Monday, February 24, 2014

A Little Spring Tease

For late February, it was surprisingly warm on Sunday.  I joined Jeff Lockhart (fellow Richmonder) and Billy Nicar (from GreenTop) on the Elizabeth River along with a fleet of others who welcomed the tease of Spring.

A couple of stripers (18"~19") started off the action but after that it went kaput.  Every spot we went to had the same story; boaters and kayakers alike had virtually nothing all day.  Eventually, near where we started, I caught a fairly nice sized hickory shad, then right around sunset, we finally got into some specks.  Jeff spotted big swirl in 3-4 feet of water and hooked up first with a nice 23" trout.

Not too long after, just as I was saying to myself that I really needed to leave, I hooked into a nice scrappy fish.  After some impressive runs I had my first trophy of the year come over the gunnel of the new Predator 13.  


Even though the bite was getting hot, it was time to go.  I promised Kev that I'd come by to broadcast live with Lee Williams for an episode of a Kayak Kevin Podcast.

Here's the recorded version.

Friendly reminder: Don't forget your sunblock or face mask/buff.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Switching to Ultra Light

On my last trip, I was in as wide open water as you can get, using the absolute heaviest gear I had.  This time, I pulled out the 2lb test spinning gear and launched into a windy little creek.  My old fishing buddy, Justin Mayer invited me to a spot out near Tappahanock to look for one of our favorite fish to target this time of year, the yellow perch.  

It felt a little funny, I admit.  Fighting some of the hardest fighting fish I've ever hooked on one trip, then getting excited about 10 to 12 inch fish the next was entertaining to say the least.  

It had been about 2 years since I chased yellow perch (aka ring perch).  The Chickahominy as well as the Northwest River had treated me well in previous years, but this time, the action was fairly slow.  We eventually found a sporadic bite and I landed 6 up to 11.5".  Silver Buddy type blade baits and little roadrunners with curly tail grubs worked very slow did the trick for me.

They are very pretty fish and also excellent table fair.

Thanks to Justin's dad, Curtis, for suggesting the roe as well. 
I breaded and fried it and it was DELICIOUS!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Mothership Connection

Jack Daughtry lead the group in organizing the trip.  I met him and fellow kayakers Mike Rosa, Matt James in addition to another boat angler (Jeff) down in Hatteras, NC.  With 4 kayaks and all our gear aboard the "Good Times" (47' Sheldon Midgette), Capt. Andy took us out to the gulf stream in search of blackfin tuna.  The wind and waves caused issues (and a few upchucks) in the morning, so we started off jigging on the big boat.  Amberjacks were hooked immediately, but the sharks reigned supreme.  Most of our catches ended up being big AJ heads with gnarly teeth marks.  Eventually, when the winds calmed down a little and the captain was positive the marks on the depth finder were tuna, we deployed the kayaks and continued dropping the butterfly/speed jigs down to 150'-175'.  Unfortunately, the tuna were not interested in the jigs that day.  

But the AJs were.

And so were the sharks.

We tried for a while to no avail.  Another boat in the area had luck trolling, so we packed up the kayaks and made it into a meat run.  Within minutes of putting out the greenstick trolling equipment we were hooked up on blackfins.  Visualizing the hits was the fun part, but dealing with the massive equipment and the resistance of the boat still moving while reeling them in was a chore.  None the less, it was a great experience.

Big thanks to Jack Daughtry for getting this trip together.