I was planning some loner kayak fishing this week then I remembered that it was a holiday and Lee was off. For nearly 8 years we have had the same days off together but not this year so we don't get to fish together on all day'rs to much anymore. We went to the eshore for reds and flounder. It was a very slow action day. We sighted and saw nothin but more needlefish than ever. As we are casting in to deeper holes something erupts, Lee makes a cast and something misses. He makes another cast and hooks up to I nice mid 20 inch red. Then we seeDamien come around the corner and see him make a cast and hook up. We searched but it seemed like it was one school and they were movin out. We flounder fished for a bit with no bites beside a few 14" croaker. Next day I paddle the CBBT, the main target was spades but I got to the spot to late for the slack current. I had my cobia hunting gear and even had baits in my live well. I paddled up and down the area I saw the one a few weeks ago. Didn't see any, The current was runnin but the winds had dropped. I wasn'tgonaspadefish in the current so I decided ill paddle past the 2nd. Ive wanted to do it but it had to be the right day, this felt like the right day. I start the hunt past the second, I paddle eyeballin each piling, at halfway to the third island and turn and start the hunt back. It was 4pm. Its a different body of water out there. Clear ocean water and I could easily see the spadefish around the pilings. But no cobia. The wind picks up in my face on the crossing back to the 1st island. I'm still hunting on the way in, I get to the area were I've seen em and I see one. A good one. Hes curling the front piling I hook one of my two croaker and wait for em to come around again. He comes around right alongside of the piling and I cast the croaker about 10 feet out and he dives down fast. The cobia sees it and shoot after it so fast the his tail explodes on the piling. The croaker is in free spool divin then I feel the cobia grab it. I saw the line start to veer toward the piling and set the hook. It comes tight then my line came shooting back at me. I am disappointed thinking I just broke him off. I reel my line and I see my hook, "he just grabbed the croaker, i didnt sting em, he'll be back for another one" i think as i look up and there he is circling the piing again. I grab the other croaker and pitch em to the same spot and the cobia took off after it. He grabs and I give em a second, hes heading for the piling and I set the hook, I got em this time. There wasn't more that a few shakes before I felt the piling on the line, I throw my reel in free spool to take the tension off and paddle thru the pilings, thinking the fish wrapped around to the other side. Then he surfaces out away from the pilling, violently shakes and breaks off. As I begun to get my line off the piling I realise it was zigzaged on the barnacles not wrapped around the piling. That was my shot, but at lest I got the shot the next day I paddled up and down that area and saw nothing. These cold fronts are starting to make it feel like fall, its soon to be a great season to GET ON'EM!
4TH WEEK OF AUG After work HRBT
3RD WEEK OF AUG Getin out when we can
Spades with Lee
Last week was too windy to get out to the CBBT but I got a little bit of fishin in my backyard fishery but just a few croaker that were active. On my first day off I was attempting to go for the midday slack but then I realized it was Sunday and if you don’t get to the launch before 9am you might not find a parking spot. I decided to wait till the late evening slack. I launched and started my way out. On my way close to the island saw a cobia. I saw him circle around the front of the piling it looked like 40"er. I calmly pulled away and tied small swim bait I had for stripers onto my flounder rod, which was the heaviest rod I had. Although it is just a med action rod I could handle a 40" fish. I paddle back to the pilings and stand up and I am overwhelmed with disappointment this fish was way bigger than a 40"er, it looked to be closer to a 60lber. I had such a small chance at landing that size that all could do is be a spectator of this sea monster. I watched it circle around once and figured ill just see what happens with a cast. I pitched in front of em, pulled the lure in front of em and he swam down. A moment later he was back up and figure eighting the pilings. I made a few more cast basically standing on top of him before he swam down and disappeared. I spaded fished thru the current change, the action was slow and the fish where smaller in the 10 to 12 inch range. The next wind window was a few days later and Lee and I headed out in the afternoon. The winds were not as light as the forecast was calling for and the paddle out was splashy. We eyeballed the pilings all the way out. The spades that where biting where in the same size range as the previous day. And the wind came up for our paddle in. I fished a new are for me this week, since I work in Hampton at Appomattox river co, I fished the Hampton side of the HRBT and caught decent croaker. I like having new places to GET ON’EM!!
1ST WEEK OF AUG Day on, day off
Underwood fightin a spade
Off and on wind and rain for the days that I was off this week. One of the day’s Underwood meet me at Chix beach to launch for the CBBT. The current was strong and slightly against us as we paddle out. We get to the area we want to fish and start poking around the pilings. We get some bites telling us the spades are somewhat active. As the current breaks down, I see a spade roll on the surface in front of the piling. I push out to the front and get some solid bites. Then I fight a solid 12 incher. The bite was on and I was in a good class of fish, as the current shifted I held my boat on the pilling and was able to get the bait in the perfect spot. It was a tough balancing job but I landed a few more babies then another 12"er and then a 14"er, then a 16"er. Joe wasn’t in the schools on another piling, I took a break when the current and wind came up and Underwood got on the pilings I was on. He started getting real good thumps then hooked a nice one. He fought it next to the boat, grabbed the leader and pulled the hook. Spades are hard fightin but easy to lose, which makes them an exhilarating fish fight to target. Next day had too much wind to get on the water, and the next day I launched to a head wind which pushed the current directly into my face. When I got out to the spot, I hooked a 12"er on my first drop and my confidence was good. Then as the current slowed and changed all I was doin was feeding clams to baby spades, the ones I did just happened to hook where in the 8 to 10 inch range. I never found the larger ones and ran thru a dozen clams. And just like any the bay fish they can be on or off but they are one of the most fun and exciting fish to target in the summer, when we can be there when they are hungry and we can GET ON’EM!
5TH WEEK OF JULY Becolays last CBBT day
Winds were up and down this week, but one looked like the window would be open for a little bit longer so Joe Underwood and Richie Bekolay where coming to the CBBT, this was Bekolays last fishin day in Va because the air force is sending him to Fla. Becoklay has not caught a big Va sheepshead yet. They launched before I did into the wind. I waited for a few hours for the wind to die out a little, but still launched into the wind. I got out to the guys and they told me Bekolay had caught that first sheepie and better yet, caught it by spadefish surprise. That’s when you’re targeting spades with tackle that is way lighter than what is used for sheep and one finds that spadefish bait. The current wasn’t bad yet so I started spadefishing the pilings with the guys. Had a few baits taken but the bite sure wasn’t on. We went to the island, I trigger fished for a bit then shifted to flounder for a bit. The current started to slow after the peak, so we headed back to the pilings. The guys went to sheep fishing and I went for the spades again. As soon as I dropped a bait, I got a solid bite, I called over to the guys that the bite was on. For the rest of that current, into the turn around the bite was on, some small but some nice! We all caught a bunch and Joe even said “I forgot how much fun these are!!” I love summer time and spades are one of my favorites, so much fun when we can get out and GET ON'EM!
4TH WEEK OF JULY Wind finally lightens up
Lee and I waited for the winds to drop out to hit our back yard spot. We worked around, nothing was happening, I’m catching a few croaker. We moved and lee hooks into I nice flounder, and breaks his 20lb leader off with the fish at the boat. I had two half day windows to hit the CBBT this week; the first day I had to wait on the wind, when it did drop it only did for an hour. That was long enough to get me to launch and be underway when the winds picked up again. As soon as I got to the spot and put a bait down I was getting bites. I fished thru the current changing and caught 8 to 10 spades, from 10 to 14 inches. The second day I launched in the morning but must have read the current forecast wrong, when I got to the spot the current had already changed; I should have gotten there an hour earlier. But the spades where still on and hungry, I started off with three small ones, and then they started getting bigger. Once I got into the 14” range then I realized the larger ones are hitting hungry or just have started to find the bait. The current is beginning to get strong and the winds were blowing with it. I had to grapple to the pilling. The first one I lost I pulled the hook, trying to stop its initial run. The second I never saw broke me off on the piling before I could get free of the one I was attached to. Once the current really picked up it was time to hit the island. I was targeting spades but it was tough going, caught one but never found a pocket or a school of them. I fished the island for about an hour before heading back in. I love summer fishing at the CBBT, although the winds and current can make or break a day. As long as I can get out I got a chance to GET ON’EM!
3RD WEEK OF JULY Weekend fishing
Triggerfish 14" FL / 16" TL
With only a one day window to hit the CBBT I had to fish on another Sunday. I usually don’t like going on Sundays because of the constant boat wakes. Not that they are dangerous, more that they are nuisance. I can have an awesome position in an eddie of the pilings and the unnatural boat wake can spin a kayak out of position, just a nuisance to deal with on weekends. William Ragulsky was already sheepy fishin when I paddled out but hadn’t landed any. We get to the spade area around slack current. Raguslky was pickin a few small ones but nothing like the action he had the day before. I barely got nibbles and was ready for my other target. Ragulsky had the triggerfish snapping the day before, so the confidence was high. We got on the island rocks and Ragulsky anchored I did a controlled drift. I’m using clams and am loosing baits just as fast as I can send it down to the rapid fire black sea bass bites. Then I get a wired tug and it’s a trigger. After a few more clams I just put on fishbites. This helped with the baby black bass; I could leave the rig down without pulling up every sec to rebait. I was slow controlled drifting hitting the bottom the bringing it up just out of sea bass range. The triggers will come out to get bait. I caught one more and Ragulsky caught two. Not as good as he had the day before. But at least we got the chance to GET ON'EM!
2ND WEEK OFJULY
Afternoon runs and out to the CBBT
1st spadefish of the year
After work afternoon sessions are always fun, no pressure like going on a big trip, just getting out before dark and maybe, we might catch some fish. Lee and I paddle to a drop off and lee drops his jig and it comes tight on the second bounce with a 22” red We get some shots and I paddle up to the same spot. I make one drop, a few bounces and a 26” striper grabs my jig. And just like it was on, it was off. Lee caught one more before we paddled in but that was it. Its summer and one of our main summer fisheries is the cbbt. Sheepshead, spadefish, triggerfish are the main targets. Rob Choi and William Ragulski went out early I paddled out a little later. When I got to the island Ragulski had a few triggers. We waited till the current slowed down fishing around the island. Once we could get on the pilings we saw a boat pull two sheepies on two drops. We went on the sheepy hunt but nothing for us. The current broke down and I shifted to spades and Rob and Ragulsky continued on sheeps. It took a while for me to find them, I had a solid tug, and then I hooked one, for about 2 seconds. I tell rob, that was one, and they shifted to spades. I finally keep one on, about a 12 incher but it had an 18”er come up with it. We got on em till the current got strong; Ragulsky had the biggest one of the day with a 16”er. spades are one of my favorites, so much fun when we can GET OM’EM!
26" first drop striper
Lee's first drop red
1ST WEEK OF JULY
The winds weren’t so bad this week and we got to the HRBT with flounder as the target. Croaker were nonstop and not the smallest ones, 8 to 14 inches on average. I was using gulp on a jig head no stop catching croaker, then I hooked into something that wasn’t a croaker. This was heavy and flat and a 21” flounder. I get em near the top, open up the center hatch, he surfaced and shook his head out of the water, I angle the line to the water to keep his head in the water till he was close enough to get a leg under him and scoop em in the hatch. I was excited, even yelling out a few “Wooo’s!” I only caught two more that where way smaller, but that one made the day successful. Flounder are fairly easy to target, just bounce the bottom and GET ON’EM!
2nd red of the mornin sesson
3RD WEEK OF JUNE
Targets in the home waters
We targeted cobia for two more weeks, Bekolay got one, then the baby cobia started to get thick in the area and the large fish moved out to different areas. I turn my fishing focus to the inlets, fishing the docks for lil reds. I have a lot of fun doing this, it’s a challenge and you have to react fast when you hook a 20” red out from underneath the docks, trying to pull them out as they are pulling you in. I would go out for a few hours and only catch a few but it fun to GET ON’EM
2ND WEEK OF JUNE
finally a target fish
For us the official spring to summer transition is when the rays and sharks move in to our big red fishery and the reds move out to off shore shoals. But I always go one more week to put an eyeball on the water even though I know the chances of reds are low. Being that the water temps are in the summer range, other targets are possible, small reds in the creeks and flounder in the deeper channels. The reports of cobia off of Hampton where becoming good, and now that I work in Hampton, I needed to start fishin over there anyway. We use to cobia fish a lot a few years ago but after a while I really stated to hate sitting in chum anchored with baits out fighting rays and sharks all day. I basically quit targeting them for a long time. Since then I have developed a super powered fish sighting eye and basically have quit anchored bait soaking for other species. So if I was going to start targeting cobia again I wanted to do it my way, sighting them. I didn’t want to buy anything, no bait, no chum. I wanted to catch my bait, paddle around and look for them. I launch and paddle 30 yards and drop some fishbites and caught a half dozen 6 to 8 inch croaker and put em in my live well. I use my ultra 4.7, the center hatch is closed off, I use a pump and fill it up and exchange the water while I’m out there. I start my paddle out with my eyes open. I see a trail on thee surface kinda like a ray but a little different. I paddle to it and watched it do a turn that a ray couldn’t do. I didn’t even have to stand up, I knew what that was. I have two rods out trolling, I pull my musky rod down and put a croaker on and stalk the fish till I had a good shot. He turns and I cast the croaker out in front of him, the croaker dove and the cobia disappeared. I come tight and he had it, lunging hard and taking off in strong pulses. I tighten down the drag and start my pull behind, I take the few seconds to wind up my trolling lines, and as the last one was almost in, I hear a pop!! I look down and I see backing. I usually tie my braid directly to my spool, I forgot that this real had backing, so when I thought I had time to reel up my trolling lines because I thought I has a lot more line on the reel. I thought I had 80 yards but I only had 40. I was devastated that was a big cobia. But there was a silver lining; I proved to myself that I don’t have to by chum and bait get em. I just was under gunned; I basically shot a .22 cal at a bear. As soon as I realized what happened, I released now I have to target this fish, now I have to put them solely in my sights when they get within our range. I instantly knew what the cobia had become an obsession, and I needed payback. I gathered myself, re set and re rigged, and put away the small reels. I reel up the weighted line to have the croaker close to my kayak. And keep the free line rod ready, and I start paddling again. I saw one more as the winds came up but he disappeared before I could get a shot. Even though I lost a big cobia, it was a success; I proved to myself that I could target cobia without buying anything, just using my eyes. Now I have to stay on em to GET ON’EM!