All the recent hoopla in the Chesapeake Bay region of big cow stripers has had me chomping at the bit to get in on the action. Our last trip out to Plantation Light yielded miles and miles of paddling but resulted in zero fish. Needless to say, I was bound and determined to nail one of those big ole’ cows out my kayak!
Like I said before, those imprompteau trips can be the best. Watching the weather bringing nonstop rain didn’t stop the urge to get back in the driver’s seat. I called up friend and fishing partner Joe Underwood (PhillyJoe) and basically said, “It’s raining, who cares, LETS GO!”
We hit the striper grounds with high hopes and positive attitudes. Excitement slowly warmed me every time my Werner Camano hit the water as the intense anticipation grew for what might be in store. The name of the game was to soak eels; one on a weighted line, and one on a free line. With bait clickers engaged, it became another game of patience for the big un’s. It didn’t take long for the first clicker to start burning. Joe was first on the board with a nice 33″, followed up by a nice 38″ (pictured) a short time later. Warning, this is a picture heavy post…
In less than one hour, Joe had 2 respectable fish on the board. Like the competitor that I am, I didn’t want to be outdone. I would not have been too pleased to get a skunk after this. Just as I had hoped, I felt a giant “thud” on my free lined eel, “Fish On”! As the fish starts giving me a sleigh ride, the clicker on my weighted eel in my rear road holder starts screaming. “I GOT A DOUBLE, Wahoo!!” After what seemed like an eternity, I land my first fish and basically pin it down with my legs to keep it from flopping out the kayak. My attention goes to the rod with my screaming clicker. I engaged the reel, and SET the hook hard! Time for sleigh ride number 2! When it was all said and done, I had two big stripers in my lap! The one on the left is 38″ and the one on the right is 42″
Bait clickers were screaming and drags were burning all night long! One of the awesome parts of the night was hooking up with a fish 20 feet away from Joe as he hooks up. We’re basically laughing and saying, “This is great!” Joe lands a 38″ and I land a 32″.The rest of the night kept on the same pace. I caught a couple more fish but Joe had the hot hand for the night. He was hookin up left and right. Joe would mark a fish on his fish finder, reel up or down to it, then hook up seconds later, it was great!! He landed multiple fish over 30″ including a really nice release citation 44″. We ended the night with a total of 14 fish between 29″ and 44″.
Watchng Joe land that pig just drove me even harder to get back out again and try for that citation class striper before 2012 is in the history books. We headed back out a few nights later praying to have the same results. The bite was not as fast and furious as we hoped, but the night was not a bust either. I picked up a 36″ right away. The evening was capped off on a high note as I achieved the goal in which I sought after. Not only did I manage to get my first release citation striper, I got 2 in the same night. It was a blessing to land a really nice 44.25″ and a 45″ fatty!
If one thing is for certain, the cows are hungry in the Chesapeake Bay! These fish are strong and obviously put up a huge fight. Remember, the water temperature is cold and very dangerous! Use the buddy system and take every safety precaution during this time of year. It does not take long for hypothermia to set in once you enter the cold water. These fish are a great challenge, but not worth risking your life over! Be prepared, practice safety, and go after these huge Chesapeake Bay stripers!
~See ya on the water!