Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Sunday Funday

Rain, wind, cloudy skies........"Absolutely we're going!" was my reply to my son when he asked if we could go fishing this past weekend.  Granted, the conditions were not favorable sandwiched between two storm fronts and rain on the way down, but we went anyway.  I opted for the Hampton side of the the bridge complex that way we could get off the water quickly in the event a storm popped up.  The bridge also provided a slight albeit minimal wind break from the easterly winds that were building.

I rigged his rod up with a simple dropper rig (single dropper loop and a 4oz. bottom sinker), a couple bags of fish bites and some spare leader and sinkers and headed out.  I took a couple of my rods in the event that a wayward cobia or surface blitz popped up on the day.  I positioned us behind a group of pilings and dropped his line.  First drop and a nice 10" Norfolk Spot came tight.  As I was handling the fish for a picture, it flailed about, flopped back in the water and snapped the leader.  Must have nicked the bridge piling as he was being reeled in.

No worries - a quick re-tie and another drop right back in the same spot resulted in an other nice spot hooked up.  A 9" spot made it's way in the foot well of the Pro Angler, but I skipped the measuring board pic and just snapped a quick handheld picture for size reference and released him back into the water for another day.

The winds picked up and made positioning a little challenging, but my son managed to keep landing fish.   Next up was the best fish of the day.  As my son bounced his bottom rig alongside a piling, the line came tight and the fight was on.   This one I could tell was a much better fish and fought hard pulling some drag.

In the end, a juvenile flounder made it's way into the foot well.  It was my son's largest flounder to date at 15 3/4".  Not a keeper, which he was visibly disgusted about, but he was happy none the less.

Next set of pilings and a new species was added to the list on the day - a baby sea bass also known as a bait stealer!  Nothing of any size, but it didn't matter to my son.  He just wanted to catch fish.

As the winds picked up, we drifted to the western span of the bridge complex and took shelter in the lee of the island.  While watching a pair of cow nose rays thrashing about, I saw some nervous water and fired off a cast for my son.  Before the bottom rig made its way to the floor, it was hammered hard this time by another species on the day - a croaker.

My son proceeded to catch croaker after croaker for the next few minutes totaling seven on the day.  Lots of fun and good fighters on light tackle for him.

The highlight of the day was when we were hanging out behind the island for a few minutes while I re-baited his hook with a fresh fish bites morsel.  A cast was made to the rocks parallel to the island and the line came tight instantly and started peeling off of his reel.  Right away, I knew what it was, but I wanted my son to feel the surge on the end of the line of a ray.  After a few surges and nearly losing his rod, my son asked me to take the fight on for him.  We fought the ray for five minutes and used the Hobie Mirage Drive to stay on top of the ray and save as much line as possible.

I was finally able to get the ray alongside and grab one of it's wings.  It was easily 30" across from wing tip to wing tip.  As I reached for the circle hook, it flailed angrily and snapped the line as it made it's way back to the bay floor.  My son even got splashed by the ray to christen the day as a success.

We ran into a fellow kayaking friend of mine, Jason, and chatted a bit.  As we both made our way to the other side of the island, the winds started blowing in earnest.  We decided to call it a day at that point in the interest of ending on high note.  Total count on the day: 2 spot, 2 sea bass, 1 flounder, 1 cow nose ray and 7 croaker.   Definitely a Sunday, Fun day!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Blessed beyond compare and a long overdue day on the water....

For the last two months, Mother Nature has toyed with my emotions and my fishing time, and when she wasn't the guilty culprit, work and family life intervened to draw my attention elsewhere.  But first. let me rewind a tad.  For many an aspiring angler, finding equipment and gear you trust and use is a long and sometimes arduous process.  Countless amounts of money can be spent in the search for what works for you.

Over the last three years, my loyalty to PowerTeam Lures is without a doubt the one brand of fishing lures that will always be in my arsenal when I hit the water!  I take great pride in this relationship and will continue to do what I can to help Bob and Katie spread the word about their innovative plastics!!  In turn, they have entrusted their belief in me as a person to continue as a member of their Promotional Staff for another year.  Thank you so much.

Another relationship that I have developed over the last year is one with Kelly and Dustin Phillips of Bull Bay Rods out of Florida.  They build custom rods for both fresh and salt water anglers whether you fish from a boat, kayak or shore, they can build a rod for you and customized to your specifications.  Over the last year, I have added a custom casting rod, two Spectrum Professional spinning rods, a custom live bait jigging rod, two Tactical Series rods (one casting and one spinning) and one flipping rod.  I recently even ordered a custom Tactical Series spinning rod for my son to replace his current rod that he has outgrown.  I believe in their rods so much, that I have sold almost every other rod I own with only a couple left to get rid of.  When I head out on the water for the day, I only have Bull Bay Rods on the water with me!  I was surprised a few weeks ago when I was added to their Professional Fishing Team and Promotional Staff.   Another huge 'Thank you"!!

The third fishing related blessing I was offered in the last few weeks left me literally speechless and came completely out of left field with no prior inclination.  I was offered the opportunity to represent the Power-Pole Shallow Water Anchor company with their new Power-Pole Micro recently released.  Needless to say, I was literally at a loss for words.  One of the biggest challenges I face on the water is boat positioning in wind and current.  Well, the new Micro will definitely help solve those issues for certain!!  I look forward to representing Power-Pole and the new Micro.  The Hobie Pro Angler is an awesome fishing platform to utilize this innovative product on!

Finally, another honor was being added to the Hobie Fishing Team for a third year in a row!  Morgan, Keeton and Kevin went all out this year and showed why they believe in their promotional staff.  They partnered with AFTCO to provide us with quality and innovative technical fishing clothing to use, as well as some awesome headgear and buffs.  I couldn't be more proud to wear Hobie attire when I am out and about and on the water!

As a promotional staffer for major companies, you are the public face representing the name for these companies.  And what better way to represent them than at a Demo Day!!  Recently, Appomattox River Company held their annual demo day for the public to come out and try their hand at the latest offerings from almost every major manufacturer in the paddle sports business.  From PFDs, rack systems and paddles to SUPs, hybrids, SOTs and SINKs.  If it's out there, ARC can likely get you into it!

Thanks Brian Vincent and Kam Goodrich for the awesome photos!

When the opportunity presented itself recently, I took a day off from work and hit a local pond for some Largemouth action. I only had a half day to work with, so a close location was the key. Rigged up my BullBayRods arsenal with four different PowerTeamLures offerings: a 3.5" Food Chain Tube, a wacky rigged Sick Stick, a Swinging Hammer and a Siebert Outdoors Jig with a Craw D'oeuvre trailer. I worked the overhangs by skipping the tube and stick underneath of them and followed them up with some casts parallel to the bank to work the drop offs with the Sick Stick and Jig-n-Craw D.

When I saw bait fish busting the surface, I would fire off some casts with the Swinging Hammer. It was a hot day with not much in the way of relief from the direct sun. The few scattered clouds did little to dispel any direct sun. I knew it was going to be hot, so I was sporting the new #AFTCO Fish Ninja shirt to keep me cool. It worked! Ended up catching ten Largemouth Bass in 5 hours. Eight on the Food Chain Tube (7-Wicked Berry, 1-Gold Digger) and two on the Sick Stick (Red Shad) ranging in size from 16.5" to a fat 18.5" chunk. Most were 17-17.5" but chunky and good fighters.
I know I don't get as much time on the water as many of my friends, but I do try and produce some quality fish when I do get out there.  Even if you only have a few hours to make it happen, do it!  I appreciate the support bestowed upon me by all of my sponsors.  The tools I use are the ones I believe in!  I will do my best to represent you in the best way possible!

Feeling blessed with a loving wife, beautiful children, and sponsors that believe in me!