Tuesday, August 21, 2012

In the realm of giants.....

This past weekend was the annual club challenge in the Tidewater area.  It is an annual tournament where angling clubs in the region can enter one boat with a team of four anglers and one captain (non-fishing).  No deck hands or other people are allowed on the boat.  The tournament had various clubs represented, including: Tidal Fish, Tidewater Anglers, Great Bridge, Portsmouth, Central VA, Norfolk Anglers, VA Beach Anglers and the lone kayak-based club from the region, the Tidewater Kayak Anglers Association.

The rules were pretty simple......there were 15 eligible species, an oyster toad calcutta and any VA salt water area was fair game.  The fishing window was limited to lines in the water at 5am and the teams had to be in line at the weigh-in no later than 5:30pm.  Each species had points values of 3,2 and 1 for the top three weights of the fish entered.  As an angling club, you could only enter three fish in each species, but you could not weigh in all of your fish just to determine the heaviest three.  You had to fish to weigh and could not change your mind once the fish touched the scale.

As a club, we were permitted to have a total of 5 teams of 4 kayakers each, but we ended up a few short due to last minute cancellations and logistical issues.  We were able to field 5 teams still but with 3 people per team.  In the end, we sent two teams to the Poqouson area, a team to the HRBT and two teams to the CBBT.  Of the fifteen eligible species, the TKAA group was able to enter fish in 10 of the 15 categories.

The TKAA team members were a relative Who's Who of avid kayakers from the Chesapeake Bay region......we had: Rob Choi, Justin Mayer, Seth Goodrich, Matt Anderson, Bill Ragulsky, Mark & Kris Lozier, David Saunders, Joe Underwood, Richie Bekolay, Chip & Drew Camp, Ken Cussick, Russ Hamm, and a few others that I am at a loss for at the moment......(I'll add the names as I get them all in......).

When the weigh in was finally over, TKAA had registered 2 citation sheepsheads and had placed high enough to have winning fish in a few different species: 3rd place Croaker, 2nd place Sheepshead, a clean sweep of the Spadefish of all three placings, and a 2nd place Speckled Trout for a total of 11 points and sole possession of 3rd place overall against the seven other angling clubs.  I was proud that my croaker placed third overall having never really targeted them before.  The day on the water was filled with several non-event species including countless redfish, a few rays and a nice 30"+ striper that towed me around for five minutes.

The results do not accurately represent the challenges that all the clubs faced on this day.  The weather was very sketchy across the entire region.  Every team had to brave 5-8 foot seas at various points and some nasty wave chop around the tunnel complexes.  Even the Poqouson teams battled winds in excess of 20mph and ripping currents.  The tunnel teams battled some dangerous conditions that even forced a few team members to check their hulls for taking on excessive water from the crashing breakers and do some preventive bailing during the day to avoid a dangerous situation later.

In the end, we all returned safely to the weigh-in and spent the rest of the evening reminiscing about the day that was in a word - challenging to say the least.  The ultimate goal of this club challenge is not the bragging rights or the trophy awarded at the end of the day.  No, the real winners are the children that this challenge was founded upon.  Hopefully, the money and awareness raised by this event will permeate through the communities in the region, and we can make a difference in the life of child or several in the future.

When all was said and done, the TKAA group proved that we can fish and are quite comfortable sharing the waters in the realm of giants.


  1. Awesome post and great showing for the yak anglers!

    1. Thanks! It was a blast - hopefully we can move it up a notch or two next year!