Saturday, November 2, 2013


Perseverance - noun \ˌpər-sə-ˈvir-ən(t)s\. : the quality that allows someone to continue trying to do something even though it is difficult.

"The National Weather Service has issued a small craft advisory for Hampton Roads and surrounding waters until 5pm today.......".  By definition, the National Weather Service defines this as "sustained winds or frequent gusts ranging between 25 and 33 knots (except 20 to 25 knots, lower threshold area dependent, to 33 knots for harbors, bays, etc.) and/or seas or waves 5 to 7 feet and greater, area dependent" as part of their Coastal Warning Display Program for the Eastern sector of the United States.

It was my day off and my only remaining opportunity to get on the water for the next week or so, so it only makes sense that a small craft advisory would be in effect.  I was fishing inshore today, so the advisory was not as applicable compared to if I had targeted the bridge or open waters.  I launched pre-dawn into a steady wind and building rains out of the west, but I knew according to the forecast that it would get worse by the time I made my way to my target area for the day.

I was determined to make the best of it regardless.  Sight casting was not very realistic, so I had to rely on knowledge of tidal movements, ambush points near structure changes and any visual indicators - namely nervous water and active fish feeding.  My first stop was a nearby dock that had a good light footprint on the water.  I worked a few offerings and had a strong hit on the PTL Swinging Hammer, but it never came tight for a good hookset.

My next stop was on the backside of a wind blown point on a feeder creek just shy of peak high tide.  The strong winds made positioning a little difficult, but my trusty YakAttack ParkNPole solved that problem. I worked a topwater across the creek mouth and was rewarded with a few half-hearted swipes by what looked like a juvenile trout.  No worries, maybe topwater would be manageable even in strong winds with the proper positioning.

I made my way to an area with some flats and quickly found some cover and structure changes to target.  With the building winds, I decided to beach the Pro Angler and wade for a bit.  I tried the topwater again and was rewarded with an aggressive under slot red trying to inhale the plug.  Even though it didn't come tight, the adrenaline started flowing watching this smallish red swiping at it.  While that was fun, it still wasn't what I was longing for.  By this time, flood had maxed and it was the start of the ebb tide.  With a strong wind and an ebb tide, casting topwater was not doable any longer.  I decided I would work the various nooks and crannies that had feeder creeks with ebbing waters and wind blown grass points.  After a few hours of this, I needed to try something different.

I decided that the only way I was going to catch any fish on a day like this was to go find them.  I made my way out to a subtle drop off of in 3-4' of water and started scanning.  The water was crystal clear, but sighting fish was limited to a narrow window right below due to the wave chop.  I stood instead to get a better viewing angle which was a wise thing to do even in the strong winds.  If I hadn't done this,  I never would have seen the three different reds all hanging on the bottom I rolled over.  I decided to switch over to a weedless jig and slow roll it through the submerged grass - a wise decision.....

Working the fan cast technique, on my third cast the PTL JP Hammershad gets slammed hard.  I didn't even have to make a hookset.  I knew from the head shakes and runs that this was a Redfish and a nice one at that.   I fought the waves and winds and landed my first of the day - a 20.75" bruiser that put my light spinning gear to the test.
Not 15 minutes later, the line came tight again when this 21" red slammed the Hammershad again.
By this time, the winds and ebbing tide had pushed me to the end of my drift, I was a long ways from the launch.  I knew the ride back would be a painful one, but I was satisfied with my determination to get on fish, so it was worth it in my mind.  As the tide turned, one look at the clock and I knew my day was done.  I made the long and grueling trek back in gusting winds, stinging rain and crashing seas.  I left a line out on the chance I could troll up an aggressive fish, but I ended up only having a smallish one tear the tail off the Hammershad.

It took me an hour and half to make the five mile trek back in those nasty head winds, and I was truly thankful for the Mirage Drive on a day like today.  As I stood at the launch, I reminisced on the day having felt thoroughly tested and beaten down, but a smile came across my face at the small measure of success I was able to achieve in unfavorable conditions when many would opt to stay at home.  It was only when I got home and researched the actual weather events on the day that I fully realized how brutal the day was......
In summary.......

Wind gusting 30-34 mph and sustained winds of 19-25 mph.
Total trip length - 10 miles.
Fish count - two slot reds
Feeling a sense of accomplishment - priceless!


One thing that can be said about my outings this year so far.  I may not have had the same measure of success as some of my peers in the region, but I certainly have given it my best effort when time permitted.  For this outing, I have to acknowledge several folks that have helped me stay focused and determined this year even though the last several outings that have ended in frustration.  I am very thankful for the knowledge, encouragement and positive thinking that Forrest, Richie, Bill and Rob have given to me - thanks guys,  You are the reason I continue my search for quality fish. 

Tight lines, stay safe and know your limits.

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