I made the trek up to Virginia Beach this weekend to compete in the Tidewater Kayak Anglers Association annual charity tournament. There was over $50,000 worth of prizes and raffle items which benefited Heroes on the Water and Project Healing Waters. This is my second year in a row attending this quality event and my second consecutive year of not catching much. 😦
Thursday 9/23 – Joey and I headed up to Virginia after work. We arrived at the Inge family’s Sandbridge house around 10pm. We were greeted by Scott, Nathan, and Kaleb, who had already arrived and were discussing the next day’s pre-fishing plans. Joey and I planned on fishing out of Oyster, which is on the the eastern shore, while the others were going to fish Broad Bay.
Friday 9/24 – Alarms went off at 4:40am and Joey and I headed out the door shortly after. We had a 56-mile drive up to Oyster, crossing the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel. We launched around 7am on an incoming tide and paddled out to some grass islands. I didn’t get any bites early, but finally I caught a couple small speckled trout around 9:30am in a creek. I caught back up with Joey around 11am and we hit a deeper hole that he’d marked earlier in the day. We caught several more small specks, but reds, and more importantly, baitfish, were nowhere to be found. A little later, I managed to hook into a flounder before we headed off the water. We ended the day catching 15 specks between us, all between 10″ and 12″, and the one flounder. I caught all of my fish with a Gulp! jerk shad and a red jig head. Unsatisfied with the quality of our catch, we didn’t plan on returning for tourney day.
We met up with the other crew and had some grub before heading over to the Captain’s meeting. Like us, they were unable to find quality fish at Broad Bay. We all ended up agreeing on fishing Lynnhaven Inlet the following day.
Saturday 9/25 – We arrived at Lynnhaven early, loaded up, and hit the water at the designated “safe light” time of 6:05am.
Here are a few shots from the water.
To make a long story short, the fishing was pretty awful for all of us. I caught one small speck that I couldn’t even submit a photo of because it was too small. Joey caught a small red and a small trout. The 18″ flounder that Kaleb managed was the only real hope of a contending fish from our group. Regardless of the tough bite, we all had a great time just being on the water together and fishing. That’s what it’s really all about. We had all had enough by 1:30pm, so we decided to beach our boats on a flat and hang out for a bit.
Some big fish were caught on tourney day, just not by us. Some lucky Virginians took home brand new kayaks. One guy caught a 45″ (!) red drum and, for the second year in a row, only one angler managed to catch a slam. In the end, the big winners were Heroes on the Water and Project Healing Waters. Enough money was raised so that some fine folks could start the Farmville (Central Virginia) Chapter of HOW.
Thanks to Wayne Bradby, Mark Lozier, TKAA, and all the sponsors for putting on another spectacular event. Special thanks to good buddy Skooteri for letting us stay at the house! Can’t wait to do it again next year!