As with most of us, my dad was the one that taught me how to fish when I was a kid. We spent countless days out on my grandfathers boat catching Spot, Croaker, White Perch, and the occasional Flounder, in the tributaries of the Rappahannock River.
Now that I've grown up, and fishing has become a passion of mine, I'm in the unique position to be able to teach him now. As long as I've been kayak fishing, I've often thought about how awesome it would be to get Dad out on the water, but Cerebral Palsy limits the use of his right hand, making paddling out of the question. For the first few years, Papa Dukes didn't show much interest in kayak fishing, but lately, he had started getting more and more into the idea. Dad had taken the Pro Angler 12 out for a spin at the Appomattox River Company Demo Day back in June, and was itching to get out and chase some Redfish. Billy and I put together a game plan, and with some help (a borrowed Hobie Pro Angler 12) from Joe Underwood , we were off to Lynnhaven Inlet early Saturday morning to see if we could bend a rod.
We headed out of Owl Creek and let Dad get his seat and pedals straight before making our way to the fishing grounds. Once we arrived, we staked out and explained the jist of what we were gonna be doing. Dad had his lines out as quick as possible and was ready to rip some lips! I had just gotten moved over into my spot about 25' away, when I look over and see Dad popping cork disappear. He gave him a good hook set and a minute later, Dad had landed his first Red Drum @ 19".
Watching Dad fight the fish, and light up when the drag started screaming was awesome. I imagine it was kinda the same way he felt watching me fish as a kid. We got a few pictures, and put the fish on a stringer since it had swallowed the jighead.
Dad was itching to get another so I got out of his way and let him get his lines back out. Billy picked up a couple of Reds around the same size as Dad's, but I wasn't catching anything. I wasn't really fishing though... the day wasn't about me getting on fish. I was just enjoying the time fishing with my father. It was about 30 minutes later when I heard Dad say something and looked over to see him bowed up! The light breeze had caused me to drift away a little, but Billy was nearby helped Pops land his second Redfish @ 18.5".
We continued to fish the area for another 45 minutes or so, but the tide was dropping out quick, so we decided to head out to a deeper creek channel and see if we could find some Speckled Trout or Flounder. After spooking a couple larger Redfish on a shallow point at the creek mouth, we pulled the kayaks up on a sandbar island and got out to stretch. There were a couple fish breaking in the creek so we began casting plastics. Everyone was getting bites, but the dink trout couldn't get the hooks in their mouths. I finally managed to find the largest in the school and landed a 12.5" Speck.
The tide was almost all the way out now, so we decided to pack it in and ride the last of the outgoing current back to Owl Creek. It had been an awesome day on the water, my most memorable day for sure, and I was honored to have been able to share something I love so much, with someone I love so much. Dad is hooked, and is setting aside money to purchase his very own Pro Angler. I can't wait to get out there with him again and see if we can catch him some big Speckled Trout and Striper. Even if we get skunked, it will be time well spent.
I want to thank Joe Underwood for letting us borrow his kayak, and Billy Ragulsky for helping with the logistics and the company.