Saturday, September 21, 2013

One Last Fluke, by Alexi

     By the time this picture was taken Steve had stood on his kayak site casting flats, drifted and caught fluke (shorts) in snake ditch, and had been to the inlet and lost a big fluke due to a faulty knot.  A thing he says he despises.  I will vouch for this.  If there is anyone who loves drifting into the ocean, or into rocks, or into other boats, or into a rip while tying a knot it's Steve.  He's meticulous about it to say the least.  The dropper loop is a tricky thing.  I've had this knot slip many times.  Steve examined his line after he lost the "big fluke" and determined that it was his dropper loop that failed.       

Harvest Moon

     Now as for me, well I have grown to utterly HATE teasers and dropper loops in the past year.  Also I had denounced gulp because my last three trips I've caught nothing but short fluke, and had all of my gulp tails bit off quickly.  (Another $8 down the mouths of small blackfish and blues.)   So it is just my fate to catch and land a nice 21" fluke in the inlet on none other than the teaser hook with a gulp swimming mullet on it.  (Because I had refused to buy gulp, I was like a smoker who says he quit.  I bummed gulp from Steve.)  What should also be noted is my technique: although I had caught many short fluke using the Skinner technique (rapid vertical jigging) this fish I caught using my own technique- self jigging.  This is when I throw my rod in the rod holder and let the waves and the kayak do the jigging for me.  (I don't think it was this technique that caught the fish, but the pause and drop of the gulp.)

     After this picture was taken I trolled a pink tube-n-worm along the sedges in Oyster Creek Channel in the hopes of catching the elusive weakfish (a boater had said he had lost a big one at the boat the other day.  I didn't find his lost fish).  I went to do what I know- what I had so much fun doing a few nights earlier around sunset-  trolling tube-n-worm in snake ditch during slack tide along the sedges and catching several 20" bass.  I know that someday soon, the bass will get bigger.  Not literally of course, those 20" fish aren't going to grow.  Their parents will be showing up.  And when they do, I want to be there.
21" fluke

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Answer for Barry's Text Message Which is One Thing You Can Get on a Toilet in Maryland Which Isn't Crabs By: Steve Evans

      Saturday September 14th was yesterday. In the afternoon I had a toilet fitted with four walls, a roof, a sink, soap and hot running water all to myself so I wrote a poem on the wall of the john: At long last, Dry feet. Dry ass. After my poem I read a message from my great friend Barry: "What are you guys working on?". All I could hear was wind in my seashells (This is an old expression which was used by Chesapeake bay watermen when they were high on drugs or liquor; going crazy; or just in from a windy boat ride.) so I'd have to retrace my steps to find an answer for Barry.
Alexie has fished for many days on end.

      In poetic form a summary of the preceding twelve hours would be appropriately titled: WIND BLOWS! If we hadn't been signed up for this fishing tournament I'm sure we'd have gone home sooner. Certainly wouldn't have left our tents in the icy dark to shuttle to the same spot we'd fished the day before. The day before was Friday the 13th but that doesn't matter, the excitement of that outing began with two snags, the first snag was a stick, the second snag was a fish I called a Skate, but which probably was in actuality a Cownose Ray (Rhinoptera bonasis). Nothing happened after that until a very puny and equally stupid fish which resembles in every way our Striped Bass but which is in fact called a "Rockfish" tried to destroy itself by impaling it's mouth on a lure I had been dragging through the water. A similar event also took place when another pitifully tiny "Rockfish" followed the lure belonging to fishing mate Alexi all the way to his kayak at which point the fish leaped into the air and Alexi caught the so-called "Rockfish" in his hat! (Some parts of this last event didn't actually take place.) As an aside: the only describable difference between our Striped Bass and this "Rockfish" as it is called, is in it's ability to be taken legally by a person intending to make a meal of it when it is only 18 inches long. So that was all the action there was to be had that Friday and by the following morning we'd be going back for seconds.
This fish was very upset at having had it's picture taken.

      But not before several other events which might reveal in some way what we were "working on". First was the "Captain's Meeting" Friday evening. Since we fish from kayaks which are singularly manned by ourselves; and nobody on those plastic boats can tell us what to do but us; and most other boats on the water can't see us or don't care what the hell we're up to, we get to call ourselves captains. Fishing author Shawn Kimbro was there to start things off, I have his book on light tackle fishing on the Chesapeake only I was unaware that he was 8 feet tall! He told a story about a fisherman who fished through his wife's funeral and then he told a joke which was disguised as a fishing report. After that people mostly talked amongst themselves while the guy with the microphone was explaining rules and prizes.
      Some guy shouted "Is there a prize for being over 65?" and they gave him a hat to shut him up even though he added moments later that he didn't actually turn 65 'til next Tuesday. Next this woman charged the bandstand saying she was a grandmother and she'd better get a hat too and she wasn't going to sit down 'til she got one! Mercifully the "Captain's Meeting" disbanded proximately.

      Now we drove around looked at kayak launches in the dark and compared them with my map of Chesapeake bay which was clearly drawn in the daytime and despaired over whether to fish that night and sacrifice drinking or to drink that night and sacrifice not drinking. We drank. We talked of the invasive nutria which would leave smooth banana shaped droppings about our camp. We slept good under a good and beautiful night and saw so much of it without rainflys on our tents.

     Now it was cold. Now it was hard to be awake. Now it was time to go back to the same stupid spot of no fish. Because we got t-shirts, because we would get dinner, because we would watch a raffle which is like watching a dog watch a dog lick itself, because maybe, just maybe, we could win something cool maybe even money, we were taking pictures of a piece of paper that they gave us to take a picture of to prove causality.

     The wind was building but Alexie didn't know because he was catching what would be later appraised by some rare and unabashedly intoxicated individuals to be the finest white perch of the tournament at the Kent Narrows Bridge. I knew, because I was catching nothing, because I would settle for nothing less than a 3000 inch "Rockfish" that we were doomed as the wind came barreling down in viking beard curls from the nostrils of the sun.

     Barry! What the hell have we been working on!

     We tried fishing strategies first and by the time they all had failed we were at the mercy of the wind, now gusting at 1 million miles per hour. It had never been so hopeless until now standing on this beach in our own pee to keep the nutria away. I wished to say the end.

     Now Alexie cast with the wind. The wind carried the dapper dan, which was the name of his lure, far, far, far, far, far, so far, until it landed in the mouth of the most enormous "Rockfish" we'd ever seen, an 8 and 1/2 incher!

      "In the box!" was the cry over the radio "in the box!" for not one of those bastards had ever heard the likes.                  

Saturday, September 7, 2013

sept 5, sedges report and rant By Alexi

    Labor Day.  What a difference it makes.  Post labor day fishing at IBSP in the sedges is serene to say the least.  The crowds are gone.  The osprey have started their migration south.  The grass is at it's tallest, and is turning golden.  It's like a drug.  It's what I NEED.   It wasn't a trip about what I caught or what I caught it on.  It was a solo kayak journey into (almost) complete darkness.  New moon.  Overcast, then absolutely clear two hours later.  Windy as all hell.  Current in OCC just ripping, but who knew?  I couldn't even tell I was moving until I looked down at my GPS.  But I don't want to talk about the fishing.  I want to talk about fishing.  What compels us to do it?  For me it's the utter calmness of it all.  Sure there's the challenge, but I know what to expect.  I know that the big bass and blues aren't in the bay right now.  I know most of the big fluke have moved out of the bay as well.  So, why fish?  I think it's the need to escape the city.  To get away from "civilization."  To have time and peace and quite to think (and to fish)

When the sun is low on the horizon and it's overcast, the sedge grass to the east glows
     I arrived to relatively calm conditions.  I knew it would be windy, but as the weather's wind predictions have been wrong recently, and the two sites I look at for weather were changing their predictions in opposing directions (on it was windier, on weatherunderground it was less windy) I decided it was worth a go at fishing the sedges. 
     I arrived at area 21 at IBSP around 4:30.  I drifted by the launch looking for fluke and found none.  I went to snake ditch.  It was impossible to drift because the wind was opposite of the current.  But, I was able cast from my kayak as if I was casting from land. I did this for a while to no avail.  I started to give up on the fluke, and began to transition to bass/ blues. I caught two bass on the small bass assasins, and a third on haddon spook just after sunset. 

three of these little guys, all around 20" tagged one of them
     Then the wind picked up.  There was no moon which made it difficult to see.  I drifted into Oyster Creek Channel, in pitch blackness,  for a second just to realize that the current was ripping out there.  
     I paddled back through one of the new creeks we've found that connect to the shallow water by the launch.  It was windier and weedier than it had been all evening so I fished back to the launch.  Just at around 10:15, when I arrived at the launch, the wind had pretty much stopped.  

as the sunset, the wind picked up