Sunday, April 28, 2013

Seeing Red

I went out a few weeks ago and fished the shoals between Smith and Fishermans Islands but the water was still a little too cold. The next week I received my pro staff shirt from Wilderness Systems and wanted to get some good shots with it and I knew the reds were getting close so I went despite unfavorable reports. I drove the four hours from NC and hung out with my wife that morning. She had an engagement that afternoon so I knew I could get out without much grief. I got set up right in the thick of the shoals, got my anchor set and cast out the first crab, weighted with a 5oz sinker and an 8/0 circle complete with a whole crab. I turned around to grab a weight for the second rig when the clicker started humming from the first rod, its pretty common for the boat to drift back and forth esp right after you anchor up, I reached over placing my thumb on the spool but the line came tight, the rod doubled over and I engaged the reel. The fish began taking a decent amount of drag and I released the freshly dropped anchor. The fish ran out of the shoals and I had her play kamikaze with me several times while trying to shake the hook free. I got her to the boat and with a pull and leg sweep had her in the boat. I couldn't believe my luck having only been on anchor for less than three minutes and thanked god for the experience. I got some quick photos and released her healthy to go make some babies. I didn't bother getting a measurement on her because I wont be submitting any citations this year. Ill be in North Carolina most of the year and wont be chasing the coveted Expert Angler, this year is just about the chase and the thrill of fighting the fish.

I went back and got set up thinking that was all luck, and that I was in for a long wait if I was gonna catch another one. I sat for all of 45 minutes and notice one line has moved toward the front of the boat. I check the rod tip but it looks normal and no drag has come off, so I decided to check my bait. I reel in the slack and  it feels like its stuck in the mud. It's slowly coming toward me and then a switch goes off in the fishes mind and she starts screaming away. I know its a red from the head shakes and drag she is pulling off with ease. I get her close and I get a call, I answer laughing hysterically because of all the people to call in the middle of a fight it is Rob Choi. He asks what I am laughing at and I said "Can you hear that?" as the big red slaps her tail on the surface and he asks what it is, I said "I gotta land this red and Ill call you back haha". I barely get her in the boat and she is a beast, prob the thickest red I have caught. I look around and wanted to get a good shot so I paddle back to Smiths and keep her on the boga grip to make sure she stays healthy. I get close, get my photos then release her.

I went back and after about an hour I had a screaming run but the red jumped and came off. I was bewildered, I had never had a bull red jump me off... That was it for the rest of the day but not bad for heading out for a few hours while Allie was busy.  


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Good News and Bad News

Which do you want first?

The good news is that the water temps in Virginia are warming and the fish are beginning to turn on. The water temps in the bay are in the upper 40s which means the Tautog should really be turning on. I made the trip to the island and was skunked, tried the ships and was skunked. I began thinking I lost my touch from last year when I caught more than I can remember. I tried the island one last time and ended the day with a single 17" tog. I have never seen one with this much color, most female are nearly all black / brown with an occasional white spot. The males have more white with a dark back. This one had a school buss yellow on both sides like a kindergartener tried to color her. I took a couple photos and called it a day with the current picking up, narrowly missing a third skunk. Have patience and the tog will turn on as the water temps rise.

Now for the bad news..... I have been selected to join a Marine team headed to Afghanistan within the next few months. I will be training for the next few months and am taking my kayak and truck down so i can fish for reds, specks, and flounder there in the area. I am also going to try to make it back up for my other loves, bull reds and sheepshead.... Oh and you too Honey. Yall have a great summer and hopefully Ill see some of yall on the water this summer. If yall have any honey holes down there please share, my time on the water will be limited and I know Ill be feigning for the fight. Once I have a chance to get on the water Ill post reports until I depart.