Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Craziness

Well, things have been really crazy since my last post.  Between a semester from hell (BAD) to a new sponsorship (very GOOD), and so many different events and trips in between, it has been eventful to say the least.  For now, school is over, and I hope to get back to my 200 trip years in 2012.  Here are a few highlights from the past few months (In no particular order).

Hurricane Kayaks
I have recently been named to the Hurricane Kayaks fishing team.  You will now see me fishing out of my new Phoenix 140 throughout the Mid Atlantic.  I can say that it is the funnest boat I have owned.  I have fished from plenty of different yaks (all of which I enjoyed), but this one is different.  Even though I have not drove a Lotus, paddling the phoenix it is what I would imagine driving a lotus would be like!  I have written more on my first post to the Hurricane Blog, and you will see many more post there from me in the future.

TKAA Tournament

Every year on the last Saturday in September, you can drive to any launch in Tidewater, and see kayak fishermen from as far as Maine and Texas participating in one of the largest tournaments in the world!  This year I was fishing with my buddy Tommy, as well as Wes Seigler and Capt. Kenny Nance from Release Reels.  Over the past year, Tommy has become one of my favorite people to fish with, so choosing him to fish with was a no brainer.  Wes and Kenny were extremely gracious, and Release donated two reels to our tournament, one of which was a part of the first place prize for the Flounder division, and the other to a raffle.  I gout a call from them the week of the tournament, and we got them on board with two of my spare yaks.

The fishing was tough, as I tried to hit a spot that I caught a nice overslot Red the week prior.  Unfortunately, I saw a 25" fish caught right next to me, but that was it for the reds.  I managed a nice flounder that I thought was going to be extremely competitive, but again, I missed placing by 1/8"
I release 95% of the fish that I catch, but I really wish I would have kept this one.  I ended up having a blow up on a Marsh Works Buzzbait, but I missed the red.  I caught a 14" speck, but ended up just missing out for the third year in a row.  Scott Inge for NC ended up taking the speck yak from us, so I will need to bring my A game down to NC next rear, so I can get our boat back!  We had a lot of great competitors, and I was a great event with a lot of great friends.  Thanks to all of our sponsors for all of your gracious donations.  Because of your support, we donated $10,000 to Heroes on the Water!  Wes and Kenny, we need to get out again!

This was also the weekend that two of my close friends finally got married.  Congrats again Mark and Kris!

NCKFA Oak Island Classic

So, this was an event that I wanted to fish in 2010, but instead I fished the Poqouson Seafood Tourney.  This year was a bit different.  I fished with another group of good friends (Seth Goodrich and Kam Owens).  When I got to Southport NC, Seth and Kam were already on the water.  We met at the ramp, checked in to the hotel, went to the captains meeting, and had the best dinner ever down on the river in Southport.  The next day, after some good intel, we hit our spot.  It started for me with a pair of rat reds, and things died for hours and hours.  During that time, Kam picked up a 25" Red, which we both thought would be extremely competitive.  As we headed back, I picked up a 14" speck and a 12 1/2" flounder for my first tourney slam.  I was on cloud nine, as was Kam.  All fish were caught on a White Lightning Bayou Thumper on a 1/4 oz Marsh works jighead.  Unfortunately, I didn't place with my slam (4th again), and Kam didn't place either.  It was fun though.

The next day, we headed to a spot by her beach house on Holden Beach, and I was able to pick  up two slot reds (one was blackened that night for an amazing dinner).  Unfortunately that was it.  The end of the trip was a nice drive up US 17, past my old stomping grounds of Camp Lejeune.  Seth wrote a nice post about the trip on his blog.

I have had a few other trips that have been a blast, but not really worth a bunch of reading on my end.  I will post some links to other blogs, and pics to chronicle those events.

Tommy Dewitt with a nice Sliver Drum (aka Crokah).  Seth is in the background.  Not Pictured: The Crokah Chokah (Tommy V)
A fatty (and tasty) Croker!
A NC Slot Redfish!
The rigged Phoenix 140 at Ft. Fisher NC
A nice Tog
Dinner
Testing my limits on the Phoenix 140
Specks
A greedy pig!

My PB Tog at 21"  Courtesy of Rob Choi 
Some great posts from my pals!
Bent Rod Chronicles - Spots and Specks
Angling Addict - Tog-a-palooza and a Princess Rod Striper
Bent Rod Chronicles - Eelin for Biguns

Until next time...

Monday, August 15, 2011

Speck-tacular Weekend!

Well, I am still working on some gear reviews, but fishing has been taking up nearly all of my free time.  I hope to get some finished and published soon.

8-12-11 TKAA had an on the water meeting.  We had a nice mix of old members, new members, and guys who were thinking about joining (which a few of them did).  The common theme was that with the exception of a few of them, the majority had never fished the HRBT before, let alone at night.  After some new club business, and a safety brief, we hit the water.  Due to my personal rules about fishing the HRBT, it is one of the few spots I do not care who knows how to fish it.  My rules on fishing the area keep me away from the masses, which I enjoy most of the time.  Anyhow, Ken Cussick had the notion of holding a flounder tournament, which saw some nice fish caught up to about 22".  Of course, my hatred for the flatfish continued with one hit but no prolonged hookup.  The night was salvaged by a bunch of Grey Trout caught on the Squilla.  One of our new yakkers caught a 19.5" flounder, with two larger ones being caught by a member who left before we met back up, and by Ken who donated the prizes.  He opted to take a DOA shrimp pack.
My night ended by a nice conversation with Jim Roach form TKAA back at the ramp.  I ended up getting home and hitting the rack at 0300.  Gotta love a long night of fishing!

8-13-11 The day started with a 0430 wake-up call.  All I can say is thank god for Five Hour Energy (If y'all have a pro staff, and are reading this, keep me in mind!).  I met up with Mark, Kris, and James Short ant location y (I have a new location X).  If y'all know these locations, please do not mention names in regards to this post.  Anyhow, I had been dying to try my new Marsh Works Buzz Pop.  I was fishing this with a 3" thumper in a White Lightning color about 2' below the cork.  The noise was great and I hooked up with a few fish around 17"



The day ended with Mark and a 19" troutskie on Topwater!  Kris came in with a PB 12 1/2" Croaker, and some trout.  Jim ended the day with some Blues, Croaker, and Specks.  For me, it was a detour to ARC for a new PFD, Arby's Beef and Cheddar, and HRBT traffic.

8-14-11 The original plan was to hit the CBBT for sheepies and spades.  However, flexibility is the mark of a good fisherman, so I changed my name to Gumby for the morning.  I was fishing a very unique location which offered me the chance at a variety of species.  The morning started with a 0515 visit to Oceans East for some fiddlers and a chance to target sheepies.  I scout possible launch areas and decide to go to an old standby.  After I launch, it is already light so I decide to target (notice I did not say "catch") flounder.  Flounder did not want my deep presentation of finger mullet, but a 2-3" sandbar shark did!  I quickly release it and decide to drop for sheepies.  About this time, I check the weather on my phone and see that some nasty looking cells are headed in my direction.  I paddle closer to shore and the clouds decide to part.  I made up my mind that I would fish close until the weather either improved or forced me off the water.  Fortunately neither of those things happened.  While trying to break my flounder curse, I managed to pick up a 14" speck.  This continues to happen, while I work my way east.  On one cast with the Squilla, I notice a softer bite.  As I work it back to the yak, I notice a GATOR trout following it.  Wouldn't you know, the fish hits a foot from the boat, and I get excited.  FISH O...FF.  I drop right back down, and it looks like it wants to hit again, but gets real smart and swims away.  I think to myself "Ok, there are bigger fish in the area, so I should be able to find some more."  I was able to find another spot and hook up with a 21 3/4" speck!  I tried my new go-pro on a release shot and was happily surprised.  The day ended with two more specks, a Medium Rare Bacon, Egg, and Cheese Burger with Homefries, and a few Red Stripes!

My largest speck of 2011... So far


video
Video of the 21 3/4" release

video
Release of a 16" speck

Catching a bunch of trout in August on 3 consecutive trips is not always a bad thing!


Monday, August 1, 2011

Regained my Mojo

Hey y'all.  With the semester ending, work slowing down for a bit, and fishing picking up, ill be posting more regularly.  I have a few exciting product reviews coming up for the following products:
Shamano Stradic Cl4
Shamano Trevala
Shamano Teramar
Diawa Saltist
t-regin gear retractors

I am sure that list will keep me busy, but I hope to have a QUALITY fishing report to add with those.  Stay tuned...

Sunday, July 31, 2011

TJM Celebrity Charity Kayak Fishing Tournament–Wilmington, NC

In a effort to expand my horizons and fish different areas on the eastern seaboard, I made up my mind to fish the Hook, Line, and Paddle, TJM Kayak Fishing Tournament.  After some discussion with friends, Wayne Bradby and I decided to split the expenses and carpool down.  I would be meeting up with my buddy Seth and his girlfriend Kam as well.  Wayne and I decided to Leave on the 28th, get checked in and run over to the store.  We went in to drop some stuff off and helped them set up the raffle prizes.  Meeting the guys at HLP was a treat in itself, and they are definitely super knowledgeable about the sport.  When in SE North Carolina, make the trip to Wilmington and stop in the store.  After we left HLP, we checked out a flounder hole that one of the owners (Chris) told us about.  It was fishy looking water and a beautiful location.
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Looks Fishy!
After unsuccessfully scouting the area for the mysterious, unknown location of the “Flounder Hole”, I was working the grass when I picked up my first fish.  I thought it was a mackerel of some sorts, but I later learned that it was a Lizardfish.
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Mean little bugger caught on the lure of the week, a 3” Bayou Thumper.
After the Lizardfish, I ended up the night with some small little bluefish in dock lights.  We heard a bunch of commotion, and tried and tried to hook up, but came away unsuccessful.
Day two started with a visit to Tex’s Tackle.  It is a nice store with a good selection of inshore baits.  They were also one of the big sponsors of the tournament.  Thanks guys for your support!  After we left Tex’s, we headed down to Fort Fischer to pre-fish. It is a cool place to fish with lots of deep holes, shoreline structure, and seemingly endless flats.  Bait was everywhere, and the first order of the morning was to collect some mullet, which was an easy task along the wall.  
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Pelicans along the wall and the smallest Pompano ever!
The first area we fish is known as the cribs.  We got first hand reports of reds and flounder in the area, so we decided to give it a shot.  I ended up with this nice 15” flattie for my efforts.
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After the flattie, Wayne and I decided to work a set of flats in search of reds.  The wind was ripping, which made standing to spot fish difficult.  I ended up spotting a few rays and a few reds.  At the end of this flat, I saw a bunch of commotion.  Right about this time, Wayne made a cast and hooked up with a solid 18” red.
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Not a bad day of pre-fishing
I ended day two with a few flounder, a few rays, and a bluefish, to bring my total species count for the weekend to 4.
Day Three – Tournament Day!
We arrived at the Fort at 0445, got rigged up and we were ready to go at 0530.  That time was the longest half hour ever!  0600 finally came and I was off to the wall to find some mullet.  I get to my spot and I start to cast, getting a few each time.  About this time, Wayne comes up to me and he has a 16.5” speck on the boga.  I snap a few pics, and our duties have changed.
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Wayne’s second place Speck
As I work the area with a MR 17 mirr-o-dine and a 3” Marsh works Bayou Thumper, the Mirr-o-dine goes off.  I know this is a nice speck, but it comes off about 15’ away.  Fish one of the tournament lost.  I am in the dumps, but I decide to give it a try.  I drift and cast the 3” thumper picking up a bunch of Ribbonfish, and a  17” Speck. 
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The next few cast bring more ribbons and a destroyed thumper.  We decide to leave with the hardest fish of the slam out of the way.  Next goal for me was a red, while Wayne decided to target flounder.  I went to a spot I knew to hold reds and casted a 3” thumper under a popping cork (I caught all but one of my reds this year on this rig).  I make a cast along some grass and the cork is gone in a instant.  The fight was not on, because the sheer violence snapped my powerpro.  (Fu#k, another fish lost).  I was fishing the cork, and a second rod with a mullet on the bottom.  This is when I picked up a small blacktip shark.
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duh-da, duh-da…. (Jaws theme song)
Once I released this little guy, 3-6’ blacktips started thrashing all around.  It was time to move.  I saw a good choke point adjacent to a channel, and a oyster mound.I make a cast with the cork and BOOM!  fish on, but this time it is heading straight for the oysters.  I guess it was divine intervention, but this fish went straight back to the grass.  This time it was not a bad as oysters, but the pucker factor was still there.  When I got it boatside, I knew it was nice, but I did not know how big.  It was a competitive fish though.
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Yeah baby!
I throw it on the Hawg Traugh and it comes out to be 24 1/4”!
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I call over to Wayne, who found his flounder.  He was looking  for a red to complete the slam.  He said that Seth and Kam were on some smaller fish, but noting of a winning size.  He decided to stay and fish.  My nerves were crazy, so I took a smoke break and made a phone call.  During that call, Wayne comes over the radio and says.
“William, I know that you’re going to hate me, but I just hooked up with a 26” er.”
I was happy for him, knowing that was a hell of a fish.  With his 13.5” founder, I didn’t hate because it would only take a 15” er to tie his slam.  We both head back to the cribs in search of flounder.  I cast with mullet and I end up with a GIANT inshore gag grouper.
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I know, its HUGE!
Right about this time, Wayne hooks up with a nice fish.  I thought it was a nice red, but it ended up being a nice, 19.5” flattie, and the last one I would see all day.  The flounder would have given me my second ever inshore slam, and the first on a tournament day.  I hope it will happen soon.
To close out the day weigh-in came and went.  Native endorsed guide and fellow Marine Kaleb Dutil came and grabbed Wayne, another individual and myself.  The results of that verification were as follows:
Speckled Trout: second place - Wayne Bradby
                          first palce – William Ragulsky
This was my second tournament win and my first time winning a kayak!
Wayne ended up winning the Slam, being the only one to catch one (a solid 62”).
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Trout Division winner!  Artwork, Dry-gear, Carbon Fiber Paddle, Native Ultimate 14.5 Tandem
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Wayne’s Slam Presentation
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First Place and Slam Winners!
Thank you to Wayne, Seth, Chris, Ryan, and the guys from HLP, and all the sponsors of the TJM Celebrity Kayak Fishing Tournament.  Ill be back!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Writing Prompt - Summer Traditions

Fishing has always been in my blood, from early childhood trips in the mountains of Colorado, to my latest adventures as an adult on the east coast.  For the last three years, I know summer has officially started when I make my first trip out to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel in search of Sheepshead.  This tradition started off innocently enough, one summer day after looking for new places to launch and new species to catch.  That first summer was tough, as I knew there were sheepies around, but I could not get any to bite.   It was one of those times where I was too stubborn to know when I was beat.  That summer taught me a lot about patience, as well as the area.  The following summer, I grew as an angler and found fish that I never dreamed of catching.  The perseverance of that first summer definitely paid off.   The first fish on the CBBT were a pair of Virginia citation size Sheepshead (24 ¾” and 24” respectively).
2010 Citation 24 3/4"
To follow that up I was able to find some small Tautog, as well as some respectable sized Triggerfish.  This summer started off with two sheepies at 23”, a 17” and a 16” Tog.  Now, when the fiddler crabs start to show up in tackle shops, and the Jet Ski’s start to drive me crazy, I know it is time to go out in search of one of my favorite fish, the Sheepshead!
2011 Sheepie 17"

 

Thursday, June 23, 2011

I Will Kayak For Food!

Well, the fishing has been a bit rough and I have been on the bad side of lady luck the last few weeks.  My life seems to be cursed with strong winds against opposing tides and hooks that will not hold.  When things have been going right, everything else seems to be all wrong.  But alas, this is a part of the reason I love this great sport of ours.  The challenge and the solitude make all of the troubles worth wile, and when things finally turn, I would imagine that they will turn big.  In the meantime, I am taunted by visions of the Silver king and his friends, circling around and humoring me with their presence, knowing that I am not ready for their strength and wisdom.  I am haunted by perfect tides accompanied by a gale that I cannot stop, or even worse, light winds with no water.  I guess there comes a time in every anglers life when they face this exact issue, but by god iI am going to do something about it.  I am going to make sure that my rods are strong and stable, knowing full well that my mind will follow.  I will ensure my drags are as smooth as my demeanor, and that my hooks are as sharp as my refexes.  By god, I am going to take the fight to the fishes, and I will win.  I know that this is my happiness and my release.  I will suceed and make the best out of this situation.  The game is mine to loose, and I intend to make the most of it.  Even though I may not win I will enjoy myself and give my all knowing that I did everything in my power and leaft no regets on the water. 


Good Luck and Tight Lines Y'all!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Product Review - Okuma Trio 40S

Well I am back and this time I have brought a review with me.  I little while back I was sent a Okuma Trio 40S (www.okumafishing.com) to review via the Outdoor Blogger Network.  Upon receiving the reel I was extremely excited, and couldn't wait to put it through the paces.  It is one of Okuma's nicer looking products!
The Trio 40S straight out of  the package.
This reel is one of those reels that you did not know you need until you have it.  To give you an accurate review, I think a list of pro's and con's is the right way to go.

Pro's

  • High speed retrieve makes it a reel that allows me to burn my lures through the water to entice strikes from aggressive fish.
  • Durable construction allows it to hold up to the rigors of an inshore saltwater environment.
  • Smooth drag helps to keep the fish on the line, while maintaining consistent power on the fish.
  • Ergonomic handle aids in high speed retrieves.
  • Huge line capacity (an excess of 200 yds of PowerPro)
  • Durability.  I put it through its paces and pushed it to its limits, and it is still coming back for more.  I have not noticed any difference in its performance from the first day I took it out.  It is more than capable to stand up in a salt water environment.
  • It cast like a dream.
  • Cost: at $79.99, the reel is definitely worth the money.  The price point is right at the high end for some of your casual anglers, but is also low enough for you to outfit your whole boat with these reels.


Con's

  • Its weight and balance.  It looks like it should weigh less, and feels a bit awkward in your hand and on the rod.
  • It is a bit sluggish when you start your retrieve.  Once you get the initial crank, you are good to go, but until that crank is finished, it is a bit disappointing.


The reel overall is a great value and a durable product.  It fills a niche for me in my arsenal as a reel that I can use for my power presentations.  Whether I want to rip a spinnerbait over a weed bed for Bass, or cast spoons for Blues and Spanish this reel is more than capable of anything I can throw at it.  I will purchase another one for use on one of my 9' Surfcasters where its quality design and engineering will make a match made in heaven.
A Bluefish that fell to the Trio.
With that being said, It does not meet all of my expectations, but it meets more than enough for me to recommend it

Disclaimer:  Coastal Kayak Fishing received this product free of charge from Okuma Fishing.  Coastal Kayak Fishing is in no way associated with or sponsored by Okuma Fishing.  This review is my honest reflection of this product and its performance.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

May Update

The last few weeks have been extremely busy and hectic, but I would not have it any other way.

First, we took a group of Marines out to Rudee on the 23rd for a HoW event.  The bite in the morning was warm for some nice Bluefish up to eighteen inches, but as we got the guys on the water the bite had died.  There were only a few blues caught, with a schoolie thrown in for good measure.  Unfortunate the Corporal I had the pleasure of fishing with was not able to get on any fish, despite my best efforts.  I had felt like I was a failure, because even though I am not the greatest fisherman, I know that I am not anywhere near being bad either.  I turn around and wouldn't you know it, he was eating a Banana.for those of you unfamiliar with the Banana myth, check out my friend Kris Lally's blog on the topic.  The skunk followed us around the whole day.  I was feeling a bit down that I could not put him on any fish, but then I was reminded that it is much more than fishing for these guys.  We are giving them something back that they would not have had if they didn't come out with us.  That made things a lot easier to swallow.
The Devil Dogs and their fishes

My largest blue of the year 
The following day, Lozier and I went out to do some scouting and test out a new tool to the skinny water arsenal.  Mark wanted to test the super stick push pole and had a blast re-learning a go to spot!  I enjoyed using this and I hope to have one soon.  I really could have used one last weekend!  Here is his review.  We then moved to Rudee for some blues, but we had no luck, catching only a wicked sunburn!

Saturday was the Elizabeth River Festival Tournament which I directed.  It was a lot of work for six hours of fishing.  I learned a lot and hope to do another charity tournament this year.  Thanks to everyone who donated, registered and actually fished.  Kirsten Lally from Pink Fishing was our notable angler who placed in her first tournament (I think) taking third place!  Great going Kris.  Saturday night I needed to do some fishing so I made it a point to Fish the HRBT with Rob Choi and Justin Mayer.  I ended up with a bunch of shad on a 3" Bayou Thumper and Clousers, and scratched a 24" Striper to even it out.

Sunday, Rob, Justin and I fished the Eastern Shore in search of Bull Reds.  The three of us were supper excited and hit the water as soon as we could.  One person, who I will not name, was so excited that he paddled about a half mile before he remembered that he forgot his PFD.  We had some great intel about locations and structure, which paid off nicely with a 34" Striper.  In our group, Rick Burnley was the only other person to hook up, with two nice cows.  I guess I found the calf in the school.

After chasing Rockfish around for a few hours, we decided to fish the shoals.  I can say that I saw a few RETARDED kayakers out there who had no idea what they were doing.  If you dont know, havent paddled long, and dont have a healthy respect for the conditions, DONT FISH THE F*%)ING SHOALS.  It is just not worth it!  With that being said, my head was on a swivel, but i had a blast, even without any knockdowns.  Rob however faired much better, with his PB 40" Red!  Nice going buddy!
Kyle Sawyer and Rob at slack tide

Click on the picture for Rob's Blog
In all, it has been busy, but I am seein red, and cant wait to get back on some!



Friday, April 22, 2011

2011 VA Fly Fishing Festival

On the 15th of April, I had the pleasure to be invited by Cory Routh (Ruthless Fishing), and join his girlfriend, his partner, Mark Lozier, and his father in Waynesboro VA.  Mark and I rode up there, and after checking out a few really cool stores (Dominion Outdoors and Rockfish Gap) we hit some newly opened water on the South River.  Growing up in Colorado, I would not consider the stretch of river I was on a "Trout River", but it was nice to get out anyways.  After some minor bushwhacking, I found a few promising holes and runs.  This was not my day, but I was happy to get a fish on my Scott 4wt.
Not the greatest, but a small creek chub.
Mark and I only fished for a few minutes before we met Cory and Kelly for lunch, set up the booth and had some beers and BBQ.  These events formed the new PBR Fly Fishing Team (not affiliated with PBR... yet)
L-R (Me, Frank Bandy, Larry Routh, Cory Routh, Mark Lozier)

This was the calm before the storm.  On the 15th, the river was a bit high, but fishable.  During the night on, and throughout the day on Saturday, the rain was relentless, causing some severe flooding of the river.  This put an end to the fishing, but it could have been a lot worse.  Saturday was spent driving around, eating and drinking copious amounts of coffee.  It was a great way to make the best of some crappy weather.  Saturday evening, a prime rib dinner was put on for the vendors of the show, which again, I felt fortunate to be a part of.  After dinner, PBR's and Speyburn were flowing outside the hotel, while BS'ing about fish and life ended the evening.

Sunday morning came with mixed blessings.  Unfortunately this was the last day of what was to be a great time with great friends.  On the plus side, the weather broke, and more people came out.  I was fortunate to befriend Frank Bandy from Tar River Paddle Sports, who is setting up his abbreviated display (note he was originally set up behind the river, which was behind him, underwater).

During the day, I did some shopping, and took in a living legend.  I attended two sessions of a casting seminar held by the legendary
Lefty Kreh.  I was able to talk to him throughout the weekend, and was truly humbled in his presence (the guy is a trip)!  I also got one of his books personally autographed, and will be something I hope to pass in the future.
Lefty casting
Lefty teaching
 Cory and Mark did get to enjoy some of the festivities, but both did what they do best...  Work a crowd.
Cory discussing some skinny water tactics
Watching the two of them work taught me more in one day than I would have learned in months about the fishing industry.

We also had a visit by the Rich's, which was a great time.  I cant wait to fish with y'all in the future.
Mark, Vicki, and Don
Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end.  I wanted to get some more time on the river in, as well as some more pictures of the scenery, but it was not meant to be.  Even though things did not work as planned, it was still one of the best weekends I have had in some time.  Thanks Cory for the great times.


Monday, April 11, 2011

Drain the Gene Pool – Cold Weather Edition

As I was reminded by a friend of mine today, I had a run in with a few “intellectually challenged” individuals the first weekend of April. 
The setting – Rudee inlet. 
The water temperature -  47 degrees. 
Air temperature – 50 degrees
The individuals – Myself, and two others in touring kayaks.
As I am working my way back to the ramp to meet up with a new member of TKAA, (gjmac23) for a tour of the inlet, I hear a loud splash.  I look to my left and there are two guys in touring kayaks, one of which is in the water.  As he is attempting to right his boat and re-enter, you can see the cold draining his body.  After two unsuccessful attempts, I rush over to provide aid.  He was about 50 yards from shore, in 20-30 fow.   I quickly calm him down, and convince him to get back to shore.  After a quick discussion (telling him that if he tipped me, I would protect myself), I get him back to safety.  Throughout all of this I noticed a few concerning parts, which could have helped make this situation less threatening.
1.       If you paddle in cold water, be prepared to go swimming.  The individual who I helped had a dry top and a PFD, but was wearing regular pants.  A good rule of thumb is the 120 degree rule. 
a.       Combine the air and water temperature.
b.      For every degree less than 120 degrees (combined), your risk for hypothermia increases.
2.       Know self rescue in warm and cold water!
3.       Don’t drink on the water (A six pack of “Dollar General” type imported beer was rewarded to me for my actions.  Mark, how was the beer?).  It is even worse when someone else can smell the alcohol from five feet away.
4.       Be a friend, if it is someone’s first time on the water; don’t put them in a life threatening position.  I am sure that the intent of the day was to have a nice paddle and have some brews.  That was not the case for these individuals that day.
I recommend knowing basic first aid principles, and if at all possible, take a wilderness survival class.  Remember, if you cannot safely assist someone in a bad situation, don’t.  It is better to have one person the rescue squad needs to worry about then two.
Be safe, be smart, and have fun.  Also if you find a cheap 24oz can of imported beer in Rudee, I want it back as I was only able to recover 5 of the glorious brews.

A Weekend Of First’s–2011 Edtion

It seems like the weekend just blows right past you some times.  This weekend was no exception.  It was a weekend of first this year.

Saturday found my first trip of the year.o the first island of the CBBT with my friend Rob Choi.  The target, Tautog.  After a refreshing set of breakers busting over the bow of my yak, right into my face, we were off.  Despite sporadic 4’ swells, we made it to the island right at an hour after launch.  Unfortunately after two hours of fishing nothing happened until Rob found the magic pylon.  He proceeded to land to baby togs, back to back.  It was not until his third fish that I remembered that I had my tagging gun and tags with me.  We tagged three shorts, which are now Mr. Choi’s pet togs.  I had one hit that took half my bait, but that was the day.  It was nice to get out and watch Rob rip some lips.  It was a success because I had great company for the paddle out and back, and we tagged 3 fish for the VMRC.  When I made it back, I checked my voicemail and made plans for Sunday.

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Sunday – I met up with Seth Goodrich and with the James River in search of American Shad.  The goal was to hit them with the fly, but with floating line, I could not find the strike zone.  We hit fish on small crappie jigs and shad spoons.  You have not had fun until you get on shad with an ultralight.  They are one of the most acrobatic fish I have ever caught.  One problem was that the river was packed like sardines with boats.

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Most were fairly considerate of us, which was a plus.  A litter later on, Rob met us, and we hit some shad again.  Rob was killing them on the fly, and knowing I was unable to get to them he let me use his rod.  I picked up a few on his 5wt, one of which jumped over my boat.  It was a blast.  To end the evening, Rob showed us one of his catfish spots (don’t worry, your secret spot is safe with me).  Rob immediately picked up a very nice 39” (I think) Flathead cat. 

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After a few other runs, but no hookups, Rob hits a new PB 41” Flathead.  I was pestered by a bunch of small cats, until I had one hookup with a Blue Cat in the 20” range.  I leadered him, and the hook popped loose.  Discussion ensued, and it was decided that leadering a 20” catfish did not constitute as a catch.  Wouldn’t you know it, someone had to be a smart ass, and said “Your not Marlin fishing”.  It is good to have “friends” some times.  I was able to manage a 24.5” blue, which after hooked, proceeded to do a”death roll” and make my life a living hell.  In all it was a great day, and an even better weekend.

 

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Im off to bed, looking forward to the VA Fly Fishing (and wine) Festival next weekend.