The shoals finally looked they way they should look, down right frightening.
You can tell exactly what kind of day you’re going to have on the way across the bridge. At mile marker 14 is the nine foot shoal. When the swells are breaking there you’re in for a wild day on the shoals.
Damien and I drifted and casted free line crab into the breakers, not relising the slightly outgoing current was pulling us into the outside break, where the waves were easily pushing 6 feet. After a few near misses and some real cool footage for the next KFCB DVD, we got out of there.
We settled in on anchor midway back in the slough next to the whitewater as the current started to come in. Ric made it out to us and fished the other side of the slough from us. I had the first run and it ran far past Damien who was behind me. It stayed in the breakers for what felt like an eternity. Finally it came up current and veered off the shoal into Damien’s anchor rope. We both released our ropes and I winched my self to the 40 inch red wrapped up in the anchor line and kicked him in. I began to celebrate to soon not really realizing that the red in my free floating kayak still connected to the anchor rope.I quickly cut all connections and was free.
Mark and Cody were anchored on the backend of the shoal. They called on the radio saying they just landed one. I figured the school past us and where now on the backend.
Damien caught a big breaker to the side. He had no jacket on which dumped water down his waders. His bow cam captured everything, it was great! Damien headed for land to get dried out, and Ric and I set up on the backside.
It’s different wave intensity on the backside. Super choppy with the rollers squished close together. This area looks crazy on the footage. I hook into a 42”er there with a great stubborn fight in the chop.
As the sun hit the horizon, I look over to Ric as he picks his rod up out of the holder and it bows down to the water. I paddle to him and start shooting, as he fights on anchor and land a 47”er. Ric has caught a citation red from the beach, boat and kayak this year. That is his goal every spring drum season and I’m stoked he got the kayak one with me.
That was the only day we go on ‘em this week, and it might be my last for the season. Not saying they are not there, I’ve been seeing lots of reports from the shoals. I have to start training for the bay tour that I will be heading out on in two weeks. The first day is the bay crossing and last time, two years ago it kicked my butt. This time I’m going to be in better shape for the first and biggest challenge of the tour.
The red are still there, be safe and get a shot to GET ON’EM!
40 incher, photo Ric Burnley
Ric's 47"er, photo Ric Burnley
42 incher, photo Ric Burnley
Damien's side breaker soaker
3RD WEEK OF MAY Running around missing the bite
Drum'in with the rest of the fleet
The black drum where biting this week, so I shifted targets to try to land the “big ugly”. Mike and I hit the shoals for reds during one tide change but the rest of the time we were after black drum. On the way out we saw some stripers, made a few cast but lost them in the deep water. We left them and headed out to the drumming area. My bait was getting torn up roundhead, I hooked one with my 10/0 hook. For two days I hit the drum spots during the slack tides with no bites, while the reds were biting half a world’s paddle away from me. I consistently was in the wrong places during the wrong times. Drum were caught just not by me and not during the short time I can safely fish for them, during the slacking currents. I did get to see something very interesting, out there on the outer edge of the drum fleet. Everyone is anchored; I see some commotion from one boat. They start there engines and pull they’re anchor. The rod wasn’t bucking with drum head shakes. And I thought they were getting spooled by a ray and were trying not to loose all of there line. About 15 minutes in it came out of the water, during the first split second I thought it was a cobia, but its pectoral fins were huge. Then it did a nose dive and its eight foot long tail whipped thought the air, thresher shark! The guys fought it for a half an hour, expertly weaving through boats on anchor until it finally snapped the drum rig. It was an amazing sight to see in person, I’ve only seen that on TV. I few weeks ago I posted a link to Jake Stachovak who is kayaking the “loop” from Wisconsin, down the Mississippi river, around Florida, up the east coast to New York, across the Erie canal to the great lakes which leads to his starting point in Wisconsin. Jake made it to the bay this week and spent a few days with mutual friend Vic Sorenson (Appomattox River Co). Jake showed a slide show presentation at ARC and I got to hang out with him and give him some tips and heads up for his path north. It is a real special treat for me to get to meet someone who has gone through the exact same situations as I have on tour and in the same waters. He crossed the bay on Friday, launching from FortMonroe, yea from FortMonroe in Hampton, the HRBT to the Eastern Shore! 20 miles in open water! He did it 4 hours! He did have the most perfect conditions to do it, a strong outgoing current the entire way and hardly any wind. What little wind there was, was from the west. We hung out, took some pictures and he headed for oyster. Check out his site “Portage to Portage Paddling Project” And follow his SPOT tracker. Jakes SPOT track Drum are biting, just because I struck out this week doesn’t mean others didn’t GET ON’EM!kev
Jake Stachovak after his bay crossing
2ND WEEK OF MAY One striper and the WRO demo
We spent way to much time in the wind this week. Sometimes a wind will drop out suddenly on the E-shore so we flounder fished and caught a few up to 18” when we did get a brief lull in the wind we came across a small school of striper, I was able to pull a 42”er out of them before they disappeared. The Wild River Outfitters on the water kayak demo was this weekend. We had a sunny day, last year we had thunderstorms poll over the demo. We had a lot of fun trying out everybody’s kayaks. I’m asked a lot about the stability of the Trident 13. I rate the stability on par with the Drifter. From the reports from Chris’s bait and tackle (chrisbait.com) black drum have been caught at buoy 13. They might not be here for long, don’t wait to GET ON”EM!kev
WRO on the water kayak demo
The stability of the Trident 13
One foot'en the Trident
1ST WEEK OF MAY Ran into 'em again.
We ran into them and we where ready. I paddled behind them stood up and pitched a live peeler into the wakes. It was picked up and I eased the drag up as the red pulled away faster. Then it came un hooked. I rebaited and pitched it. We paddled and found the school again. I stood up and lobed the swimbait into ‘em and immediately hooked up. We were wearing the new Maui Jim HT lenses which have the most glare cutting optics I have ever worn on the water. As the fish pulled me into the school I could see huge reds in the water out to 40 feet in every direction. I was in a field of red drum. It was the coolest thing I have ever seen, and I have seen a lot of cool things in the water. But gliding over this field of monsters that were paying no attention to me three feet over there heads, was absolutely incredible. We spent the day finding the finding them, picking a fight out of the school. After filming, tagging, taking the pictures and reviving them, we would have to find them again. Sometimes it took minutes, sometimes hours.I landed one small one at 34”, three 42”ers, a 44”er, all sighted, hooked and fought standing, and I beat my personal best standing fight with a 48”er. All of the fights were filmed, and they were good tight drag, fight em hard battles. It will definatly be on the next DVD, "Kayak Fishing the Chesapeake Bay 2" The next day the winds shifted and blew. The water was muddied up, I ran into a small school of reds in but I lost them when they dove in the muddy water. The right tackle is one thing, the right glasses to initially see them was the key to the whole day. Check out the HT Maui Jim Glasses at Mauijim.com. Great glasses are essential to sight casting. Two weeks ago on those striper, I was able to see them from 75 yards out, sitting down! And when we were where looking to pick more fights with big reds, our Maui Jims allowed us to GET ON’EM!kev
sight caught 44" red
My biggest standing fought red, 48"
4TH WEEK OF APRIL Running over reds and shoals of striper
I wanted to hit the shoals for the top of the high tide and get out of there before the current pulled us out to sea. I saw a big red pass behind my path just under the surface. I turned my body and pitched my jig back like I do at the HRBT lightline when passing a striper worth casting at. I let the jig drop and the red hit it running. Too late to hit the shoals, we hunted for the striper we got on the week before. We found them, a lot of them. We sight casted to stripers until we were tired of casting to them. Lee, Damien and I searched for the shoals of striper the next day. The winds had shifted overnight, mudding up the waters where the stripers were. We found a few small schools and the guys got a few cast on ‘em but the striper were not at aggressive at the day before. That evening we met up with Ric and set up on the shoals. We fished the same area that Ric caught 15 from his boat the week before. The shoals have completely changed from last year. I guess last November’s nor’easter transformed the shoals. What use to be a labyrinth of sharp pointed shoals and deep sloughs is now a sand flat smeared out over a large area. We fished a few breakers that stood alone during the incoming current. The only one who had a run was lee. He said it felt like a small black drum before it came unhooked. The spring red drum run is on, its just a matter of being in the right place at the right time as they run through, and keeping your eyes open. Hopefully one big one will find your bait and ya GET ON”EM!kev
First red of the year, 48"er
3RD WEEK OF APRIL On the shoals again
The red drum run is on, although we haven't landed any, they have been caught in the shoals. We fished twice this week, first with Lee, we caught dog sharks and a porpoise ran into my line and spooled me before I could get the rod out of the holder. Lee had to leave mid day, I later saw a dark area of water. I paddled up to it thinking it was a giant clump of grass, but it was moving up current. I thought I had found the mother load big red drum school. I made a cast with a bucktail and gulp and big fish scattered around me. I had do bite with the heavy jig so I pulled off the gulp, cut a crab in half hooked it. I pitched it into the mass of fish, I felt one pick it up and I set the hook. To my surprise it was a striper, all of them were stripers, big ones. They shot out from under me as I was pulled over them. I landed the 42"er as his buddies boiled around me. I pitched another half crab but had no takers. I tied on a large swim bait and made a dozen cast. I was retrieving to fast or from the wrong angle, most of them ran away from it. I had a short line of them coming up from behind me. I cast across they're path and slowly retrieved it in front of they're nose and Whap! a 41" grabbed it. There were bigger ones in that school but the sun was getting low and they disappeared. Reds are being caught and next week we hope to GET ON'EM! kev
Lean, mean 45" sight cast striper
2ND WEEK OF APRIL Tog on the island
Lee, Zach and I got out to the island looking for some tautog. For the last few weeks they have been deep and on the pilings. Now we are finding them relatively shallow in 10 to 15 foot of water. They are going to be spawning soon and the females bellies are looking like they are stretched to maximum capacity, and they are still biting. If you are taking tog in this time of year try to limit your catch to male togs and let the females go to spawn, it will help the future fishery. The closed season for tog is from May 1st through June 24th while they are spawning. So there is plenty of time to GET ON’EM!kev
Zach with a Wrasse
1ST WEEK OF APRIL Slow tog'en.
Lee, Zach, Mike and I loaded up on crab and paddled out to the island hoping for the togs to be biting like they were two weeks ago. Lee caught one early on and we thought it was going to be good. We were picking at 'em, I had one chance at a tog and I missed him. Zach and Mike caught one each and Lee was the top tog'er of the day with a whopping three. I headed to the ships for some tog, when I got there the wind was blowing hard from the south east throwing a two foot choppy swell on the ships. I didn't even have to get out of the truck, I knew what that was going to be like in the ships. In any kind of swell the inside caverns of the ships are like a washing machine. I changed my day from a fishing trip to a exploratory trip. I launched in the lee of the land and paddled around for the rest of the afternoon. the water was clear and I saw small bait fish and small mullet but no predators. I paddled up to a pound net to see what was running and it only had menhaden. The water are only going to get gradually warmer and more fish will enter the bay for us to GET ON'EM! kev