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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Has anyone paddled around the CBBT? I was thinking about it this summer and dont know how safe it is??? Will I need anything special and how many people should I be with? Just some questoins I have. If you can help I appreciate it.

Joey
 

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I have done it before, and there are tons of people at Tidewater Kayak Anglers Association > Home who do it all the time.

The only real thing you need to be careful of is the current. Do your homework in advance and make sure you know how strong the tide is going to be, and in which direction. The entire chesapeake bay is emptying out through there, and I've been there in a boat many times where it would have been inpossible to do much more than hold position while paddling against the current.

That said, I've been as far as the 3rd island of the CBBT, launching form either shore. That's a very long day and not something most people will do, but when the current isn't bad and the waves aren't too big there's a lot of water to be covered. If you're concerned about how big the water is at CBBT, there is a fairly consistent nightime striper bite at the HRBT (sometimes called the "coleman bridge" on this site and others)... which is far less of a paddle.

I've also never fished in the summer... only the fall/winter... so can't really advise on the best places and techniques. But you have opportunties for drum, cobia, flounder, small stripers and blue, spadefish, sheepshead, and probably some more... all around the bridge. There's also great puppy drum and speck fishing inside lynhaven inlet if you need more protected waters.
 

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Actually, the Coleman Bridge is the bridge on the York River. The HRBT is on the James. Both spots are good at night. There's also the concrete ships at Kiptopeke, which is supposed to be more protected. I haven't yakked there, but I really want to.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
As for safty, will I need anything special? Do most people respect kayakers? I know ships and all go thought there. I use my marine radio alot. Should I take anything extra?

Joey
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Bill,

Mabe we could get a pretty good size group to go down there this spring/summer. Its a pretty good drive for us and mabe Joe will be intresed.

Joey
 

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In the case of a ships your only hope is to keep a sharp lookout; know where the shipping channels are; and stay out of the shipping channels except to cross them. Big ships can not turn or stop fast (stopping distances are measured in miles). Also they are limited by depth and a kayak would loose if it is a choice between running you over or running aground.

Be extra cautious about submarines. I have seen 5 foot bow wakes off of them at 300 yards. This happened to me many years ago just north of Fort Wool which is north of eastern island of the the HRBT tunnel.

Some geography

Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel is at the mouth of Hampton Roads (I64), which is the confluence of several river systems, the James and Elizabeth being the two largest.

The Bridges on the lower James are the Monitor Merrimack (I664) M&M and the James River Bridge (RT17-R258-R32).

The Coleman Bridge is where RT 17 crosses the York like someone else said.

To the question on the tread. If you go at night use lights. Something extra to take if you are going to be kayaking out to the first island is a buddy or two in their kayaks. Also if you are going at night outside of the HRBT (i.e. the CBBT) you will no longer be in inland waters so you will need a flare gun or an emergency S-O-S beacon which is different than a flasher type of beacon that you get for your lifejacket. Go to the kayak Forum and do a search on lights there should be a thread or two about that.

Also I would make sure that you have practiced re-entry on your boat and insure that everyone else that is going has done the same.
 

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Question: When fishing the bridges at night in a ripping current, do you anchor? If so, off the bow? Stern? Does it matter with a kayak being that the keel is basically the same no matter which direction it faces?

I was with a guy on the Potomac who anchored off the stern in fast water, a few minutes later his boat started going side to side rather quickly, then all of a sudden the stern went under water and he flipped. If that happens out there you are in trouble but you need to be prepared for it and practice flipping and getting back on.

If you anchor, what type of anchor will hold in say 30 feet of water?

I know you want to be facing up current, fishing the light line with the fish facing into it like a trout, so I'd imagine you would want to anchor off the bow.


As for the concrete ships, I'd drift fish for them but drift fishing under the bridge will basically drift you out of the prime lie too quickly and maybe offer one or two casts before you have to do it all over again and reposition yourself. That's where the peddle drives come in handy I guess.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I dont want to sound like an idot but should you message the Coast Guard at all if your going farther out??? I ask this because when we were planing a paddle across the bay, the Coast Guard said you need to radio to them when you are leaving both sides and they will give you reports through out the trip.??????

Joey
 

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I would not recommend anchoring around the open water of the bridge tunnels. I have seen a Tarpon 140 there sucked under in the outgoing current.

As for calling the Coast Guard... Most of us keep a radio on constantly in case we need to radio. I had not heard that the USCG asks for update calls. Anyone have anymore info on this? I would say to keep the CG channels as clear as possible in case emergency calls are made on the frequencies. You don't want to step on someone's transmission, otherwise it could be a good idea.

As for the Coleman Bridge, it is a totally different kayak fishing environment than the bridge-tunnels. The Coleman is a high-rise with minimal light effect on the water. The lights around it that can be fished are on the Yorktown and Gloucester sides. It is also 60 feet deep just off the shorelines, and has a considerable amount of current, since the York funnels up there at the thin point on the river. For this same "thinness" there is minimal room for ships going to the depots to manuver. Otherwise, the Coleman can be very productive, just remember the depth and which side you want to fish.

John "Toast" Oast
Fishyaker.com
Ocean Kayak Fishing Team
Williamsburg Kayak Fishing Association
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
The CG just wanted us to msg them when we were leaving. thats all, if ships were coming up the bay they would radio us on 72. I dont us 16, I try to keep that as open as possible.

Joey
 

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Joey,
When you go, you go with me. I have started exploring the lower Chesapeake Bay. What I have been doing past 5 weeks was findigng the backup place when the wind is stronger than forecasted. The backup places are Coleman Bridge, Hot Ditch and Rudee Inlet so far. The lower Bay is not as bad as I thought though these backup places are actually very good and you don't need a big kayak. I found that Boaters are nice usually except Annapolice and Solomons Island areas. Now you got the picture.

Salmo,

About the anchoring, I am with John "toast". I prefer not to anchor. Though I can anchor in 60 ' of water with a 3.5 lb Grappling anchor with over 120' of line. I use 3/16" braid line (thinner than most of kayakers use). Anchoring in 30' of water with 50' of line is not a problem with strong current.

Joe
 

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I'd be up for an extended summer run down there. Lynnhaven Inlet is a good spot, too. The CBBT is a little too hectic for my liking, but Kiptopeke and the other spots sound pretty good. There are also nice blue cats in the Pamunkey and Mattaponi on the way back.
 

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The CBBT is not bad at all as long as you have paddling experiecne and are geared right for it. If it is winter time, wear a dry suit. Make sure you are lit up properly at night as well. I don't bother anchoring at bridges or even kiptopeke. If you start drifting out of the desired location just take a stroke or two and get right back up on it.
 
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