I received a text from a buddy who said I should be fishing the Eastern Shore VA, so I loaded up with hopes of big Reds. I have been through this before and knew when in search of big fish the payoff can takes weeks or even years before you get your trophy. I know the fisheries in TX and LA can produce lots of fish on any given day but in Virginia they grow few and large.
I went out to the shoals a popular spot for targeting the big boys and began fishing with blue crab but didn’t have any takers. Then I saw a storm moving in, I knew my limits and I knew that I shouldn’t be out fishing the shoals by myself so before the storm could move closer I took shelter behind an island hoping for the storm to pass. I stayed out but close enough to paddle to shore if I got into trouble.
Is it bad when the boats are leaving?
I would like to say that if you haven’t practiced surf launches AND self recovery this is not the place to fish, much less by ones self. The water temp is in the 50s and if you go over in the breakers you must be ready to recover and ready for the next set of waves. I have had to do this in the past, so please don’t think that it can’t happen to you.
While I was in the lea of the island the wind began gusting to nearly 30knts and I was waiting for a break in the weather when one of my rods starts screaming at me bringing me out of my internal loathing state. I picked up the rod with the clicker still talking and slammed it into gear driving the fish mad. He made a run and began shaking its head and spit the big circle. My heart sank and I knew that was my fish. This exact scenario happened while fishing for my first citation striper of the year, so I knew the fish / school would still be in the area. I checked the rod and rebaited. I grabbed my new MH Coastal Okuma rod with a Trio 55 and began casting a big paddle tail. I jigged it back with no results and on the second cast I remembered Kayak Kevin said on his last DVD that the big Reds liked a slow steady retrieve, so that’s what I did and thump! She picked it up and began running hard for the shallows. I came off anchor and gave chase. I had her to the boat several times but when she saw me would give another big run. I finally got her to the boat and took a hold behind her gill plate and legged her in. She measured 48” and was happy to take a couple pics and swim off.
My buddy Rob Choi went out later in the week and hung into another Red so I knew they were there. I was blown out on the first day and had to fish the next day because I’ll be out of town for 2 weeks for the Marines. With winds blowing at 23knts and 50 degrees I headed out, again with no one wanting to go. I fished for two hours being miserable but I knew the fish should still be in the area.
Then I heard the beautiful sound of a clicker humming, I picked it up and thumbed the spool until the rod was doubled over, engaged the reel and had her take me on a sleigh ride. I got her to the boat and legged in my second citation Red in seven days. She also went 48” and didn’t wait for a resuscitation to gratefully swim off.
This puts me at three species citations on the year from a kayak, a 46” Striper, a 25” Trout and now 2 citation Reds.