Thursday, August 29, 2013

Thought I'd Share a Blog

I don't generally go out of my way to promote products or other blogs unless I think it is really great and relates to something I am passionate about. Well a couple evenings ago I was sitting around trying my best to find something of quality on TV to no avail. I decided i would turn to the web for some knowledge instead and stumbled upon

It is a blog by J.D. Arp that has some great information regarding hunting and fishing. Some of the recent topics include Tips for being a better squirrel hunter, how to read deer sign, and fishing muddy waters on freshwater; all of which are very things to know. All great reads full of great tips but the other thing I noticed and REALLY LIKED was his passion to get our youth involved in these dying american traditions. This is important to me because I too feel like more people need to get their children away from the video games and out in nature more often.

The other feature I dig on his site is the ability for anyone even guest to post up articles and fishing/hunting posts. I hadn't seen that on a blog before but thinks its a cool concept
 and even submitted one just yesterday. I have put a link on my page under the fishing favorites so if you want to learn something new, take a second and give it a look.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Bushing of the blinds

This weekend is somewhat of a tradition among my friends. One that is done every year around this time. It is the weekend that gets all those ducky dreams kick started in our brain of the season to come... the bushing of the duck blinds. Alot of people do not realize how much effort it takes to be a successful duck hunter. Its not just grab a gun and sit and wait kinda game. It requires loads of prep work to be successful...

  • Building a sturdy structure in the mddle of the water with only hand and battery tools.....
  • Carrying bags of 15 to 30 decoys sometimes on foot for a mile to get to that exact spot the birds want to be.......
  • Wading out into icy water up to your waist to place 25 to 100 or more decoys in just the right pattern
  • Breaking ice to make pockets of water for ducks to land later in the season....
  • It is finding adequate brushing, cutting it all, loading it into boats, and attaching it to said framework.
  • It is having to rebuild blinds after hurricanes carry them away time and time again.

The building of the blinds is THE ONE that secures seats in the boat later in the season and builds stronger friendships.  It is no small task but the payoff is big and the views from some of the blinds around are second to none on a cold morning sunrise with a hot cup of coffee with ducks and waterfowl trading in the wind from roost to feeding grounds.

This weekend my buddy Chris took the time to drive here from Norfolk after a long day of work to  get up at the crack of dawn to scout for geese and bush the blinds. I had spent a couple hours on Saturday cutting cat tails and reeds of variety. They were then zip tyed into bundles so that they could be easily attached to the blind and weather out a winter on the bay. We were greeted by a beautiful sunrise and fairly calm seas making for a great morning on the water.

We arrived to the remote site me and a friend previously had built a duck blind frame work last week only to find a group of 5 tents on the beach shoreline  about 75 yards from our blind.  You will notice them in the background of the panaramic shot. We unloaded a couple dozen pines, all the grass bundles, and some wax myrtle from the day before and started zip tying.  It took roughly an hour and a half but we managed to get it finished before our camping guest ever even stirred and were on our way. While working on it we spotted 4 flocks of geese so it looks like the years of recon could have paid off and we might be in a great spot. Time will tell.

Off to blind number two!
Drove back to the ramp, cut a bunch more pine and grabbed abunch of bundles of grass, drove to Gloucester and launched the boat again repeating the process. Here is the finished shots of blind two.



Friday, August 23, 2013

Oyster Cage Building Workshop IN Poquoson VA

A friend of mine asked me to spread the word around about an upcoming oyster cage building workshop. Check it out, sounds like a good time!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

IMPORTANT POST- Menhaden Fishery in Chesapeake Bay

If you take the time to read one of my blog posts, MAKE IT THIS ONE! I would like to explain what is happening to the Chesapeake Bay's most important fish before our very eyes with Omega Protein and their strong political backing. Omega has been charged/fined for dumping illegal oily bilge in the bay (last time to the tune of around 75 million dollars), are removing ton after ton of baitfish from the bay along with whatever else gets caught in their nets, and have been restricted from almost all US waters on the East Coast except VA due to supporting YOUR local elected officials with over $140,000 in campaign funds over a five year period.

They are literally sucking up every last Menhaden in the Chesapeake Bay. Why is this important to you?

A few facts:
  • Menhaden are a valuable food source for a wide variety of fish including striped bass, bluefish, summer flounder, and weakfish; also for marine mammals and many sea birds including ospreys, pelicans, and loons.

  • Menhaden feed massive amounts of plankton, filtering it from the water helping to prevent red tides/ algae blooms and improve water quality/clarity.

  • 65% annual removal/harvest rate for adult menhaden from East Coast waters

  • When comparing the current Atlantic menhaden population against historical levels, there is only 8% left of what used to roam the bay.

  • According to the benchmark, menhaden are currently being overfished, and overfishing occurred in 32 of the last 54 years.
A guy I know who goes by Jet Ski Brian was out this past weekend and took these pictures of how the operation runs. First a plane flys around in circles over the bay looking for a school of menhaden. Once spotted he radios to the fleet waiting somewhat close by.

The ships move into the area where the fish  were spotted while the plane circles to keep an eye on the school. The mother ship then deploys 2 smaller vessels.  These two boats circle the entire school of fish (1000's) with a purse seine net.
Once the pull the net tight, the mothership pulls up and sticks a big vacuum in the water and sucks up every fish in their net, gamefish included, and load them into the boat. Then it's off to the next school.

The saddest part is that these fish are then ground up and used as chicken feed, cat food, and for fish oil pills. Think about that when you take that daily supplement of fish oil. If this bothers you as much as it does me, take the time to repost this somewhere, tell a friend, wirte a congressman, whatever you can do to spread the word and let's end this unneccesary waste of a KEY PIECE of our Chesapeake Bay Eco-system.
Photos provided by Brian Lockwood
Visit his Blog at

Monday, August 19, 2013

DU / YCWA 4th Annual Croaker Fishing Tournament

Saturday was the  4th annual Croaker Tournament hosted byYork County Waterways Alliance and Ducks Unlimited at Dare Marina. In my opinion it was a huge success. We had 61 boats sign up this year, up from last year's 37. That was even with a 70% chance of rain and 10-15 MPH winds. Alot of anglers caught a variety of fish, us included.

In one day we caught a sea robin, large spot, 4 dozen puppy drum, an oyster toad, a couple white perch,  and countless croakers.

Sea Robin

We weeded through them all to end up with our biggest croaker weighing in at a whopping 1.30 lbs. That put us in a solid 8th place finish. To explain how close this race was 4th place was 1.37 and first was not even a 2 lber. The big species calcutta was won with a 40lb stingray but a nice variety was presented in the category. We weighed in a nice 21 inch puppy drum. There was also black drum and a longnose gar entered in that catagory as well.

Shannons First keeper drum!

The weighin was a good time with free BBQ dinner and all you could drink open bar and beer trucks. Music was provided by "All You Can Eat" who rocked out. Wrapped up with awards and a Ducks Unlimited raffle for a ton of cool prizes from Shotguns and coolers to Artwork and gift certificates from alot of local sponsors. All profits went to YCWA to help fund research on our local area waterways and Ducks Unlimited to preserve wetlands for our future generations

CBF Oyster gardening workshop

Had a great time attending the Chesapeake Bay Foundation's oyster gardening workshop this past Thursday. The one I went to was being done at Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) at Gloucester point. It cost $30.00 to sign up and with that you get a bag of thousand seed oysters.  I was amazed by how small of a bag a 1000 osyter seeds was.

Here is a picture i found on the web for reference:

The class was taught in a classroom style setting and was very infomative. CBF went over the importnace of Oysters to the Chesapeake, the reasons behind our drastic decline in population, the filtering power of the oyster, their life cycle, optimum growing habitat conditions, and alot of other useful info. They also brought floats and bags that you could purchase at cost to make your own float for raising oysters. A truck full to be exact:

Never having been to VIMS before, i went a few minutes early to make sure i wasn't that guy that walked in after they had started. I found the place with time to spare so I took a minute to look around. It is a pretty cool place if you live close by to take your children on a little learning lesson. While its not a huge display, they do have some neat stuff and it is ALL Chesapeake Bay related.  Took a few pictures with my phone so they are not the best but you get the idea.

They even have a few tanks with croaker, horseshoe crabs, drum, spadefish, tautogs, sheepshead, and a few other local fish as well. I enjoyed watching drum sift through the sand looking for leftovers while the spades frolicked in a school with what looked like a game of Follow the Leader or Tag until it was time for the class to start.

I recommend anyone that has access to a dock or live on the water to take a look at the CBF and VIMS programs. . All the oyster raised are brought back the following year and added to Oyster Sanctuaries so its a fun project and helping do your part to clean up our waterways.There are so many ways to give back to the bay and most require very little time from raising sub-aquatic grass to cultivating oysters and Clean the Bay trash pickup days.

Here is the link for the CBF Oyster Growing classses available around the state:

For more information on VIMS follow this link to their page as well:


  • An adult oyster filters and cleans up to 50 gallons of water per day gobbling up algae, and removing dirt and nitrogen pollution

  • Today, less than 1% of the original 17th century population (when the original colonists arrived) is thought to remain in the Chesapeake Bay

  • The Chespeake Bay was once as clean as the Carribean when John Smith arrived due to teh filtering power of the Eastern Oyster.



Had a busy three day weekend so a few blogs to follow.. 4th Annual Croaker tournament, CBF Oyster Aquaculturing class at VIMS, and rainy sunday fishing..

Monday, August 12, 2013

Day two of fly rod learning

I had a cheapo beginners found set that I bought over a year ago that until yesterday sat on my wall in my garage. Finally after watching a bunch of how-to  videos on YouTube I decided it was time to give it a go. Yesterday I opened it up got it all tied up and spent an hour on the dock just practicIng and trying my  best.  Today after I got home from work I went to the neighborhood pond down the street to put my skills to the test. After fumbling for a few I managed to get it down to a usable level and not too long after landed my first fish on a flyrod.... a whopper 6 inch bluegill. I have never felt more accomplished over such a dink of a fish haha. Caught a crappie a few cast later and called it a day. Not to bad for my second day.

zombie apocalypse Duck Blind

Had access to alot of free bamboo so decided to try and make a duck blind completely out of 550 paracord and bamboo.We originally built the structure in my yard and were going to put it on the boat and drive it out to our spot and drop it in place. Sounded like a great plan... lol. well after building the entire thing, we relized it was NOT going to be transportable from my house to where we wanted to put it. We dismantled the whole project, loaded the bamboo into the jon boat with the materials, and took off for our blind location.

 We started off by setting our 4 corners. We did this by driving the bamboo by hand with a 2x4 and a maul. Once these were set we lashed our horizontal bracing to the corners with paracord. We then added additional supports.

The whole thing took about 2 1/2 hours to buld so far and is by far one of the strongest feeling blinds I have made in my opinion. Now we just need to get some chicken wire to wrap the walls and attach some brush and the boat hide duck blind will be complete. Should be ready to blast out of the first day of resident goose season. This blind is a replacement to one we had built last year only to have superstorm Sandy take it out. This one is hurricane worthy in my opinion but we will have to see.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Calm before the storm

Called my buddy Kegan to fish the Warwick and James for puppy drum today for a couple hours. Checked the minnow traps behind the house and had 4 dozen or so. I put those in a couple five gallon buckets, grabbed a couple dozen fiddler crabs I caught yesterday , loaded the boat and we headed out to denbigh park ramp. I had seen fiddlers in the bellies of the ones I had been cleaning thought what the heck.  Fished various spots and ended with 21 puppy drums ,4 keepers. All of our big fish came from live fiddler crabs. Big storm started to roll in so we called it at 2pm and headed in just in time to avoid the monsoon.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

World Record SnakeHead caught in Northern VA

A 17lb 6 oz snake head has been offically deemed the new world record by the International Game Fish Association. Take a look at this beast. He was fishing the Aquia Creek area near Quantico area of the Potomca River. Link provided to full article below. Just a friendly reminder if you are fishing and catch one you are REQUIRED by VADGIF to dispatch it immediately and keep it due to it being a non-native species. Congratulations to the angler!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

There's Not Always More Fish In The Sea

Well since its a rainy day here on the bay I thought I would post a link to an interesting article I found on a study of the World's Fisheries. This study finds one-third of world's fish catches are being wasted as animal feed.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Change of Plans 8/4/13

Left Eastern Shore early Sunday morning due to forecasted wind that would not be fun in a 16ft jon boat. Our alternate course of action was to beat feet and try to get home, unpacked and on the water before the 9:24AM high tide on the warwick river. After having to jump a dead truck battery and getting packed up and grabbing some Hardee's biscuits we set course for home. Got to the house, set the minnow trap and unloaded what we didnt need, hopped back in the truck and took off for the Denbigh boat ramp. We tried a couple places that were hot a week ago and it was COLD COLD COLD. Managed to catch a couple puppy drum but only one was a keeper. They just were not in same area so we made a little bit of a run to what was to be our last spot to "try" on the way back to the ramp and we hit pay dirt! Right off the get go we doubled up on two throw backs but i knew it was a good sign.

 For the next 2 hours we fished a one acre spot and caught over 50 puppy drum and a pile of good 1 to 1 1/2 lb. croakers. I even caught one tagged puppy drum in the process. With a stringer full of fish we headed back to the ramp to pull the boat and clean up from camping.

Sharks, sharks and More Sharks

Left the campsite at 4:45am and headed to the town of Oyster to launch the jon boat.

 Found a local gas station with great breakfast sandwiches to fill our belly on the way. We were the first ones at the ramp, got the boat in the water and began to throw the cast net for some bait. first throw got a net FULL of finger mullet so off we went to a spot we had picked on the map.


We drove for about 15 minutes winding through the beautiful seaside inlets and marsh guts paying close attention to channel markers. Lots of resident canada geese were just starting to wake up and fly into their morning feeding spots along with herons, ducks, gulls, egrets, and all kinds of other waterfowl. Quite the sight at sunrise.

After getting anchored up, we dropped over our first 5lb block of frozen menhaden chum and waited for the sharks to smell the rotten ground up goodness we had deployed. It did not take long and in the first 5 minutes we had started getting some bites it was game on.

  From that moment and for the next 3 hours between me and Will we did not have a spare minute to sit down and relax.Will was catching croaker 2 at a time as fast as he could reel. He would hand me one, i would put the whole live fish on the hook, throw it out, just in time to have one OR TWO of the other 3 rods start screaming. we did this dance the whole time. At many times we were doubled up both with a fish on. I finally hooked something very large and was hoping this was the shark we came to catch. we untied the anchor and threw it over with a bouy on it and went for a Eastern shore sleigh ride be towed by whatever my hook was in. After about 15 minutes i get it up to the surface and to my suprise it is a stingray that was easily 100 lbs and the size of a full size truck hood. The tail was about 5 ft long and the size of my fore arm. We got it close to the boat after another 30 miuntes and cut the leader as close as possible to avoid traumatizing the ray further. We ended up with 77 sharks between 24 and 52 inches in around 3 hours. The variety included juvinile bulls, black tips, sandbars, and dogfish. We made the collective decision it was time to give them/us a restand headed back in, by this time at low tide. To my surprise some of the open bays of water from the morning high tide, were completely out of the water and there were oyster bars all over the place. Below picture is what the scenery looked like as far as the eye could see in every direction.

 Talk about a prop wrecker. Luckily I know better than to stray from the channels out there or we might have been camping there instead. With sore arms we returned to camp, cooked some ribeyes and both passed out by 9:30pm from the long day. Awesome day out for our first fishing mission on the seaside of the Eastern Shore.

Eastern Shore Bound Friday 8/2/13!

Friday, I got off work a little early and raced home to get things ready and meet up with my buddy Will. I was hoping to beat the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel traffic but I knew when we pulled out of the driveway at 3:30 that was not going to happen.  We gassed up at Wawa and it was smooth sailing until we got to the Friday Five Mile Backup at the tube.

We arrived at Cherrystone Campground around 5:30pm, checked in, and got the tent set up first thing.  Each site included a picnic table and fire ring which was cool.There was a enough room to park the boat and truck and still had room for the tent, grill, and coolers but if we had 2 vehicles i do not know where the second car would have gone.  After getting camp set up we headed out to explore. The campground was VERY nice but was definitely on the pricey side with it costing us $87.00 for two nights of camping in a tent.  On premise was a General store, CafĂ©, Tackle shop, fishing piers, pools, ponds to fish, everything that you could possibly want, even fish cleaning stations, dishwashing stations, and boat wash down areas.

Bath houses were clean and the sunset view was amazing! All and all enjoyed the campsite. It made a nice home base for staying and exploring the eastern shore.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Grill snacks

Grilled onions and cheddar burgers served with a reduced can of corn. Pinkies up! Best paired with bud light or PBR