Monday, September 8, 2014

Sunday Hunting in Virginia

Yesterday was an almost surreal day for me. I woke up on a Sunday and realized that I could actually go hunting for the first time EVER in Virginia. Here is the rules and exceptions for the new laws put in effect allowing Sunday hunting in Virginia this year.

Hunting on Sundays

Allows hunting on Sundays under the following circumstances:
  • A landowner and his immediate family or a person with written permission from the landowner may hunt or kill any wild bird or wild animal, including nuisance species, on the landowner's property on Sunday. All seasons, bag limits, and other laws and regulations also continue to apply. "Landowner" refers to all private landowners (including persons and entities). Public lands are not included.
  • A person may hunt waterfowl on Sundays, subject to area restrictions established within seasons.
  • The hunting activities mentioned above cannot occur within 200 yards of a house of worship.
  • The hunting of deer or bear with a gun, firearm, or other weapon with the aid or assistance of dogs on Sunday is prohibited.
  • A person may hunt raccoons until 2:00 a.m. on Sundays, but no other Sunday hunting of raccoons is permitted.

I find it to be a great decision in VA as there are alot of people that work from Monday to Saturday and never have an opportunity to hunt. They now can enjoy this great american past time. I also think for those like me with weekends off, that it does not neccesarily mean I will hunt one more day a week but allow me to pick the better of the days when the conditions are right for the game I am pursuing.  Case in point, Saturday was a sweltering day and no good for anything excpet a swim in the bay, I opted to spend that day with my family instead of sweating it out in a tree stand or in a marsh hunting. Sunday however was overcast, dreary, and perfect for a goose shoot and yep you guessed it, that EAXCTLY WHAT WE DID!

Thank You Virginia for FINALLY joining the sunday hunting states.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

BRAVO Virginia Dept of Game and Inland Fishery

I wanted to share this because today is a historic day that will get little of the attention that is much deserved!

 Today the Virginia Dept of Game and Inland Fisheries took down a concrete dam from the 1930s called Harvell Dam.

 While this sounds very insignificant, it opened up the entire 120 miles of the Appomattox River for all of the migratory fish that head upstream in the spring. It is a HUGE step in restoration and opening of habitat that man had once blocked off for their own personal gain.  If you listen closely you can almost hear the cheers from thousands of Striped Bass, American Eels, Shad, and Herring!

Below is the copy and paste from the DGIF website and a link to a video of the removal.

“Harvell Dam in Petersburg Removed”

Old dams prevent fish from traveling upstream. The Harvell Dam in Petersburg—the most critical fish passage impediment on the Appomattox River, and one of the highest priority sites for migratory fish restoration in Virginia—has now been removed. The demolition of this 1930s-era concrete dam has opened 127 miles of upstream habitat for migratory fish, such as American and Hickory Shad, and greatly enhanced recreational boating and fishing opportunities. Learn more in this video.

Friday, August 22, 2014

More Puppies Than a Pet Store ------ A Fishing Report for Lower Chesapeake Bay August 22 2014

Puppy drum fishing is off the hook right now in the lower chesapeake bay. Last years amazing quantities of fish have tuned into QUALITY fish! Almost every outing we are getting into schoold fo red drum from 22 to 30 inches in size. Action was hot yesterday with me and 2 others catching a 3 man limit plus many throw backs due to being TOO BIG! the current VA regulations state you can only keep three fish per person and they must be 18-26 inches. These fish can be found around oyster bars, shallow grassy flats, and along the edge of marsh grass shorelines. Look for them to be boiling on bait as a dead giveaway they are around.

Cobia are starting to school up and will be making their trek back south anytime now. If you want to catch them on their way out of here, your best bet would be to head to the VA Beach oceanfront and fast!.
Speckled trout are starting to turn on with the recent cooler weather. I suspect they will arrive in full force on the flats by the first week in September.

Monday, July 14, 2014

DucknBuck Tackle Takes over Billyville VA

Friday morning me and my buddy took the Jon boat out for a quick puppy drum mission firsth thing.   This guy was what I call a good start to a successful vacation!

One more salty fish before we head off to the sweetwater!

After a couple quick hours on the salt we headed back to the house to load up the kayaks and head for my good friend's cottage, called Billyville, on the upper James River.  Billy Hale , owner of Billyville and a close friend, has put his heart and soul into the property to make it one of the most inviting places I have ever stayed.

If you are looking for somewhere to stay on the Upper James River, make sure to check out in Buckingham County, VA.

Alright so where was I, oh yeah Mission objectives.....

The mission objectives were :

A:) to spend quality time with great friends

B:) Test out a few new soft plastics I have been pouring for Smallmouth Bass


Friday evening we arrived to burgers on the grill and cold beverages awaiting. Talk about impeccable timing.... We proceeded to grub down, put on a nice firework display with some goodies we brought, and then walk over to the rental cottage to play wayyyy too many games of shuffleboard (the best table game ever created).

These guys meant business!

 while shuffleboarding it up we took turns picking through a million different colors of experimental colors for my new centipede and darting minnows I have started pouring just for smallies. Each of us picked out there favorites anticipating what would work best. After figuring out which section of the James River we were going to float, we got the trucks ready for the early morning mission and hit the sack.

6:30 came wayy too early but I woke up quickly thanks to the thoughts of smallies swimming in my head. We grabbed some breakfast snacks and drinks then headed to Howardsville Landing to drop off the kayaks and canoes. We dumped off the yaks, canoes, snorkeling gear, a grill, coolers,  and all kinds of random stuff that make for fun times. Dwain and I guarded the boats while Harold and Will dropped off Will's truck and canoe trailer at our take-out location 12 miles downstream. 30 minutes later they return and it was time to hit the water.

Will giving the thumb of approval!

Locked and loaded!

As soon as we hit the water it was NON-STOP FISHING CATCHING! The white w/ black flake DucknBuck Darting Minnows killed it, catching no less than 40 smallmouth over the course of our float. I rigged it on a 1/8oz jighead to keep it lighter to avoid hanging into the rocks on the bottom. I even caught a 36 inch Longnose Gar but opted out on photos due to him wanting to get airborne and in my kayak with a full snout of razor sharp teeth.

Underwater shot!

Yep they work!

One of the many other victims!

Will, Harold, and Dwain decided to go with the DnB Crawdogs to start and we're picking up fish left and right too (Well Will and Dwain were, Harold was having one of those dreaded hang up on anything and everything days we all have from time to time).

About an hour into our float I hear a shout from Will from the canoe behind me...."JACKPOT!" He rings out. I turned to look, expecting to see his rod doubled over but instead he is head first in a treetop that had freshly fallen from the bank and still had a Pom Pom of green leaves at the end. Puzzled I begin to paddle over and Will pops out of it like a squirrel holding a mason jar with a huge grin on his face. He looks around and says in a low voice, " I just found a whole mason jar of moonshine!" Of all the lost treasures we have found on the river from people flipping canoes, this was a first. Despite the grimy outside appearance, it appeared air tight, highly flamible, and even the cinnamon stick in it looked like it wasn't all that old so in the cooler it went.

Der's Shine in Dem Der Hills!

Straight back to catching we went with a pit stop once or twice to take a dip in the refreshing water or to snorkel a deep section. We were working up quite the appetite and we're talking about pulling over to fire up the grill when a pair of canoes approached us with a couple father/son teams. The lead canoe hollered the one thing you never want to be asked on the river..... " Do you guys have pliers or a pair of snips?" The boy in the front was red, appeared to have been crying, and in pain. I knew before asking that he had a hook stuck in him somewhere.

We all pull off to the next sandy patch on the riverbank to see assess the situation. The poor kid ( probably 10 years old) had a treble hook buried in his side. Between the four of us no one had any snips to cut the hook out so Will stepped in and offered to perform a trick that all fisherman should know... Hook removal using nothing but fishing line. Will wrapped a piece of 12 pound test around the curve of the hook and told the kid that at the count of three he was going to turn the hook point down and yank on the line really quickly to remove the buried barb.

"One....".... YANK!

The boy was caught off guard and before he could yell the hook was out. You could see the relief in
the young man's face. He went on to thank us 5  or 10 times before they loaded up and headed on down river.


Seeing as we were already stopped and together we broke out the grill, threw on some dogs, cracked open some cold beers, and waited for some much needed grub. Nothing tastes better than a river side grilled hotdog and a cold beer on a hot summer day!

Riverside Dogs!

We piled back in after lunch and Harold and Will switched to DnB Centipedes to give them a go. They were a HIT! For the rest of the float they caught one fish after another all the way to Hatten Ferry where we met our waiting truck and trailer, packed up, and headed back to the cottage.

For dinner we cooked BBQ Chicken, Grilled Cobia fillets, beans and rice, and Mac & cheese. Afterwards we laughed about our wild day, enjoyed a few more cold beverages and called it a night.

The next day we loaded up, and made the drive home. The tackle test was a huge success, was able to  take a lot of scenic pictures, have a blast with my friends, and know what colors and styles of bait to head home to pour for my next visit.

Here are some of the pictures we took while floating downstream!



Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Lower Chesapeake Bay Fishing Report July 8 2014

Flounder bite is heating up on the lower chesapeake with some very nice fish coming from the CBBT as well as HRBT as well. Trigger fish and smaller than normal spadefish are also being caught along the CBBT and offshore wrecks.

Cobia fishing is full swing with more fish starting to cruise the surface. Many are still being caught by chumming but the shark numbers are getting bad so carry plenty of bait. Croakers are everywhere and spot are beginning to fill in as well.

 Puppy drum can be found in most shallow flats with some impressive fish being caught around Hampton and Poquoson area. Speckled trout season is still closed due the fish kill this winter but the August 1st opening is in the horizon. Make sure to check out the new regualtions for numbers you can keep and size restrictions to save yourself the trouble of a ticket.

Bluefish are all over the open water eager to take a clark spoon and mackerel should be showing up anytime with the recent heat.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Buy Fish Oil??? Here is what you are supporting!

     Last Saturday we were out on the water around the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay when we started seeing a few floating fish. As we followed the ones and twos floating on the surface like a Hansel and Gretel pebble trail it led us to a more disturbing scene. The numbers increased and soon we were driving by THOUSANDS of dead menhaden.  This was the everyday practice of the most hated company on the Chesapeake, Omega Protein!

Miles Long String of Dead Menhaden 

       We came across the Trail of dead wasted fish out in the middle of the lower bay... this picture was taken by another fellow angler off Cape Henry around the same time on the same day. That is about a 15 mile gap between us and I have a strong feeling that we could have continued to follow this string the whole way.  The local newspaper made it out to sound like everything was hunky dory and downplayed it as a few dead fish so I wanted to share the REAL story here. THIS IS WHERE YOUR FISH OIL PILLS COME FROM! This was a confirmed net dump of menhaden by OMEGA PROTEIN because they had caught over their limit. None of these fish lived to swim another day yet they do not count towards their catch limits. They were not fined or even reprimanded by Virginia Marine Resource Commission either. Think about that next time they are checking your fish to the millimeter to make sure they are legal catches.

He is a link to the attempt of a news article covering this event.

Here is what the locals think about it.....

Omega Protein has been flying around in planes, marking fishing for their boats to encircle with giant nets and catching whole schools not leaving behind any to reproduce. I would also like to mention that many other non-taget fish are caught and often die in the process. It is a very thing going on here in Virginia waters and politicians recieve HUGE compaign donations to look the other way...

Flounder Tourney turned Cobia Mission

Went to capt meeting at Dare Marina for Flounder Bowl Fishing Tournament and from the wind that was present friday night I just knew it was going to be one rough wet ride across to the other side of the bay early in the morning. Stewwed on that thought for a few and finally conceded to trailering to Kiptopeake.

Smart move as it was calm on that side at first light. Just outside of the ramp are a bunch of ships from World War 2 that are made of..... wait for it....... CONCRETE!  Yes you heard right, they are completely concrete. They now server as a breakwater for the Kiptopeake State Park.

 Sorry, side stracked on history for a minute but the theory of concrete vessels is fascinating to me.

 So we jigged around the concrete ships with squid strips and Gulp grubs. This produced a few fish.... 3 flounderwith one keeper at 18 inches and a couple oyster toads. After feeling like we covered the area thoroughly, we ran to high rise and joined the 80 other boats out there for the Flounder Bowl. Couple oyster toads in 4 to 5 ft seas later we said to hell with it and tried some drifts in more sheltered water. No more flat fish despite trying until about 11:30....

Decided it was time to pull a rabbit out the hat and reached in the cooler and pulled out a bag of eels I snuck in there when no one was looking. crews eyes lit up and were instantly on board with some sight fishing. Did eliptical circles all the way from the high rise to the BMORE channel. despite being rough and trying to sling eels into the wind we managed to catch 2 keepers, 1 dink, and pulled a hook on a nailer. Had a few more attempts but we were having to flank around the fish to avoid pitching an eel into the wind and back in the boat from the tower. all in all we saw 15 and turned a disappointing flounder day into a fun cobia day.