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 www.billyville.com 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

BOTH WERE A TOTAL SUCCESS!!!

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.

IF YOU DO NOT KNOW THIS TECHNIQUE, TAKE A MOMENT TO VISIT THE LINK BELOW:

http://www.bishfish.co.nz/articles/general/hookout.htm

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.

http://hamptonroads.com/2014/06/commercial-vessel-may-be-tied-dead-menhaden

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

http://www.tidalfish.com/forums/showthread.php/398130-Thousands-of-dead-fish

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.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Cobia Time!



Busy Busy, Busy so I will keep this post short! Cobia are starting to show up and are actually ahead of schedule compared to other years. While most big fish are still being caught by those chumming around york spit and Grandview a few nice fish have been seen cruising the surface.


The first few waves of cobia have finally shown up in the Chesapeake Bay and these brutes are ready for battle. Went out Sunday with super glassy calm seas. Saw 4 fish while sight fishing but we did manage to get this 50 inch fish to take an eel.  after a 15 minute fight and multiple times boatside only to take off again, we got him next to the boat.  The swing of the gaff fell true and quickly i pulled the fish in the boat. Home we headed to clean and prepare our catch!


Thursday, June 5, 2014

Come on Virginia, Let's Step It Up!

I found this article on a great Chesapeake Bay website called ChesapeakeLiving.com about Maryland's Oyster management. I cannot say enough great things about Maryland's effort to restore the bay to ists former glory. It's time Virginia steps up and joins in the plan! Keep up the GREAT WORK MARYLAND!

http://www.chesapeakeliving.com/maryland-oysters-doubled-since-2010/

Photo Credit: Maryland DNR


Thursday, May 29, 2014

Spring Puppy Drum on the Chesapeake Bay

I have been neglecting my blog here lately so decided it was time for some fresh content. In between watching my 1 year old grow and work, I have had less time to fish but still finding time to get out there when I can. So far this spring's big bite has been from red drum. These fish are hard fighting, grow quickly, and many of them winter over in the bay instead of migrating south like so many other fish in the bay. This makes them a great target for early in the year.









 Last years class of fish and huge numbers don't seem to be affected one bit by the unusually cold winter we had this. It seems like there are more drum roaming around this year than I have seen my entire life in my neck of the woods. We have caught them just about everywhere from around the lower York River and Poquoson area to Fort Monroe and surrounding waters.

There are many ways to catch them but I prefer a popping cork with a 18 inch leader (40#) to a 5/0 circle hook. For bait live minnows and peeler crab are the go-to's but shrimp will also work in a pinch. The other way I fish fro them is using a 1/4 oz jighead with a 3 inch DucknBuck paddletail minnow. With just these two rigs you can almost guarantee a few fish in the cooler. Last but not least is on spoons. Red drum love a spoon especially one with gold colors on it.

Few tips to catching nice drum:

  • Fish shallow flats preferably with some structure if possible. THEY LOVE OYSTER BARS! These fish will often be seen cruising in water so shallow their back and tip of the tail will be out of the water.

  • Make sure to check size limit each year as they use a slot system for drum. Only fish 18-26 can be kept as of writing this post.

  • Drum tend to school so if you catch one make sure to fish around that spot for a few to pick up any of his buddies.