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.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

September 2013 was fishy!

September was a very productive month for Redfish and Bass. All my scouting and exploring really paid off at the right time, as most Reds are at least 20" with many going over 26" and my average catch was in the 22-24" range. Almost all my Redfish were caught sight casting shallow flats in less than a foot of water. Bait of choice varied between Skitterwalks or spooks, paddle tails and soft jerk baits rigged weedless.
This Red was one of many while fishing 6 inches of water, it was an awesome day.

After fighting this brute I had to replace the hook due to it no longer resembling a hook.
Fat 27" E.R. Redfish
Over Labor Day I was able to get my wife out on the water.  She wanted to go paddling on the Eastern Shore. I don't know what it is but whenever she wants to go; it is inevitable that the wind is going to blow in the worst direction.  She was not too happy when she realized that she was going to paddle into a stiff wind for a couple miles in open water.  The hard work paid off we found a creek with a little wind protection and it was game on.  She was able to land her first red on her own with no assistance from me at all.  I did hand her a rod with a bare jighead already tied on and later tossed her a Gulp to bait up with.

On the hunt!
I can stand too!
Labor Day Red
Nicole's first Redfish!
On the windy days fishing deeper waters or at night I have been successful lately using Gulp swimming mullet on a weedless 1/4 oz-1/2 oz jighead, slow bouncing the bottom.

Last day of summer I went looking for Bull Reds, instead I found these guys wanting to play.

When it was too windy to go out in the Chesapeake Bay I found refuge at the local reservoirs.  My main pattern has been pitching through weeds bigger fish have been very shallow. The Booyah Spinnerbait came through late in the day too.

Ambitious little bass

I had a wedding to go to in Michigan and was unable to participate in the annual TKAA Tournament this year.  To make up for it I was able to get 3 trips in on the Maple River, but I had to do some borrowing of equipment.  All tackle, Rods and kayak was loaned to me by Tom (father in-law), Matt and Brent (brother in-laws).  I am thankful that my wife's family is avid outdoors enthusiast, for situations like this especially. The launch was a mere 2.25 miles from my in-laws and which made it possible to keep each trip short to not miss to much family time.

Friday afternoon was the first trip to the river and my expectations were low seeing how this was my first time on the Maple River.  The river holds many species but my main targets were Bass, Pike, Muskies and Walleye.  I was also keeping a look out for migrating Salmon and Steelhead as this is the time of year they start migrating up river to spawn.

I didn't take long to find the Smallmouth and Largemouth. In little time I landed over a dozen all on a beetle spin, this one in particular is my brother in-law call's "Kenny". When I wasn't throwing Kenny around, I had a square bill crankbait tied on. I fished for 3 hours and landed 30 bass.  I was stoked and couldn't wait for the chance to do it again.  Saturday was the wedding, ceremony, reception, eat, drink, dance it was a memorable time. On Sunday I somehow squeezed in two trips.  First a solo trip to the same spot for a couple hours with similar results from the first trip. Then later in the day Brother In-Law Matt and I went a little further north on the river to see if we could find some pike and walleye before sunset.  Matt lost a keeper walleye at the side of the kayak, and from that point on it was all Bass.  Kenny was getting it done again until we noticed a little surface activity.  I tied on a small super spook and first cast I was hooked up and piled up the numbers in a short amount of time.
First fish of the trip.

These little guys came from a small feeder creek.

Hard fighting Smallmouth

Fat Largemouth bit a square bill

Kenny strikes again
Topwater action! woohoo!
Never found any Northern Pike or Muskies but who cares, I sure don't! I had an Infishicated time fishing the Maple River and its feeder streams. Can't wait for my next trip up north at Christmas when I will be able to have my own gear, if the river has not freeze over by then.