Lee and I dropped crabs on the ships. I caught a tog and Lee caught two big oystertoads. What's killing me is the reports from the 3rd and 4th island telling of hungry togs going crazy, we fish for six hours with one bite. another window of weather opened and Ric and I hit the HRBT. All the conditions were right for fish but all we caught was Ric's one striper and some big ship wakes breaking on the east bar. So we caught some rides. Reports from the boaters out that morning were few greys the day before, a speck and flounder from the high tide that morning. Everything is right, water temps are higher that last year at this time. If the wind would stop blowing we might be able to GET ON'EM
Rics waiting for it.
4TH WEEK OF MARCH One fish caught this week
I went to Rudee after work. The tide was lower than I expected and I was disappointed. I migrated to the front casting on areas along the way. In lake Wesley I saw three dead and dying specks. Two washed up along the side and one swimming disorientated. Last week was saw one the same way. I grabbed it to see if was gut hooked or physically injured. Didn't see anything wrong and that was the only fish I saw that day.
Lee and I decided to go tog'en, the water temp was 53. Its not the best temp, but getting there. We jigged for flounder and toged all morning. There were gannets that got closer as the wind died down. We paddled out in 3 foot swells as the gannets got further away. Dolphins were all of the place. We paddled and rode the waves back to the ships.
We had been watching the buoy reports for the previous days. At the top of the high tide the water temp would jump up to 55-56 degrees. It did the same and we drop the crabs. Lee and were talking about ' if they're going to hit its going to be now' and whap! A tog was on. And not a small one, a 19"er. But that was it, the temp dropped back down to 52-53.
Its still a little early the air temp should rise back up this week maybe this weekend we can GET ON'EM. kev
First Tog of the year
3RD WEEK OF MARCH 30" stripers still pop'en at the HRBT, and Rudee has some fish.
Fun at the HRBT
I meet up with Lee and Mike at Rudee just to see if anything was there. Mike hooks up first with a snub tail red. It looked like its tail had been completely bit off as a very small fish. His dorsal fin had grown around the nub. Mike continued to steadily hook up as Lee, right next to him hooked noth'en. I went looking and I lost a 19-20" speck at the boat. That was it. That evening I meet Ric at the HRBT. We cast around the bend, noth'en. Then we paddled out to the island to cast on the rocks, noth'en. We rigged up for the line and got on it. As it got darker, the moon got brighter. The stripers started to pop up in the line, and the moon was in my eyeball. We started to see some pushing the upper 20's. And cast at a few 30"ers. Ric hooked, fought and lost a mid to upper 30" range. then I stalked and hooked a 30+er, leaderd it and broke my 20lb leader. We were cruising the line and Ric pointed a group of 30's I cast and the larger one followed my lure away from the others. I reeled up and fired another cast, and got'em. Tough fight and big head shakes and Ric was laughing at me," You dont have your striper stick now!! HA HA! You gota fight that thing!" We were at the other bridge by the time I got'em next to the boat. I got'em over my leg and leaderd with my left hand. I reached down with right hand , the hook pulled from it lip and stuck in my left thumb! Ric yelled "Grab em!!" I grabbed his tail with my left hand and shook the hook out of my thumb, luckily it wasn't past the barb. It kick out of my left hand so I griped it with my right. I plunged my left arm into the water past my elbow and cradled it belly. I pulled it up and trough it into my lap. IN! SAT tog'ed at the ships and didn't get a bite. The HRBT light line is still strong and Forest caught the first HRBT flounder of the year this week, and Rudee has started up. Spring has seem to sprung, GET ON'EM
Mike and the snub red
2ND WEEK OF MARCH 30" stripers in the HRBT light line.
30"er pulled from the line
The HRBT light line was the target this week, and we met with success with 30+" striper. The peak day was Tuesday, when there was a 28"er every time we paddled up to the line. Ric had the top sized striper with a lean 38"er. On Monday I caught the first different species in four months; a 19" hickory shad. The HRBT is happening with 30"ers in the line. Don't wait to have some fun, get out there and GET ON'EM. kev.
19" hickory shad
Ric with a lean 38"er
1ST WEEK OF FEB. The Stripers move back into the bay
I have been eyeballing the water temps on the eastern shore this week as it began to rise into the upper 40 degree range. Reports of big striper filtered in from outside of fishermans island and even the high rise. It was time to drop some eels
FRI. I met Lee and paddled out in the NE wind, it was forcasted 5 to 10. But it was blowing 10 to 15. We tied for about an hour in the Georgia speed current. Then the wind shifted to the NW and it got messy. We landed and waited. The wind slowed and so did the current. We paddled back out. Both of had what we thought were runs, but they were lite and we missed. Lee had to go at 4pm. I had to stay, the wind was droping out and the current was slowing, the conditions were becoming perfect.
I was sitting there thinking, 'I might as well take a picture of something for the site' I snapped the shot of my rod off my bow. As soon as I put the camera in, zip! zip! zzzzziiip! I was surprised! I hadn't had a run in so long. It was a 38"er. I called Lee on the radio and he had just landed. He was hating me. It was a pain trying to get timer shot pictures with cold, striper slime hands.
I dropped in again. Within 20min had another 38"er. On my next drop, I watched my line run out and I thought, 'That sure seems deeper than a remember.' Then i noticed the line was dropping horizontally. I engaged and set the hook into a 41"er. At sunset I had another run. I set the hook and it felt like a 40"er shaking, then it put on the heat, burning line from my tightened down spool. Then it sat heavy, deep. That's when I knew it was a citation size striper. With my heavy JB rod, I've been yanking up 44's and under. If I don't see the fish in the first minute, its a big'en. I didn't see it until it was about done, after pulling me in many circles. I landed the 45"er.
I caught one more 41"er before it got dark. I didn't have a light, and my thumbs were hurting. I landed and called Lee," What are you doing early tomorrow morning." "Why?" "They're back and big!"
SAT. 5am. Lee, Rick C. and I paddle out in the dark right in time for the slacking tide. 15 minutes later I slam a 41"er. Rick was reading bait on his fish-finder. He followed them and hooked up. He fought it to the boat and leaderd it. It shook just right and it swam away. It looked like a 40 -41"er.
The stripers are back in the bay for some catch and release action. When you have a window open around the tide change, jump through and GET ON'EM! kev
5TH WEEK OF JAN
Ocean View striper blitz
TUE. Someone landed at work and told me there were some birds working off of ocean view. I got out of work and drove over to see. There were gulls, gannets, and pelicans diving a few hundreds yards of the beach. We loaded up an ran for the OV beach. The action was moving west, and I wanted to get ahead of them. We found a beach access just west of the ODU buoy and launched after them. We had the wind at our back and it took no time to run into them. I was trolling a 2oz buck tail when I stoped to cast, the back rod bowed over. Before I could reach back, the rod I casted out snapped tight, double! They where not big 18 to 26", but fun. We got some shots and released them. The wind was strong and we were getting blown out fast. We had to get closer to shore, and that's were the school was going. Over all, we caught a dozen stripers.
FRI. The wind was blowing! But the gannets where just out of casting reach. Then the front blasted through and the birds spread out. It was cool hang'en out on the beach with Ric, Lee, Zach, Mike, watching Lewis cast 100 yards, in a warm February rain.
SAT. I saw gannets way off OV, so I went for a paddle. When I got out to the gannets siting on the water, they all rose up and flew east. It was a nice paddle on the bay, anyway. The water temps are rising and the day are getting longer, and there are fish still around, if you can, get out and GET ON'EM. kev
3RD WEEK OF JAN Lee and I get our first citations of the year
Wed. Shante, Zack and I hit the E-shore on Wed. The water was to cold with no runs. Fri. I meet Lee in the Elizabeth river with our speck citations in our sites. Lee was already set up and had landed a 23'er. There was a who's who of trophy speck fishermen on site. I paddled up to Barclay Shepard and his dad. Barclay is the line class world record holder for a 12lb 1oz speck on 4lb test line. He gave me a couple of live spot to use. I set up across from Lee with one live bait line and casting a GULP with the other. I saw Lee miss four before finally getting one. He fought and landed a 22"er. He missed a couple more. I had no take downs at all. I asked what he was using. He had some mullet he borrowed from his buddy Blake. Blake is the speck guru in those parts, catching and releasing more true giant specks than anyone has ever seen. 12lbs and up are the giants im talking about. When Lee hooks up next, his rod didn't even move the fish. I was already dropping my anchor to get the pictures when he landed a well deserved 28" citation speck ( pic in the small fish box). I figured, well he just got his, I need to get in on Lee's spot. I got some of Blake' mullet from Lee and set up. Last year while on Lee's expert hunt, I let him use a cheepy spinning combo, so he could get more baits out. I borrowed it back so i could have two mullets out. The pressure was off of Lee, now I had to get one. My bobber drops below the surface, I hook up on the rod Lee just landed his trophy. I get citation size speck to the side of the boat and grab the leader. It shakes and cuts the leader with its teeth. A collective disappointing "oohh!" surrounds me from the other anglers around me, and my heart sinks. That place bores me to death, except for the occasional hook up. There's no scenery, no waves, and it noisy from I-64 traffic. Going there is always a last, or first chance for a trophy specks. I really wanted to get one so I wouldn't have to go back. It was getting late and all I could think about is " Im going to have to come back here." The leader on Lees rod felt thin, I asked," What did you give me for leader? It felt like hair!" He said, "It was 14lb man!" " Why did you give me hair for leader?" The truth is, its a hard transition going from mean heavy fish pounding rods to the super light speck rods. I leaderd that fish to hard. Lee said when he was fighting the 28"er all he wanted to do was yank on'em. I had to meet Ric on the E-shore so I had to go. I was reeling up and WHAP! Fish on. This time on my favorite spinning rod, the one i had on the FLA tour. The leader wasn't as thin as hair and I kicked the trophy speck in my boat and yelled "IN!" It measured 25" and relief game over me. 1st one of the year, a difficult one and number 14 on my way to master angler. Thats all I needed and we were out. ( pic in trophy page) I met Ric for a perfect night to attempt to land two citation in a day. But no runs. Its looking done for the stripers in the bay on the E-shore. But im keeping an eye on the temps to still try to GET ON'EM. kev
Lee's 28" skinny Speck
2ND WEEK OF JAN We found a few fish.
First I would like to thank everyone that came out to the TKAA meeting at the Bass Pro on Wed. It was good to see fellow members and meeting new ones. Thanks. Thurs. Lee, Mike and Damien launched at 1pm. I launched at 5pm, Lee and crew hadn't had a run. Right around the current shift, Lee misses one. Lee has missed as many as he has landed this year, so he was mad! We were all laughing and giving him a hard time when Ric showed up and disappeared into the darkness. Ric fishes the ships completely in the dark, no lights. He fishes by 'using the force'. He will be right behind me I never know he there until i hear his rod go zzzzzzip! The cool thing about fishing the ships is that we are all close together. Unlike other big fish places where we are out over shouting distance and have to use our radios. We fish in the same small area. The stripers don't seem to be effected buy our lights or loud talking, like us joking Lee for missing his hundredths fish. Its been slow but there are a few fish around. The water temp has warmed to 46 to 48 , I hope its better before they leave. As long as the temp stays where its at now, we will keep after them. Its to easy and to much fun when we GET ON'EM. kev
1ST WEEK IN JAN
What can a week of cold wind do? Cut the bite right off!! The water temp dropped like a brick during the week long northwest blow. Bottoming out around 38 degrees, and only rising to 42 by sat. Skunked Fri and sat. My only hope is the water will warm this coming week and turn them back on, if they haven't moved out. If the latter has happed, its over. Back to trolling and chasing birds. The only entertainment this week was Kipto the Kiptopeake falcon. I see him, or his one just like him, every afternoon chasing pigeons with aerial acrobatics that would make fighter pilot envious. But I've never seen him catch one. He's almost hit me chasing a bird around the ends of the ships, close enough that i can hear the air in his wings! I'm standing by this week, watching the water temp. If it rises and holds in the mid 40's, I'll give it another try to GET ON'EM. kev