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!