Sunday, October 28, 2018

First Fly Striper, Alexi

Friday October 26th, 2018... report...

It was nearly a full moon.

The currents would be strong.

The tides extreme.

The wind mild.

The air brisk.


A little rain.

in other words, fishy....

I almost forgot what a magical place the Sedge Islands behind IBSP were.  ALMOST.  This is the first year in....HOW MANY???? that I didn't get a year pass.

First Fly Striper
 I looked back on this blog, (because at as certain point one chases their own reports, as it should be) and I looked at all of the Octobers, and I knew there would be 20" stripers at the Sedge Islands.  I didn't really hear of any other solid bite anywhere else, so I went for it with KGB.

KGB at Snake Ditch
and we caught some fish.

20" Striper 
On topwater

on sub-top water

on bass assassin...on other random soft plastic that's kind of look like a pink finesse...

....sure we could have gone into the ocean and caught some small bluefish like this...

previous trip's ocean bluefish (Belmar)
But really...?

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

October Tides: fishing with Nick, by Alexi

Wendy got me Karl's Mystery Tackle Box for my birthday this year.  It's like a subscription, they send you a box of lures once a month.  My goal was to just use these lures on this trip.  Because we ended up finding small bluefish, it was easy. 

Nick and I arrived at Shell Bay Blvd.  A great place to launch a Kayak directly into the grass flats and winding creeks of Cape May County to target Striped bass in the 20-30" range in early fall.  Unfortunately, it was low tide.  There was no water and the wind was ripping across the length of the bay at an unwavering 10-15 mph.  Change of plan.  I did a quick search on my phone for kayak launches in Avalon and found one that looked perfect.  At least we would try something slightly new.  I could tell from where the launch was on Google Maps that we would be protected from the wind by houses for most of the trip.  We hit the lights by the docks in Avalon.  We caught tiny bluefish.

Nick's Bluefish
Fast forward to a week or so later, and tide and wind are a major consideration.  The wind was forecast to be under 10 all day, and high slack was around noon.   We went to good old "shitty launch" -  that's next to the bridge between Grassy Sound and the Island of King Nummy.   We hit the bridge with green crabs an hour before high slack tide.  I've tried Togging before and must admit I don't know a damn thing about it.  We've tried and tried, and never had any luck.  But somehow, with my new bottom sweeper jigs, I had some confidence, and we had bites right way.  I wasn't sure whether I should be setting the hook or letting the fish set the hook themselves, and still I'm not exactly sure what worked.  But I did manage to catch my first Tog.

Nick's Tog 
Here is a wikipedia link: Tautog 

This is a rough size and age chart.  These fish grow slow.  Ours were roughly 12", so, 4-5 years old.

 3.0 ------1 
5.5 ------2 
9.0 ------3 
My first Kayak Tog

Eventually (or rather, pretty quickly) we ran out of crabs.  The tide started moving out, so I headed to the sod banks and the flats for some topwater Striped bass action, (what I had been hoping to do earlier in the week.)  Truth be told, I really just had a new light tackle set-up I wanted to put the screws to. 

Mystery tackle box, Badonk a donk

New shimano Stradic CI4+ 2500, Gloomis ESX  7' medium MOD-Fast 1/4-5/8 oz inshore series, 15lb power pro, 20lb flouro leader. 

22" striper, topwater, flats

A couple of fish came unbuttoned after a fight, but a few got in the boat as well.  The new set-up casts light topwater lures like a dream, and the drag is super smooth!  I tagged a couple of fish for the American Littoral Society.

Nick also had some topwater bass along the banks.

Nick sent me this while we were fishing

While it wasn't an epic day of fishing, it was a plan well executed that proved fruitful and satisfying.  Tight lines.

the end

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

3rd Annual Janes Island fishing/ birthday extravaganza, By Alexi

    "A Toast to George."  It is with great sadness that I must say my dear father has passed away not even a month before his 80th birthday, and our annual joint birthday party at Janes Island, which is the main subject of this blog post.  Luckily we were able to get together in August for his 50th Anniversary at the outer Banks and get out on a charter boat for some Sheepshead and Black Drum fishing. 

George Papadopoulos  Sept 14, 1938 - Sept 5, 2018
 Maybe some other time I'll write about the two boats we had when I was a kid in the 80's that we'd go out on the (Chesapeake) Bay every weekend of the summer, and weather permitting anchor up next to the Thomas Point Lighthouse and fish with bloodworms for spot or bluefish or whatever else might have been around, or endless hours hand-lining for crabs, but this is a fishing blog, and I'd rather stick to the facts of the moment. 

We didn't cancel the trip to Janes Island.  In attendance for the weekend were myself, Wendy, Elias, Jon, Steve and Janessa (and Maisey).

the party

I had several days there before anyone else showed up (I was there for almost a week) and at first the fishing seemed slower than usual.  The main target species is 'Rockfish', AKA Striped Bass.  The size and creel limits in Maryland bay waters this time of year is two fish.  One can be slot 19-28", the other can be 19" and up.  Almost every day I managed to catch a fish over 19", but most were right around 15".  All of the Specs (Speckled Sea Trout) I caught were exactly 12".....and the size limit on them is 14".

site 57

The water was extra high when I got there.  But the guy at the Camp Store made a point of saying that it was definitely not high due to global ice melting.  Believe what you will, here is a link to recent article from National Geographic about Tangier Island.

underwater docks
I know it was recently a full moon and that there was a low pressure system off of North Carolina, but there is another reality, the docks were under water and there was no hurricane.  

The first few days were windy, and that made accurate casting a challenge, but I always managed a few fish in the usual spots.  On the corners.  On the grass flats at high tide.  In the creeks at the bends.
overcast windy days
As the week progressed, the weather improved, the water cleared up, and so the fishing improved.
Steve also did well every day
A couple of days, while floating down the channel in my kayak, and passing some friendly folks on a dock, I learned that there was going to be a fishing tournament over the weekend.  Was I there for that?  No. It was the CCA Md. chapters annual Red/ Trout tournament.  In fact, I cringed at the thought of tons of boats out fishing over the weekend ruining my peaceful time.  My fears were proven false, as there was barely a boat to be seen during the tournament.

"Banner Day"

My brother-in-law Jon had a good two days of fishing, even though nothing exceeded 19" he got one just at that that we released for good luck, and he did very well casting the Zara Spook jr,  giving it a "walk the dog action," and watching fish explode on it!
Jon had many fish

After everyone left I had an epic last day of fishing.

I pulled a bass out of a school of fish I spooked on a flat.

A top water white perch-

Zara spook Jr even catches a White Perch

I found fish along the banks, 
I found endless micro bass feeding in a rip,
I found a bluefish in a rip,
A perch on a flat,
turtles, herons, egrets...

And finally I wrapped my last day up at Sunset on a flat casting tight into a bank, catching my PB for Janes Island, a 26" Rock Fish.

It literally inhaled my lure, and made a bloody mess of everything.  

After everyone left, as I stood by my kayak at my campsite getting ready to go out, a Janes Island regular came up and asked me what was perhaps the most pertinent question of all, "What is my favorite lure?" I stood there stunned.  What a difficult moment to be asked that, normally I would be very quick to answer- Topwater, Zara Spook Jr.  However, just at that moment, from the previous days results, I had already tied on and was prepared to fish all day with what has possibly become my new favorite lure - MirrOdine Suspending Twitchbait.

possibly my new favorite lure

calm waters and a sun sets on the flats

and an earlier Sunset from Rock Hole

in loving memory....