You should feel the rocks there.  Once you get passed them, there's a drop off.  Make sure to let it get all the way to the bottom." Then I switched up to see if the swim-jig would produce similar results.  A few casts into it I got a solid thump.  Immediately after setting the hook that smile went away.  I went into oh-please-get-in-the-boat mode especially after it thrashed on the surface for us to see that it was close to that 22" citation mark.  Not long after, I landed it and the grin came back.  And when I laid it on the board I smiled a little more...

22.5" Citation Largemouth Bass

Not too long after, Mike Beck landed a 23.5" Pickerel (half inch shy of citation).  And Alex Britland landed a respectable 19" Bass. 

Mike also scored a 19.5" bass toward the end of the night.  Jeff Lockhart had the only topwater bite of the evening with a 16"er.  He also had the misfortune of being the only one who got crapped on by a bird.  
Guess it can't always be smiles and pretty sunsets for everybody.  
But there's always next time.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Trophy Bass from the Neighborhood Lake

We decided to take a family paddle around a neighborhood lake on Memorial day.  On the way, crossing a bridge named after a fallen veteran was a poignant reminder of what so many had sacrificed for us to enjoy the freedoms we have today.  As my family and I drove up to the launch area, I made sure my kiddos knew why we had the day off, and reminded them why we should not take it for granted.

After ninja-ing our way up close, we got a pretty good look at a heron before it flew off.  The kids also enjoyed a dunk in the lake to cool off.  We then did an exploratory excursion into some hard to get to areas and my fishy senses began tingling.  However, as with most outing with the stinkers, their patience ran low and all that swimming made them hungry. Plus with the sun still blazing it was a good decision to head in and not to get too crispy.  After dinner though, my wife noticed my wheels turning and smiled.  "Go ahead".  

Oddly enough, top water lures were not getting the attention I had hoped for.  I switched over to a spinnerbait and casted along the edges of the pads.  In no time, I connected with two 15"-16" fish.  Then a few minutes later, I set the hook into one much heavier.  Turned out to be my new personal best and my first largemouth citation (trophy).  

I love the salt and obviously spend a lot more time there, but I suspect with fish like this near by, there will be more quick trips to my neighborhood spot.  

Hope you all had a great Memorial Day weekend too!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

One thing I Don't Skip in Spring

So many fish.
So little time.

The reoccurring theme of this site has become how daddy-life and office-life pretty much kick my ass on the daily.  I keep saying how I want to chase certain fish during certain seasons.  But, winter catfish got skipped, yellow perch got skipped, crappie, bedding bass, and so on.  One of my favorites is spring tautog and unfortunately that got skipped too.  Well, I made sure to make time to look for one of my other spring favorites,

And it was worth it.  As in years past, my buddies and I paddled and searched until we found them.  Willy Rags, Wayne Tu, Doug Greiner, Gary from MD, and myself all hooked up.  Big swimbaits with stout hooks, 50lb braid, and 65lb leader lead to signature headshakes, mean runs and awesome sleigh rides.  

Photo Credit: William Ragulsky
Huge thanks to Ragulsky for his camera work.  
Unfortunately I couldn't return the favor.  He had a thick 50+" red slip out of his lap before I could get a photo.  

Greiner and Gary went on to have an amazing season.  I didn't get as many chances to chase them as I would have liked, but I'm very grateful for the opportunites I did get.