Tuesday, October 18, 2011

All in the name of fishing.......

This past weekend was a logistical nightmare for me.  The weekend was going to involve a lot of driving, a sore back and little sleep.  Friday started off fairly calm, but the winds started to blow in earnest by mid-morning.  Not to be deterred, I headed down to the peninsula for some fishing.  I made a stop over at Back River Outfitters to meet Kathy finally and to help out the local economy by adding to my Mirrolure collection.

I made sure I was through the tunnel before traffic started to get too bad.  The wind was pretty rough out of the west while the sun was still up, but it quickly tapered off once the sun set.  When I crossed the HRBT at 3pm, the wind was ripping straight down the river from the shipyard creating some massive swells with what looked like 4-5' rollers and whitecaps.

I got to the Owl Creek ramp and met up with a fellow TKAA and Pirates Of Lynnhaven member Joe (Agent VA) and chatted with him for a few minutes before launching.  I fished from 4:30pm until 8:45pm just shy of moonrise which is when I am guessing the bite turned on.  As I said earlier, this weekend was going to involve a lot of driving, so my time on the water was limited and precious.  I knew that I had to be on the road by 8 AM for a planned day with the in laws, my wife and son and her brother's family.  We were heading to Gross' Orchard for the fall festival and some apple picking.

Anyway, I hit the usual spots (the grass island, research/police docks, shallow cove, etc) and marked literally hundreds of fish stacked one on top of another from 1' - 5' below the surface in water 8-12' deep.  There was plenty of surface activity with either glass minnows or finger mullet being chased by juvenile specks and what looked to be either mullet or bluefish.

I ended the night with only 3 spikes all in the 10" class - nothing photo worthy, but I did lose a nice flounder under the science center.  Surprised me that he was there, but when I laid my vertical rods down and paddled under the science center's overhang to get a quick scan using the FF, I saw a ledge that dropped from 3' down to 7' where he was staged.  Not sure whether he will be there again, but it might be worth a shot next year when the flounder move back in for the summer.

I found a school of nice sized specks near the museum and chased them for the better part of 2 hours without a single bite.  I had several follow aggressively right up to the side of the kayak then turn away.  I used everything I had with me to entice them - Gulp Swimming Mullet, Badonkadonks, Marsh Works Bayou Thumpers, and MirroLures but to no avail.  Since the fishing was not speck-tacular, I decided to call it a night and head home.  Got home around 11pm in time to let the dogs out, give them a late snack and try to get 5-6 hours of sleep.

6am came way to early for me, but I dragged myself off the couch and started the painful task of unloading all of my gear from the previous night.  Most people would just leave everything in place, which I would typically do, but alas the family outing for the day involved my van being the primary form of transportation and needed to seat 5 adults and my son.  Once everything was unloaded and stored inside, I headed out on time.  The trip to her parents isn't long by any means, it is just tough after working the previous day, fishing that night and getting minimal sleep.  After the day was over, I drove home in time to let the dogs out once again and feed them.

The original plan was to meet up with fellow kayak angler and friend Rob Choi for some light line action, but neither of us were up for it.  He and I both had the family thing going on Saturday.  Sunday morning came, and I was determined to get out on the water again, only this time in the freshwater.  I went to a fairly quiet small lake in hopes of landing a nice bass, but I arrived at the lake to find it swollen from the massive rains recently to the point that the spillway was useless.  The water was gushing over it and had risen so high that the surrounding dam was overflowing with water careening over the top.  The wind was gusting yet again with sustained winds in excess of 15 mph and gusts of up to 25mph.  Holding position was nearly impossible, and the water clarity was almost non-existent and was stained like chocolate milk.  Visibility was 0-6" - no lie.

I fished all of the normal fishy spots but couldn't buy a bite - nary a swirl even.  I was using a variety of tactics with moving nosy presentations as well as flash (ie: black buzz frogs, chartreuse/black rattling crankbaits and a large colorado-blade gold spinnerbait - nothing.  I ventured back into a dense lily pad section of the pond that is nearly impenetrable during the peak bloom, but now I could manage to navigate through it with fall fast approaching.  After a 30 minute trek through the pads, I get my first strike but missed the fish.  I was lifting the frog out of the water by the kayak when it happened.  I could hear surface activity all around me - the telltale popping noises from bluegills nailing bugs and insects in the pads.  A sure fire indicator that bass should be in the area.  I would see and hear the occasional flush of a feeding bass but couldn't hook into one or even entice a bite.

I got a call from the wife saying she was leaving her parents house, so I knew my time on the water was about over.  I decided to start making my way back to the launch and fish some of the other prime spots, but Mother Nature was not having any of that.  Just about the time I would get the kayak positioned correctly and start to make my cast, the wind would start gusting from the wrong direction.  I finally just chalked it up to a bad day on the water and paddled in.  While I didn't catch anything on Sunday, I still had fun with two friends from KBF.

I hope to try again this weekend one last time for some bass before moving my approach to the late fall/early winter salt water chase.  See you on the water!!

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