Friday, July 4, 2014

Spring Drummin'

     It's no secret that the Puppy Drum have been plentiful the last couple years, and can be found in creek mouths, grass lines, oyster bars, and flats all over the Tidewater area. I haven't gotten out nearly as much as I would have liked this Spring, but I've been able to squeeze in a few trips to get my fix...

The fishing always heats up in Rudee first, so naturally I started my spring drum fishing there....along with every other fisherman in Va Beach. Even with all the boat traffic and other kayak fisherman, the fishing was hot, and Puppy Drum were being caught everywhere. One day in particular, I helped my Dad load up his new PA12 and we met up with William Ragulsky, Rob Choi, and Jeff Lockhart to see if we could bend a rod.

Photo Credit: William Ragulsky
Pop's had a blast playing his personal best Redfish @ 22"

     We found fish along the shorelines, with small schools moving back and forth in search of an easy meal. Slowly bouncing dark colored soft plastics seemed to do the trick, and the action was steady. Once the tide dropped out, we all moved over to the island to take a "break", and eat some lunch. I quoted break because nobody ever really stopped fishing, and a few more decent fish were pulled even in a slack current.

Killing time waiting for the tide to turn.

 No matter how many you've caught, fishing for drum never gets old. Whether sight casting, tossing lures, or live baiting; Puppy Drum, Over Slots or Bull Reds- their drag peeling runs and head shakes will put your tackle to the test and leave your forearm sore. The tug is a drug and although I had gotten my fix, I couldn't help but fiend for more so I made the drive down the following weekend to get see if I could bend a rod again. Turns out, the bite was a little slower, but I still managed to catch a land a few decent fish.

 This Pup was a little smaller and skinnier than the others we were catching, so I decided it must have been the runt of its litter, and thus needed to be blackened and pan seared. Turns out it hand a 3/8oz jighead stuck through its stomach. It had healed around the hook and a mass of tissue had grown around the sharp end to prevent any further pucture of organs. Very Cool! I always check  the stomachs of the fish I catch to see what they've been feeding on. 

     It was 5 grueling weeks before I made my way back to the Tidewater area to chase drum in the kayak. By now, the water had warmed up a little, so Billy and I decided we would see if we could find some fish on the flats in Lynnhaven Inlet. We started the morning with a solid game plan, and we were going to stick with it and see where how we did. The wind was calm but with the cloudy skies, sight casting opportunities would be harder to come by.

We made our way to the first flat on our list, and in 10 minutes, Billy was hooked up with a nice 21" Redfish. He caught one more there and I lost one boatside, but after 30 more minutes with no action, we decided to move on. The water was dropping out quickly and we wanted to check another flat before it was too late. I was able to spot a couple fish right away as we made our way to the second spot, but not until I was on top of them and they were spooked. After making a few cast here and there, we decided to keep moving and head way back to a spot we hadn't fished in a while. 

     By the time we arrived, tide had turned and was coming back in now, which didn't have me feeling oober confident, since I prefer to target Redfish on an outgoing and fish the choke points and ambush spots. Nevertheless, we started working the shorelines and made our way to a small creek mouth with oyster mounds out front, and we quickly found a bite.

 What happened next, we didn't expect...Billy and I spent the next couple hours throwing a variety of baits and hooking up to Redfish every couple cast. This particular spot we were fishing always seems to hold a couple fish, but had never produced a day like this one. I had forgotten my Park n' Pole, so we were both using Billy's and fishing side by side. We could have doubled up if we wanted but we were taking turns casting as to not hook each other, and plucking out fish after fish. My favorite strike of the day came after watching a school of bait get crushed-accept for actual sight casting, there is nothing like knowing the fish is there, making the perfect cast, and knowing that the strike is gonna come any second. This healthy 25.5" Redfish put up a great fight after crushing a Egret Baits Voodoo Mullet.

        The Drum aren't going anywhere, but my attention will soon turn to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel it's bountiful fishery. Sheepshead, Spadefish, and Triggerfish, and Flounder are up for grabs, along with the occasional Black Drum. While the prizes can be many, fishing the CBBT structure is dangerous and not for beginners, so plaease keep that in mind as the summer fishing season heats up. I will try to keep the reports coming more regularly. Tight Lines!

P.S.- I did manage to get out with Ric Burnley and do a little boat fishing this spring too. We went out looking for Cobia and Bull Reds....

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