James River – Huguenot Flatwater – 5-13-2012

13 05 2012

Got out for about 2.5 hours today on Huguenot Flatwater. I’ve fished this stretch well over 20 or 30 times and haven’t had much luck. Since I only had a few hours today and needed to get on/off fairly quickly, I just hit it in hopes I’d land a couple of fish.

As I was putting in, a young guy was coming off the water. He said the current was ripping, the wind was pushing downstream as well, and fishing was tough. He said he didn’t catch anything so I wasn’t expecting much. I forgot my Hawg Trough so without hope of catching anything significant, I entered the water care free.

Got on the water and the water was high and fast. I remember a hand drawn picture I’ve seen that Jeff Little drew, a profile view of ledges and eddies and how to fish them in high and low water. That drawing showed fish holding tight upstream in the eddie, so that’s where I concentrated today. Normally there are tons of visible rocks to wedge yourself on and fish off of, today there were only a dozen or so…

First one I come to, I throw a Mann’s Baby Waker in a bass pattern to the rock and started reeling in. No more than a couple of cranks and I get a solid hit. After a nice fight I reel in a nice 17″ smallie, my new PB. Again, nothing to measure by I’m going my estimates of my body parts 🙂


Release this fish and now I’m beaming. Hit 2 or 3 more of the visible structure, going with the same pattern but no more hits. On the 4th or so, I beach my kayak, throw out the Mann’s about 15 yards downstream, and start retrieving back to the rock. I get a hit…and it was a doozie. It’s the largest freshwater fish I’ve ever seen in person. I got to set the hook and the rod doesn’t bend…FRACK. The knot failed, friggin Rapala knot. I’ve had that knot fail on me the last 2 outings on larger fish. I know it’s the tier and not the knot…. I quickly grab my finesse rod, with a draggin’ head and a Tiki Craw loaded up with Craw Bioscent. Throw it back in the vicinity of the strike, no more than 10 seconds and my line starts moving…go to the hook and the rod doesn’t bend. SONOFA…this knot failed too. W-T-FRACK. Improved clinch, but it failed too (yes I wet before tightening). I quickly real in, grab a weighted tube hook, throw a green tube on, lather it up with Craw Bioscent and throw it back in the area. This time I let is set for what seemed like 3 to 4 mins and the line starts moving again. Set the hook…FISH ON. I can’t believe the size of this smallie. After a nice fight, I land him. HOLY CRAP, I wish I had my Hawg Trough.


FYI, the inside of the 2012 Ride 135 is 20″. This fish reaches end to end and is also laying over the bump in the middle. I’m guessing this guy went 20.5″ to 21″. Most certainly would have been a Virginia citation. I release the fish and get on about my day.

I catch another dink over the next hour, but not much else. I’m about to wrap up for the day, there’s still 2 visible rocks I haven’t hit. I’m going to leave after these two. On the first one, no action on the Baby Waker. I throw the tube in and let is set for 3 or 4 mins and I think I see hit, but I’m not sure so I don’t set the hook. After 5 or so seconds the line is moving so I set the hook. A nice fight later and I’m estimating this fish at 19″.


Unfortunately, that extra 5 second wait enabled this fish to inhale the tube. It was gut hooked. I’m always iffy on what to do in this situation, just take the fish home or cut the line and hope the hook frees itself. I do what I always do and cut the line and returned the fish as fast as possible (after a couple of snapshots). I hope that guy lives and reaches 20″+. I decide to call it a day on that one.

2.5 hours fished in an area that’s not rare to send me home with a skunk, 4 fish caught and 3 of them went 17″, 19″, and 20.5+”. Pretty good day for me.

All my pics:



Redfishville Shootout 10-5-2011

9 10 2011

Redfishville 2011, 4 days of fishing in Mt. Pleasant, SC with Justin targeting the awesome fighting Redfish on the flats of Copahee Sound and around the oyster beds of the Wando River. I’ve had this date circled on my calendar for quite some time. I left from Richmond on Wednesday 10-5 around 6am and got to Mt. Pleasant at 12:45pm-ish. I quickly dropped a few things off and Justin and I headed to Copahee for a few hours of fishing. We got on the water, headed for the island at the creek mouth to catch bait. After we caught bait, paddled out to the sound to hit Reds as they entered the grass. High tide was at 4:07pm this day and we had baits in the water by 2pm. Fished the grass line without a lot of success using cut mullet on a carolina rig or a live mullet under a float. Justin boated at least one nice fish at 28″+ off the grass line.

Somewhere between 3pm and 3:30pm we entered a flat and immediately saw tails. Justin headed one way and I headed another. I see one Red pushing through some pretty skinny water. I toss a paddletail swimbait in electric chicken all around the Red and get no action. BTW, flats fishing will REALLY highlight how weak your casting is. You need to hit very small 6 to 12 inch windows, which I’m not all that great at. Anyways, after casting at this Red 6 or 7 times, I get a bit impatient. Throw the swimbait just beyond him and bring the bait back into it…it bumps it and the Red spooks and swims off. Drats. I look further up the flat and see ANOTHER tailing Red. I figure the last Red didn’t like my swimbait so I switched over to a 3″ Gulp Shrimp in New Penny (it wasn’t the bait, it was my placement I later came to the conclusion). I make 3 or 4 casts to this Red and finally get a decent cast. The fish hits and it’s on! A fun couple of minutes and I land my first flats Red, an upper slot sized (don’t remember the exact size, somewhere between 22″ and 24″).

I release the fish and then proceed to catch the next 2 tailers I see, all were between 22″ and 24″. So now I’m 3 of 4 I’ve casted to and feeling pretty good. I start to make my way over to Justin and see a few more tailers. I make casts to a few and either get a spook or just no interest. I get over to Justin and at this point I’m 3 of 6 for tailers. I watched Justin hook into a decent size red only to have his leader snap after a few seconds of fight. I tell Justin I’ve caught 3 of 6 and he’s in disbelief. We both spot a LARGE tail coming out of the water on the flat in some deeper water. Luckily for me, Justin had to retie so I start making casts. I cast 5 or 6 times before the tail disappears, but it wasn’t spooked. I hold still waiting for it to reappear. After 5 more minutes the tail reappears between Justin and I. He gives me the green light to cast. On my 2nd cast I get a strike and I set the hook. Line starts peeling off back out into the grass….Hold on there fella!!! After a nice 5 minute fight, I land a nice 26 3/4″ Red.


The water starts exiting the flat and the bite slows, so we call it an evening at 5pm-ish. I have 4 Reds on maybe 10 casted at, I think Justin finished with 2 caught but he had the biggest of the day at 28″+. Between the 2 of us we saw probably 20 or so tailers…a GREAT day on the flats.

Thursday is our full “scout day” where we planned to fish both tides in Copahee so we’d have an idea of how we want to fish on the day of the tourney. We get out at 8:30am-ish and hit the water (and a bit hungover). Justin and I always have a good time when we hang out, the night before was no exception.

Dragging a bit, we catch bait and head to the Sound. Low tide is at 10:09am and high tide is at 5:02pm. My Ride is already dragging bottom on a few spots where the water is pretty skinny. We head out to some oyster mounds and start soaking baits. I’m using a live mullet under a float and cut mullet on a carolina rig. We see no action in the deeper water at low tide, so head in to the skinnier water and that’s when the action picked up (for Justin at least). I paddle up on and spook quite a few fish, but don’t hook into anything. Justin catches a few fish in the skinnier water before we head to the grass line once the water starts coming in. BTW, that live mullet lasted for 2 hours under that float until I accidentally raked it across some oyster beds and killed it.

I throw a cut mullet to the grass line and wait…I didn’t have to wait long. I get a bite, I tighten up the line and the fight is on. The Red makes several 10 to 20 yard runs and I finally wear it out after 5 minutes or so. This Red was 28 3/4″ pinched. WOW, nice Red. I release it and throw my cut bait back into the water in almost the same spot. After a short 5 minutes, I get another strike and reel down. The rod doubles over and line immediately starts peeling off at an incredible rate back out into the Sound. Line is pulled off for a good 20 or 30 seconds, I’m guessing well over 100 yards of braid. The wind has picked up quite a bit so I’m hesitant to pull my stake out pole, but I’m not getting this monster back in just sitting here. I pull the pole and the wind immediately starts taking me in the opposite direction of the fish. I manage a few one handed paddles in the direction of the line but my line is all over/through an oyster bar and the line snaps. Given that I just caught a 28 3/4″ Red and he was only able to get off short 10 and 20 yard runs where my drag was set, I’m fairly certain this was at least a 30″ Red…maybe a lot more. We’ll never know…dejected, I retie another Carolina rig and throw my line back out. I catch another 28 1/2″ Red before we hit the flats. We fish a different flat today and we don’t see a single Red. We get off the flat about an hour after high tide and head home. Justin wins the fish count today, finishing with 5 Reds but I win for the biggest at 28 3/4″.

Day 3 is Friday and we decide to fish the Wando due to the fairly strong 15 to 25mph north east winds…hoping for some relief from it. (we didn’t get it). Ran into Carter, a guide for Kayak Fish SC, at the Paradise Island launch he was chartering that day. Spoke for a few mins and watched him catch some bait before we launched. The wind was brutal and just made paddling and fishing pretty difficult. Justin and I were unable to land any bait at the launch so we were hoping to get some while out on the water.

3 hours later, no bait, no fish, and we had had enough of the fighting of the wind with no action. We pack up and head to the 41 bridge to go for bull Reds hoping to get some relief from the geography change and the change in tide. Catch some bait at the launch and head over to the hole. Cast our lines out and have them soaking for a bit when a yellow lab shows up on the bank. He seems excited to see us. He immediately jumps down in the water and starts getting in Justin’s way, swimming over/around/through Justin’s line. Justin reels up and attempts to paddle out into deeper water near me. The dog follows. The dog now swims over to me and is getting in my way. This goes on for close to an HOUR; him swimming switching off between Justin and my kayak, getting in the way. An hour of wasted fishing trying to get away from this dog who is ruining any chance we have at fishing. I can’t believe this dog was swimming in swift current, with a strong wind, for nearly an hour.

We think the dog will leave us alone if we head across the river and fish some docks; it does. Justin proceeds to catch 3 Reds underneath one dock and I go 0-fer. We call it a day and head in. I was skunked this day so I was pretty down but tomorrow will be a different day.

We knew we were going to miss the Captain’s meeting for the tourney the Friday night so we planned on doing the meetup at 6am at on Saturday morning. Overnight, one of Justin’s kids got sick and caused him to miss the alarm. I’m a heavy sleeper and didn’t wake up either so we don’t make it out of bed until 7:30am pretty certain we’re not going to catch anyone at the launch (we didn’t). We catch some bait at the island and head out, hoping to run into Ken or Tommy out on the water. The wind was insane, 25mph easily and constant. It made paddling very difficult. We saw a lot of other kayakers but didn’t attempt to weave in and out due to the wind. We just let it blow us down the grass line until we could find space to wedge up on the grass.

We fished the grass line and then hit the skinny water out around the oyster bars again through low tide. I caught 4 stingrays but didn’t manage a single Red. Justin’s having a pretty good day, landing several Reds. I finally get into a rather large one on the grass line only to have it come unbuttoned boat side after 3 or 4 minutes of fighting. I got another from he same spot about 5 minutes later but the leader snapped in half after a minute or two.

Since we were officially not in the tournament and I now had 1.5 days of fish skunk on my boat, we decided to skip the “weigh-in” and try to fish the same flat we had success on the other day. The wind picked up and became even worse (if that’s possible). There were now white caps in Copahee. Given how bad the wind was and how difficult fishing the flat would be with it, we make an executive decision to skip fishing and wait for enough water to enter the grass so we can drag our kayaks back and call it a day. Another skunk for me but Justin ends the day at 6 total. There are a couple of funny personal stories of us trying to get back to launch by dragging across the flat, diving through pluff mud, falling into a creek, etc, but I’ll spare those details.

I did have a good 4 days hanging with a friend I don’t see all that often and had 2 great days of fishing. The wind was killer the last 2 days (along with the weird dog), so ending on a skunk note sucked. I’ll be back at some point, Copahee was awesome as always.

All my pictures can be found here.

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.


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.


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!


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

Briery Creek 9-1-2011

1 09 2011

I’ll keep this short and sweet. Headed out to Briery Creek this morning for the first day of my delayed vacation. Hit the water at 7am (a little later than I had hoped) but fished until 2:15pm.

Started with a large chartreuse and white buzzbait and that got em going. Caught 5 LMB ranging from 10″ to 15.5″ in the first 75mins. Landed 2 more LMB on a wacky rigged 5″ senko in the next 15 mins. From about 8:30am until about 11:30am-ish, things got REALLY cold. I wasn’t spooking, hooking up with, or seeing any fish.

Somewhere around there, I started to find a few and realized the bass in the lilies were also holding to other cover (lay downs); lure of choice for a lily field was none other than a frog, Capt Ken’s Clone. I had a lot of short strikes today and had 4 bass take my frog, fight for 5 to 10 seconds and somehow manage to come unbuttoned.

Around 1:30pm, found some of the ideal “pattern” for the day and threw my clone over. While retrieving I got a huge blowup, so I let it sit. Another blowup but it was a good 2 feet from my clone. I reel it in and wait for about 60 seconds and then throw back over. This time I get a solid hit and I set the hook. Thank goodness this time the fish didn’t come unbuttoned and I land the largest fish of the day, a hair over 18″ and nice and fat.


This is the most success I’ve ever had at Briery; I’ve been skunked several times here. I had my daughter Thursday nigh through Sunday, then Monday is the Salt, Tuesday I’m chasing Snakeheads, and Wednesday is a half day of guided fishing on Mossy Creek!

BTW, Briery in the middle of the week is FANTASTIC. There were only 3 trucks at the ramp when I got there, and I really only saw one other boat all day.

All my pictures:

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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

Goals for 2011

30 12 2010

2010 was a great year for me for fishing from a kayak. I continued to gain knowledge of largemouth bass and how to fish for them from this platform, boating my personal best largemouth of 18.75″ at Pocahontas State Park. I also tied my “official” personal best for a smallmouth, a 16″-er caught on the James near Huguenot Flatwater. I also caught my first ever James River blue catfish and it was a monster, around 40″ and 30lbs. I also caught my first Shad from the Kayak during the James River Shad run. I also caught my first flounder and my my personal best Redfish of 27″ from the kayak.

I didn’t have any specific, documented goals for 2010 but I wanted to try other techniques given that I was only a plastic worm fisherman. I knew I wanted to try fishing with a jig, a spinnerbait, and a crankbait. While the jig-n-pig didn’t make it out of the April/May timeframe, spinnerbaits and crankbaits are a big part of my fishing arsenal now. Along the way I also picked up on frog fever, and now have a frog tied on nearly all seasons not named winter. I also used a buzzbait a few times, snagging a nice 18″ LMB at Sandy River at night. I also fished with topwaters: poppers and spooks. While I can’t really walk the dog from a kayak, I caught a lot of fish on a popper. I also managed to learn to fish worms other ways than texas rigging them: shakey head and wacky rigging were used for the first time, with wacky rigging being used nearly every time I go out now.

While I’m hoping my personal bests continue to increase in size and weight, there are some things I’d like to target for this year. I’ll document them so I can track at the end of 2011 on how I did. All of these are to be done from (or near) the kayak:

  • Learn to fish deep, specifically:
    • Learn to fish with a dropshot
    • Learn to fish deep with crankbaits
    • Learn to fish deep with a carolina rig.
  • (Re)learn and explore fishing with a jig-n-pig
  • Learn to walk the dog from the kayak and catch a fish on a spook while doing so
  • Explore swimbaits and catch a fish on one
  • Successfully fish with tubes (catch at least a couple of smallies on one)
  • Catch a largemouth 20 inches or greater in length
  • Catch a smallmouth 18 inches or greater in length
  • Catch a flathead catfish
  • Catch a striped bass
  • Fish the HRBT light line
  • Fish Kiptopeke State park for huge striped bass
  • Catch a Redfish on the fly
  • Catch a speckled trout
  • Continue to try and fish new methods and new locations

I also have two non-kayak fishing goals the first being to catch a big brown trout on the fly. Hopefully I’ll be checking that one off the list when I head back to Mossy Creek in February. The last and the most important goal of all my goals is to take my daughter Sadie fishing for the first time. She’s 2.5 now and will be turning 3 in the month of June. I got her her first fishing rod for Christmas this year, a Tinkerbell rod that lights up when you cast it.

Lake Anna Warm Water 12-29-2010

29 12 2010

I hadn’t fished with my buddy Chuck from KBF for several months, so we decided to get together this week while I had some time off. Given that it’s been insanely cold this week, we knew we’d have to fish a hot water discharge somewhere if we were fishing for bass. Luckily for us, Chuck is an employee of Dominion Power so he (we) have access to the warm water side of Lake Anna. I have never fished Lake Anna before and was actually pretty excited about this trip. As I’m heading out of the door, I drop my battery power supply to my fish finder and it shatters on the floor. I try to repair it with some duct tape, but I won’t find out if the repair works until I get out on the water.

I meet Chuck at 7am at I-64 and Route 522 and follow him up to the security check-in. If you’re not a Dominion employee nor a guest of one, do not bother trying to get in. This is a high security facility and a full vehicle search is performed before entering the property. You are also given a badge that must remain visible all day as well as instructions provided of where you can and can’t fish. It takes us bout 15 or 20 mins to get through security, but we finish up and head down to the launch.

I take note of the 20F air temps and all the steam coming off the lake as I get out of my truck. I quickly unload my truck, load my kayak and get into the water. Doh! The battery repair doesn’t work so I’ll be blindly fishing a bit. Chuck informs me water temps are 60F. It actually feels good to put my hands in the water; they don’t feel so good when I pull them out. We immediately head for a cove one of the security guards pointed out and start to fish. I catch a small, 12″ LMB within my first 20 casts, caught on a chartreuse and white 3/8oz spinnerbait, in about 4 feet of water. We continue scouting and fishing this cove. I’m alternating between the spinnerbait and a 5.5″ Strike King Shadalicious swimbait. I’ve never fished a swimbait before but figured now was as good a time as ever to start. I catch another LMB on the spinnerbait, this time a 16″-er on a point with a brush pile near a steep drop off. Perfect spot for a bass…

We continue fishing several coves with not a lot of luck. The water is down quite a bit, probably 3 feet or so. When the water is up, I’m sure this place is AWESOME to fish as there are lots of shoreline structure, lay downs, and tons of undercuts. We fish some docks and while Chuck is picking blips and bait balls on his depth finder, we’re not having much luck. I see a few fish but no takers. We make a bee line across the main channel, heading to the rip rap. The water gets deep here across the channel, down to 40 feet. Chuck sees plenty of blips on the depth finder but neither of us are interested in fishing that deep.

We hit the rip rap and start fishing here. Chuck is throwing a small 3″ paddle tail on a jig head and I’m throwing a DT 6′ Rapala crank in a perch pattern. Chuck gets into a few cats and largemouth bass here. Given the steep dropoff from the rip rap and the depths here (15 to 20 feet about 10 yards off the rip rap according to Chuck), I decide to finally tie on the DT 20′ crank I’ve had in my box for the last year that I’ve never used. I’m hoping for a big pig but instead get nothing but bottom muck on my crank. We fish a good portion of the rip rap and decide to fish the mouth of the discharge one last time. A few casts here and we call it a day on the kayaks. Chuck tells me we must fish the water right in front of the discharge, so we pack load up our stuff and head up to the facility.

Now, I can’t tell you that much about this facility for fear of someone coming and snatching me out of my bed at night and throwing me in jail, but let me tell you…it’s friggin awesome. I’ve never seen so many LARGE largemouth bass in one area…that I was actually able to see from the bank. I also spot tons of large bluegill and a shad or two. The current is very swift here and is reversed near the banks, so the largemouth actually face “downstream” a lot of the time here, waiting for food to be brought back on the current conveyor belt. It was weird seeing LMBs acting like smallmouth. When we initially set out, we intended on only fishing for 30 or 45 minutes. We ended up fishing for 2 hours. It was a lot of fun sight fishing, particularly when you see very large fish. I caught 2 or 3 LMB here, none of great size, the biggest running 12″. Chuck lands several more LMB and a couple of channel cats. The blue gill here are voracious. They are attacking the paddletail I was using but the hook was just too big for their mouths. If I would have had more time I would have given them a shot with my ultralight rod.

Around 2pm, we call it quits and head home. Not as active as a day as I had hoped, but it was an interesting and fun experience none the less. I’m fairly certain when the water is up this is a fantastic place to fish. How can it not be? Water temps 60F year round and not a lot of pressure. If you don’t own land or are not a Dominion Power employee (or a guest), you can not fish these waters as there is no other way to get on the warm water side. Now I just need to get a job with Dominion…..