This week the winds where still a bit up to be out at the bridge targeting tog, so i stayed inside the inlets and targeted specks. I paddled to one spot and made a few fan cast with no hits. I had a nice wind to drift me across the flats. I made cast along my drift until i hooked a speck. I anchored off and continued to catch nice sized specks from 16 to 19 inchers. One of the last and largest of the day, grabbed the lure at the side of my kayak just as i was about to pull it out of the water. The next day i go right to the same spot and hour later than the day before, they started biting. I was using a 1/4 ounce jighead and a ripple mullet gulp. They were grabbing it as soon as it was hitting the water. I fished till dark landing more 16" to 20"ers. I started trolling back in and had a knock down. I turned cast back and hooked the largest of the two days, a 22"er. The one day that looked like we would have calm winds, at least in the morning, Lee, Jay and I headed to the island of the CBBT for larger tog. The slack was at 10 we launched at 7 and the wind picked up at 8. The wind was forecasted to pick up at 2pm our window was shut before we even got half way out. We got set up and the bite was on. But it was black sea bass, lil red drum and a few togs. The two to three foot rolling wind pushed waves made me get over it fairly quickly. Although jay was over it before me, i wasn’t far behind; lee was not ready to go and was mad. This storm should get the fall species active, the speck should still be moving and the tog should get even more active as the water temps drop, when the winds die out its time to GET ON'EM!
after dark 22 incher
the paddle out in the morning was nice, then it got windy.
found him in my crate on the way back, he work himself up to the tip of the rod
3RD WEEK OF OCT Mini rod togin
mini rod togin
The winds where east for most of the week, not the best for the bridge but good for the ships, and some Tautog have been biting. since the tog at the ships that we typically catch are on the small size, lee and i thought it would be fun to use our bait catching small rods to target these smaller tog. The bait rods are very short, we use them to catch spot, croaker, pinfish and anything small to use as live bait for the big reds. I had to catch my first one on the regular rod then it was on the mini rod. Lee was already up a few on me as usual and i hook a small one. My next one was a nicer 13"er and with that lil rod, it was an all arm fight, and a lot of fun. We caught a few more as the winds started pushing us around the ships and we decided to paddle in. not only was mini rod togin fun but those short rods where actually effective in the close quarters of the ships. Might be something to the mini rod for the mini togs at the ships the next time we GET ON'EM!!
mini tog on the mini rod
Lee workin a lil tog on a lil rod
1ST WEEK OF OCT Sandbridge skunk, Boondoogle, and my strongest fight ever!
51 inch stud red drum
This was a fun week!! My first day on the water, I paddle out to the CBBT for the early morning current change. I catch a small croaker and drop it down. I must have dropped into a 44 inch red drums mouth because he grabbed in not a second after putting the rod in the rod holder it bowed over and line started pulling off. This was a no-piling fight, he pulled me to open water. I didn’t have my cams set yet, so after seeing him and the hook in the corner of his mouth, I backed off the drag and set the cameras up for the landing. Jay paddled up and began targeting sheepshead and I drifted a live bait and casted around. Just like we have a spadefish surprise which is a sheepshead while targeting spades, there is also a sheepshead surprise and jay hooked into one. He hooked up and after a few runs and the way it was fighting we figured it wasn’t a sheepie. Last year Lee and I were surprised with a few black drum, usually in the high 20 inch range. This one that jay had was a fighter, at one point we thought he had a red, but it was a 37 inch black drum sheepie surprise! The current picked up and was about ready to troll in with a live spot and a crab I scooped out of the water and put down with the jighead. I felt a thump, I look at my rod and it bends over. I pull it out of the rod holder and spin my nose around to him, this 47 incher also was a no- piling fight. The reports from sandbridge have been phenomenal. The potential for us to have a double digit landing day was high. So even though i had caught them on the bridge, we were heading for the beach. Lee had worked hard all week cast netting cob mullet for bait, we were set. The pier had landed a few at day break so our confidence was high. Lee and i paddle out, set anchors and drop baits to the bottom. The water looked good we even had a few false albacore schools blow up on bait around us. Lee finished a can of tuna, rinsed it off and a small hammerhead followed the slick and looked at lee. Then dropped down and grabbed my bait. The first shark is fun but one after another of small sharks starts to wear on you patience and your muscles. We moved closer in and where still getting swarmed by sharks. One run, as i picked the rod up and tighten down, was strong. I told lee during the first sec "not a shark! Gota be a red" i kept tightening down the drag and it didn’t even slow this freight train down. Our eyes got big, as the line gave way i said, "That wasn’t a red" the line was bit. That was a big shark. A few hours later the sharks stopped harassing us and we got real bored. We decided to head on in. we were paddling in front of the pier and one of the guys cast to a school of menhaden and hooked a red, basically right underneath of us. Jay had almost landed, but we had to go back. We followed schools of menhaden but we just couldn’t find i red. That was fully frustrating to have reds all around but we just couldn’t get in front of any. Boondoggle! Just what is a Boondoggle? It’s a kayakfishingradio.com and yakangler.com get together. Basically it’s an excuse for the fans and host of the shows to meet and fish together. This time it was here in VA Beach hosted by our local show's double L's Mark Lozier and Kris Lozier,(First landing kayak fishing) . These are a lot of fun, and these get together are needed. we are all so busy it’s good to take a weekend and hangout and fish with kayak fishing friends from all over, even as far as Texas. I was extra excited when my friend and fellow ocean kayak pro Irish Jean McElroy said her and her dad where coming up. Jean and i meet a year and a half ago at the OK dealer conference. We fished together when i caught my first bass. I tried to convince her to get up here for the striper, but being a Floridian winter aint the season. So with it still being warm and the fall run running. This was a good time. We paddle out, the current was slack and the bait where not biting. Jean was a few pilings up from me, i look up and she’s bowed up and heading under the bridge! I sprint to her as the fish has her rod on one side of the piling and the bow of the kayak on the other. I yell "put it in free spool, back out and paddle through!" she was trying to one arm back paddle against the current while the pressure of the rod pinned her kayak against the piling. I yelled “open the bail, put the rod down and paddle around” she got un stuck and was back in the fight, for a min before he ran into the next set of piling. He ran through took a left and broke off. I looked at her smiling and said “it happens really quick." she said “yea!" During the next current change Lee and Jay paddle out. They target sheepies, Jean and I keep casting for reds. Jay drops a bait on a sheepie’s head and lands a 23 incher. I was casting under the bridge, between the sets of pilings. A red grabs it half way back to me, he runs out into the current but slightly to the left, heading for the outside piling. I bear down on him and catch up to him just as he passes the outside of the pile. I was right over top of him as he headed to the next set and I’m ready. Just as he comes to the base of the piling, i put the reel in free spool and let my bow slip behind the piling. Everything stops for a split second as i feel out where the fish went, did he go to the outside or inside. I get my line off the pile and put the tip up and i see my line straighten out i put the reel back in gear and i shoot out of the pilings like a rocket! This fish had me a sprinting speed and was heading for the ocean. He was pushing with two pumps and a glide and was heading for the ocean with power. For a second there i questioned what i had, i didn’t get head shakes, he never made any typical red drum cut backs, he was just pulling with strength and no sign of tiring. i said to jay who was following, "this has to be a ray!" i start short pumping slowly bringing the fish up and closer, just so i can see him as we are making a wake to the ocean. I see him and yell to jay, "big red!!" What made this the toughest strongest fight was this fish is at the top of his game, a true stud animal. He didn’t have an injury on him, his color was perfect, and its body was muscular streamline and strong. He was a perfectly beautiful beast red drum specimen. That’s why he didn’t make any cut backs and pulled with unprecedented strength. He was the champ and i felt honored to fight him. The next day Rob Choi was already out, and it was windy. A bunch of us paddled out, Jean, Rob "a bad back cast" DeVore, the crew from Maryland kayak fishing and everybody drifted around but no reds came through. It was a long muscle wearing week, but i loved it, more two a days at the bridge, a marathon of small shark fights in the ocean and hanging with friends at the boondoggle! I can’t wait to do it again and GET ON'EM!
Strongest fight yet with a beast 51 inch stud red drum!
Releasing the 51 incher
Jay with a sheepshead surprise, 37 inch black drum.
Irish Jean and her CBBT red
Jays 23 inch sheepie.
First of many sharks at sandbridge.
Morning 44 incher
4TH WEEK OF SEPT Full-on fall run with the beasts
Lee's 49"er on deck
Last October, when the reds at the bridge were over, we wondered if we would get that shot again. Was this run of big reds just a one-time lucky thing, or did we stumble into something that has always happen. Would we get a shot at the toughest, craziest, most dangerous, highest skill challenging fight you can get from a kayak in the Chesapeake Bay? We would have to wait a year to find out. My theory is these reds are following the spot and croaker during the fall run. That has begun so I needed to be the test monkey and put theory to test. Plus i needed to catch one so I didn’t have to go to sandbridge, if I caught one closer to home, i could convince lee that we didn’t have to go and spend all day on the water. We could do "two-a-days" we paddle out fish the change of the current and paddle back, chill for 3-4 hours and paddle back out for the next change. My confidence level rose as I paddled out and saw commercial nets. They’re target is the same as the big reds, nice sized spot. I paddle out, catch a spot and put him back down with a circle hook. While I drift around I cast a 2.5oz heavy hooked jighead with a giant gulp curly tail, and bounce that on the bottom. 20 mins after getting set up, my jig gets smacked on the drop. I rear back and set in. I was in the middle of the bridges. The fish ran toward a set of pilings, I tighten the drag to near "rip the rod from my hands" tightness. But with the momentum the fish already had, I couldn’t slow him down. I one armed paddled a few strokes to get going and winched myself to him right alongside on the pilings. If he turned right and went between the legs of the bridge, iI was right over top of him and would follow him through. I was lucky this time and the 50 incher pulled me into the open. Best of all, I didn’t have to go to sandbridge, but my next one would be not so easy. On the next day out, Jay was going to target sheepies and have a bait out for a red. Lee who has been suffering with a fall run red curse since last year when he broke one off at the bridge last year. Lee was convinced he wouldn’t get one. My first action came with a ray that had me scramble through a set of pilings and worked my arms out before I realized what it was. The next run peeled off way more line that I was comfortable with, before I could get tight. I was in between the bridges and but at this point the fish was two piling sets away, then he turned right and wrapped the leg of the bridge, I felt it in the line. I slipped the drag into free spool and paddle to the piling. I gathered up my loose line to the pile, and came tight, to the next set of pilings, the fish turned 180* and shot through to the next set of legs, through to the middle of the bridge. I set the rod down again and sprinted to the next set. Through and between the bridges again, I was luckily back in the fight with the 47 inch red that has just put everything I have ever learned fighting fish from my kayak to the test. He lunged toward the structure but I was on top of him and finished the fight in the middle of the bridges. Lee was totally convinced that he was not going to hook one and his fall red curse would continue to haunt him. He made a few paddle strokes from his drift and his rod bent over. The bait was close to the base of the piling and the fish ran past it taking Lees line close. Lee got turned around and winched down on the fish as he spun deep circles threatening to wrap around a piling. Lee works him to the top and the red makes a dart at the pilings but lee put the brakes on him to slow him down. Lee reins the reds through the pilings and lands the 47 inch curse breaker. The current starts up and Lee is controlling his drift. He works his was behind Jay and hooks one. This one bull dogs straight through a set off piling with lee directly on him. Then the fish keeps pulling, out to the open and gives Lee a workout. A 49"er is a beast of a redfish, and with strong tackle, fast reaction maneuvering through pilings and drags set to stop, they will make you feel like you’ve been in a fight. The next day was my birthday, and I needed my birthday red. We fished both current changes and late in the day before I had to paddle in I hook a 32"er. Not the beast that we were targeting but I’ll take it as my Bday red. The next day was the TKAA tourney. And this year I was going to the big red. not the right choice with the weather changing from light south winds and temps in the 80's one day to hard north winds, rain and temps only reaching 70*. It sucked. This time of year you never know when the weather will give an opportunity to get out. But this time of year, inside the inlets are filled with feeding fish. Its fall and the evacuation of the bay have begun. Paddle out and GET ON"EM!!!!
First big red this fall for me
craziest fight yet, 47"er double piling fight
Lee's curse breaking 47"er
Lee releasing the 47"er
Birthday red, 32"er, not big but it counts
3RD WEEK OF SEPT
Great fall sunset fishing and fishing a tourny in Kitty Hawk
Great sunsets this fall (vert shot)
Kitty Hawk Kites tourny flounder 1st place flounder
2ND WEEK OF SEPT
Another overnighter and more wind
Before the beach flys swarmed
Chris’s bait and tackle on the eastern shore has been reporting big reds being caught along the slope on the bayside. Not unusual, it’s spawning time and they like to travel along that slope when they move up and down the bay. One area that Chris reported about was just about 4 miles from the nearest public launch. And since the big reds where being more active in the evenings, this was the perfect opportunity to camp out of my main fishing boat again, the Trident 13. As I was packing in getting ready to, two commercial net boats landed to unload. They had they’re nets set at silver beach in about five foot of water, and had a bunch of gigantic croaker in the pile. Not 16-18 inchers, but 3 and 4 pounders!! True huge citation silver drum croakers!! Also to my surprise was a 17" jack crevalle! They said it’s not unusual to catch small ones but that’s was the largest one they had seen, so far. I paddled close to where I was going to camp. Stopped off at a cool sand spit with deep water and caught a few small croaker and spot for bait. I paddled up to a spot that I waited out the tide on the Bay Tour DVD, which was directly east of where I was going to be fishing. I scoped out a flat spot for my tent and set up my tripod with a 360* light as a beacon to guide me in after dark. I paddle out to 20 foot of water, about a mile out. I mark my depth by dropping my closed anchor to the bottom and pull and count it up foot by foot, I was in 22 feet. I open the anchor and send it down and set it. I drop down one of the dead baits and set it in the forward rod holder. I was shimmying up to the bow to set my camera up and the rod tip started bouncing. I knew it was a shark and reeled up my bait from the bottom, still straddling the bow of my boat. The shark followed the bait up; I pulled it out of the water. Then without hesitating the shark came directly at my kayak then turned and targeted my left foot. I sat back down in the seat. While bait was down I dropped a small hook with fishbites to catch some live croaker. Caught plenty of croaker, plus roundhead and some decent grey trout up to 16 inches. I had no drum runs and had to deal with two hooked sharks and had multiple live baits bit in half. After the sun set I got chilly and wanted to land and get my tent up before it got pitch black dark. I warmed up on the paddle in and landed just in time to get my tent up with some light. Being Sept, the chilled dew made everything cold and wet, not my ideal camping temps but it wasn’t that bad. As soon as the sun peaked over the trees the beach fly’s swarmed. Beach fly’s (sand fly’s, rock fly’s) live in a saltwater environment, they look just like house fly’s, except the will bite you like a horse fly. Remember, I have been in some buggy places, but having 10 plus of those evil critters biting on each leg all at once, I didn’t have a relaxed morning. On my last day to fish for the week, I attempted to fish the CBBT for sheepies. The wind where stronger than forecasted, as usual, and I got frustrated trying to fish the pilings while getting pitched up and over 3 foot waves and slammed against the pilings. I paddled in. That afternoon, I fished one of the inlets and got into the lil reds, one after another. The sunset started to look good so I paddled out to get some sunset shots. It was a nice closing to me week. Even though I didn’t really get on the target species, it was the first overnighter/full fishing trip. The success was just being able to camp out of my full fishing gear loaded fishing kayak, this opens up allot of fishing possibilities and filming possibilities. I already know the coastline, now I just need to figure out when, and I can camp and GET ON'EM!!
16" croaker from the CBBT
Friday night sunset
1ST WEEK OF SEPT Stuck on the inside
The winds kept us from padding any open water this week, we thought about going looking in the ocean for cobia first and the second plan was the CBBT. Both where too blown out for us to get out on it, at least we have the inlets, and this time of year, the inside waters are nonstop fun.
Jay and I cast around finding the lil reds, i had a report of the first wave of decent sized speckled trout moving in so i kinda had it the back of my mind that i might hook one. I let my jig hit the bottom and something picked it up and started running, it came tight and it dropped it. It didn’t feel like a speck, a few cast later i hooked a 14 inch croaker. That’s a fun fight; they will bulldog down and got want to see the boat.
Jay was about a half mile away from me when my line came tight to something with a little more weight to him. I yelled over to jay and surprisingly, he heard me and started to paddle over to me. I thought "I better land this fish first!" then the pretty speck came out of the water head shaken! A nice one, not the usual summer time 12 incher, i get the 18 inch speck next to the kayak and leg scooped him in, Jay paddled up and got the shots for me and paddled back, I stayed and caught another one, Smaller at 16" but still a nice sized one. I moved and found a few more lil reds, then moved again, trolling my jig way back. That’s when the trolling rod goes down with a 15 inch speck. Then the rain came and I paddled in.
The next day we had the chance, lee and i headed out with specks as the target and reds dominating our jigs. We caught them all day long, multiple casts in a row most of the time. I lost one at the side of the boat. Saw three following him in 5 feet of water, dropped the jig by lowering the rod tip, hooked one. Unhooked him, cane poled it back down, hooked another, then another, fun inlet fishing.
This past weekend’s cold front is the start of fall; the summertime species are still there and should be for the remainder of the month. But the fall run has just started, if we are stuck on the inside again this week, we know we can GET ON'EM!