Tuesday, October 29, 2013


Per·sis·tence:  the quality that allows someone to continue doing something or trying to do something even though it is difficult or opposed by other people  : the state of occurring or existing beyond the usual, expected, or normal time (www.merriam-webster.com)

25.75" Trophy Speckled Trout
  My persistence finally paid off.  A year and a half drought of not catching a paper Speck is no more!  It was tough at times, but not as you may think.  I wasn’t getting skunked or catching loads of spikes.  I steadily caught quality Specks, in the 20”-23.75” range.   I was not tormented by my buddies catching paper Specks from areas I disclosed to them.  What kept me up at night (ok, maybe that’s a bit of stretch) and had me agonizing in defeat, was the numbers of borderline fish that I caught and the monster trout that threw the hook at the last minute, all while watching friends a few yards away get multiple citations. Mike Iaconelli’s known for saying “Never Give Up” and that has been a source of inspiration for me on the less than inspiring days on the water in my quest for a speckled citation.  Knowing that all fisherman, especially those I look up too, experience extreme frustration in pursuing their goals is something I rely on to add perspective and motivation when I’m in a dry spell.   

Since the Hunter’s Moon in October I have been fishing my typical fall area for Speck’s.  While many fishermen are sharing water with others in combat style fishing at the Hot Ditch and the various inlets on the South Side, I am all alone on my favorite stretch of river.

When I am Speck fishing I am not looking for numbers; I’m looking for quality fish.  I might only get six fish a trip but consistently they will be over 20” and I know that at any moment a 30-inch or larger Gator could slam my lure. 

22" Speck 

I wouldn't be able to get to the Specks without my Aqua-Bound Paddle.

22.5" Speck
This Gal is Fat!
All fish this month have been caught using Rapala X-Rap SubWalk 09 in Glass Ghost and Purple Shad colors.  The ticket was to work them real slow with as little additional movement as possible.  The Kistler KLX MH / Shimano Chronarch 201E6 spooled with FINS 30# Braid was the perfect combo for this technique.  If I twitch and increased the speed during the retrieve, it usually resulted in smaller class Specks or Stripers.

Many times last winter I could have gone the easy route and picked up some minnows and a bobber and fished in the “Cove” or Hot Ditch, but I resisted.   It might seem I am too prideful about this, but for me it’s a matter of staying true to my fishing principles, which means I fish ‘my game’.  My game is avoiding the crowds and relying on the experience I gained by years of fishing and growing up on the Elizabeth River.  A year and a half is a long time to be persistent and plenty long enough for doubt to set in.  I’m thankful it paid off.

Next up – land a true Gator Trout.  Till then – stay infishicated.

Some of my by-catch:

Got this fat pumpkin while Fishing for Stripers in a Top Secret light line.