Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Shoal Searching

 Photo Credit: William Ragulsky (

After a week of really good reports Tex, Billy and I decided to give it a shot with a cold front headed our way. We thought we could launch early, get to the shoals, look for them, catch them and be on our way in before the storm hit, or at least hit hard. Well the storm showed up early, but we were there so lets do it..

Ok lets keep looking...

After hours of cold wind, mist and short bouts of rain we were all questioning our sanity. We knew the fish weren't where we thought they were and were paddling around in kayaks during a cold front...we are not normal. Some say we are driven, some say it's ego...who knows...but there is definitely something off with us when we choose to be on the water away from families looking for a fish only to let it go. We should take up golf and be normal...but that wouldn't be any fun, the more pain, the more joy in success.

Just before heading in, the cloud cover lifted for a quick moment and I look at Billy and Tex and yell there they are. I saw a school of fish, so we worked together and launched our baits. None of us hooked up, Tex yells it's striper -- they tend to be real picky at times. Billy hooks up and is dragged through the school, then I catch one off another nearby school, then I hear Tex cussing and I know he just broke one off. We get together and take some photos and call it a day.

 Photo Credit: William Ragulsky

 Photo Credit: William Ragulsky

 Photo Credit: William Ragulsky

 Photo Credit: William Ragulsky

 Photo Credit: William Ragulsky

Tex and I went out the next week after the air and water warmed up a bit, and Tex managed to land one on the outside of the shoals. I looked but never found the school and ended the day with the skunk. 

I have been getting a lot of questions about the Wilderness Systems Thresher 140, I have now had a couple months getting to know her. I will post up a full review next week on Wilderness Systems new offshore kayak.

Tight Lines Ya'll!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Shake Down and a bonus



Everyone know kayak fishing is my passion, but since buying a boat, I have broadened my horizons. Which also means I have been spending an ungodly amount of money on upkeep. So after the yearly maintenance was complete, I felt I needed to get out and use the beast despite a lot of success in the kayaks. Lee and I picked up bait at Oceans East Bait and Tackle then made a quick run to the Smith Island to fish the tide change for reds.

It was slow going at first, but then we get a screaming run and Lee yells that's no Ray -- our biggest fear. I hammered the drag down and quickly break off the beast even though I was using 40lb power pro. Hey that's fishing...

About ten minutes later Lee gets a screaming run, but his comes unbuttoned. Ok that hurt.

Then..... Drum Whammy, the other three rods get taken at the same time. Sheer pandemonium ensues! Lee puts his rod down to land my bull red, then I return the favor. We check the other rod but it holds only a bare 8/0 circle hook. Take some quick pics to remember my first "Drum Whammy."

The next day we decided to head out on our first Cobia trip of the year with Brian Olszyk -- a great follow on Instagram @StretchedOutFishing. Brian is an amazing fisherman and really excels at Cobia fishing in particular. We went out on his 28ft Master Marine. The day is kind of a blur, but lets just say Lee and my own bad luck really tested Brian's skill. We broke off a few 40lb class fish and a bull red only to find that two of the rods on the boat had broken eyes -- the broken ceramic was cutting the braid with ease.

Lee yells down from the tower to get ready, we were bout to hit a giant school of Bull Red Drum. Once in range Brian says if you can reach them, go. I cast close to the edge and hook up on a bucktail, Lee hooks up but it comes unbuttoned, Brian hooks up on a Ron Z Lure but it breaks off (our second rod with a broken eye). I land mine while the new guy is messing with a wind knot as the bull reds swim under the boat.

The new guy on the boat broke one of Brian's custom made rods while landing a smaller size keeper. So now we are down to two workable rods. I hand my baby -- a Shimano Terez / Stradic -- combo up to the tower and its not long before Brian says "Jay get ready your about to land the best cobia you have ever caught." Brian puts me within casting range, and I make a good cast right in the path of the monster, only to have her swim up to it and reject my offering. Brian's confidence isn't shaken and he throws the Ron Z lure in and hooks up. He hands the rod down and the fight is on. I have fought lots of fish, but this one didn't care I was putting 20lbs of drag on her. Brian keeps the fish on the left side of the boat and we play her until she is ready to meet Lee.... and his gaff. Lee nails the gaff shot and he stops half way and I know its a good one, I reach over and help pull in the monster.

Brian starts hunting and quickly finds another which we land and release. Then I get up top after 20 min of hunting and see my combo had somehow fallen off the tower and into the Chesapeake. It turns out the rodholder worked its way loose. We keep hunting, because while that hurt, what are you going to do? Brian spots a pair on a ray and the first fish of the day rejects the Ron Z but Lee gets the second fish under the ray to eat an eel. I climb down to gaff the mid 40lb class fish only for it to spit the hook just before gaffing...

Brian looks at me and says "we just came out here and threw a bunch of gear into the water."

After all of this Brian still had a good attitude, maybe its his confidence in his skill or maybe he is just very optimistic, but either way its something I definitely should work on myself.    

Photo Credit: Mark Lozier

At the dock the cobia weighs in at 71.5 lbs. Good enough for my second species citation for 2015, and my biggest fish caught yet. Thanks Brian!