Logging Time and Paying Dues

It’s been said by the Virginia bull red veterans that you have to put in the time and pay your dues to the Eastern Shore. At first you wonder what they mean by that. Put in the time??? I would say I fish a lot… Pay your dues??? Is there some club treasurer that I need to find? Only when you take on the daunting task of trying to land an Eastern Shore giant redfish in the spring will this saying make sense.

In between the long and strenuous days at the Eastern Shore have been other related events to break up the monotony. The win at the YakAttack tournament was a great way to get back in the positive mindset. That good feeling takes a long time to wear off when you consistently stare at your shinny new urban camo Ocean Kayak Trident 13 sitting in the garage. I was not only staring at it out of enjoyment, but also trying to formulate ideas on how I would want to rig it. Stay tuned for a rigging post in the near future…

Another big event of the spring is the Appomattox River Company Demo Day in Farmville, Virginia. This is the time where over 25 of the industry’s leading manufactures get together to let the public test and try out new products. I also look at this like a high school class reunion. You get to hang out with your forum buddies and social media friends instead of constantly facebook messaging or tweeting one another.

Ocean Kayak/Johnson Outdoors tent

Kayak Kevin, Rob Choi, and I were in charge of manning the Ocean Kayak/Johnson Outdoors tent for the day. Needless to say, we were busy to say the least. If we were not loading people in and out of kayaks and canoes, we were answering every type of question under the sun. I was pretty stoked that one of the clinics of the demo day was YakAttack’s owner Luther Cifers rigging up my new Trident 13. You know you’re in good hands when Luther is the one drilling holes.

YakAttack work station…Schwigy approved!
The people that know me will all tell you that I’m persistent and don’t give up. Even though the Eastern Shore has been giving me the “one two punch”, the fire still burns to get out and conquer. I was consistently checking my weather apps after the demo which showed that Sunday was going to be light winds for most of the day. It was a no brainer that this was going to be my next trip (and quite possibly my last of the spring) to the bull red hunting grounds.

I met fellow Werner Team Paddler, William Ragulsky, at Oceans East to grab some tackle and chit chat with Kayak Kevin before we headed out. The conditions were great and the feeling was in the air…today is the day!

Eastern Shore morning

One thing that I noticed with the Eastern Shore is that when the action happens, it’s FAST! I was trolling 2 lines while kneeling and paddling to scan for bronze logs to sight cast to. In no time, my “short line” rod doubles back with my drag screaming. I knew right away that I had a red hooked up. By the time I was able to turn around to get my hands on it…

POP! SON OF A B!%@#…

along with many other expletives flowed like wine in pure disgust. The knot that connects the braid to the leader gave way. At the same time, William throws out in front of me and connects immediately. He lands a nice 40″ red.  I fan-casted another setup to no avail. I was left feeling like Muhammad Ali had his way with me. The knot that I use is the same knot that I was able to catch over 30 reds over 30″  while in Florida and it never failed on me. The monkey on my back was rolling around while laughing hysterically. Oh, the agony of defeat.

Trolling miles and miles…
William’s 40″ Eastern Shore red

If I had to chose one word to sum up my spring 2013 bull red hunt it would be… “humbling”. For me, there is no other word to describe it. On the flip side, it’s not like that for everybody. Some fishermen go out and land these monster reds within their first couple of outings. Is it luck? Is it skill? Is it being and the right place at the right time? Is it a little bit of everything? Nobody can really explain how that works. I guess you can say that’s fishing!

It’s hard to count the hours, the miles on and off the water, the tolls, the parking fees, the amount lost in tackle, etc. To the Eastern Shore angler, that’s not what it is about. It’s all about the insane fight from a massive bull red. I’m happy that I’m putting in my time and paying my dues now because when the day comes that I’m able to hold that giant redfish for a picture, I will truly feel the overwhelming satisfaction like those that have paved the way before me. That will ever be so sweet…

~See ya on the water!

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