Saturday, October 22, 2011

It's a Colonial thing.....and two soldiers lost in battle

This past Friday and Saturday were spent in historic Colonial Williamsburg on Waller Mill Lake.  The lake is situated in a tranquil secluded section of Williamsburg and is quite a beautiful place to visit if you have the chance.  It is not free, but the cost to enter ($2) and launch your own kayak or canoe ($6) is minimal and well worth the cost if you plan on spending the day on the water.
Fall in the state of Virginia is a wonderful sight to see and well worth the experience if you can find places that have nature during the seasonal turnover for fall.  The scenery and the wildlife speak for themselves.

In the midst of all this scenery is a pretty awesome body of water.  Waller Mill has plenty of fishing opportunities for various angling aficionados. For me, I was there to target Largemouth Bass and possibly some Striped Bass over the course of the two-day outing.  The first day was focused on Mr. Green in hopes of improving my current fish for the KBF October Team Bass Duel.  The month of October and the fall transition have not been kind to me at all.  On Friday, I fished for 7 hours in the grueling winds and landed 3 greenies.

The first two fish were both 12 1/2" and caught on my new favorite soft plastic lure - a Confidence Baits Floating Bird mounted on a 1/4oz. Draggin' Head.  The first fish was caught tight against the bank snugged up against a submerged brush on the large Floating Bird in Dark Brown.  I had cast to the spot 5 separate times all near to the same spot but never quite perfect.  On the sixth cast, I placed snug against the brush and let it fall to the bottom.  I gave it one small twitch and let it sit like Jeff Little preaches during this time of year.  A few seconds later, the subtle tick tick of the feeding bass is felt and fish #1 is in the kayak.

A little later, I moved through the tunnel connecting the lower lake to the smaller and shallower upper lake.  I made my way into a channel in hopes of escaping the wind, but Mother Nature was not kind to me.  I made it all the way back to a sheltered section only to have the winds shift on me and start blowing in earnest right at me.  I was able to mark some fish on the paddle into the cove and found a prime spot with some submerged timber with some fish stacked up all around it.  These fish were snugged up tight to cover such that any presentation an inch or two to the left was surely to be ignored.

I spent some time working farther up the creek but made a mental note to try the spot once I returned.  I saw bait fish busting all around, so I pulled out the trusty Floating Bird again, only this time I switched it over to the new Blueberry color and worked it like a minnow darting and twitching near submerged brush piles and trees.  A few minutes of fast twitching was just enough to at least stir up some interest, so I figured it was time to work the twitch twitch pause technique deeper into the cover to try and tempt those finicky fish out and attempt a strike at my bait.  Patience paid off on the third cast parallel to a brush pile to the outermost bush.

I cast the Blueberry Bird a few feet past the outer bush but allowed it to fall first before giving it a subtle hop.  I was promptly greeted with the subtle tap-tap and set the hook.  Fish #2 in the kayak, but I knew it wasn't going to be the big fish of the bush but alas any fish is better than no fish I always say.  When the fish showed waning interest in this approach, I switched over to another favorite of mine - the suspending Mirrolure.  I chose one that closely resembled a shad and cast it out into the middle of the creek.  I noticed the shad busting all around, so I figured a fast erratic motion would do the trick - nope.  Okay, let's try the next retrieve pattern - twitch twitch pause........twitch twitch pause..........nothing.  Let's try a slow retrieve with a subtle twitch........I allowed it to fall a couple seconds before slowly retrieving it.  I reeled it back for a few seconds S-L-O-W-L-Y (which is painfully difficult to do with a 6.4:1 ratio Abu-Garcia Revo S) then one subtle twitch.......FISH ON!!!  This one was pulling a little better than the other two and putting a nice bend in my St. Croix Mojo Bass Slop-n-Frog rod, but I knew it wasn't the lunker I was searching for.  Still, it was the best one of the day measuring in at a shade under 14 3/4".
The shad stopped busting at that point, the bite turned off as well, so I called it a day and paddled back in to head home.

Day Two:
I had the opportunity to head back on Saturday only this time with my son anxious to get on the water with me, so I lept at the chance.  The day had the potential to come to a screeching halt before we even left the house.  The night before, I had spent some time rigging my Shimano Crucial Swimbait rod with a fish finder rig.
I also took the time to pre-rig my son's rod with a 1/4oz. jig head to be used with a Gulp! Pogy.  I figure, one rig to use with live shad and another to mimic a shad profile to catch the more aggressive fish.  I loaded the Crucial into the van Friday night, and set the other rod out to be loaded on Saturday after my son's baseball game.  As I was walking out the front door with his rod in hand, the rod tip got caught on the door frame somehow and was promptly severed clean when the front door shut on it.  Oh well, no big deal.  I have two other rods in the van already that can quickly be setup for my son once we get there.

I'll just put his clothes in the van on the passenger side rear seat and we'll be off.  As the van door begins to open, I hear the tell tale sound of splintering and cracking only to learn that somehow my Crucial rod (all 7'11" of it) had somehow become dislodged from its holder that morning and was wedged against the van door.  When it opened, the bend at the tip was too sharp of an angle to save it from breaking and it promptly snapped.  Two rods lost in a matter of 30 seconds of one another.  Not the way I planned on starting my fishing outing with my son.

We headed out anyway not letting this get us down.  We get on the water by 3:30pm in time to hopefully get the evening bite before we have to get off the water at 6pm since the park closes at 6:30pm.  We met up with a fellow kayak angler that lives nearby and start searching for the fish.  I landed the first fish of the day - another spunky 12 1/2" greenie in the same type of location as the day before.  Our friend Craig had the live shad he had cast netted a short while before.  He was was working two rigs at the same time - a float rig and a fish finder rig.  He found a school of catfish that gave him a brief workout for a period of about 30 minutes until he ran out of live shad, and one actively feeding largemouth that was the same size as the one I had just caught from the same general area.

Since we didn't have any live shad, we stuck with the Gulp! Pogy worked slowly along the bottom like a live shad.  A few minutes later and about a half-dozen missed strikes, my son gets his first fish of the day - a nice chunky 12 3/4" slab of Black Crappie.
Here's the only video I was able to get on the catch.  He reeled it in like a pro though and almost gave me a fish smack in the face.......

We headed in shortly thereafter having each landed a fish and having a fun day on the water.  As the sun began to set, I realized how wonderful the day was even though it had not started out that way.  Funny how time on the water and a couple of fish caught can chase away those bad vibes that threatened to cloud up the otherwise sunny day.

Tight lines!

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