Saturday, December 29, 2012

Santa's Striper

As most people know, Santa is a VERY busy guy this time of year! I mean think about it...Constant reviewing of the naughty and nice list, supervising the gift building in his newly remodeled 20,000 square foot work shop, firing and hiring poor performing elves, making sure his sleigh is in tip-top shape, and ensuring that his reindeer are conditioned up for their "world tour". What you may not know is that Santa has a closet addiction...Kayak Fishing!!

Santa had his trip precisely planned; hit up the nice kids in the International Date line of the Pacific Ocean first and slowly make his way West. This year was a little bit easier on Santa because the naughty list was bigger than ever. A lot of kids were disrespectful to their parents and teachers, lying, shoplifting, and blowing up their parent's phone bills with 9,000+ text messages a month! Once Santa realized that he had some unexpected down time, he strapped his Ocean Kayak Trident 13, Werner Camano paddle, and his cow striper gear to the back of his sleigh for a little "pit stop" at the striper waters of the Chesapeake Bay region in Virginia.

Christmas came and went and it was time for Santa to get out striper fishing. Santa is no stranger to doing his "homework" on fishing either. He pulled up reports from Kayak Kevin, Rob Choi's, and his own backlogged reports to formulate his game plan. Santa only had a couple of hours to fish so he needed to make the most of it.

With the reindeer all fat and happy at the launch, Santa set off in search of the cow stripers. Santa used two rods; one weighted eel and one free-lined eel. Not long before the top end of the incoming tide, Santa's free-lined eel got smacked. Ho Ho Ho, FISH ON!! After an intense drag ripping battle, Santa was rewarded with this feisty 40" striper.

Unfortunately, that is the only action that Santa had that night. Clear skies with high pressure was nice to fish in, but did not encourage much feeding. All in all, Santa had a smile on his face as he paddled back to his anxious reindeer. He looks forward to the end of Christmas so he can sneak out on the water. If there is one thing Santa despises more than naughty kids, it's a SKUNK. That didn't happen that night, so it was a win! Santa will have to wait another year before he can saddle up in his kayak again. At least he can day dream of the fierce striper fight as he prepares the North Pole for 2013. Until next time...

~See ya on the water!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Cow Tipping in the Chesapeake


All the recent hoopla in the Chesapeake Bay region of big cow stripers has had me chomping at the bit to get in on the action. Our last trip out to Plantation Light yielded miles and miles of paddling but resulted in zero fish. Needless to say, I was bound and determined to nail one of those big ole' cows out my kayak!

Like I said before, those imprompteau trips can be the best. Watching the weather bringing nonstop rain didn't stop the urge to get back in the driver's seat. I called up friend and fishing partner Joe Underwood (PhillyJoe) and basically said, "It's raining, who cares, LETS GO!"

We hit the striper grounds with high hopes and positive attitudes. Excitement slowly warmed me every time my Werner Camano hit the water as the intense anticipation grew for what might be in store. The name of the game was to soak eels; one on a weighted line, and one on a free line. Kayak Kevin's website has a great "how to" on big striper fishing. Click on this link. With bait clickers engaged, it became another game of patience for the big un's. It didn't take long for the first clicker to start burning. Joe was first on the board with a nice 33", followed up by a nice 38" a short time later. Warning, this is a picture heavy post...

33" Striper

38" Striper

In less than one hour, Joe had 2 respectable fish on the board. Like the competitor that I am, I didn't want to be outdone. I would not have been too pleased to get a skunk after this. Just as I had hoped, I felt a giant "thud" on my free lined eel, "Fish On"! As the fish starts giving me a sleigh ride, the clicker on my weighted eel in my rear road holder starts screaming. "I GOT A DOUBLE, Wahoo!!" After what seemed like an eternity, I land my first fish and basically pin it down with my legs to keep it from flopping out the kayak. My attention goes to the rod with my screaming clicker. I engaged the reel, and SET the hook hard! Time for sleigh ride number 2! When it was all said and done, I had two big stripers in my lap! The one on the left is 38" and the one on the right is 42"



Bait clickers were screaming and drags were burning all night long! One of the awesome parts of the night was hooking up with a fish 20 feet away from Joe as he hooks up. We're basically laughing and saying, "This is great!" Joe lands a 38" and I land a 32".

This is where the YakAttack Panfish Portrait comes in handy.

The rest of the night kept on the same pace. I caught a couple more fish but Joe had the hot hand for the night. He was hookin up left and right. Joe would mark a fish on his fishfinder, reel up or down to it, then hook up seconds later, it was great!! He landed multiple fish over 30" including a really nice release citation 44". We ended the night with a total of 14 fish between 29" and 44". Congrats Joe on getting your citation striper!



44" release citation

Watching Joe land that 44" stud just drove me even harder to get back out again and try for that citation class striper before 2012 is in the history books. We headed back out a few nights later praying to have the same results. The bite was not as fast and furious as we hoped, but the night was not a bust either. I picked up a 36" right away.

The evening was capped off on a high note as I achieved the goal in which I sought after. Not only did I manage to get my first release citation striper, I got 2 in the same night. It was a blessing to land a really nice 44.25" and a 45" fatty!

44.25" Release Citation

My face says it all! 2nd citation of the night.

45" Cow release citation

If one thing is for certain, the cows are hungry in the Chesapeake Bay! These fish are strong and obviously put up a huge fight. Remember, the water temperature is cold and very dangerous! Use the buddy system and take every safety precaution during this time of year. It does not take long for hypothermia to set in once you enter the cold water. These fish are a great challenge, but not worth risking your life over! Be safe, good luck, and Happy Holidays!

~See ya on the water!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Back in the Saddle

After almost a month long absence from my kayak due to my annual hunting trip in Wisconsin, it was once again time to board my Trident 13. This time of year has the big stripers making their way down the Chesapeake Bay, perfect for us Virginia based anglers! I joined up with Joe Underwood, Matt Anderson, and Chuck Wrenn in search of the big ole' rockfish. We headed out to Plantation Light to drift with the sea of boats that all had the same idea. We were all hoping to have the same results that friend Rob Choi and crew had.

Playing the waiting game...

Unfortunately our 7 mile long adventure yielded zero hook-ups. We watched some boats land some nice stripers, but it was not our day. The positive outlook that I took away from this was that this was my first cow striper outing of the winter. To me, the best is yet to come...

Later in the week had Joe Underwood and I heading to the Elizabeth River for an after work speckled trout hunt. Anybody that lives around this region knows that the Elizabeth has some BIG trout in the winter months. Joe has already racked up a little pile of trout citations in the last month so we knew that we had a good chance at hopefully getting another one...or 4!

It didn't take long to get into the nice specks. The name of the game tonight was SLOW! If your presentation wasn't super slow, you would probably go home hanging your head. Joe was the first one of the night to score another citation trout with this 24.25", to be only followed up with nice 25".

24.25" speck

25" release citation speckled trout

I was getting a little aggravated that Joe was catching more trout than I did, not to mention he just added two more flippin' citations! It was time to step up my game a little bit! I changed tactics up and immediately got positive results. I picked up a few nice fish before I hooked into something with a little more weight. My grin went into a little smile after landing this nice 24.5" release citation trout.

24.5" release citation speckled trout.

Watching the awesome meteor shower display had me making many wishes, some detailing fishing. I paddled back to the same spot that I just landed my previous citation hoping for the same "luck". Not 5 casts later, there was a hook set that was followed up by a loud zing in the drag! Now this fish felt good! The fight was not difficult until I turned on my head lamp and tried to bring the fish up from the bottom. Joe actually reeled in his line to come watch me fight this fish. My 2000 series reel was getting a workout! Finally after many drag rippin runs, I landed a 30" monster speckled trout! The pictures don't do this fish any justice.

What a beast!

It was just one of those nights; a clear night with an amazing galaxy display, combined with multiple trophy class speckled trout!  Needless to say we had a good drive back home. Next on the to-do list is to nail a big ole' striper! After all, I did make a lot of wishes during that meteor shower...

~See ya on the water!