Had the week off, so we headed down to Virginia Beach to spend time with cousins, and ofcourse fishing was on the brain. As usual, my first stop was to see Mark at Cow Harbor Bait and Tackle to pick up his remaining green crabs on monday morning before the trip. Bait for togs have become hard to find down there, so Mark hooked me up and I went down with 2 bushles of live greens. Thanks brudda!!!!
The plan was Strpers on tues, wed was a family day, and togging on thursday, with the trip home friday.
Tues, 7am we broke Rudee Inlet aboard my cousin Mark's newly repowered 44 ft Ocean "Reel Emotion". He went smaller on the diesels, and smaller fuel tanks, but she faster, and burns less gas. We cruied at 28 kts at 3/4 throttle. It was a quick trip to Cape Henry where it looked like the Great South Bay on LI during 4th of July...hundreds of boat everywhere, all looking for Rockfish. Find the birds, find the fish...unreal displays of diving birds, in formation attacking the bunker on top as if it was on the Discovery Channel. It didn't take long for the trolled MoJo's to get whacked with big healthy Bass. By 9am we had 7 nice sized Stripers onboard, bleeding out in the fish box when we got hit by something BIG. I grabbed the rod and put up a decent fight for a while, but the fish was no match for me or the tackle. Within 15 minutes, more than half the spool was gone, and I had no control of the beast as it ended with the line parting. What it was I will never know, but the radio chirped with scattered reports of BlueFin Tuna being hooked, and one landed.
We cruised home in building seas as the weather turned, happy with our catchy and lots of filleting back home...7 keepers for 4 of us onboard...all between 25-35 lbs....and a great Striped Bass meal for dinner.
After an off day wednesday we convinced my wife Brenda, Marks daughter Sarah, and his brother Larry to get up early and go for togs with us along the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. By 7am, we were launching from Cobbs Marina ramp with the "small boat", a 24 foot Sea Ray CC powered by a pair of 150 Mercs. We were bundled up and prepared for the cold 30 deg ride out, and thankfully, the bay was fairly calm so no spray to get us colder.
First stop was by the first island. Dropped anchor, and gave it 10 minutes..nothing. Repositioned..15 minutes....haul anchor to the next drop. This was by the 3rd island..again..very sticky, lots of rocks, but only two toadfish for our efforts. At this point, it was 10 am, and we were contemplating heading in to go for stripers again. Larry chimed in with a nice spot he's done well at the past few trips. Off we went in between the two tunnels.
We got to the spot, and marked some nice structure..its wierd to call it structure when you have a 20 mile massive STRUCTURE to fish...gotta love the CBBT. Anyway, anchored up on the wreck and we had life. A tap here and there, some lost tackle..sure felt like togging. Soon, Brenda was struggling in the corner..I thought she was stuck..nope, she was tight to a fighter...back and forth as she commented on the hard fight. I slipped the net under her first tog ever, a nice 4 lbs and the ice was broken. We couldn't cut those green crabs fast enough for the girls, or replace enough tackle, as they started to put on a show. Brenda and Sarah soon had 5 keepers between each other before the guys got a chance to catch up. It seemed like every rod onboard was used by everyone who had a chance to drop a crab down, although my wife preferred my UglyStick with the Avet she got me last month...once again, thanks Mark from Cow Harbor. We had a great bite going, with nice sized togs coming onboard. Brenda had the big fish of the day with a very nice 8 pounder that had her on the rail fighting it to the top.
We finished the day limiting out with 20 fish for the five of us. The girls were very happy they braved the cold to come out and see what us guys are always raving about when it comes to tog fishing. I believe Brenda will be joining me next October on the AllyKat to get her fix in. Headed back to the house for more fish cleaning and a fresh tog dinner.
Friday morning, no wind. too bad we are leaving....UNTIL....Brenda says why dont Mark and I go togging again. Come on, she's pulling my leg. She goes on about how nice it is, how we still have bait, we know were they are, we know when they bit, and we aren't leaving until 4pm....well, she twisted my arm enough, and by 10 am Mark and I were back in the truck heading to the ramp. Zipped out to the wreck, dropped the anchor a couple of times to get it right, but soon enough, we had life. Mark was getting hung up as I took a quick 3-0 lead..with two nice 4lbs. He got in on the action, and had 2 more inbetween rebaits, swings and misses, and re rigging. I nailed another keepers to bring us to 6 fish. As I was unhooking, Mark got slammed by something huge..drag puller, had him struggling until the heartbreaking pop as the fish broke off. Oh, the agony, he was not a happy camper. Back to fishing, and contemplating a move as it got a little quiet. Yes, no..lets wait it out went the conversation when my rod tip had a little motion, just a little scratch and the lightest tug...hmm, OK. lets see...I swing, and there he is..OH MOMMA!!! I get a few cranks on the Avet, and the fish gains it back, a few more turns, and the fish takes it back...am I hung up..nope..back and forth as I gain some ground. I can feel the big tail beating from side to side. At this point Mark set his rod down and is there with the net waiting for me to bring it up, telling me not horse it and take my time. Oh what a rush as the fish kept on fighting back down until finally I gain a bunch of line as the fish someone gave in. Up it came, the light gray BEAST came into view. The Tog didnt like the boat, and made another run, but everything stayed glued as Mark slipped the net under my biggest tog to date. WOW!!!!
Mark, nailed one more keeper for our limit, and we headed in. After we hauled the boat at the ramp, we weighed the fish as it was Virginia Citation...11.2 lbs
I cant thank my wife enough for MAKING me go fishing one more time.
All in all, a fantastic vacation with the family, and three awesome fishing trips. When I head south, I always know the weather could stink, or the fishing could be off, but for once all the variables lined up and we have memories of a lifetime, and hopefully, a wife that will enjoy going for togs as much as I do.
What a way to top off 2011!
Va. Beach Stripers
I think she''s hooked
Limit of tog
11.2 lbs TOG!
"Rockfish" on 12-27