Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Dec 5 Report, by Alexi

    Although there haven't been many posts this fall, I have been fishing.  I have not been too successful in my catch rate, but the weather and wave height have both been good for surf launching, and so that's what I've concentrated on.  I have NOT been drifting eels in the Sedges at all so far (and that is something I miss dearly), but maybe that's ok.

4:00 A.M.  Load the boats.

7:00 A.M. Use the bathroom at the gate at IBSP (I have to use the pass for something!)

7:30-8:00 A.M.  Launch kayaks at the Motor Lodge

9:07 A.M take a picture of the second fish of the morning (the first was a blue that came unbuttoned at the side of the boat)
about 25" striper out front on a chartreuse stretch 

9:35 A.M.  I had already caught 2 short bass and 2 blues, but this one wins!

KGB has a keeper bass 31" (first in a long time!) 

the tools of the trade:

good old bomber did the trick!

9:46 A.M. we're working the birds with the boats about a mile out, some boats are jigging and hooking up, but the birds and the bait are moving FAST and our little plastic boats can't keep up.

boats and birds 

11:45 A.M.   KGB had to get his camera out a few times, and almost floated out to the ghost grounds, but finally realized we (me and the boats) weren't moving away from him but he from us, and he decided it was time time paddle his sinking ship towards shore.

the ocean

12:06 P.M.  The ocean is a tiring place in a kayak.  And even if it was just 3 or 4 hours of fishing it feels like nine!  We were done, and nothing else mattered since we had caught fish.

no wave is too small to turtle a kayak (but this time it was ok)

This is (part of) the bait that was in the belly of my bluefish!

perhaps blue back herring

The End! (well, maybe one more trip!)

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Dawn to dusk, By Alexi

     The title of this post is a lie.  I didn't really fish from dawn to dusk, I started this last trip in true form, "Fishing In The Dark."  I began by doing a little surf fishing which produced nada.  I threw a few casts in the dark in the surf for about an hour before I fell asleep in the back of my truck at the motor lodge.  I used to sleep at the motor lodge, but I realized the back of my truck wasn't that different than one of their rooms.

the cast shadow of the lights of man

      I set my alarm for between first light and sunrise, but it still felt late.  When I walked out to the beach to suss out the wave height, there were already a million boats in close to shore.  I quickly packed up my gear and got into the ocean.

     They (the boats) were on peanut bunker.  (were the bass as well?)  I was prepared for adult bunker.  I trolled my stretch lure in the hopes of running into some adult bunker along the way in the hopes of switching to a snag.  The chatter on the radio was that the big fish were down deep.   This was not looking like it was going to be a repeat of my last trip.  My confidence was waning.  The boats were annoying to say the least.  There were so many folks out there that the wake of the boats was way worse than the ocean swell. It was like a Saturday on a Friday morning.  In my haste and fatigue when getting ready for my surf launch I managed to forget to bring my camera, so you will have to just believe me when I say (and it's obviously not for bragging rights that I even mention this) I did mange to convince a 23" bass to impale itself on my stretch lure.  This did not instill in me the lust for more, and as the ocean, with all of the boats, and the pretty nasty chop in the water was causing me no end of stress I decided to call it a day around 10.

    I didn't feel quite right after I packed up all of my gear.  I knew I had more fishing energy in me, and that it was too early to return to the mundane tasks of daily life.  I entered the park to use the bathroom and change, and mull around in "the little gray cells"  just a little more of the options that I had to continue my fishing adventure.  I decided ultimately to at least drive to winter anchorage and take a look.

winter anchorage

The sedges were as always sublime and enticing.

alone and at peace at snake ditch
     I couldn't resist.  Though I almost gave up, my only reel appropriate for the bay, my Curado 300, was NOT working at all and I sat forlornly at the launch on my kayak as a fly fisherwoman/ nature photographer from Maine convinced me to douse it with WD-40 (or anything including olive oil) and try to save my trip.   I went back to my truck to find that, though I didn't have any WD-40 I did have a large can of PB Blaster.  (Even better!)  I must have put about 12 ounces of that stuff into my reel before it started working again. But it did, and boy was I glad.  

     I did the full sedge before dark, about noon to 5, and I don't think I'd be lying if I said that much more often than not, when I retrieved my lure back to my boat there was a fish on it.  Not that any of them were of any size at all, but that's just not the point when fishing during the day in the Sedges. The point is that there was not a soul back there.  It's a pure escape from everything!  A fish at every point, in every hole, in every rip!  Some on top-water, but mostly on small Bass Assassins, both weightless and with jig heads.

They were feeding at Snake Ditch 

along the banks

on small Bass Assassins

at every corner

They were feeding all day.  In every spot that I had EVER caught a fish, there was one feeding.


    I wanted.   To make.  One. More. Cast.   (but I watched the sun set and left)

Monday, October 31, 2016

Another Personal Best, By Alexi


Most all of my friends and family know that I'm addicted to fishing. All summer long I get asked how the fishing is.  Unable to be anything but brutally honest, I usually start by saying something like "fishing season doesn't start until November."  And then I may back pedal and make some small talk about the fishing I'd been doing, none of which usually matters to the person listening, (or to me really, because at this point in the conversation, though I may be talking, I'm really just thinking about the Fall.)

The consistent West Wind has made it a good couple of weeks to surf launch a kayak into the ocean.  I went out last week and got skunked.

Launched at first light last week

Birds were working, but no big fish were under them

   So I had to get back out (yesterday, Sunday Oct 30.)  The reports were getting better.  I couldn't get there until 2, and my plan was to fish until sunset.

It was a slow afternoon for me.  The surf wasn't as calm as I'd have liked, but I saw bunker splashing around so I hit it.  I had a snagged bunker right away.  I kayaked from the pipe all the way down to the pier and back, hitting pods of bunker the whole way, not seeing any fish caught or getting any hits.  I was about to head in when I saw the tell tale sign of fish blowing up bunker.  The rapid boiling water.  I snagged a bunker just past the boil, seconds later it was fish on.  It was heavy.  I started to doubt that it was a bass.  Maybe a shark, or a big blue.  It was taking some line.  After getting dragged around I gained some line on it.  Another bunker had become stuck to my line and was now impeding my ability to reel in the last bit of line so I could see the fish.  I shook the line to try to get the bunker off but it wasn't budging.  Quickly, I did what I didn't want to do, but I knew I had to, I allowed for a little slack by grabbing the bunker and ripping it off my line.  For that second of slack line I was mortally terrified that the fish had spit the hook, but it was still on.

47"  36.25lbs

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Another Trip Down DelMarVa, by Alexi

I took another trip down the Delmarva peninsula.   The plan was to go further South and hunt for big Reds and King Mackeral,  but hurricane Matthew hit, and so plans had to change.   I got a pretty late start, full of uncertainties about what fishing I would do where over the next three days, but I knew that I had taken three days off to fish over a month ago, and I wasn't going to back out.  Once I was in my truck driving I had a solid plan in mind.  

Here it is:

My route

I arrived at Janes Island State Park just as the sun was setting.  I was hoping to be back at the campsite by midnight, so that only left me a couple of hours, so I went straight out to the flats where we usually do well at night.  My first fish was a keeper bass on a topwater lure.

24" Striper on Rapala Skitterwalk

 I ventured out to Rock Hole and cruised around in the moonlight.  A few shorts were caught out there, and then it got late and I headed back in, with many shorts on the way back.  For the first time I just slept in the back of my truck.  It was very comfortable.

The next morning I woke early and hit the road with the intention of being able to launch at the CBBT for big reds at slack tide (around noon) if that was a viable option.   I stopped at Chris's Bait and Tackle and bought a few new packs of Bass Assassins.  (You can NEVER have too many!)  My local intel source (Kayak Kevin) led me to believe it wasn't worth it to fish the CBBT because of the recent water temperature drop due to Hurricane Matthew, so I did what I did last year, I went to the Lynnhaven boat ramp.  I fished this area for the next two days solid.

Lynnhaven boat ramp back bay

I was on to small spec's (speckled trout)  right away.  I also had a small Redfish pretty soon too!  That's really what I was after.

first Red of the trip

I had three reds the first day, all short of the necessary 18" to keep.  Well, one was 18", but as I was trying to take it's picture it flopped out of my boat, so we'll just say it was small.

oyster beds stick up at low tide

The first day of fishing went well, and I slept in my truck in the Walmart parking lot so as not to get hassled, but the noise was impossible, and in retrospect I should have just stayed at the boat ramp.


The next morning there was a heavy fog.  I covered more ground on this day, and caught a fish or two pretty much everywhere; on the flats, along the banks, in the holes, etc.  

A.M. Fog

I caught more Reds and a keeper Spec on my second day at Lynnhaven.

This one had nice spots

not giant, but a Keeper Spec (about 18")
I fished all over, and found that covering ground and trolling a weedless Bass Assassin to be the most effective strategy.   I spooked one small school of Reds on the flat I fished last year, but I wasn't able to get any of them to take my lure.

All in all it's a great trip to make in the fall, especially before the bigger Stripers are showing up in New Jersey.  There's definitely something that keeps drawing me back there, despite the fact that a lot of the fish are small.  Maybe it's that the action is constant, the folks I meet are super nice, the weather was great, and on light tackle it's still a blast!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Janes Island, Md: First Annual Birthday extravaganza!, By Alexi


     Janes Island State Park, is pretty much at the southernmost point of Md. on what's known as the the DelMarVa peninsula on the Chesapeake bay.

We've been there before, and written about it extensively already on this blog.    (AND HERE)

So really what needs to be said that hasn't been said before?  This trip was different for a number of reasons:

       I love this place so much that I really wanted to share it's beauty and tranquility (once out in the creeks) with close friends and family.  And so it evolved into a kind-of birthday weekend camping extravaganza.  My Dad, my brother in law, his two sons, Steve and Janessa, my wife and my kid and my (dumb) dog were all showing up at different campsites at different times.  I arrived as host and guide with three kayaks strapped precariously to the top of my truck on Friday morning.
Home for three nights

 I fished Friday daytime before anyone arrived.  Between 2:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. I caught 24 fish.  Mostly short stripers, HOWEVER, I did get a few Spec's in the mix, one being a keeper but not very big,

and THE real treat, a 17" Redfish.

most northern red I've ever caught!

 That night Steve and Janessa showed up, we caught some fish and ate them at the fire.  Then Jon Ari Elias and my Dad all showed up and the party really started!

Another difference between this and past trips: I  looked at this trip as if I was somewhat of a guide, so the next morning I took my 11 year old nephew out on a real kayak fishing adventure "a la" fishing in the dark.

Ari at the Launch

 I set him up with a small jig head and a bass assassin and told him to troll it in my Prowler Ocean Kayak.

paddle paddle paddle

 It didn't take long before he was hooked up.

Ari hooked up!

We met up with Steve who wasn't too far ahead of us and fished through the hot afternoon.

breaktime for the team

Ari unhooking a fish

We really put Ari to the test paddling against the wind and the current in the final stretch, but he powered through it!

 We ate more fish and sat by the fire and had a great big feast that night.  We had exhausted Ari so much he fell asleep in the tent before dinner!

That night I took out John and my Dad.  They were in floaty boat  (the tandem.)  My dad had just turned 78.  Jon was generous with the paddling.  They trolled and caught some shorts.  I had hooked into a keeper on topwater. Then Jon noticed some action by a bank just around sunset.  He cast to it and was hooked into a VERY decent fish for that area.

Hooked up in floaty boat

It was a nice 25" Striper.  The biggest fish Jon has caught to date.  Not until afterwards did I remember that he was using an old fresh water reel I had that only had 8lb mono on it.  Luckily he tried legging it in as I had advised, and the line didn't break until they had control the fish.

The next morning (Sunday morning) everyone left and I was planning on having  relaxing Sunday evening/ possibly Monday morning solo fishing trips.

I sat and meditated on the clouds, and the tops of the trees, and bark of the trees.  I thought about what a wonderful weekend it had been, and how I was really ready to relax, when I got a text from Janessa  "Our truck broke down...."

SOOO they arrive back at my campsite in the back of a Police Cruiser...(HA)

That night we fished, but didn't get into anything but shorts.

We headed out the next morning to a specific grass flat on some advice/ rumors.  

I caught a very decent Spec, my biggest in this area, at 19".

19" spec

That's the end of my story, but there are other stories as well:  Someone always falls off their boat, someone eats too much candy, someone loses their phone and their sunglasses, someone has a pet Ferret, someone picks up a crab, and so on and so on until next year!

Monday, September 12, 2016

CBKA 2016, by Alexi


 I participated in the Chesapeake Bay Kayak Anglers tournament on Kent Island in Md. this past weekend.    The last time I did it was in 2013.  I had one plan; I was going to fish the Bay Bridge with live spot.  Bear in mind, this is a new type of fishing for me.

      I pre-fished Friday.

      I went to buy spot and a battery bait bucket at Anglers Sports Center across the bridge.  They didn't have Spot so I bought bloodworms to catch spot.

      I launched at Terrapin Beach Park just north of the bridge.  I would never do this again, or suggest to anyone that this is a good kayak launch.  It is really about a half mile or more walk with your kayak from the parking lot to the beach.  If I were to try to do this again I would go to Hemingway's restaurant early in the morning and launch right there, wether they like it or not.  (It's right at the bridge, and NOT a long walk!)

terrapin beach launch

I made it to the bridge in good time...

Chesapeake Bay Bridge

...and started fishing for spot.

Spot spot

Which were readily available mixed in with the Perch.

Striper Food

So I went to deeper water, towards the middle of the bridge to drift the Spot I had caught.

I didn't catch any Bass.

It was getting late, and I needed to go buy more bloodworms before the captains meeting, so drove across the bridge back to the Anglers Sports Center.  (They also had beer and chips.)

I had half of a plan and wasn't feeling too confident about it, but still, I had to stick to it.


the next morning....

Sunglasses AND headlamp!  

I caught a bass on the troll on the way to the bridge.

troll bass

I caught a Perch while fishing for Spot.


And so, for the calcutta all I needed was to catch a Bluefish.  How hard can that be...

...well, they weren't around.  I think only 4 were caught the entire tournament.  I had decided I was going to wait to target blues until all of my 5 Spot were dead.  The last one didn't want to die, so it took a while.  The wind picked up, and I decided to start to troll a small bass assassin back to the camp hoping to snag a blue in the jaw.

I didn't catch a bluefish.  I didn't win anything in the raffle.  I did get a shirt, and I have a pretty solid new technique for targeting big bass in the bay.

Here's a link to the results:  Chesapeake Bay Kayak Anglers

Tournament headquarters.