East and Northeast winds are the most comfertable at the ships.
Any light wind is good, but the ships are fishable in any easterly winds, within reason, in the lee of the land.
Water temp is key, mid to high 40's is perfect. if the water drops below 42 degrees, the fish move out or turn off.
The toll to cross the bridge is $12 and $5 to return within 24 hours
Parking at Kipto is $3 weekdays and $4 weekend
Go to the end of the parking lot and pull your boat down the wood walkway, next to the porto-potties to the beach.
Launch at the end of the parking lot, along side of the peir.
GEAR AND RIGGING
I use a 6’6” heavy rod customized by Jesse Buky of JB rods (757-496-2206). I like the comfortable fat fore grip during a hard fight. I shorten the butt to 11” so its comfortable in a fighting chair position.
I use 50lb braided main line. On the main line i use a egg sinker from 2oz to 5oz depending on the current. A put a bead between the weight and a heavy barrel swivel.
Use an arms length of 60lb to 80lb leader material, florocarbon is great but you can get away with mono.
This is snelled to a 9/0 or 10/0 J-hook.
This seems to be excessive, but we rig to what is possible, a 60lber is possible
A flip top container works great. Drill wholes in the bottom so the slime will drain out or they will eventually suffocate. I dip the box in the water while im out to give the eels some refreshment.
During transport I put them in a cooler with a wet rag over ice. Direct contact with ice can kill them. They should last for a few days.
I grab the eel with a wash rag and a tight grip. I hook the eel up through the jaw and out of the eye. Through the eel in the water quick or he will ball up on the hook
Heavy JB custom boat style rod
Reel with a clicker.
2oz to 5oz to keep it straight down
9/0 to 10/0 Owner cutting point SSW J-hooks snelled to 60 to 80lb leader
Up through the jaw and out an eye.
THE SHIP TECHNIQUE
Take one rod only when fishing the ships, all others will scrape or break on the walls of the ships.
I concentrate on the tips and alleys of the ships, where two ships come together. I stay tight to the ship walls. The alleyways are deeper than mid ship area. You can catch them anywhere in the area but i stay tight to the structure.
I get in the eddies, drop the rig to the bottom and crank it up 3 to 4 times. I want the eel suspended off the bottom. If he gets under something you wont be able to get him out.
I put the reel in free spool with the clicker on. I adjust the clutch to keep the weight from falling. I sit on the rod butt and use my paddle to stay or adjust my position.
We have found the best bite to be around the current changes and the sunset, into the night. The current change is three hours later than the tide change.
The eel will bounce and try to swim to the bottom, let him then reel him back up. When the striper hits it will usually only be a quick “zip zip”she’s got it, set the hook HARD!
We concentrate in the alleys and the ends of the ships
The current on the tips and alleys
Positions on the tips and alleys.
THE DRIFT TECKNEQUE
Out on the open water over the edges of the slough it the place to use a lighter rod with nowhere for the fish to break you off.
I take two rods. One with a weight is set in the rear rod holder, 15 feet down, free spooled and clicker on. If you have a fishfinder set the eel above the marks.
The other lighter rod is rigged without a weight. I cast this one out and let the eel swim down. When he’s below my boat I slowly reel him back up, and repeat the cast.
The fish will take the bait running out here. When your reel starts screaming slam it in gear and set the hook hard.
I time the drift with the last hour of the incoming current. Drift fish out, fish the slack water and drift fish back to the ships. Remember, the current is three hours behind the tide time.
If your back rod goes off and you find yourself in a ‘double’, slam the reel in gear and back the drag off, so it doesn’t rip your rod holder out, but not so much that he spools ya. Finish the fight at hand, then deal with the other.
The 80 foot slough
The slough rip
THE FIGHT AND LANDING
In the open water, there is no worries about breaking them off in any structure, so its fairly easy and fun. But at the ships its a different story. If one runs through the alley, I put my reel in free spool and paddle through. Then regain the fight on the other side. I might lose ‘em when the line goes slack, but I will defiantly lose ‘em if I don’t follow them through. When the fish runs, I stay with them. I get my momentum going and winch myself to her. I keep my rod tip low to keep full pressure on. I adjust my drag all through the fight. I like to keep it tight to feel the full power of the big stripers. Drag control is different in a kayak than a stationary platform. In a boat or from shore, drag control is all about not breaking off the fish. In a kayak its about not getting pulled out. I have had a fight where I was pulled out away from the walls, then have it turn and run full speed toward the alley. I put both legs in the water as breaks, then put my paddle it to turn sideways. This along with a heavy powerful rod I was able to reign the fish away. Once the fish is done, I lighten up on the drag and keep my rod tip up. I Secure my paddle. When the fish is facing me along the left side of my boat, I get my leg in the water. I grab the leader and get a wrap with my left hand. I put my rod down and reach across with my right hand and lip the fish hard. Then I lift with the leader, my grip on its lip, and my leg into the boat. I go minimal and have a clear deck and cockpit so the fish has room. I lay the fish long ways with its head toward me to remove the hook. Don’t try this with the fish across your lap, its the easiest way to lose ‘em.
Rod tip up and paddle secured
Its not a striper but Zach has great landing form.
Leg, Leader, Lip, and Lift.
Sometimes, ya gotta use two hands.
Striper thumb is the added trophy to show off around the water cooler.
Lee's 54lber took up some deck space.
CLOSE QUARTER ETIQUETTE
We fish the ships in tight quarters, sometimes bow to stern along the wall. If anyone hooks up within 15 yards of me, I pull my line up. Drop it down when you are taking pictures of your buddies fish. Lee has caught more than a few fish that way.
Take you clicker off when reeling, we are all listening and it makes us all jumpy. But keep it on during the fight so we can hear the drag run.
Cold Weather Gear
1st layer, the wicking layer
2nd layer, the fleese layer
Wader pants with stirrups
Double layered socks
Mittens with wool or fleece to keep warm when wet.
Kayak 50 pounders
At the top of the list, with the kayaking world record, Lee Williams 54lb 4oz
Russell Hart 53lb 8oz photo: Russell Hart
Mike Basnite 53.5lb photo: Mike Basnite
Roland St.Denis 53lb photo: Roland St.Denis
Bobby Capri Jr. 52.8lb June 30 2004 Photo: stripersonline.com
Kayak Kevin 52.2lb
Zach Lannon 50.7lb
As far as we know there are only 7 kayak caught 50lbers. If you catch one let me know and i will post your picture up here.
I hope this helps you GET ON'EM! see you out there, kev