Thursday, January 2, 2014

2013 Dec. Kiptopeke Trip for Big Bass, By Alexi

     First off, I hope everyone got fishing gear for the Holiday gift giving season, you know we at "Fishing in the Dark" did.  (Mostly Mysterioso) We've been quiet around here, mostly because we haven't been fishing as much.  We did, however, go to Kiptopeke, Va to target big bass.  Anyone can google search a great how-to that Kayak Kevin has on the internet on what to do.  (I've just made it easier to find.)  So, you know we're not much for telling the hard truth around here.  But I'll start by saying we got skunked!  We drove 4 and a 1/2  hours, camped for two nights, fished for two whole days, and yes we got skunked.  But what really happened?
     Where there were no fires, there were flames.  In the land of the campsite, a campground with a pool and showers, we were not allowed to have a fire.  This put a great big wet blanket on our plans, because we knew we were going to get skunked, and really we wanted to camp in the cold and eat hot dogs by a fire.  The campground was run by a gang of feral cats.  They demanded payment in hot-dogs, and we complied.  Despite their request that we not have a campfire, we circumvented their rules by having as large a fire as possible in a our grill (which was on the ground and spilling over.)
     There must have been at least 100 cats, all green eyes and glowing as we hunted for scraps of firewood around the campground.  We tried making a pee barrier to keep them away, but despite our efforts and enthusiasm as it entailed drinking copious amounts of beer, we couldn't pee a barrier strong enough.  They managed to break our defenses and infiltrate our tents.

     But this is about fishing!  Did we even do that?  We did what was the thing to do.  We got (more)  eels.  See we had some already from previous trips that I keep alive in a bait bucket in a pond in my yard.  So we got more eels, and we drifted them, and we cast them, and we drifted them, for two solid days, by the ships, by the buoy, and by the ships.  Between the three of us, we always had six eels in the water.  In case we were doing something wrong, the second day we fished alongside the one and only Kayak Kevin, only to find out that we were doing what had worked in the past, and just wasn't at this time.

          On the second day, we took a nice lunch break before going back out for the sunset/ evening (non-existent) bite.  The weather forecast had been consistently wrong.  Kevin postulated that this was due to a "Weather bubble" that is created as weather comes from the south east and hits the eastern shore.  Whether or not this is true, I don't know, ehat I do know is that the weather was consistently more pleasant than predicted.  So much so, that we were mostly fishing in calm waters.  So, and this is a big so, like you got to say it real long when you read it, "Sooooo"  when we launched into bath-tub like conditions around sunset.

We were expecting a consistently wrong forecast.  We paddled out to a 70' area.  I don't know why, but I was fascinated with fishing some deep water.  It was about a mile from the launch, maybe even closer.   As we're out there we see a nice sky forming in the moonlight.  A good cloud cover.  Then a strange cloud formation lower to the ground under it emerges.  I say to Steve "I recognize those clouds, I don't fear them, but I acknowledge them."  And we start to slowly head back.  Within minutes the sky darkens and the water ripples.  There's still not much wind, and I'm more concerned with getting wet than anything else, so I say "I'm going to get my raincoat on."  This takes me a minute at the most, but Steve decides to do the same, only his outerwear configuration is so different that it involves removing his pfd....
     By the time I have my raincoat on the wind is pushing 20mph.  Luckily, it in the right direction.  I sense danger.  Nothing serious, but simply the unexpected unknown kind of danger.  The kind that's like the dark at night when you're a kid.  It's not there, but that you don't KNOW what's going to happen next, what's going to jump out at you?  That's the scary part.  So I paddled.   I tried paddling towards the launch but couldn't.  Now the waves were at least 4 feet and every third one was with white caps.  I was torn between trying to  paddle towards the launch, and trying to keep from getting swamped by waves.  Quickly I realized that my best option was to head towards land (any direction) and when necessary counter into the waves.   At this point I was using ALL of my energy to get to land.  Occasionally calling on the radio for Steve or KGB, just to see if they were OK, because I sure wasn't feeling OK.  I knew I was going towards land at a pretty good clip, but still felt like the wind could change direction at any moment, and if it did I would not have been able to paddle against it.  As I got closer to land I started to head south down the coast towards the launch.  I decided it was safest for me to do what I know best, so I reverse landed just north of the put in, on the beach.  Steve went past me soon after, and paddled around the boat ramp, to the kayak launch.  KGB was already there and had readied the truck.  He, it turns out, was much closer, but had to paddle against the wind.
     All the while, I must point out, our eels were still in the water!
     Instead of hot-dogs we had a steak which we just barely bought in time.  We were fully dressed in our kayak clothes at the grocery store.   Back at the campsite the adventure continued.  Now it was raining and windy and it took us about an hour to set up a tarp and start a fire, but we did.
     Perhaps we should have gone to a different spot for slot reds, but then we wouldn't have known for sure that there were no large bass to have, and after all, that's what the Kiptopeke trip is all about, one of us catching our personal best!