Yesterday, my son and I hauled the kayaks over to Kiptopeke State Park on Virginia’s Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay. It is one of my favorite spots. Not because of the fishing – rarely have we done well – but just because it is a great little oasis. Just three miles from the tip of the peninsula, the park is located at the old ferry terminus that went across the mouth of the bay.
When we pulled in, the temperature was just about 80F with a north wind blowing at about 11 knots. We surveyed the conditions and crowd on the pier to see if folks were pulling fish up, and saw none. We decided not to head out to the grounded fleet of concrete ships right away with the chop and the wind after watching one kayaker working pretty hard to fish the ships. Instead, we launched and fished the shallower areas south of the pier where it was a bit calmer. This was about three hours before high tide.
Once we got into position, we were getting hits right away. Not much in the way of connections, until Zach landed a 20 inch flounder. But that remained the only fish for a while. There were enough hits though to keep things interesting. Both of us were working two rods – one with minnows, one with clam or shrimp. The latter options were generating the action.
We beached about an hour after high tide to stretch and fish from the sand. Sometimes we get a bit obsessive and will stay in the yaks for five or six hours without a break. Our record is seven. I was feeling the sun pretty well at this point and starting notice the stiffness in my shoulders that would be settling in later that night. The wind had remained pretty stiff and it was work maintaining position and despite that work, we were a good half-mile from the end of the pier.
We talked over our strategy and decided to check out the conditions around the ships, With luck, the might break a little of the wind.
We noticed about the half the way over the wind was slackening. This was great! We headed to the far north end of the concrete fleet dropped lines and started fishing, drifting up close to the hulls each ship. Zach pulled up a nice spot on the first cast. We spent the next couple of hours in near perfect conditions as the wind dropped completely. The bite was inconsistent, mainly a lot of oyster toads, including some that were quite large. Conditions had relaxed so much that I would occasionally look back and see Zach laying back and dozing, responding only to the occasional bite. When we finished the northern group of ships, we drifted to the second group and fished until we realized the tide had fully turned and was now pulling us on to the ocean faster than the wind had. So, a few more casts.
Unfortunately I was rigged only for bottom fishing because I looked east toward the ramp, and I saw a heavy body, with a red-tinge, roll about 60 yards away. A big red drum had been cruising the area and that was the only look I got.
Overall, it was day that couldn’t really be improved. Sure, we could have caught more fish, but just getting out with my son was good enough. Easy drive over, relatively easy drive back. No problems, no issues. Just a great day. And the continuing of a “tradition” that started many years ago and continued through years of scouting – I drive back and he sleeps.
It was also pleasant to be totally disconnected from the world outside of what I could see and here. Phone locked away in the car and spending thought capacity on what I was doing at the moment. Not worrying about higher education. Not worried about the current projects, or the next projects. Not worried about Twitter.
It was good. As good as good can be.