The weekend was fast approaching and with the boondoggle going down in Virginia Beach I knew this was going to be a weekend to remember. I made plans to fish Friday night on my home waters of the Elizabeth River for Specks, Reds and Stripers. After that I was planning to catch up with the Boondoggle in Virginia Beach on Saturday for a possible CBBT excursion then on to the Boondoggle dinner at Salty C’s. Well when making plans it’s always good to leave room for alternate options and this weekend was a prime example. Friday morning I received a call that altered well laid out plans. Dave called to pass on that Rob Alderman was on the drum and had seen Cobia as well and wanted see if I was game to head south Saturday morning to meet up with the rest of the militia-fleet. How could I say no? Of course I was on board!
Just because my Saturday plans changed didn't mean I needed to forgo fishing the ER after work. To the river I headed to fish the last part of the ebb tide. A little before sunset I paddled my way out to the fishiest stretch of structure with Specks and Reds fresh on the mind. The weekend prior the bite was hot but tonight it wasn't. I still managed a few small specks; the biggest went 18” and a there were a few rat reds in the 17” range. The hottest action came after sunset when I made a short paddle to another piece of structure that is a striper magnet. On cue, the stripers were on a feeding frenzy and made for some great top water action. I picked up a couple 23" and a few dozen in the 17-19” range before heading in for quick nap and then changing out my gear before driving to the outer banks.
|23" ER Striper|
Militia-fleet Raid Corolla
It’s been a little over two years since I fished with the Fish Militia crew in Hatteras. Thanks to a phone call on Friday morning I would get to raid the waters of the OBX with some old friends and make new ones along the way. The crew consisted of Dave Kimball, Jeff and Sandy Madre, Rich Donner, Dottie Broadbent, Ruddy, Rob and Lisa Alderman and I. The plan was to meet up in Corolla and then head north towards Corolla. The last half of the drive down was full of excitement and anxiety. The reports of large drum being caught, Cobia sightings, and even a 70lb surf caught Cobia were making me burst with anticipation.
We hit the beach and talked to another Kayaker, Johnny that was on his way in. Johnny managed to wrestle 3 reds into the kayak in his short time out. We had high expectations at this point and it wasn’t long after paddling out that a school of reds were swimming between Dave and me. But it was not to be as neither Dave nor I was unable to hook up. As morning turned to afternoon our hopes of catching drum was slowly fading. I am not one to throw in the towel easily, especially after driving two and half hours. I ventured to a pod of bait a little south from the rest of the fleet and this proved to be the magic move. Within a few seconds of my bait dropping down I noticed my line was moving sideways, I applied a little pressure and then the Drum realized it was hooked! It felt like I was hooked to the bumper of a small SUV, hanging on going for a ride. After a brief battle I was rewarded with a 46” drum for my efforts and luck.
With no more bites I returned to the group and we decided to drive further up the beach. This relocation was worthwhile too. There were swarms of bait surfacing all around and it didn’t take long before I was on another sleigh ride. This guy was pulling like a freight train! After spinning 360 degrees multiple times and some long powerful drag burning runs, I managed to pull this fat 48” plus Red Drum onto my lap.
With not much else happening and the daylight slipping away, I decided to call it quits and save my remaining energy for the drive home. Once on the beach, I found out that Rob Alderman managed to pick up a nice Bull Red as well.
As fishermen, we all savor days like that. Days were you are rewarded with doing what you love among great company and a bringing in some memorable catches. It was a wonderful day and it reminds me that I need to meet up with the militia more than once every two years. A big thanks to Dave for probably the best phone call in a long time and big thanks to the best Kayak Fishing Guide on the Outer Banks, Rob Alderman for sticking around and making sure I got the citations taken care of before TW’s closed for the night. Jeff and Sandy thank you for picking up my pizza at Stop and GO. Man, that really hit the spot on the drive home after a long day on the ocean. Rich thank you snapping the pics of the 46” Drum so I have proof of the day!
Until next time, go and get Infishicated!