Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Fall Marathon

It was perfect.  
So perfect, that Lee went to work,
checked the weather, 
then decided that work didn't need him that day.  
 The text came in at 6:30 am saying "Leaving work. Togging it is today."
I happened to be sleeping on his couch at that moment.  
Jeff Lockhart and I got in around 1:15 am 
after fishing part one of what will turn out to be 
... a great fall marathon.

Mountain range leaf piles lined my sidewalk as we loaded two Trident 13s on my little hatchback.  After three and a half hours of raking both the front and back runways,  I was cleared for departure.   On our way out of town, traffic cone remnants of the Richmond Marathon bid us adieu as we refined plans for our upcoming fishing binge. 

Right on schedule, an hour and forty later, Billy Ragulsky (aka Willy Rags) was stocking up on his favorite lures at Ocean's East 2.  We all picked up live blue and green crabs for the next day's target specie and bolted to one of our favorite late fall spots for that evening's quarry, speckled trout.  The tide started dropping about an hour before we launched so we set up at the mouth of a creek and started casting.  Bait flickered here and there, which gave us hope.  Unfortunately, none of us had any hits.  Various Mirrolures, dines, PBs, topwaters, jerkbaits, and soft plastics didn't get the reaction we wanted.  So, we started trolling around the flat and that was the ticket.  I dragged a Procure smeared purple demon Mirrolure on one line and a 1/4oz jighead n dark bodied paddletail on another while the other guys kept to their confidence lures of choice.  The majority of my take-downs happened near the edge of the flat where it started to drop off.  Once I located a group of fish, I would try casting the same lures, but I couldn't get a hit.  And as soon as I trolled by, I would hook up again.  This has happened to me before many times and I always found it interesting.  In any case, we all had an amazing night.  20"-23" trout were prevalent as we all stopped counting how many we had of those.  Jeff ended the night with a new personal best at 26".  I scored two trophies at 25" and 26.5" and the extra point striper at 19" was good.  Willy Rags landed a big diva over 28" that threw a hissy fit on the hawg trough and refused a photo op.

26.5" Speckled Trout

The alarm hadn't gone off yet.  
Bleary eyed... 
I reached over... 
read the text and put it back down on the coffee table.  
Eyes closed, I processed what it meant.  
Smile creeping... 
the day just got way more interesting.

The water was like glass most of the day and in true form, Lee was on fire.  The bite in general was hot, but as Lee says in his own words... "I'm so much better at this than anyone else."  He was hooking up on every drop and laughing at you when you drop on the same hole and...

Over and over again.

Lee was pure entertainment all day and caught 25-30 togs with a lot of them going between 17"-19". Jeff caught another personal best at 18.5" and now understands why we get so excited about togs.  Billy had good numbers with a nice one coming on a crab tipped jighead.  Kevin showed up later on and scored decent numbers as well.  With the weather as nice as it was, several others were out on the tog hunt including a few Maryland Boys and some guys from local forums.  Everyone was pulling in fish, but for whatever reason, I started off slow.

Jeff Lockhart's new personal best tog at 18.5"
Lee Williams

Several little females had this cool yellowish tone.

William Ragulsky with a tog on jig.
Lee "____ 'em up" Williams

It took a little while, but I did find my rhythm.  Eventually, with everyone hanging around the same set of pilings, talking smack, I set the hook into one that got me a little more excited...

"oh ..."

I lucked out with the group's biggest of the day at 20.5"

I ended with 12-15 togs with a bunch in the 17"-18" range and the one over 20".  
Satisfied, we paddled back in on flat water.  

An hour later, Billy, Jeff and I found ourselves standing in line at the gas station convenience store still in waders, reeking.  Hoping for an encore of the previous night's escapades we rushed back to the same spot while cramming down some grub.  

The bite wasn't quite as good but I still wrangled over a dozen in three hours or so.  In contrast from the night before, my first five were caught casting instead of trolling.  Then when that bite turned off, I switched to trolling and found them again.  We got rained on a bit but that didn't bother us much.  With rain jackets and the hits coming steady we weren't fazed at all.  My biggest for the night went 26". Billy scratched another trophy as well at 24".

Thirty three and a half hours after we left, Jeff and I arrived back in Richmond chuckling at the luck we had.  The wind was virtually non existent the entire time and each leg of the marathon was an absolute blast.  I got the pullage I was craving and a good number of groceries to fillet.  

I got my yard work done.


  1. Glad you got a chance to fish that weather window. I need a couple of days like that!

  2. My name is not Ashley but my wifes is lol. Anyway what a great report! Several questions. Do you feel like very dark baits are honestly better than chartreuse or white baits at night? There is a guy around here (eastern NC) that trolls 17mr at night for specks but prefers solid white or chartreuse. Also did William get the idea for the jighead tog technique from john skinners videos? I love john skinners videos. Also what kind of headlight do you use? Looks a little different than common ones. Thanks!!

    1. I do prefer dark colors at night. Billy and several of us down here saw that the guys up in the NE were having success on jigs and he tried it. John Skinner's videos are great. The headlight I use is by ZebraLight. Thanks for checking out the report.


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