Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Looking Back and Moving Forward

After a ton of drafts, I finally found my voice for this post.  One in which I feel really represents the spirit of reflection.  So with that being said, lets jump right into things.

Redfish - 2015 found multiple trophy fish in both VA and NC, lights out fishing that I will never forget, and the absolute demolishment of a personal best.

Spring 2015 48.5" Redfish
PC: Rob "RMFC" Choi
While fishing the 2015 NCKFA Oak Island Classic I was fortunate enough to experience one of the greatest NC drum run's of the last 30 years.  Even the "Old Timers" were using words like "EPIC" to describe it.  While fishing off the beach, I caught well over 40 drum between 38-42".

Beautiful "Pumpkin" caught off Oak Island NC
I also found a number of fish in the fall.  Plenty of trips were had with multiple drum caught, and more fish over 50" than I had ever caught ever in my entire time saltwater fishing.  One experience comes to mind in which my bro Tex had a hunch about the location of the fish.  He casts and hooks into his PB (at the time), While I cast and hook into another PB at 51".  Well that didn't last long for me because on the very next cast I shatter my PB at 54".

A 54" Drum that comes in at over 60 lbs (L x G formula)
I also got a fight that I had been wanting for years... the coveted bull red piling fight.  The end result was a 53" drum and a broken Trevala S rod.  Well worth the price!

Sheepshead - Words can't describe my 2015 Sheepshead season.  Insane amounts of large fish were the norm.  During a 4 month period I only got skunked twice early in the season and once on my season ending trip.  I caught them in insane conditions making for challenging fights.  It was such a good season that I completely lost track of the number of fish over 24", while breaking my personal best with a 26.5" fish.

So many fish looked just like this one - insanely fat!

Conservation is key to sustain a trophy fishery.  I personally believe in releasing all breeders over 20"

CPR is rewarded time after time.
I was also blessed enough to experience many PB's by good friends.  To include Tex and the fish that kept him sheepshead fishing.

Roland "Tex" Butler with his first citation Sheepshead

Striped Bass - If you would have told me at the beginning of the year that I would be writing about this species, I would say you were insane.  The trophy Striper fishery over the past few years has been pretty poor, but in 2015, it started off strong and kept on going through the year.

A 42" Spring Striper
One of the highlights was a Striper-Sheepshead surprise.  This 40" fish came on a Fiddler crab in 38 FOW... in the heat of summer.

So shocked!
 And one of my last fish of the year just happened to be my first "Official" Virginia Striper coming in at 45".  This fish marked yet another Personal Best in 2015.

A 45" December "eel eater"
PC- Rob Choi

Coming in as an honorable mention for 2015 was probably the toughest pound-for-pound fish I have ever caught.  The False Albacore had been a line item on a lengthy hit list for years.  After my first trip off the beach back in the day... seeing blitzing packs... and the amazing speed they possess, made them an itch that I could actually scratch.  Plenty of research, a good intel network, and lots of luck resulted in a good number of 10 to 15 lb falsies, and lots of laughs.

The first of many falsies on the day

Mr. YakAttack (Luther Cifers) with a RonZ eater
Some of the more notable absences for me in 2015 were those of the springtime chopper bluefish and sadly enough trophy speckled trout.  The blues never really were a priority for me in 2015, but will be in 2016.  After a Cold kill and loss of warm water discharge for the VA trout fishery in early 2015, gators kinda fell off my radar as well.  Both specie will find their place on my 2016 priority list.

While 2015 might not have been my "best" year kayak fishing, it certainly ranked as one of my most memorable.  In 2016 I am looking forward to the Usual Suspects of my fisheries, and some more of the less common guys such as the Fat Alberts, King Mackerel, Cobia, and if all goes well beach launched snapper and amberjacks.  I am also looking to push my paddling capabilities to my limits, with some distance and open water events that will put all my skills to the test.

Finally I would be remised if I didn't thank some very important people.  All of whom I consider friends that push me to my limits and will be along with me on my 2016 journey.  Thanks to the one and only Wicked Pissah, Tex, RMFC, Kev, Lee, Jay, Tommy, Jeff, the ARC crew, Crumbwad, Danny, Megan, Steve, Lydia, Bryan, Luther, the cats at OE, and 2nasty.  Y'all rock, and here is to 2016!

1 comment:

  1. Very well written and congrats on a fine year hope next year is even better for you