Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Catching for Kids Tourney 8/9

This week would prove to be a busy week with me preparing my house to go on the market, and well pretty much fishing every other time the wind would let me. Lee, Damian and myself went out Friday looking for Cobia. The reports had been coming back with big fish hitting the dock so we took my Kencraft Challenger out and climbed into the tower.
My girl waiting patiently for some action.
The mornings are beautiful out here, lets hope the clouds burn off.  
On the prowl for Cobia in the tower.
We began hunting for our brown suited friend, and we finally came across one that would give us a shot to cast at. I was driving and Lee was casting from the tower, Lee's first cast was on the mark and the fish dove but came back up empty handed, he fired again after I pointed out his new location and he again goes down but comes back with the lively eel in its mouth. Lee sets the hook and hands the rod to Damian who fights the fish while Lee climbs down to land the fish in the net. We unhook her and let her go, C&R with these guys today.     
View from the tower of Lee unhooking the cobia.
That was the only Cobia we saw so we went 1 for 1, not too bad even if it wasn't a monster. We began trolling for Spanish and got into several huge schools trolling spoons on light leaders. We all had things to do in the early afternoon and had the Captains meeting for the Catching for Kids Club Challenge Tournament so we came in a little early.
The largest Spanish of the day.

The next day was the charity tourney for Catching for Kids which benefits the Marine Corps reserves Toys for Tots, ensuring underprivileged children have toys under their tree on Christmas Morning. Last year the kayak club which I belong to won against several of the boat clubs in the Hampton Roads area. We had several sweeps last year including, trout, reds, sheepshead, along with several high placing fish and 4 citations for trophy fish. The rules are 5 boats per club with four anglers per boat, the rules are modified for kayakers to allow 5 teams of four, after all we are in pieces of plastic haha. We were not surprised to hear the rules had changed and now kayakers would have to be within shouting distance from each other (to prevent giving us an unfair advantage, although we can't change locations like boaters are able to do), and they got rid of the redfish division, a category that was swept by the kayakers last year....

My team was to fish the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel (CBBT), we had a plan and at 6am we paddled out to fish for spadefish. The fish were undersized with prefishing catches of up to 18 inches. The four of us fished for a couple of hours with the largest fish measuring to just over 15 inches.

Can you hear me now?! Yeah we had to stay close, no rule breaking here. 

My largest Spade of the day, 15".

This same spade broke some poor fisherman's hook in the past!

As the current began to slack I dropped down, the first piling yielded no bites, I moved and immediately got a sheep bite. I looked at the guys and said I just got a sheepy bite and we joked they should all be fishing the same piling. For me I usually get several bites in a row before hooking a sheep but this fish was very nonchalant, biting only when he felt like it after sometimes as long as ten minutes between bites. At this time 4 spear fisherman come by and were actually easy to talk to. They combed the pilings and left us 2 sets to fish. I personally am against spearing  large sheepsheads because data shows they are over 20 years old, they are not simply replaced. I on a good day may catch two while most spear fisherman can spear 2 every day, but that's a different discussion. I move my fiddler on my dropper loop into a hole and feel the bite, I rear back and set the hook, to my surprise the fish goes away from the piling and it becomes a routine sheep fight with hard digging runs to the bottom. I leg her in and she measures 25.5". Unfortunately this is a kill tourney so we take some photos and put her on ice. We later noticed she had been what looked like hit with a dull spear, still had a puncture on her side.      
Photo Credit: Brian Lockwood (www.JetSkiBrian.com)
The bite ended up being very short with another sheep broken off and a big trigger being caught all within 30 minutes. We began looking for triggers and while pulling up my fiddler I watch one follow it up and I immediately drop back down, he hits and tears it in two. I watch the trigger look at both pieces, one with my hook and the other drifting to the bottom, he eats my offering and before he has a chance to turn I pull him in the boat. The current begins to rip and we have an hour paddle back to the beach so we head back in. 2 hours before lines out. That's the issue with kayak fishing, when its too windy, too much current or if you have to paddle back for an hour it cuts your fishing time short. 
Photo Credit: Seth Goodrich
Since I live in Ocean View we go shower then head to the weigh in. My Sheep and Spade both take first over the boat fisherman, my trigger is taken out by the boat wreck fisherman but William Ragulsky's trigger (www.AllOutKayakFishing.com) places. Trout division is swept,  and won by Joe Underwood and his team, Kris Lozier wins round head division and I receive a citation for my sheepshead. We ended up finishing second only losing first by 1 single point. I can only imagine we would have repeated as champions if the redfish division wasn't canceled. Over all we all had a great time and it's an awesome event, no matter where we place! I actually had the opportunity to talk to boaters about kayaking and I am sure I can learn a ton from them.
The next day I cleaned the big sheep and donated it to the VMRC for further research, something I didn't know was actually going on. Pretty awesome stuff.     

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