Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Lights, Camera.....very little action.......

I ventured out again last night to the HRBT for another shot at some light line action.  Fellow TKAA and KBF member Rob Choi called me earlier in the day and said he was heading out and wanted to know if I could join him.  Why not?  Well, it was the last night before the start of the full moon cycle with winds that were light and calm and air temps in the low 50's - a very pleasant and comfortable set of conditions to fish in.  Unfortunately, I was unable to get out on the water early enough to catch the tide change.  As a result, I only caught the last 45 minutes or so before the tide went slack.  I started off the night on the right track though - I reversed my approach from the previous outing and worked the opposite side of bridge on the falling tide.  I didn't notice any surface activity, so I worked my sea shad in a slow rolling fashion with an occasional twitch.

On my third cast of the evening, I was greeted with a hard and firm hit by a hungry striper.  He hit the sea shad some 30 yards away from me, so getting him to the kayak was a bit of a chore until I got him turned in the right direction.  He then swam right to me thrashing side to side making the retrieve that much easier.  After 45 seconds, I had my first fish in the boat - a nice chunky 22 1/4" striper.
I continued that approach for another 20 minutes or so but had nothing to show for it.  I caught up with Rob and his friend Dan (journeyman from VKF) and found out that they had hooked into a few already, including a hefty 25 1/2" striper that made it's way home for some lucky person's plate.  I continued stalking the light line looking for any lingering schoolies but none were interested in chasing my sea shad.  I changed over to a mullet pattern and immediately started getting some action, but not what I was looking for - spike specks!!  I caught 2 back to back but then that bite turned off just a quickly.

I decided to catch back up to Rob and Dan for another shot closer to the tunnel and found some surface activity with several stripers busting the surface chasing bait.  I tried for over an hour and had nothing to show for it other than a couple of short strikes but no attempts at hook sets.  The fish had dropped the mullet as quickly as it had hit it.  It was just past midnight at this point, and I knew my time was getting short.  In the midst of a dead tide, I decided to head back to my trusty spot from the previous trip and search for some lingerers.  I moved out into the main bay side just outside the reach of the light line and cast parallel to it.

I worked the mullet in a similar slow rolling fashion but keeping it in the middle of the water column with subtle rises and falls and was quickly greeted once again with a nice solid strike and immediate pull.  A quick hook set and the fight was on once again.  This fish was rather perturbed at being hooked, and he was determined to not come anywhere near me while I made the retrieve.  A short fight and a quick snag with the fish grips and a solid 21" striper made it's way into the kayak.
I figured I might have found a small pod of lingering schoolies waiting to catch the tide change before the rest of the striper gang joined in the feeding frenzy.  I made a couple more casts knowing my night was at an end and that I was going to miss the tide change and the prime feeding window.  On one of my last retrieves, I felt an odd hit - almost like a speckled trout does when it tail slaps a bait fish to stun it before it attempts to eat it.  I paused the retrieve as it neared the kayak and saw the silver flash right beside the kayak.

I switched the direction of the retrieve subtly and felt another slap but still no take.  One more twitch and I felt some resistance but not the tell-tale pull of a solid hit.  I started a low retrieve and felt some resistance, so I gave a short snap hook set and was greeted with a firm pull that doubled my rod over.  Drag started screaming off of the reel, and I thought I had finally hooked into my first speckled trout citation.  I didn't want to risk losing potentially the last fish of the night (considered bad karma by some anglers), so I allowed the fish to tire itself a little more before attempting to bring a "green" fish into the kayak and have it thrash about risking a hook set into my leg. As the fish starts to tire, I notice it is not the citation speck I was longing for, rather another striper - this one at 21 1/2".  Not stellar by any means but still a good fight.
At this point, I know my night is just about done, so I make one last cast using the same retrieve pattern as before and was greeted with another solid hit.  Fish on again - long story short, another 21" striper.  This one had somehow nicked an artery or gut its gill and was bleeding everywhere. I thought that this would be the one time I was forced to carry a fish home, since I always practice CPR (Catch, Photo and Release).  I shone my head lamp down it's mouth only to see that my hook wasn't even set.  it was just laying against one of the gill plates.  I reached in with the pliers and out it popped with no effort at all or damage to the fish.  The fish is thrashing all over the place and covering me in blood, so I put him back in the water.  He tore off like a top fuel dragster no worse for wear.  As I was stowing away some of my gear, I get a call from Rob saying that he is almost back to the launch.  I later learned he had got into over a dozen stripers that night - a far cry better than myself, but then again I am still learning how to chase fish at the light line.

Until next time - get out, get bit and tight lines!!

1 comment:

  1. Good stuff Chuck! I haven't had the time to get to the light line yet and its killin' me...