Friday, January 10, 2014

Offshore Adventure: Blackfin Tuna!

Over the past two weeks we had the opportunity to target Black fin Tuna, King Mackerel, False Albacore and Amberjacks. We fished approximately 35 miles off the coast of Hatteras North Carolina. To reach such a great distance from land we chartered a boat named "Runaway".  I made the first trip for King Mackerel and fished with 5 other kayakers from Virginia and North Carolina. After I landed my first King I knew that I was addicted to fishing offshore. The following week I made the trip again with two other contributors to IKF Matt James and Mike Rosa. The second trip are target species was black fin tuna and amber-jack. Both of these were new species to all of us and we dove head first into this adventure not really knowing what to expect. This is a report of that trip.


   About 2 hours passed,the sun had not yet broken the horizon, but our crew was busily unloading our kayak transportation vehicle making sure we did not forget anything. We even had our battle weapons prepped! Bats, gaffs, and even a rubber mallet used for closing paint cans were included in our arsenal. There must have been something about watching youtube videos of tuna preforming the harlem shake and beating their captors in a hilarious yet informational fashion.

   The Runaway was loaded up and heading full throttle out of Teach's Lair Marina as the sun started to show itself in the distance. We all tried to take naps on the ride out but that was seemingly impossible after the breakfast of cigarettes and redbull. Captain Jay yelled down from his perch atop the runaway that we had arrived at our first spot and that he was marking fish. Ian the mate ran to the back of the boat with rod in hand to see what was down there. I joined Ian at the stern to get in on the action. We dropped our 7oz jigs down to 150-175' and started jigging (THANKS YOUTUBE!). I got lucky, a blackfin hit my lure on the drop. After reeling it in and taking a quick breath it was time to deploy the kayaks. We dropped in and caught a few more fish in that location but the majority of the were amberjack. If you have never caught an amberjack from the kayak it is like trying to control a jackhammer 100 feet below the kayak. They fight hard! After an hour or so Capt. Jay said that we were going to move.
   Jay motored off into the distance to check another spot while we followed in our kayaks. As we approached Jay let us know that there were "a lot of sharks". Sharks?!?! Fantastic. We all landed a few more fish at this next spot but the sharks were very bad. We lost a lot of tackle and several fish. After a few hours on this spot and a few close calls with the sharks we made the call to head back inshore and catch kings. We did just that, at the very end of the day we landed 6 stud kings from the kayaks between the 3 of us in 30ish minutes. It was a blast. Our next trip is already on the books and of course the gopro's will be running.
We arrived bright and early at 330am for our late departure time of 600am. We all tried to get some sleep but the excitement of trying to rip black fin tuna up from the depth past the blockade of opportunistic sharks was too much to close our eyes to. We spent a lot of time tying knots, testing the drag settings on our reels and staring at a colorful array of butterfly jigs wondering how they worked. Of course we did what all anglers do and went straight to the google machine to research vertical jigging techniques trying to wrap our brains around this new concept.

Monday, September 23, 2013

3rd Annual Chesapeake Bay Kayak Anglers Tournament

A few years ago I got together with a couple of other kayakers (John Foley and Bryan Rusk) to start the Chesapeake Bay Kayak Anglers. Our goal was to promote kayak fishing, conservation of the Chesapeake Bay, and raise money for charity organizations. We accomplish this by hosting a tournament every fall to benefit the Make A Wish Foundation of the Mid-Atlantic and the Coastal Conservation Association of Maryland.

This year's tournament was a HUGE success! Thanks to our growing numbers of kayak anglers, our tremendous sponsors, and our gracious volunteers we had 104 register this year! We are still putting the numbers together and paying some bills, but we set a new record for the amount we will be able to donate this year!

Here is the recap and the results:

Raw oyster bar and CBKA friend, author, and CCA rep Shawn Kimbro at the Captain's meeting. The oysters were donated by Tyler Sondberg of Great Eastern Shellfish. Shawn provided words of support and the local fishing report. What a great combo.

The Friday night potluck get together was a huge hit. It was a great time meeting fellow kayak anglers and swapping stories. The food was excellent including the donated crabs from Bette S. Kenzie of Easton, MD and coordinated by Dana "Coop" Cooper. And the Masgouf style open fire fish roast was provided by Mustafa Hussin(AbuMasgouf on snaggedline). Thank you, Mustafa and Coop!

Saturday came and the wind had not subsided. But, a number of brave anglers went out on the main stem of the bay to fish the bridge. The majority opted for the relative calm areas on the eastern side of Kent Island. Those that braved the 3' waves were rewarded with the larger and more numerous striped bass that were caught. Personally, I would have left the donated Carefree Boat Club chase boat at the dock if I didn't commit to be out there with fellow director Martin and volunteer photographer, Russ Hewitt. Alot more fish were caught this year including striped bass to 30" for the win. Another went 29" and several others in the upper 20 inch range.

Speakers at Saturday's awards included Ms. Ashley Jefferson of Make-a-Wish Mid Atlantic. Ashley provided some examples of wishes granted to local kids including a great video of little 8 year old Lateef meeting his hero, RGIII. You'd have ice in your veins if that video didn't reach you.

CCA MD Executive Director Tony Friedrich provided a summary of CCA efforts to "defend the fish" and brought along surprise speaker, Tom O'Connell, Maryland Dept. of Natural Resources Director of Fisheries. Tom provided words of support for our grass roots efforts of conservation and updates on DNR activities to support local fisheries.

This year we held 3 raffles. The regular raffle was for accessories, fishing equipment, gift certificates, books, and more. A second raffle for a Hobie kayak donated by Easton Cycle & Sport sold out! The 3rd raffle for a Jackson Kayak Coosa donated by Valley Mill Boats along with several other high end items was a great success.

Overall, our most successful event to date. Looking forward to next year. Thank you!!


Slam Division (Striped Bass + Bluefish + White Perch) - Sponsored by Easton Cycle & Sport

    1st - Richard Souder - 51"
    2nd - Jimmy McDermott - 44.5"
    3rd - Jason Pratt - 36"

CCA $500 Biggest Fish Award - Sponsored by Coastal Conservation Association of MD

    Richard Souder - 30" Striped Bass

BKD Prize - Sponsored by Bass Kandy Delights

    Richard Souder - 18.25" Striped Bass - Biggest fish on a BKD

Hobie Prize - Sponsored by Backyard Boats

    Richard Souder - Biggest fish on a Hobie Kayak

Striped Bass Division - Sponsored by Backyard Boats

    1st - Mike Rosa - 29"
    2nd - Chris Burke - 26"
    3rd - Don Huber - 22.5"

Perch Division - Sponsored by All Tackle

    1st - Roger Metz - 11.5"
    2nd - Nathan Oakes - 11 3/8"
    3rd - Ryan Altenburg - 11 1/4"

Largest Bluefish - Sponsored by Katherine Charters

    Don Huber - 10"

Lady Angler Division - Sponsored by Appomattox River Company

    1st - Samantha Ferline - 13" Striped Bass
    2nd - Michelle Vieraitis - 10" Perch

Blue Crab Division - Sponsored by Fisherman's Crab Deck

    Harry Steiner (caught the crab on a fly!)

Fly Division - Sponsored by Tochterman Tackle

    Mark Bange - 11.25" Striped Bass

Senior Angler Prize

    Larry Walquarnery

Grandmother Angler Prize

    Kaye James

For pictures of the event check out and!

Here's me with my lovely Fiance and her first place prize in the Woman's Division! I'm pretty proud!!!

Summer Fishing Catch Up and Fall Preview

Summer Fishing Re-Cap

Well as you all may have noticed activity on this blog has slacked off quite a bit with the departure of our resident kayak fishing addict, Pinch! I've been fishing a lot this summer, but due to lack of time the majority has been on the Potomac closer to home with only a few salt trips. 

I'll be the first to admit I am not much of a largemouth bass fisherman. The majority of the bass I have caught have been by accident trying to catch snakehead, but I am starting to come around on bass fishing. First of all, they are pretty aggressive, even when the water is warm. Secondly, they have huge mouths and will hit topwater which is exciting. Also, in the Potomac you can find them in some pretty thick structure that makes for some interesting fights! 

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to fish for smallmouth bass on the Greenbrier River in WV. Smallmouth bass used to be one of my favorite species to target and it was quickly apparent after two days of floating that I have become quite rusty!

Now that Fall is kicking into gear I hope to get the chance to get out more and find some rockfish fatting up for winter!

Here's some pictures from this summer:

9th Annual New England Kayak Fishing Tournament

NEKF Striper Shootout IX

I recently had the opportunity to fish the New England Kayak Fishing (NEKF) 9th annual Striper Shootout in Winter Island, MA. It was a great event and while I didn't find the big fish this year, I did find some smaller fish and I had the opportunity to spend time in some beautiful scenery with some great folks. 

Now, for the fishing! Fortunately for me, I have a friend that lives in Boston MA and he has an extra Hobie Revo 13 that I was able to borrow. I packed two travel rods, a few reels, way too much tackle, dry pants/top, fishfinder, visipole.... yeah I brought a lot! Since this was going to be my only trip in the MA area of the season, I wanted to be prepared! Plus, I had no idea where the fish would be/what they would be eating, or at least that's how I sold it to myself! We've all been there...

Anyway, we started fishing almost as soon as I landed. The winds were up, but the tides were right, so we decided to hit DI to see if we could find any rock around. We did not find any in the normal places, so we did some exploring. I was trolling an eel and I had a 1 nice run-off but no hook up. That was it! I was worried about how this weekend was going to go... 

The next day we had some work to do, but once that was finished we headed up to the Beverly Harbor area which was near where the Shootout would be held. We fished from about 6pm - almost 3am... and despite covering a lot of ground/good structure we could not buy a fish! Paddling back in over a very shallow flat we spooked some small stripers and we finally took the skunk off by casting topwater plugs. I had one go nuts at the boat and made off with my favorite redhed zara spook! Being that I was tired at this point I opted to ditch the treble hooks and went to a single 1/4 hook with a blue/grey BKD (one of my favorite colors). This was more effective and I was able to land a couple on it. Pretty slow!

The next day was Friday so we headed back to Tomo's (second time in), picked up some worms and eels since the fishing had been so slow the night before we decided we may have to troll the dreaded tube. Let me say this up front, the tube works but it is terribly boring and I would much rather catch a fish on a jig. No disrespect to the tube guys, there is definitely a skill to it, I just don't have it! Anyway, Friday night we checked into the tournament at the campground. We were late and missed the Captain's meeting which left us feeling like we had no idea what was going on the rest of the weekend. We also missed out on captain's bags, which sucked because they had some nice tackle in them! We both signed up pretty early, but they did it by order of arrival. Oh well, like I said, I brought way too much anyway! We set up camp and hit the water by the ramp because we heard from some KFA-NY guys that there were fish in close and we did not need to paddle across the harbor for no fish again. 

We headed out from the ramp and found a nice light-line where I thought we may find some fish. I saw one rock swirl under the light and I got a little excited... finally some fish! I cast a large black Bill Hurley on a homepainted 3/4oz jig right into the shadow line against the wall and let it fall. There was a light tap and I set the hook hard! It ended up being 33" and my largest of the weekend. We found a few fish later in the light line that were much smaller but still fun. They were caught on a 1/4 jighead and the same grey/blue BKD! There were tons of squid around and I think we had a hard time competing with the real thing. We called it quits late and decided to head back in to get ready for the morning. 

The next day we hit Manchester harbor. If you ever have the chance to go to the Massachusetts North Shore, check this place out, it's beautiful! We fished it last year and did pretty well by following the birds and catching fish blitzing. We also hit some shorelines for schoolies on topwater plugs, so we were hoping to repeat that and just get some numbers. On the way out of the launch we were trolling some small soft plastics and we both had rods go down at the same time. Neither of us hooked up, but we were already hopeful that our decision to hit Manchester was right! We started casting and I found a low 20" fish (I should mention that I fried my phone on the way to Manchester, so no pictures of these fish) on a pink 6" sluggo. This would prove to be the lure of the day for me. We kept going out of the harbor and we did not really find any more rockfish so we decided to drop some seaworms (sandworms) to see what was on the bottom. My friend caught this unusual fish which seemed like the mutant offspring of a sea robin, oyster toad, and blowfish. It was mean. More of a surprise to me, I caught a mackerel on a 1/2 jighead tipped with a seaworm. I live-lined this (about 14") in the rocks you see to his right and hooked up with a 28" rockfish (14" / 28"??? I love rockfish). 


Anyway, we kept fishing the falling tide and then some of the incoming and finally found some numbers! The incoming tide brought squid with it, which we were able to see by a nearby boat using a sabiki rig to load up on them. I started jigging my pink sluggo and figured out that the stripers would hit a slow snap and fall. It was hard to feel the hit with a 1/2 weight and the ripping current and I recall on one cast having the rock hit the jig at least 4 times before hooking up. My friend also caught some fish here, I think on topwater, plug, and jig. It was nice to find some fish! After awhile it seemed like they moved on so we did to. We found a small pod of peanutbunker getting eaten on top on the way back in on a flat and I was able to pull one out of there before they went down. All fish on this day were 20"-28". We got back late and decided to forgo night fishing. We got a pizza and passed out. 

On the last day we launched at the ramp in the camp again and had another slow day. There was a lot of grass in the water all weekend which ruled out trolling for the most part so it was hard to locate fish. We found a bunch of bait in the channel which turned out to be small snapper bluefish. I was using a sabiki rig and they were biting the hooks off! I tried live-lining the snapper and to my surprise I caught a 25" and a 30" rockfish on live bluefish. There were tons of bluefish in that pod bc my fishfinder was blacked out for some distance. We didn't find any other fish and headed in for the awards dinner. 

The dinner was excellent! Normally I am skeptical of Northern BBQ but this was just like we have in the South if not better! Stuffed, tired, and smelly we headed home to Boston to hose things off and pack for home. It was a great trip overall but not the best fishing unfortunately. I plan on heading back next year!!!

Here's a few pictures of the last day:

Monday, May 20, 2013

Jamaica Bay Tournament

What a great trip this was! This was my second year attending the Jamaica Bay tournament held at Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn, NY. We had around 12 members represent Maryland and Snaggedline this year. Everyone managed to land fish with a few catching some nice trophy bass.

 I left the Maryland area Wednesday at midnight and arrived at Floyd Bennett around 4 am to do some recon fishing before the tournament with Jack (Pinch) and Redfish (Michael). We all did pretty well, each of us had a SLAM that day with a bass, blue and flounder. Too bad it didn't count for the tournament but we had some good pullage.


Chef Jack....pancakes anyone?

Pancake burger...don't knock till you try it.

Friday - 1st day of Tournament -
Friday we wake up at 4:30 and head out to our fishing spot. Last year I tried trolling around tube and worm without any success. I vowed to never ever buy another tube again. Well, things were a little different this year. I started out trolling an x-rap and a bomber plug without any hits. I look to my left and see Pinch landing fish. I look to my right and see Redfish landing fish. Ok, time to change up. I set up one of my rods with a tube and a gulp bloodworm. Deployed the line and bam, fish on! Its crazy how the blue's are picky up in Jbay. Bluefish in the Chesapeake Bay hit on pretty much everything, plugs, rattle traps, metals, soft plastics etc. I did manage to pick up a few blues jigging BKD's and Hogy's but the majority came on tube and worm.  I only managed some blues this day but I believe Redfish and Pinch hooked up with some nice stripers. Fluke fishing was also on point this day. We used the "do nothing method" which is essentially dropping your jig to the bottom and doing nothing. Surprisingly enough, we kept landing fluke without even lifting a rod to jig the bottom.

Michael with a dogfish

37inch striper

Saturday - 2nd day of Tournament -
Saturday was an incredible day of fishing. Again, we wake up and head out at 5am. There were schools of bunker everywhere so we decide to put the tube and worm away and live line BUNKHAAAAA. Bunker is like spot up in NY. You drop it in the water and right away you have bluefish and striper attack it. This was probably the best day fishing of the tournament. We all caught numerous bass of 35inches. Biggest being 37-38inches. The bite kind of died in the afternoon so Dail (stupidjet) and I decided to move locations. We both still had live bunkah on our lines and slowly made our way to a different spot. At about 6ft of water, I hear Dails drag on! A nice 37inch striper!
Dail with a 37incher


Sunday - Last day of Tournament -
Sunday was just miserable. Like the rest of the days, I wake up at 4:30, look out the window and it is pouring down rain. Back to bed. We wake back up at 9am and decide to get a few hours of fishing before the end of the tournament. It was windy, cold and rainy. We tried for bunkha but they were spotty and hard to snag so we decide to fish for flounder. I had a few hits, managed to land a shorty but that was it for me. Dail (Stupidjet) was able to land a nice 19incher before heading back in to shore. Overall, it was a great tournament. They had close to 300 kayak anglers attend. Fishing was excellent for the most part. Will be back again next year.

Maryland Kayak Fleet

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Jack Daughtry:   Delaware Tog Bonanza. (5/8/13)

Bait of the day: Green Crab

Finally got a nice window from all this windy weather to go out and get on some tautog in Delaware Bay. Launched from Cape Henlopen State Park to a beautiful 4 MPH south wind, PERFECT! On the way out to the walls I watched an angler on the pier catch a nice size flounder. I took this as a sign to bust out the bucktail/ Gulp combo and poke around the pilings at the end of the pier. After 30-45 minutes of nothing I moved on. Hit the inner wall and started fishing with half of a green crab on a 1oz white bullet head jig. Almost instantly I was drag deep in a feisty and pregnant female tog. I fished in a few different holes and was finding decent success but with the tide going out the water quality was fading fast. With poor water quality I decided to hump it out to the bay side of the outer wall. I really got into them out there. This is only the second time I have ever run out of bait fishing for tautog. Since I was alone and do not have a Yakattack Panfish the only fish pictures taken are on the Hawg Trough. Biggest fish of the day went 23'',21'' and 18'' pictured below.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Jamaica Bay Spring Bass

Jamaica Bay Plug Fest
Matt With a Nice 35'' Bass
Jack Daughtry

Got out this morning 5/4/13 to do a little bit of recon for the up coming Jamaica Bay Kayak Fishing event being held at Floyd Bennett Field May 16th through 19th. We had heard some decent reports about a few areas but decided to head out and try a few new spots. The plan of attack was to use big plastics such as Sluggo's, Hogy Lures and BKD's while simultaneously locating schools of bunker to live line. The bunker where everywhere but the schools were small and sporadic;  Our plan of snagging and dropping was fading. It was slow, VERY slow, It was like fishing on Lunesta.
           The last of the incoming tide came, then slack, and finally the current started moving again. The moving current and the city's lights illuminated several different current rips. These are in areas where water is being forced to alter it's course around structure (i.e. humps, ledges, etc.). We decided to switch up our game plan. Matt and I dug through the mini Bass Pro Shop's we cram into our milk crates and started working some shallow diving plugs in the rips. I was using a discontinued style of MirrOlure (pictured below), and the number isn't coming to me right now but I will post when I remember it. Matt was using a Bomber A-Salt Lure and a Creek Chub plug.
MirrOlure Plug
After a few minutes of casting through various rips Matt hooks up with a decent 26'' bass. It was the start of an awesome and frustrating early morning. The finally tally was 9 bass landed between 26'' and 40'' with the majority being between 33'' and 35''. We had several other bass come tight only to pop off within the first few moments of the fight. The biggest fish of the night went to Matt. Sadly this fish did not get a photo opportunity. While clearing his lines for a photo op the behemoth creature twisted its way free of a pair of fish grips and mockingly swam away as slow as possible to let the moment sink in for Matt.
Yes these waders have pink booties, and no I did not notice they were "Wader's for Her" when I bought them.

Deer in the Head Lights.