This one's a bit late. I wanted to do another trip with my father, who really likes fishing quiet secluded areas, so Dad and I took advantage of Captain Brady Bounds' kayak ferry service to make a trip to the Eastern Shore for some speck action. We met at Buzz's Marina at 5:30am and were joined by George Leonard of Specialized Baits. We loaded all of our gear (admittedly mostly my junk) into Captain Bounds' new guide boat and headed out as the sun was trying to work its way above the clouds.
We hit a couple places on the other side from the boat before heading to our final destination. George picked up a speck around 14" and a small striper at our first stop. He was using one of the Li'l Jimy bucktails he ties. Not only are they beautiful and look great in the water, but they also catch fish. Always a plus.
As we approached the drop off point, Captain Bounds and George pointed out some areas that we should work thoroughly on our way to the pick up point. We got to the drop off point, unloaded our gear, and off we went:
We couldn't get quite close enough to shore to hop out and put the yaks in the water, so we threw the yaks overboard and climbed in from the boat. Both Dad and I are pretty clumsy, but the process was flawless and smooth. In fact, it was so easy that I wouldn't hesitate doing it in the winter, either.
Unfortunately, clear water was hard to find, but we managed to find some in one of the areas that were pointed out during the approach. We kept missing a bunch of hits that were likely small croakers or reds. I finally hooked into something bigger using a chartreuse Gulp grub:
Sadly, it got off at the boat. It was either a nice speck or a barely legal striper. I saw lots of white and gray but not much else. At least I knew I was casting to appropriate areas and working the lure properly.
Shortly thereafter, I landed a 14" redfish:
We started working our way back to the mouth of the creek we were in. The wind had picked up and was blowing dirty water through a cut near the mouth of the creek, which made a distinct line where it hit the clean water coming out of the creek. I threw the chartreuse Gulp grub I had been using at the line. BAM! Fish on! It turned out to be a 13.9999" speck!
I was glad to have caught the target species. For the next 15-20 minutes, the action was none stop, and I was catching fish on almost every cast if I put it near the line in the water. However, all the fish were reds in the 12-15" range.
I wish that pic had come out better because that was one of the bigger reds I caught. I released the rest as quickly as I could. Dad got in on the action, too:
After the action died down there, we continued working our way around. We picked up a few more reds here and there and a few small croakers. I even picked up an 11" croaker on a Li'l Jimy electric chicken bucktail George gave to me, which was a first for me. We met the guide boat and re-entered the boat and loaded the yaks from the water, which also went very smoothly. While Dad and I were fishing from our yaks, George and Captain Bounds fished some other areas. They picked up a 20" speck near the drop off point and a few stripers as well. We hit a few spots from the boat that historically hold stripers and specks on the way back to Buzz's, and I picked up another 12" redfish and missed a few other strikes. Then it was back to the barn.
In all, it was a pretty awesome day fishing a pretty area with almost no signs of civilization except for the occasional military jet noise or crab boat. I ended with 13 or 14 redfish, the speck, and the bucktail-caught croaker. Dad caught a few reds and some small croaker, which was a new species for him. It was also his first time fishing from a boat (non-yak), and he had a blast. It was good fishing with George and Captain Bounds again, too. I'm looking forward to getting in more speck fishing practice.
When I got home, my wife handed me a package containing something she found on eBay. It was the 3-piece version of the Bass Pro Extreme rod I lost on the Mattawoman. How cool is that? It was definitely a great ending to an excellent day.
Anadromous fish come and go, but catfish stay forever.