Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Wind, Nudity, and a Citation


I'm pretty sure that most mid-Atlantic anglers would agree that the nonstop wind has been anything but welcomed! 15+ knot winds have kept many fishermen off the water instead of seeking out the newly arriving summer species. The reports of cobia, flounder, sheepshead, and spadefish among others have anglers glued to the internet and Smartphone weather apps while crossing their fingers for a break from Ma' Nature.

Even with the strong winds, I decided to hit a local secluded spot after work. The nice part about it is that it's less than a 40 minute paddle compared to other locations that I hit throughout the summer. An aggressive speckled trout got my hopes up in the first 15 minutes.

17.5". Tag was bent from the container

It didn't take long to get fed up with the white capped waves so it was off to a creek. I like fishing the start of the creek and along the mouth as the tide is coming out. Not only can you get out of the wind, you can setup intercept fish traveling with the current out of the creek. The night was capped off by a 19" redfish that was working a current swept grass line near the mouth of the creek.

Some people believe all living creatures are affected in certain degrees by a full moon or "lunar effects". After the last trip to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel (CBBT), I can understand why. I arrived at Oceans East around 5am to grab some fiddler crabs when I ran into Tommie Dewitt. He tells me as he was in the McDonalds next to Oceans East, a guy was standing in the back on top of a table...butt naked and mumbling. Even when the cops showed up to talk with him, he just mumbled his way to jail. What's the big deal, who doesn't get naked and stand on their table after an egg McMuffin and hash browns!

Just as I thought it couldn't get any better...it did! I pulled into the drop off area by Alexander's at Chicks Beach around 5:15am. Brandon Westfall is already there and says, "You just missed it!" I guess a couple of minutes before I showed up, a teenage couple thought it was a good idea make whoopee in the car with the windows open right next to the beach entrance. I guess the girl was pretty embarressed when Brandon showed up but the guy said, "So, do you catch any fish here bro?" Like I said, could it have been a full moon effect? Maybe, since it was a full moon on Sunday, June 23rd, food for thought anyways. For my CBBT outing, there was no other "action" to speak of.

The following day some friends from work and I planned on hitting some local water after work on our half day. Go figure, it was windy once again! Instead of throwing in the towel, we made the best of it. We headed out in strong chop to seek after some speckled trout. It took a couple of different locations and patterns but I was able to entice this hungry 18 1/2" after 6 blow ups on my Super Spook Jr.


I found a small, but productive spot that was holding trout and baitfish at the bottom of the tide cycle. The slack was slow as usual but the bite picked up once the current started moving in. There was tons of bait everywhere but you had to work hard for the bite.

19 3/4"

I had to head in as the current started to pick up. I had a good feeling that fish would be feeding during sunset with an incoming tide. My hunch was right as I paddled by a calm shoreline with waves coming from one direction and the tide coming from another. The second cast in the dark water proved my theory to be right as my Super Spook Jr became dinner. This obese 24" trout is my first citation trout of the summer. She managed to escape my kayak as I was setting up for the hero shot, oh well.


As the summer weather heats up, so does the fishing. Yes the wind is proving to be the number 1 obstacle, but you can't always let that hold you down. Going with your plan B is better than not going at all. Use the wind as an excuse to try a new area that you have been eyeing up. One thing is for sure, you'll probably have better luck than a naked guy on the table at McDonalds.

~See ya on the water!

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Monday, June 17, 2013

His and Hers Redfish


Once upon a time, in a paradise not so far away, was a man and woman who...

Getting the chance to spend "one on one" time with your partner in crime these days is not easy. Long hours, night classes, Virginia traffic, and a crazy cool 12 year old daughter do not add up to many occasions for the Mr and Mrs to break away. When the opportunity does present itself, we like to make the most of it. Our Saturday plans quickly changed from a full family day to a "his and hers" day when our little one said she was invited to an all day birthday party and sleepover.

We launched our kayaks to calm water with a slight breeze. The little smirks on our faces while paddling next to each other gave it all away. It was just her and I and nobody else, at least in our eyes. For once I could care less about the power boats or jet skis. Nothing was going to ruin our day on the water. Our plan was quite simple; it was no plan at all...who cares what we do.

Amanda and I packed a full array of inshore tackle, snacks, and of course a few tasty adult beverages. The voyage was long but relaxing. The first couple of spots didn't produce anything so we decided to take a little break and do a little shallow wading. Watching school after school of little mullet and this year's fry swim by our feet captured our attention. The water was crystal clear and filled with aquatic life which added a little coolness to our day in paradise.

After a cold "freshy", we staked out in one of my favorite spots. It didn't take long to hear, "I got one!" Sure enough, Amanda's popping cork enticed a hungry redfish. I was smiling ear to ear as she battled and maneuvered the strong puppy drum around the bow of her kayak. I don't know who was more excited once the fish was in the net. The cool thing is this was Amanda's first redfish, which I tagged for her.

Mrs. Bekolay's 17 1/2" redfish. His name is Fred.

The wind started to pick up as the day went on. We tucked into a little cove only to find more redfish feeding on the bait that was stacked in there. The clear water made it a little tough. You had to be super stealthy while stalking in the cove because it didn't take much to spook these fish. The ones you didn't spook were willing to destroy anything you threw at them.

Spinnerbait smasher! 18 1/4" redfish


We decided to call it a day after landing a few more little reds. Even with the packed parking lot of boat trailers, we found ourselves to be the only ones in sight. It just made sense to beach our kayaks and soak in the moment of peace and serenity. It was therapeutic to put our feet in the sand and shoot the breeze while staring into the endless horizon of the bay. The warm fuzzy that I got was indescribable. It was the perfect way to end a perfect day with your perfect person.

...cherished every second that they got to call...theirs
The End.
~See ya on the water!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Logging Time and Paying Dues

It's been said by the Virginia bull red veterans that you have to put in the time and pay your dues to the Eastern Shore. At first you wonder what they mean by that. Put in the time??? I would say I fish a lot... Pay your dues??? Is there some club treasurer that I need to find? Only when you take on the daunting task of trying to land an Eastern Shore giant redfish in the spring will this saying make sense.

In between the long and strenuous days at the Eastern Shore have been other related events to break up the monotony. The win at the YakAttack tournament was a great way to get back in the positive mindset. That good feeling takes a long time to wear off when you consistently stare at your shinny new urban camo Ocean Kayak Trident 13 sitting in the garage. I was not only staring at it out of enjoyment, but also trying to formulate ideas on how I would want to rig it. Stay tuned for a rigging post in the near future...

Another big event of the spring is the Appomattox River Company Demo Day in Farmville, Virginia. This is the time where over 25 of the industry's leading manufactures get together to let the public test and try out new products. I also look at this like a high school class reunion. You get to hang out with your forum buddies and social media friends instead of constantly facebook messaging or tweeting one another.

Ocean Kayak/Johnson Outdoors tent

Kayak Kevin, Rob Choi, and I were in charge of manning the Ocean Kayak/Johnson Outdoors tent for the day. Needless to say, we were busy to say the least. If we were not loading people in and out of kayaks and canoes, we were answering every type of question under the sun. I was pretty stoked that one of the clinics of the demo day was YakAttack's owner Luther Cifers rigging up my new Trident 13. You know you're in good hands when Luther is the one drilling holes.

YakAttack work station...Schwigy approved!

The people that know me will all tell you that I'm persistent and don't give up. Even though the Eastern Shore has been giving me the "one two punch", the fire still burns to get out and conquer. I was consistently checking my weather apps after the demo which showed that Sunday was going to be light winds for most of the day. It was a no brainer that this was going to be my next trip (and quite possibly my last of the spring) to the bull red hunting grounds.

I met fellow Werner Team Paddler, William Ragulsky, at Oceans East to grab some tackle and chit chat with Kayak Kevin before we headed out. The conditions were great and the feeling was in the air...today is the day!

Eastern Shore morning

One thing that I noticed with the Eastern Shore is that when the action happens, it's FAST! I was trolling 2 lines while kneeling and paddling to scan for bronze logs to sight cast to. In no time, my "short line" rod doubles back with my drag screaming. I knew right away that I had a red hooked up. By the time I was able to turn around to get my hands on it...

POP! SON OF A B!%@#...

along with many other expletives flowed like wine in pure disgust. The knot that connects the braid to the leader gave way. At the same time, William throws out in front of me and connects immediately. He lands a nice 40" red.  I fan-casted another setup to no avail. I was left feeling like Muhammad Ali had his way with me. The knot that I use is the same knot that I was able to catch over 30 reds over 30"  while in Florida and it never failed on me. The monkey on my back was rolling around while laughing hysterically. Oh, the agony of defeat.

Trolling miles and miles...

William's 40" Eastern Shore red

If I had to chose one word to sum up my spring 2013 bull red hunt it would be... "humbling". For me, there is no other word to describe it. On the flip side, it's not like that for everybody. Some fishermen go out and land these monster reds within their first couple of outings. Is it luck? Is it skill? Is it being and the right place at the right time? Is it a little bit of everything? Nobody can really explain how that works. I guess you can say that's fishing!

It's hard to count the hours, the miles on and off the water, the tolls, the parking fees, the amount lost in tackle, etc. To the Eastern Shore angler, that's not what it is about. It's all about the insane fight from a massive bull red. I'm happy that I'm putting in my time and paying my dues now because when the day comes that I'm able to hold that giant redfish for a picture, I will truly feel the overwhelming satisfaction like those that have paved the way before me. That will ever be so sweet...

~See ya on the water!