Sunday, October 28, 2012

Bamboozled: A Trout Tale

Check it out.  True story.  

So there I was, hangin' out with some buddies of mine out on this flat.  As usual, the youngins were out makin' a ruckus... punk lil' spikes... And those little blue tailed rascals with the big spots... they were out doing their thing too... 

Man... it was one of those nights that just felt good.  
None of them noisy motors putterin' around, all up in our business... it was nice!

The water temp was feelin' awesome and we were finding little things here and there to wet our appetite.  But we knew where to find the main course...

We could feel it in our bones.  With a big storm on the way and everything... yeah...
The current was startin' to get good... stuff was pourin' out this creek... 
man, I tell you what... 
it was about to get buck wild up in there!

So my buddies were really starting to get into 'em and having a good time when I heard a nice little splash behind me.  I had to go check it out...
When I saw it, I instantly knew... I gotta have that.  
The way it moved turned me on... for real
I made my move and went for it...

Strike! But some how, I missed.  I lost it for a bit in the darkness, but then I heard it again.  I was hellbent on getting this thing so I got all sneaky-like and snuck up on it... ninjas ain't got nothin' on me.  It picked up the pace, but I got the jump on it.  Could have sworn I got it, but dude... I missed again! 

I couldn't believe it.  By now I'm pissed... feelin' like a fool in front of my buddies.  One of them started making his way over like he was gonna take a crack at it... as if!  I turned around and quickly found it right on the surface... still movin' all sexy n' sheezz, drivin' me nuts!  The moment it stopped, I went for it.  I was all like Samuel L... striking down with great vengeance and furious anger... I didn't hold nothing back...

And I got it that time...

But, dude...

I was fooled...

Bamboozled, I tell ya!

I tried everything to get away, but next thing I knew I was on one of those little boats with no motor... there was an Asian guy... bright flashing lights... man, I coulda sworn I was a goner.

But then, he let me go.

True story... 

Apparently it happened to a bunch of my buddies too.  (Link)

Sucker for the Topwater
Closed mouth.  Right on the money.  24" Release citation Speckled Trout

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Sea Change and Spreading the Love

The window-down kind of days have slowly brought on the wader-up type of outings.  Like a banner of farewell, the bold colors of the trees bid bon voyage to the mass exodus that brings about a sea change to the Chesapeake Bay fishery. 

The last several weeks have been a great time to take advantage of the gluttonous appetite of many species on the way out.  And if there was a certain summer specie you were looking for, unfortunately time is running out.  My quest for a trophy croaker (3lbs or 20") will have to resume next year as I fell short in 2012.


One of the species that stay available almost all year, including winter in certain warm water pockets is the speckled trout.  Local legend and trout master, Forrest Short, was once again generous enough to let me hang out with him a few weeks ago. 

But even the most decorated anglers have off days.  All we got was this lil 17"er.  However, he redeemed himself a week later or so later with an amazing day that included a beautiful 25.5"er.

On Sunday the 21st, I took my cousin Chris and his friend Steve out to meet Richie Bekolay at the trout hole.  Long story short, casting MirroLures, jigging soft plastics and trolling either or both did the trick.  Pink, pink/yellow, chartreuse, peppered white, and dark greens with chartreuse tails were the flavors of the day.  Several nice specks up to 20" and a few small reds were tagged and released.

Richie Bekolay 18" Speckled Trout

Chris Lee with an 18" Speckled Trout.  He also had a pretty 20"er earlier

 We were off the water just as the sun was setting.  After a bite to eat we launched again at the HRBT.  There was 2 hours left of the outgoing and I was hopeful.  But I was wrong.  As my cousin put it, I "snipered" off the one lone striper we saw on the entire light line.  It was a skinny little 21"er and I put the lure perfectly in it's path.  Unfortunately no picture.  As the current slowed, we jigged for whatever wanted to bite since we had to wait until the tide swung.  After several gray trout, I picked up a 15" flounder and just as I was tossing it toward my cousin (just to startle him) I realized that was my inshore slam (speck, red & flounder)... and with the striper, an inshore grand slam... a pleasant surprise, but unfortunately, no pictures of the flounder or striper.  As the incoming current picked up I was really hoping that the stripers would line up thick.  However, after 2.5 hours into the tide, I knew it wasn't going to happen.  We found a few here and there that were very finicky.  I managed to entice 8 or so up to 27".  Chris and Steve had a few follow their lures but not commit.  It was great none the less to see them so excited.  Actually seeing the fish, sometimes literally right next to the kayak in paddle touching distance, reacting to their presentations is really a magical thing.  Even though they didn't catch any, they understood the challenge and what to look for.  They'll be back, I'm sure. 

It was a great day to enjoy the season and spread the love...  and the addiction.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Midweek HRBT Report

Fishermen always have theories.  And the more you fish, the theories evolve.  As night time schoolie striper fishing around the bridges of the Tidewater area gets hot, anglers scramble to formulate or confirm their hypothesis... especially when the season is open. 

Here's where my theory stands so far.  The stripers are always around.  You just have to be there when they want to eat.  I've caught plenty along the light line in the middle of the summer, but they obviously like to congregate thicker when the temps are cooler.  They seem to like a little chop on the water and current is a must.  As far as direction of the current goes, everyone seems to like one over the other.  I've had it switch on me so many times, I don't favor either.  This time of year, if one direction doesn't produce, you just have to wait for it to turn and start flowing the other way.  It may stay good for that direction for several day, but then at some point it'll switch again.  But then again, sometimes, they're stacked up on both incoming and outgoing.

I met Richie Bekolay and Matt Anderson under the HRBT for a midweek patrol of the light line.  We got there just before the current was maxin' out hoping to find them active and hungry.  Unfortunately, that was not the case.  We cruised up and down the entire length of the bridge up to the south island and only picked up one or two skinny stripers that were mixed in with a gazillion little gray trout and baby bluefish.

Slack tide (2300) came and shortly after we switched sides.  Richie picked up two nicer ones in the mid to upper 20s but had to leave soon after.

Richie Bekolay 28.25" Striper

I started seeing some here and there and knew it was only going to get better as the current got stronger.  By 0100 they were everywhere and very aggressive.  I had a blast hooking up on nearly every cast.  With the exception of one strange growth, they were nice healthy, not too skinny, in the 21"-24" range.  Unfortunately, the thought of the hour and a half long drive back to Richmond weighed heavy so I was off the water by 0200.

The one with the weird growth fought well and was otherwise perfectly healthy.  The mass was very hard, but when I pushed on it, it would move in and out of the folds under it's jaw.  Ever see anything like this? 

In a strange way it kind of reminds me of the "frankenstriper" I caught a couple years back (link).

Side note: striper prints will be available soon.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

2012 TKAA Tournament

Once again, I forwent the pleasure of competing this year.  Ever since my experience with Heroes on the Water at last year's tournament (link), I've been thinking about making this video.  I hope it gives you a peek into a different side of kayak fishing...