Saturday, October 11, 2014

Roger, Bob and Andy

Oct. 9th, Sunny and Pleasant, Water Temperature 69* and Clear
After a rain last night then clearing around 2am on a very bright full moon I wasn't too excited about going to the lake. As I expected when I hung my lanterns there was not much difference in the lantern lights and the moonlight. I threw for about an hour before picking my crew up at 5:30 then threw for another hour and a half. My clients wanted to go out to watch the bait collection process and saw first hand how difficult it can be, even for a guide throwing a 10 foot net on 4 different lights. We ended up with about 75 baits which was plenty to start with. I told the guys with that bright moon we would be lucky to catch fish in the morning because every fish already ate on that full moon and especially since the major feed was at 5am. I set out a spread of 6 boards, a bobber and 8 downlines and started pulling shallow flats and points where I knew fish were holding. We took a couple of short hits which confirmed my thoughts on the non feeding mood of the Stripers. After leaving the shallows I started to move out to deeper flats when a few gulls started circling over the flat I just pulled. I saw a couple swirls under them so I turned back and pulled the flat again. That was a mistake, I went back to 8 inch punks chasing 2 inch Threadfin to the surface. I moved to a ledge and we ended up catching 3 or 4 Stripers but took a dozen hits to boat them. The guys did not want to keep any fish but I kept a few for some people who had been asking me to save some fish for them. I worked a similar ledge and popped a few more then decided to go catch some larger Gizzards and try them. After catching them I set out my spread of 15 more lines and pulled about a two mile stretch of water only to catch a couple more fish. It was getting late and I told the guys I wanted to check out one more place. I went to an area where I catch fish in the middle of the day on a 30 yard section of a ledge. I set out downlines and before I could get 5 out 3 of them hooked up with nice Stripers. We boated them and many others till the bite simply quit. We had released fish in the area and I believe they warned the rest of the fish about our presence. My clients ended up being very happy with the trip and and want to come back and do it again, hopefully not on a full moon. They are holding a couple of the fish they caught today.

Friday, October 03, 2014

Progression of working a school of Stripers with my Simrad

 I located this school up on a 30 foot flat first thing in the morning. After setting out down lines we started catching fish. This pic was taken 30 minutes after I found the school. I had dropped a bait to the bottom [straight line on bottom left of screen] which hooked up immediately when it hit the edge of the school. You can barely see the fighting fish in the middle of the screen as it is being reeled in [Between 25 to 15 feet]. The fish was on the edge of the cone angle of the transducer therefor it was not very clear. These fish were on the trailing edge of the school and were all punks. They were not keepers but were fun catch.

 Using my side scan I determined the school was moving deeper on the flat so I steered the boat in the direction the school was moving. We were steadily catching Stripers but the larger fish were at the top of the school. We raised the lines up to 23 feet as you can barely see [very light horizontal line at left of school] then two thirds of the way across it hooked up rising up to 15 feet then the fish dove back down into the school.  We had numerous fish on at this time and fish in the boat that we were taking off the hooks therefor we could not reel this fish in for a couple minutes.

 I had temporarily lost the school in this pic and was over a small pod of punks. I saw some larger fish off to the right of the boat so I steered the trolling motor that direction. You can clearly see our bait about 10 feet deep [horizontal line at 10 feet]. We had raised our baits up this high because the nicer fish were feeding in the upper water column.

My move paid off in this shot. Just a minute after I turned the boat and got away from the punks we hooked up with nicer fish. We continued to catch nicer fish for quite awhile but I was too busy to pop more pics. I could have never stayed on this school without the aid of my Side Scan. Simrad and Lowrance have made my job SO much easier and productive. Technology has come so far in the last few years it is a shame for anglers who have major investments in fishing [boats, tackle, vehicles, etc.] to continue to use outdated depth finders. In addition to Structure Scan, today's electronics have features like touch screens that allow you to quickly navigate through menus and are simple to use. If you purchase a unit from Greentop they will even program the unit before you leave the store to set the unit up for the waters you are using. I have been primarily focusing on Structure and Echo uses of my units but but when you incorporate the technology of Navionics Charts the fish almost don't stand a chance. I will try to take time to post some cool uses of charts in the future. For more information on Navionics, contact Thomas at Greentop. He is extremely knowledgeable about Navionics and also is a regional rep for Navionics.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Classic Furniture of Charlottesville

 Carson, Gwyneth, Brooks, Rob, Robert, Abby and Leyton

 Feeding Stripers

Cloudy and Rain, Water Temperature 75* and Clear
I had met Robert at the dock a couple times when I was bringing my clients in at the end of my charters. He seemed interested in Stripers and one time I gave him some left over bait to try to catch some on his own. He wanted to learn what this Striper fishing was all about and booked a trip with me and brought along his son and his family. When I saw the four kids coming down to the boat I knew this would be a fun trip. Robert had gone out with me to catch bait earlier in the morning and we had put 194 baits in my tanks. When we took off all I could think about was putting these kids on some active fish. I looked for about 15 minutes then found what I wanted. After instructing everyone on how to deploy the downlines and how to reel the fish in on circle hooks I motored about 100 yards and we tried to set up on the fish. I could not have planned this any better in my dreams. Every rod hooked up and the kids started reeling in Stripers. Robert and Rob were helping me take the fish off while I baited the rods for Abby and the kids. As soon as they would get the new baits down they would hook up again. You would think with constant hook ups for an hour straight it would be chaos but we all worked together as a team and it worked out great. This crew did better than most of my seasoned clients! All the children reeled fish in without assistance and the adults reeled in fish when there were too many rods hooked up for the kids to handle. Needless to say when we finally lost the school everyone had forgotten the cold ride to the fish and were ready for a break.  We then went back to the marina for a break then went in search of more action. I looked for some more schools but everyone was uncomfortable with the cold temps and drizzling rain. I simply set up and put baits out hoping to create some action. We never went more than 100 yards total for the next 4 hours. We would hook up about once every 15 minutes or so with a few doubles and triples in between. We used up all of our baits and had to call it a day. This family did great today. Everyone had smiles on their faces even when it was pouring down rain. Come to find out after talking to them throughout the day we had done business with them purchasing Mattresses and furniture from their  stores in Charlottesville over the years. They were as easy to work with then as they were to fish with today. 
Good People

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Matt and John

Partly Sunny and Pleasant, Water temperature 78* and Clear
I caught bait early this morning then picked my clients up at 6:30 at High Point. We rode for over an hour looking for schools but I never saw what I wanted to fish so I decided to go shallow and put out a whole lot of baits. We started taking hits on ledges but the first 5 or 6 fish were punks. Once we found the part of the ledge the fish were holding on we proceeded to catch keeper after keeper. We would only see a fish or two here and there on the ledge but that was what it took to consistently catch fish. We had to get off the water early because Matt had to go back to Winchester but they had more fish than they could handle. When John booked the trip he said all he wanted was for his son to catch fish, and that is exactly what he did this morning.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Simrad makes my job easier

 Here is a school of Herring I was throwing on in the morning. I was also catching some 3/4 pound Crappie on the outer edges of the school of bait.

 As I was running back to the marina to pick my clients up I took this shot. These were a whole lot of small Stripers suspended off of a 15 to 20 foot flat. I was running about 25 mph and saw the fish on my sonar in the middle of the screen. As I slowed down I realized what they were hurried back to the marina. By the time I picked my clients up and got back to the spot they were nowhere to be found [Over deep water]. I eventually located them up on the shallow flat feeding in water less than 20 feet deep.

 This is another pic of a school of small Stripers that were feeding. We had downlines down at 24 feet catching punk after punk but caught keepers on free lines thrown out the back of the boat with one split shot on the line.

This pic was popped a couple minutes after the picture above this one. I was just in front of the school of Stripers and was going over the bait that the fish were feeding on. Notice all the small dots on the side scan screen. The Stripers herded the bait to the surface and fish were blowing up all around the boat. Again the free lines paid off in the blitz. 

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Louisa Thunder Fast Pitch

Here is a great idea for my clients, journal followers and friends.  DP Seay, one of my guides, is giving away a full day charter for up to 6 anglers (a $650 value) to be used anytime in 2014 or 2015 to raise money for his daughter's travel softball team. The 12U Thunder Softball Team needs to raise money for the upcoming season and are raffling off a trip with DP to help generate some funds. The price for a raffle ticket is $20 each or 3 tickets for $50 and goes to a good cause.  This is an opportunity to take or give a trip to someone who already plans to go out with us in 2015 or to someone who always wanted to for 1/32 of the cost of the trip.  Ticket sales end on October 9th, drawing will be held October 12, 2014.
If you would like to get a chance to win please copy the ticket, fill out the required information and mail the ticket and check (payable to Mike Sampson) to: 
DP Seay
235 Sam Boyd Rd
Louisa, VA 23093
Please include your email address on the ticket and DP will notify you once your ticket has been received.  Thank you in advance for your support and GOOD LUCK!!!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Loving my Simrad

This is a shot I took this morning where I found fish hugging the bottom over 20 feet of water. It was cloudy and rainy and the fish were fairly shallow. We had down lines out at 18 feet and were constantly banging the fish. We had a couple of guys see us catching the fish and come right over thinking they were on them but we never saw them catch anything. Every time we would move they would move right beside us and watch the action. They finally threw their hands up in disgust as we continued to catch Stripers.

By the time I popped this picture we had four boats around us trying to keep up with the school. We were still steadily catching Stripers and had been working the same school for over an hour. Fish were also breaking on the surface nearby us. My clients were having a ball catching Stripers.

In this picture we had just released a nice Striper. You can see the splash as it hit the water in the center of my sonar screen and you can also see its swimming back down to join the school on the bottom right side of the screen. By the time I popped this picture we had been working the this same school for about an hour and a half. We were getting hungry so I pulled off the school so Kim from Honey Bake Hams in Fredricksburg could make sandwiches and we could take a short break. Well the Stripers were not going to let us have any peace, they still hammered us. The rain eventually got uncomfortable later and they decided to call it a day. We had not caught a fish by 9:30 when we went back to the marina to pick up James, a wounded warrior who missed out on the Bass tournament this morning, but once he got in the boat we had almost constant action for 3 hours. James commented "I have Striper thumb, I have to quit handling these fish".......That's a good problem to have.