Lynnhaven Inlet 9-5-2011

5 09 2011

Sitting here and looking back on this day, it’s a wonder I caught any fish as there were so many errors and mishaps along the way. The weather was not looking promising for Virginia Beach, 15mph winds with gusts up to 25mph and scattered thunderstorms. I took vacation so I could fish today so I wasn’t going to sit around the house.

I set out around 7:15-ish am for Lynnhaven Inlet. I get about 30 mins in when I realize mistake number 1, I left my hat at home. Not a big deal, I’ll just have to apply extra sunscreen to my face. About 90 mins in and almost to my destination, the big oops is realized, #2: I left my PFD at home. Now anyone who know me, knows I don’t get in my kayak without it for safety reasons alone. However, I was on my vacation and 90 mins into my 105 minute trip I wasn’t about to turn around. The other problem with this is that my PFD also contains my line snipper, pliers (for removing hooks from toothy fish), whistle, and my knife/multi-tool. I had no backups in my saltwater crate, so I was going to be fishing without a lot of important tools.

I get to Lynnhaven and go to park, it’s my first time here. I realize the spots are numbered and there is box where you’re supposed to pay to park. Oops #3, I don’t have cash. I leave the parking lot and head to the local 7-11, take out cash, buy a power bar and get some change. Head back and start unloading. I brought my YakCatch bag as I had intended to take home some trout or flounder to eat when I realized oops #4: the Ride 135 doesn’t have deck line to attach the bag to. Well, I guess I won’t keep any fish today, lucky them.

I get all my stuff unloaded and loaded on the kayak, and get onto the water. I started to paddle out into the inlet when oops #5 hits: I left my salt water license in the car and my croakies for my sunglasses. I’ve recently moved to a 2 crate system: one for salt and one for fresh. This is my first time in the salt with the system and thus the license wasn’t already in the crate. I turn around and make the paddle back to retrieve said items. I finally get out into the inlet and beach at the sandbar right across from the mouth of Crab Creek. I brought along my cast net to try and catch bait, it would be my first time ever throwing a cast net. First toss is a success, I get 4 finger sized mullet in my net! Second toss I get 5! Wow, this is going to be easier than I thought. Third toss I get 2 and the rest of the tosses are pure ugliness. No more bait, but enough to get me to fish a while.

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At this point, I’ve got to re-rig one of my rods for a carolina rig so I get to work on 20lb Seagur Fluoro leader with my teeth. Ouch. I finally get my rig straight and paddle down the inlet a bit. I go to stake out at the creek mouth when oops #6 comes in: No anchor trolley for the Stick It In Pin. This was a known oops but still it was rather tough putting a 5.5′ stake out pole through a scupper and trying to manage that. I ended up having to reposition a few times to get everything squared away but once I was finally in position I stayed for quite some time.

I put a mullet onto the circle hook and tossed it out. At this point the tide was coming in so I let the current drift my rig. I feel a slight tug so I reel it in. I pull up a rather large blue crab that has cut my mullet nearly in half. The crab falls off, along with most of my bait. I rebait and cast back out. These slight tugs and losses of mullet to crab went on for 30 mins or so. Finally I get a good strike and set the hook. FISH ON! After a short fight, I land a 15″-ish flounder! He gave me lots of side boat splashes, I was soaked by the time he was landed.

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I release the flounder, rebait my hook with another mullet, and cast again letting the current drift my carolina rig. I get another strike on the very next cast and get a little bit of surface action. This is no flounder, it looks like a trout!!! A short fight later and I get him to the side of the yak. It’s a good size! 19″ of beautiful specks and teeth!

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If I had my YakCatch bag this trout would have been going home with me. Lucky for him, I did not so he was released.

I re-baited and re-casted and let the rig drift again. Recasting and re-drifting went on for a while. One time I went to reel in and the line was heavy so I swept my rod for a hookset…FISH ON! A short fight later and I have a blue up to the kayak…only problem is, it’s gut hooked. No pliers and no way I’m sticking my fingers in there…Lucky for him (and me) the blue’s teeth had put a hurting on the fluoro leader and it actually snapped when I put a little bit of pressure on the line. I let it go but I’m unsure how long it’ll last, he’s got a 3/0 Gammy Octopus hook in its gut. I had to retie my rig again, my poor teeth.

I eventually ran out of bait and fished some weed lines and small coves, landing one more small 8″ speckled trout on a 4″ New Penny Gulp Shrimp. Some weather was moving in, the current was swift and so was the wind, so I called it a day.

When I get back to the car, my cooler had somehow toppled over and water was all over the cargo area of my car: oops #7. This just was not my day! Glad I left when I did, some heavy rains started coming down on my way home.

All my pictures from the trip

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HRBT Light Line 6-29-2011

29 06 2011

I emailed my buddy Chuck from KBF earlier in the week and said I was interested in some night fishing. I was thinking we’d fish Sandy River Reservoir or maybe Briery Creek. Chuck suggested the HRBT Light Line and while the Striper fishing isn’t thick this time of year, you can can still get into them. Considering an HRBT Light Line trip was on my list of things to do, I couldn’t turn it down. We had some logistical issues that were tough to work out, so I almost bailed on the trip. I’m glad I stayed the course and made my first trip.

I leave my client’s far west end offices and head to Hampton via I64 around 4:15-ish. Leaving this time and hitting Hampton around rush hour, I expected to get there close to 6:30 or 7pm. Even hitting a few thick showers, my pace wasn’t slowed and I got there around 5:45. I then spent the next 30 mins hmm-ing and haw-ing about where I wanted to park and launch; I finally pulled myself together and just did it. I threw aGulp! 4″ New Penny shrimp on a 1/4oz jighead and started fishing. There was a slight breeze but nothing awful to contend with at this point, probably blowing around 10mph.

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Off the shore about 40 yards, I start banging the HRBT pylons hoping to hook into anything that will take my offering. Within my first few casts, I’m getting all sorts of nibbling on my hook. I keep whiffing on the hookset, so I’m chalking it up to blues or some other small bait fish annoying the hell out of me. After 15 minutes or so, I get my first solid strike and I swing for the hookset…FISH ON!!! A short fight later and I land my first fish at the HRBT, a small croaker.

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I throw it back and get to fishing, changing up my retrieve from subsurface fast retrieve, to bouncing along the bottom, letting the current and wind pushing my yak, work my jig for me. I hook into another croaker, a small mud toad, and a small flounder.

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About this time, Chuck has showed up and is now launching. We both begin to work the Pylons some more, waiting for the sun to completely disappear so the HRBT lights will work their magic. There is a storm on the horizon and even though the wind, the surf, and the outgoing tide are starting to pick up, Chuck assures me the storm should miss us. He has his marine VHF with him so I’m going to defer to him. We both catch a few croaker when Rob Choi and a buddy of his shows up and join us. I eagerly look forward to speaking to Rob. I haven’t met Rob but I’ve read numerous blog entries and KBF reports of his, he’s a very accomplished angler and fishes the area frequently; I knew he had some tips for me. We all continue pounding the pylons waiting for night to fall, so we can begin our Striper chase.

I make one cast right into a pylon and start the retrieve, I get a solid bite and I swing for the hookset…FISH ON!!!! My rod doubles over and whatever is on, is certainly larger than anything else I’ve caught so far. After about 5 seconds of fight, the large fish goes air born, shaking its head vigorously trying to dislodge the hook I have in its mouth. It’s dusk so I can’t quite tell what it is, but I think it’s a speckled trout…and if so it’s a nice size one. I continue the fight and the fish makes several, hard runs, almost Redfish like. At this point, I think maybe I’ve got a Red on (never seen or heard of a Red going air born). I finally get it to the side of the yak and realize I’ve got a sweet speck on my line. Put it on the board and it measures a little over 19 inches!!!! SWEET! My camera takes horrible night shots (as you can see in the album linked at the end of the post), however Rob got a hero shot of me holding my speck.

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I release the speck and now I’m pumped. I’m ready to get into some Striper now and the daylight is almost all but gone.

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Unfortunately, so has most of the decent fishing conditions. The wind is now blowing at a 15mph to 25mph clip, with some stronger gusts. There’s lightning off in the distance and it’s getting dark, but Chuck still believes the storm is going to miss us. The surf has become rather choppy (that’s putting it lightly) and combined with the wind, has become rather difficult to fish in. All the anglers have spread out, looking for striper hunting for baitfish in the light cast down from the HRBT bridge lights, so I can’t tell if anyone is having any luck. With the poor paddling conditions, I’m struggling. After 45 mins or so of doing a lot more paddling than casting, I make my way over to Chuck and let him know I’m going to paddle in and take a break and see if the storm pulls away from the area, along with the horrible wind and surf. I start to paddle towards shore and I get about 30 yards or so before I feel a sharp pain in my shoulder. What the….POW. Hit again, now my knee. I look around me and see big splashes forming all on the surface of the water…HAIL!!!!! I make a bee line for the cover of the bridge and all hell breaks loose at that point. The hail only lasts about 20 seconds, but then the intense rain starts.

There’s not much to talk about here as I spend the next 45 minutes, in the same place, constantly paddling…battling the outgoing tide, wind, and surf (all working in the same direction) to try and stay under the bridge and out of the elements. The swells had to have been 4 feet or so, maybe more. I know I had water breaking over the bow of my kayak on nearly every swell. Usually when a heavy storm rolls in this fast, it rolls out just as fast. It never did.

When it looked like we could safely paddle to shore, Chuck and I follow the bridge in to take a short break. The rain is still pouring, but the wind has let up a little bit. We wait about 30 minutes to see if the storm passes but it doesn’t let up. I had planned on quitting at midnight if the fishing wasn’t hot….it was 11:30 and I had no desire to fight the rain, wind, and current anymore so we packed it up and headed home. Fun trip and I’ll definitely make it again, but I’ll keep a closer look at the weather before hand and make trip changes based on the weather.

When I got home, I looked up historical doppler images and found this. For those of you unfamiliar with the HRBT, I’m fishing above the P where the ride line cross over the body of water. Wait for what moves in that area around 10pm…

All my pictures





Pawley’s Island and Mt. Pleasant South Carolina Vacation 7-18 — 7-25-2010

25 07 2010

Went on vacation down to Pawley’s Island for 3 days and then spent the next 4 days at my sister in-law’s place in Mt. Pleasant.

I hadn’t planned on fishing Pawley’s, but got some time to myself a couple of days and ended up fishing for about 6 total hours spread between them. I fished the northern section of Midway Inlet as a friend owns a house with easy access to the creek here. The first day, I got out about 1:30-ish on the incoming tide. Fishing was tough as was keeping my kayak in position as I had no anchor nor stake out pole. I did a lot of casting and took some pictures of some fiddlers and a few birds.

2nd time out I went out at 10:30am at low tide and fished what water was left in the creek until the water finally started coming back in around 1pm. I hooked into my first salt water fish from a kayak…foul hooked a tiny spot icon_e_smile-2010-07-25-23-49.jpg Kept on fishing for another hour and a half and managed to catch 2 small 10″ flounders. I was alternating between an electric chicken paddle tail swim bait and a 3″ gulp shrimp on a jig head.

Headed to my sister in-law’s and planned to fish the upper Wando early on Thursday morning until about noon. It was high (flood) tide when we went out, not my brother in-law’s favorite time to fish but we hit it anyways. We tried the topwater bite, he was throwing a popper and a Zara Spook jr and I tried throwing a Mann’s 1-Minus. Neither of us got a bite. Switched over to throwing other artificials, he was throwing some sort of spinner/plastic trailer combo and I was throwing the paddle tail and gulp shrimp jig heads again. We went all morning without much action. I did manage to catch 2 small trout on the gulp shrimp, but that was it. At some point mid morning, I got a monster bite and fought what I believe to be was a sizable Redfish for about 60 seconds before my hook popped loose. We fished some more until about 11am when we decided to go throw the net for some bait and hit a few “hot spots” as we only had the kitchen pass for another hour.

After we loaded up with some finger mullet and shrimp, we hit the hot spot and started throwing under some docks. I threw a mullet and Justin threw a shrimp, both on Carolina rigs. Sure enough, within 5 minutes Justin gets a bite and is now fighting the Red between the dock pylons. He gets broken off but puts on another shrimp and tosses back under the dock. He gets another bit and again, gets broken off. I’ve gotten no bites on my mullet so I switch over to a shrimp. Within 5 minutes I’ve got a red on. Holding on for dear life and trying to fight the fish out of the pylons, about 5 minutes later I land my first Redfish, a 23″-ish slottie.

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I quickly put a new shrimp on my hook and cast back under the dock. Within 5 or so more minutes, I get another bite and again…start fighting the fish out of the dock pylons. A few minutes later and I’ve landed my 2nd Redfish.

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Justin also manages to land a Redfish during the time as well as he lands a small black drum.

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The bite cools off and we head home for the day.

On Friday, we had planned on fishing Copahee Sound (Redfishville) out of kayaks, the main reason I lugged my kayak and all my gear down from Va. We had planned on heading out at low tide and hit the incoming tide around 1pm, but family activities, a bait run, and some forgotten gear didn’t get us onto the water until sometime after 3pm.

The wind was BRUTAL and was blowing severely as well as the tide was rushing in at this point, it made for pretty difficult fishing. Most of the oyster bars in the sound were submerged and the elements were not cooperating. Justin and I didn’t have much luck. He managed to hook into and break off a small shark and also landed a small whiting. I landed a small blue and had a small red gum my float (pretty funny) but didn’t have any action otherwise. When the tide was completely up, we hit the flats to look for some tailers. For the next hour and a half, we stalked the flats and saw NOTHING….nada. We packed it up and headed home. Fishing Copahee was pretty miserable this day. The conditions and the lack of action made it tough, but we had fun none the less…

Most every night, Justin and I snuck out after the women and children were in bed and fished the ponds in his neighborhood. There are dozens of ponds and most hold bass. We hooked into several fish, but Justin seemed to be having the most luck with the big fish. He landed 2 around 20″, another around 19″ and lost another that probably went close to 20″. The largest I hooked into was probably 14″ or 15″. Here’s a pic of one of his bass.

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EDIT: I’m adding this as I almost forgot, turtled for the first time in a creek at Copahee. I was getting a little cocky in my OK Trident and decided to stand up on it to get a better view of the creeks and flats (something I’ve done a couple of other times). While standing up, I had good stability, however when I went to sit down, I plopped a bit and plopped on the edge. I ended up in the creek, up to my chest. I was able to re-enter my kayak (without any practice on this) by being familiar with the techniques to get back in the boat. The good news is that I’ve now experienced turtling in a VERY controlled environment, so I should be more familiar next time…as well as my boat truly never turned over so I didn’t lose any gear. When I finally caught up to Justin, he says “did something happen that I think happened?”. He also said, “I heard a loud crash and what sounded like an alligator attacking someone, then quiet for about 5 seconds, then hysterical laughing”. I had to laugh at myself for being such an idiot.