Thursday, May 29, 2014

Monkey Eviction

POP! "SON OF A B!%@#"...
I was left feeling like Muhammad Ali had his way with me.
The monkey on my back was rolling around while laughing hysterically.
Oh, the agony of defeat.
Spring 2013 (Logging Time and Paying Dues). Accepting the loss of the Virginia spring bull red drum season

Those words from last year's drum season haunted me. It was a LONG year I tell ya! Striking out in a mighty fashion for the 2013 bull red drum season hurt, BAD! It was like a bad sting that really never went away. No matter how hard I tried, it never left my mind. It literally tormented me. I wanted one thing and one thing only...
to land a Virginia citation red drum!

As the calendar turned into 2014, so did my outlook for the upcoming spring bull red season at Virginia's Eastern Shore.  I knew that going into the spring season with a negative mindset would be mentally defeating before I even had the opportunity to get back on the horse. I would be damned it I was going to let that happen!
I kept telling myself, "It's a new year. You WILL catch your citation!" Positive vibes were also sent from the local red drum veterans. They knew I busted my tail last year and they knew I was bound and determined to kick that monkey off my back.
Joe Underwood, William Ragulsky, and I hit the Eastern Shore locked and loaded to do battle with the spring beasts. Without any confirmed catches by a kayaker and only a rumor about a couple boats landing a drum, our expectations were not crazy high.
While cruising the backside of the shoals, 4 dolphins decided to join us off to my starboard side. As I looked towards my port side, I noticed something a little different in the water about 50 feet away. "Ah, what the hell, let's take a cast at it..."
Bzzzzzzzzz...splash...."let the swimbait sink for a second, engage the reel, turn the handle while...BAM!!!
OH S#!@, "FISH ON!"
My mind took over and it was showtime! The violent headshakes with insanely fast runs told me right away that this was a big red drum. The huge black-dotted tail throwing water around confirmed that I was doing battle with the elusive enemy. I rehearsed this scene hundreds of times in my head, I WAS READY!
 "Left leg out, grab the leader, wrap around hand, control the head, and GET HER A$$ IN THE BOAT!" 
Photo Credit: William Ragulsky

Photo Credit: William Ragulsky

Now, the moment of truth! I knew it was going to be close.
"Dear Lord, please break 46, please... 
46" on the dot!  
I finally have my Virginia citation red drum!

9 trips and around 100 hours were spent chasing bull reds of the Eastern Shore in 2013. Hundreds of dollars in food, tolls, parking fees, gas, gear, etc. All of that means nothing now. This year, it took 1 trip and less than 2 hours to kick the proverbial monkey square in the gonads to send him sailing off of my back. "Hey Monkey, you're time here is up. HIT THE BRICKS!"

It's been said by the veteran kayak anglers that paved the way at the Eastern Shore, that once you put in your time and pay your dues, the reward is even sweeter.

I couldn't agree more!

~See ya on the water!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

A Little of This & A Little of That

So much to do...Such little time

We have all been there and done that! I'm not talking about work, school, honey-do's, oh no...I'm talking about fishing! As the spring fishing is in full swing, it can be tough to figure out what to go after and when. Some will plan to target certain species around weather, others around scheduled days off, or the combination of both.
Lately I have been trying to check off certain blocks on my "Virginia Kayak Fishing Bucket-List". I have a certain addiction for redfish, off all shapes and sizes; big, small, fat, skinny, I don't care! Reds are at the top of the totem pole for me. I have been trying my luck at the Eastern Shore for the mythical beasts that roam shoals this time of year. Boy oh boy, is that a tough, yet humbling place to fish! Let's just put it that way.
One of the best ways to catch slot sized redfish (aka. puppy drum, red drum, channel bass) in my opinion is on topwater. These fish are so flippin aggressive that the explosion on your bait is never a dull moment. I love throwing a Skitterwalk on shallow flats. It's just a matter of time until...

23" redfish

Another fishery that I really wanted to dabble in is the spring time bluefish run. During this time of year, the bluefish make their way up the Atlantic coast. For a short period of time, big chopper bluefish provide anglers with plenty of excitement. These big blues are pretty much demon possessed! 


William Ragulsky of "All Out Kayak Fishing" with a nice 35" bluefish

Before ya know it, summer will be here and the spring bite will be a thing of the past. A lot of these fish will stick around for most of the year, but some will not. I still have to check of a couple of blocks before it's all said and done. My eye is on one thing...behemoth bull reds! One thing is for certain, they can't catch themselves...Gotta go!

~See ya on the water!