Saturday, January 19, 2013


A dizzying array of fast paced kayak fishing titillation compiled from the relentless pursuits of 2012....

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Sunday, January 13, 2013

Foggy with a Chance of Tog

Going three for three on citations per trip is highly unlikely, but it was all I could think about while paddling through the thick fog.

Compass, emergency whistle, communication device, and a keen sense of bridge location at all times were critical.  I've been in fog like this before, but never where it lasted all day.  It was somewhat surreal being at the 1st island and not being able to see anything.  I could hear the deep fog horns of massive ships resonating as they got closer to the tunnel, but never even saw an outline or silhouette.  

Unfortunately, my rock dwelling buddies were not fond of the sea level cloud and I was only able to convince two little 14"ers to come out and play.  

After getting off the water right around dark, I couldn't resist the chance at the big stripers again.  I met Miles Wong and Justin Mayer and proceeded to soaking eels.  I had one about 40" and Justin had a 33"er.  Sorry, no pictures of the stripers...

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

On a Good Roll with Togs and Kows.

This post is brought to you in part by the unselfish generosity of the Johnnie B.  Because making that certain connection and getting crabs is just part of the game.

SkunkApe and crew of the Johnnie B got that tog-bug gnawing at me again with some great cold water reports.  Only thing is, if you're looking for tog bait this time of year, you might as well be up the proverbial creek with a turd for a paddle.  Ever since the commercial crabbing season closed, even the Asian Supermarkets were out.  Lucky for me, Skunk was willing to part with some of his lucky crustaceans for a tog print.

For how cold the water was (~45 degrees) I found a pretty decent tog bite.  It was soft and quick so I had a few swings n' misses, but after making the mental adjustment I landed 6 (16.5", 17", 17", 20", 21.5" and 21.5").  

If only I could find a way to get more crabs...

After 8 hours of absolute solitude on the water, I decided to join Jack Daughtry in search of kow stripers.  It was a perfectly calm night when my clicker scream broke the silence.  I quickly brought the beast to the surface but as soon as I turned on my headlamp to take a look at it, it went berserk.  It was definitely bigger than I thought it was going to be.  My drag was set tight as it started thrashing violently, banging it's massive head on my gunwale and spraying water everywhere.  Once the head got back under it peeled line while spinning me in circles.  After pressuring him back within arms length of the leader, all of a sudden, it went slack.  I pointed my light and watched the full length of the fish slowly fade away into the darkness... as a cacophonous "NOOOO!!!" reverberated from my chest. Listening to my voice echoing in the cold still air, I reeled in my empty hook, knowing that was easily the citation I was hoping for.

After several choice words grumbled through the steam from my mouth, fear of that scenario replaying in my sleep set in.  I whispered "c'mon please" a gazillion times waiting for my next hit, but I was only tormented by short strikes.  Jack's line came tight next and I was excited for him.  

It was his new personal best at 41".  
Not too long after, zippzipp was followed by his Visipole moving abnormally fast.  And about 10 seconds later, my clicker goes off too.  Line comes tight and shizam... sleigh ride.


44" by the last little fibers of the tail.  Paper two, check.

I didn't stay very long after that, knowing my work load the next morning was going to be tough.  But Jack stayed and got into a few more.  37", 39" and one monster that refused to be measured before peacin' out.

What an awesome freakin' day.

Can I get a "yeah!"?

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Day One:

Once the ribbon was cut on 2013, we all stepped back up to the line.  Those of us that have been playing that certain 6 species game had a fresh set of downs and three of us decided take an early stab at the list on Saturday.  

Jay Brooks, Justin Mayer and I tried all over the Elizabeth River discharge area and eventually ended up at the cove.  Not a single hit on the flats, the drop offs, the main channel, the oyster bars, that one weird structure in that cool spot, I mean nada.  So we paddled up and joined the party.

And I figured "when in Rome..." and brought the minnows and bobbers.  With a little luck, I found myself a nice little spot that turned out to be fairly productive.  The action wasn't hot by any means but compared to my two buddies and the majority of the boats around me, I had nothing to complain about.  I guess luck was on my side with 4 specks up to 20" on minnows, two on a slow jigged paddle tail of which one went around 25", and two around 18" while trolling a MirrOlure.

Release Citation Speckled Trout.  Check. 

I'm sure these two will pay me back one day with awesome reports where I end up the unlucky one.

After dark, Justin and I ventured over to the big striper grounds and tried our luck at cow tipping.  Justin's free lined eel got the wiggle right and found a striper first.  Exciting battle ensued and in the end we were hoping to stretch it an inch more, but 43" was the best we could do.  Also, it had a bit of an attitude and stormed off before a decent photo op.

After several short strikes, missed hits and other torturous teasing, I got a 40"er to stay on the hook.

Photo by Justin Mayer

As soon as I landed it I was wishing it was a few inches bigger, then it thrashed and head butted me in the nuts... reminding me.  This was an awesome, strong, healthy fish (beside the sore near it's tail), that just made my night and I should be grateful.  
After a few more hours with the action fading, I called it a day.  
A great day... with good friends... good fishing... and a reminder not to take things for granted.

But you know darn well I'll looking to cross another off the list soon...

Friday, January 4, 2013

Gratitude, Dancing, and Some Free Stuff

Hopes and dreams dance on the horizon as we stare into the dawn of the unknown.  New chapters wait to unfold while little mementos of lessons learned wait to guide us in the decisions we make and chances we take...

... or don't take.  I didn't spend quite as much time on the water, nor catch as many fish as I did the year before, but 2012 still ranks as one of my best angling years to date.  As someone who is driven strongly by individual goals, part of me feels a slight twinge of disappointment but the other side of me revels in unexpected accolades.

My main desire was to catch 6 saltwater citations of different species from the kayak to join the rank of only one, Kayak Kevin, as "expert angler" from the Virginia Saltwater Tournament.  I managed 6 citations in 4 different species (sheepshead, red drum, speckled trout and striped bass).  In my opinion, it's one of the hardest challenges on a kayak (in VA) and it will remain at the top of the list for 2013.  Also remaining high in priority is tagging.  The kit got left behind for several trips, but for my first year I like to think 198 tagged with several recaptures was a pretty good start.  

With the help of some ingenious YakAttack accessories paired with a couple GoPro cameras, I had a blast putting together some videos last year.  One of them, Addiction: Kayak Fishing, won 3rd place Kayak Anglers Choice award for Online Video.  I was also proud of my little kids' vacation and TKAA-HOW-PHW videos as well.  The editing process may be challenging, but being able to share those experiences the way I envisioned it is extremely rewarding.  You can definitely expect more soon.

Something else you can expect more of are fish prints.  I've figured out ways to pick up more detail and over all they've gotten much better.  

Somewhat unexpected, I found myself unable to keep up with demands during the holiday season.  So maybe this year I'll have to up the production on the artwork.  There will be a full how-to article and video as well in the near future.

The most unforeseen honor came with the Kayak Anglers Choice Blog of the Year Award.  To everyone who voted for my blog, THANK YOU so much. I'm somewhat dumbfounded because I did not promote myself or go on a campaign asking for or reminding people to vote for me. I was fully prepared to be congratulating the person who promoted themselves the most so I am now thoroughly surprised and humbled that kayak anglers from all over chose mine over all the other great blogs.

Although it's essentially just a popularity contest, I like to think that the content of my blog is respected enough to earn the vote. I cherish the ability to connect with my audience and the chance for them to respond. Combine that with the 3rd place Online Video of the Year Award and I am truly honored. Again, thank you so much.  To the others who were nominated and/or placed, much love and respect. 

When I look back, I was very privileged to fish with some of the best kayak anglers in the area.  The friends I've made, new and old to the sport, are probably the best part of this whole journey.  I was humble in learning from those I look up to while helping others by sharing my experiences.  From bass n' pickerel to spades n' sheepies, specks n' flatties to flatheads n' bronzebacks, James River fall line to the HRBT lightline, CBBT first island to the Eastern Shore barrier islands, flycasting to deadstickin, bulls n' kows and everything else... the fishing was phenomenal.  I got to mingle with the likes of Jim Sammons, earned invitations to some amazing fisheries, enjoyed many great on-the-water sunsets, and  and to be honest... even though I didn't get that "expert angler" I accomplished more than I ever thought I would in 2012.  

Here's a little happy dance for ya...

I'm feeling so happy... I'm gonna give away some stickers.  The first 15 people to email me their address will get a free angling-addict decal.  (3.25"x6" black or white)

Once again, thank you all so much for enabling my addiction and continuing to follow my little adventures.  Cheers and best of luck in all your pursuits.