12/22/11 - A rEELy good day!

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Mike Ward
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12/22/11 - A rEELy good day!

Post by Mike Ward » December 23rd, 2011, 11:37 am

(I guess this is where this report goes - feel free to move it if it belongs somewhere else....)


One of the guys/guides I know from SML (Dewayne Lamb) takes a few weeks off from guiding and heads out to the Chesapeake Bay to chase some big salty stripers every year around this time. Some of you guys may know Dewayne as he spends most of the fall and winter guiding on Boone and fishing some of the TN lakes. He had been out there for about a week and a half and had been texting pics of all these 50 lb stripers that he'd been catching - including a great day this past Tue when he and some guys got 15+ fish with 3 or 4 over 50 lbs. When he said I was welcome jump aboard on Thursday if I wanted to make the drive out, and I saw the weather conditions were going to be near ideal, it was an easy choice if I was going to fish SML or drive out to the Bay :lol:

Weather: PERFECT :!: Flat seas for most of the day, a slight bit of roll by the end of the day; temps in the 60s, winds 0-5 mph with a few gusts up to 10 or so; we did have fog roll in and hang out for several hours in the morning which inhibited us making a few moves that we would have otherwise....
Water: 50 degrees, several feet visibility
Techniques: pulling eels on planer boards - yep, good ol' freshwater striper fishing planer boards - set 15', 20' and 25' ft back from the board, some with a 1/4 split-shot weight. Also a few floats way out back, a free line and a downline. We were using a bit stouter tackle however, some sturdy 7' rods with these salt-water tailored 2-speed (5:1 ratio and a 3:1 ratio gears) and a few Tekota level-wind reels, but were only using 30 lb mono and 30 lb fluoro leader and 6/0 Gamakatsu Octopus J-hooks

All my gear was at the lake, so I had to make a 2.5 hr drive from NC to SML 1st (which is westerly, so technically I was somewhat correct in my post over in the FYAOSBO thread :lol: ) before making the turn east.....

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After a LONG drive, I arrived at the Bay around 12:30 AM, with a 6:50am wake-up call to head out.
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We were in the truck and putting in at the Kiptopeke State Park just a little after 8 am. As Dewayne was pulling the truck out of the water one of his buddies that called and said they were into fish, so opened it up and made a quick run to about 3-4 miles out into the bay.

Quickly idling out from the ramps, just about to pass the concrete ships
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We got out and setup for our 1st drift. Dewayne has a 24' BlueWave bay boat and having the trolling motor allowed us to fish a planer board spread and control the drift a little better where most of the deep-V boats are at mercy of the current and have to just fish floats off one side of the boat. With the perfect conditions we had a lot of company out there, but was not really a problem except for a couple of times when some guys were trolling a little too close to our boards....

I don't think we had our lines out more than 10 or 15 minutes when we had our 1st fish on..... and it turned out to be the largest of the day. It was a blast letting these things scream out some drag and have to fight them back to the boat - even if it was with a little heavier tackle. I can't imagine if we'd had Abu 6500s or the like, I expect I'd be totally beat today.
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45 lbs - I'm now entered in the FYAOSBO 30+ class as well - but I'll admit that this one may not win it - these were THICK fish....
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We fished the tail of the incoming tide and picked up several fish in fairly short order. Had 3 in pretty quick succession - I was about ready to take a break from fighting those fish to the boat - I need to work out....
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When the tide went slack, so did the bite - although we probably drifted too far north off the bait (and the fish), but with the fog it was a slow move back down.
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Eels were the ticket for big fish
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They apparently rEELy like them....
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As the tide changed we made an early afternoon move to another spot for several drifts and we picked up more fish there. Fairly early in the morning we found that the fish had moved from hanging over shallow water (20-25') where they were earlier in the week, to holding over a channel that was more like 50'-70', We also had to fine tune our presentation a bit in terms of the weight and length behind the boards to get in the right range, but in the morning and later in the day we had a pretty consistent bite going on, just a little slow mid-day.

We brought 10 fish to the boat, with most being 40"-42" and in the mid-30s' to low 40's in weight, although we did catch a couple in the 20s' (and I can't believe I did not think to weigh and measure those - the one I did I did not photo.... would have been able to enter the 15-30 class.... :evil: ). I think we lost another 5 or so from missed hook-ups or coming unbuttoned - including this one that screamed off some nice drag....

:evil:
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We never did find the 50 lbers that day, but I'm certainly not complaining - it was a great day with close to 350 lbs of fish brought to the boat (and released) and I learned a lot on how its done and now can start to planning to drag my own rig out there next year.... 8-) Based on the way things where shaping up, if the weather holds and the winds/seas stay down, next week may be THE week in the Bay......

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Jason McClure
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Re: 12/22/11 - A rEELy good day!

Post by Jason McClure » December 23rd, 2011, 12:32 pm

awesome, awesome, awesome! great report and pics mike. makes me wish i had a bigger boat to drag out there myself. who wouldn't love to get in on some of that saltwater action!

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chris merritt
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Re: 12/22/11 - A rEELy good day!

Post by chris merritt » December 23rd, 2011, 3:39 pm

Sweet!

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Re: 12/22/11 - A rEELy good day!

Post by John Yancey » December 23rd, 2011, 4:07 pm

That is awesome! May have to get after some salty stripes one day! A buddy of mine caught a bunch of big ones off the coast of Rhode Island a few years ago, but not that good.

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Rick Martin
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Re: 12/22/11 - A rEELy good day!

Post by Rick Martin » December 23rd, 2011, 4:13 pm

Congratulations Mike! Can't believe the other amigos didn't make the trip with you. Are you going to have a simulated mount done? I would if it were me. :D

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Troy Roberson
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Re: 12/22/11 - A rEELy good day!

Post by Troy Roberson » December 23rd, 2011, 4:56 pm

Glad you were able to make the trip. Nice report!
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Mike Ward
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Re: 12/22/11 - A rEELy good day!

Post by Mike Ward » December 23rd, 2011, 5:20 pm

Rick Martin wrote:Congratulations Mike! Can't believe the other amigos didn't make the trip with you. Are you going to have a simulated mount done? I would if it were me. :D
Rick - I tried to get some for them out for a guide trip but timings/ schedules did not allow, and then Dewayne called so I made the drive....

As to the replica mount, I think I've decided my rule is it has to be at least over 40 lbs for a freshwater striper but salt will have to be over 50 lbs maybe 55.
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Ezell Cox
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Re: 12/22/11 - A rEELy good day!

Post by Ezell Cox » December 23rd, 2011, 6:50 pm

Very nice. Impressive trip.

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Mike Werner
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Re: 12/22/11 - A rEELy good day!

Post by Mike Werner » December 23rd, 2011, 6:54 pm

Very nice!!

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Dennis Wynn
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Re: 12/22/11 - A rEELy good day!

Post by Dennis Wynn » December 23rd, 2011, 8:15 pm

Wow! That is an AWESOME trip and report!
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Shawn McNew
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3 cans I guess

Post by Shawn McNew » December 23rd, 2011, 9:21 pm

That's a great report, nice and detailed. How do you think a 20' aluminum flatbottom would do out there??? :o :o :o :shock: :shock: :shock: 8-) Not sure what to do with the cans since we've never actually ever had a salty striper report, so you get 3!
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Re: 12/22/11 - A rEELy good day!

Post by Dirk Dial » December 23rd, 2011, 9:44 pm

Those are some serious salty stripes. That must have been a blast, and glad you guys got some HOGS.

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Mike Ward
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Re: 12/22/11 - A rEELy good day!

Post by Mike Ward » December 23rd, 2011, 10:09 pm

Something I forgot to mention - those eels are tough - most of the time when the fish would hit them and we'd get hooked up, when we got the fish to the boat the eel would have been knocked up the line a bit - we'd unhook and release the fish and the eel would still be kicking - rehook it and back out it went for another go...... When you move spots you just toss them, still on the hook, in the floor of the boat (keeping them separated so they don't tangle up the lines) and then toss them back in the water when you get to the spot. Leave the SuperBait Tank II at home :D

Picking up a couple dozen eels at the tackle shop, tossing them in a bucket and leaving them overnight and being able to use them hit after hit, fish after fish sure beats throwing a net for gizzard shad and getting one bite out of them - even if the eels are $2-$3 a pop :lol:

Now there were also tons of menhaden up there and we saw evidence in the mouth of several fish - numerous that would be what we'd call money makers if on the lake. Apparently they are hard to net as they are so fast - need a 1" or larger mesh and at least 10' is not 12'. But if we'd have had some of these it would have been just like home...... Well, except for the average fish being 5 times the weight : 8-)
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Richard Sexton
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Re: 12/22/11 - A rEELy good day!

Post by Richard Sexton » December 23rd, 2011, 11:44 pm

Great reporting and pics! An epic day in my book! Beautiful fish!

Is that a shorter drive for you than TN?

Well worth the effort.
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Mike Ward
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Re: 12/22/11 - A rEELy good day!

Post by Mike Ward » December 23rd, 2011, 11:59 pm

Richard Sexton wrote: Is that a shorter drive for you than TN?

Well worth the effort.
It was defiantly worth the drive.

If I went straight from home (NC) then it is about the same time to get to the Bay or to the Knoxville area.... Given I drive 1.5-2 hrs a day round trip to/from work, 5 hrs is not too bad, espicially if I'm not pulling a boat. .

Of course these fish are only in the Bay (well, at least the big ones) for a short period each year - basically December. I think they make some bit of a return run when they head back north, but not sure what the regs are for fishing them then.

At least in TN even in the worst of weather you CAN get out there - not necessarily the case at the Bay - thus when I saw the conditions were forecasted to be as good as they were, I went.... :)
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Tyler Early
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Re: 3 cans I guess

Post by Tyler Early » December 24th, 2011, 12:19 pm

Shawn McNew wrote:How do you think a 20' aluminum flatbottom would do out there??? :o :o :o :shock: :shock: :shock: 8-)
In good conditions, no problem. I've seen people out in 12-14ft jons/skiffs. We fish my 21ft skiff out there some..it's all dependent on the conditions and also what the anglers can tolerate.

Awesome report Mward! Doesn't get much better than that! I saw Dewayne won that tourny..he told me he was heading down to fish in it a couple weeks back.
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Re: 12/22/11 - A rEELy good day!

Post by Mike Ward » December 24th, 2011, 1:00 pm

Yeah - it was the tourney put on by Chris' Bait and Tackle there at Kiptopeke - he won the 2-day tourney and big fish (48 some lbs) - then he caught his 54 lber on Tue....
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Re: 12/22/11 - A rEELy good day!

Post by Tyler Early » December 24th, 2011, 2:46 pm

There's your boy Dewayne putting some kids on monsters!

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Re: 12/22/11 - A rEELy good day!

Post by Mike Ward » December 24th, 2011, 4:35 pm

That's Mike Smedley from "Team Old School" / Cow Catcher umbrella rigs and his boys - they were out with Dewayne on Tuesday this week. Apparently after a couple of these fish the boys were spent - can't say I blame them :D
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Re: 12/22/11 - A rEELy good day!

Post by Dirk Dial » December 24th, 2011, 5:52 pm

Can I order a couple dozen of those eels online and have them shipped ??? I bet they would work in freshwater too. :P

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Re: 12/22/11 - A rEELy good day!

Post by Tyler Early » December 25th, 2011, 1:29 am

Mike Ward wrote:That's Mike Smedley from "Team Old School" / Cow Catcher umbrella rigs and his boys - they were out with Dewayne on Tuesday this week. Apparently after a couple of these fish the boys were spent - can't say I blame them :D
Ha. Yeah, I've seen Smedley's videos before.

"We're out here on Smith Mountain Lake in Gills Creek using 2" shad!" Haha.
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Re: 12/22/11 - A rEELy good day!

Post by Todd Asher » December 26th, 2011, 2:34 pm

Awesome trip!!! I have always wanted to catch a salty stripe! Looks like you might have wrapped it up in 30+ class!!! Congrats
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Mike Ward
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Re: 12/22/11 - A rEELy good day!

Post by Mike Ward » December 26th, 2011, 4:34 pm

Todd Asher wrote:Awesome trip!!! I have always wanted to catch a salty stripe! Looks like you might have wrapped it up in 30+ class!!! Congrats
I'm not counting on it.... If I had boated a 50 lber then maybe - the one Dewayne boated on the Tue before went 54 lbs and about 54" - but the big one above was only 45.4 lbs.... These are heavy/dense fish....
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Re: 12/22/11 - A rEELy good day!

Post by Jim Burch » December 27th, 2011, 12:43 pm

Mike, I was there the week before you and a guy weighed in a 61 pound fish at Chris'. It is amazing how these fish can be so close in legnth but once they reach about 40 pounds and 45+ inches they start to get another layer and get that blocky look. That 61 pound fish was around 53 inches long.

I was hesitant to post the report as it was saltwater trip but figured it was kosher after you did. I wish the water had been as nice as what you had. I have quite a few bruises to show for my efforts.

A few of our club member spend most of the month up there. Rent is not too bad but seems like it is rising as more folks are getting word.

I wish we had fish that could eat those eels at Buggs. Very low maintenance. People have tried but only managed a few blue cats that I have heard. Eels are $2 near Cape Charles but my understanding is they are only about $1 if you get them other places.

How did you like that trip through/over the CBBT?
Tight lines and screaming drags to all!

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Re: 12/22/11 - A rEELy good day!

Post by John Mantovani » December 28th, 2011, 4:43 pm

Awesome trip and report Mike! I have a friend that grew up in the NE fishing for salty stripes. He and his buddy developed a technique using surgical tubing as artifical eels and said they did very well. His buddy started a guide business using them and has made a career out of it.

I have dreamed about catching fish like that, but so far it is just a dream.
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Mike Ward
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Re: 12/22/11 - A rEELy good day!

Post by Mike Ward » December 28th, 2011, 5:46 pm

Jim - unfortunately my ride across/under the CBBT was in the dark both ways. On the way it it was about midnight and I could not see any boats at the bridge - just the reflections of some churning dark water. On the way out it was about 7pm and there was a boat in between what seemed like every set of bridge pilings.....

John - I've seen u-rig setups for sale rigged with surgical tubing for that exact purpose. Also saw Berkley Gulp has an artificial eel - although I think with either you'd need to be trolling or have some good current.

I was down at a down-east tackle store today in Kinston, NC (Neuse Sport Shop) on the way home from my folks. Almost everything was 30% off... I have a new jigging rod now 8-) However they had eels for something like $2.40/ea. I almost bought some to being to the lake this weekend and give a try :lol:
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Re: 12/22/11 - A rEELy good day!

Post by Tyler Early » December 29th, 2011, 9:39 am

Mike, next time pull your rig over the CBBT in the dark in 30mph winds! And then meet a big rig head on in the tunnels! Bring clean underwear.
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Re: 12/22/11 - A rEELy good day!

Post by John Mantovani » January 2nd, 2012, 2:38 pm

Caught this one on Lanier on 1/1/12. Just one day too late for the FYAOSBO.


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jk. It was caught last summer, "somewhere in long island sound". But, it was caught using one of the surgical tubing artificial eels I talked about above. Check out the pink tubing in the picture.
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Re: 12/22/11 - A rEELy good day!

Post by Shawn McNew » January 2nd, 2012, 2:59 pm

I know that's not photoshopped, but the fish looks dead, and how the hell is he holding it?
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Re: 12/22/11 - A rEELy good day!

Post by John Mantovani » January 2nd, 2012, 5:57 pm

I thought something looked off on the photo as well. I received it from my buddy, so I can not confirm the authenticity of the photo or the fish. But this was sent from my buddy's freind who is a guide up there. Main purpose was to illustrate the surgical tubing used to imitate an eel.
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Mike Ward
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Re: 12/22/11 - A rEELy good day!

Post by Mike Ward » January 2nd, 2012, 5:59 pm

John Mantovani wrote:I thought something looked off on the photo as well. I received it from my buddy, so I can not confirm the authenticity of the photo or the fish. But this was sent from my buddy's freind who is a guide up there. Main purpose was to illustrate the surgical tubing used to imitate an eel.
He should have spread his legs a bit, or stood to the side so the logo would have popped out...... that hook does look kind of placed for the photo..... :lol: Don't doubt that those tubes work however.....
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Re: 12/22/11 - A rEELy good day!

Post by Tyler Early » August 9th, 2012, 10:21 pm

Why the hell did I miss this trip for a crazy psycho? Who knew she would bug me for 6 months after I broke it off anyways? :evil: Live n learn.

I'm going this year come hell or high water. Mward, get your rig ready with that radar and let's just go for all of December!
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