10 posts in this topic

We left Wednesday around 10:00pm in the hopes of catching the 5:00am ferry but by Rodanthe it was obvious we'd miss by a hair so we slowed down and got some fresh supplies etc. My day had started at around 8:00 am the day before as I took a 6hr round trip to get the best bait possible with the winds we'd been having. I had a feeling there would be no bait on the islands until Thursday afternoon and I was right. I was a very popular guy on the beach with 100lbs of the hottest commodity going with the wind out of the South and made a bunch of new friends. We had lines in by 7:15 or so and we were out on the bar fishing in the crowds. Being a Delmarva meat dunker the scene just wasn't for me and I didn't have a ton of confidence in the location...although there was one real sweet spot to our left that some guys had staked out pretty good. After no sleep and getting beat around on the bar for 5 hours it was time to go, the water had climbed to 62 degrees and I figured we'd have just as good a shot putting out a Delmarva spread and fishing from shore at many of the overlooked breaks and fantastic locations on the way south. Around noon we moved with the expectation of fishing through the night. We found a very subtle spot quiet a bit north of the crowd and had no one around for 500 yds or so.

We set up a 6 rod spread on the edges of the bars and hole and settled in. On this trip we fished all Barrier Island Magnum heavers that I've been working on for 18 months...they certainly tested out. For much of the trip 10oz was required in our location to stay on the edges and on the bite. I told Tyler that on the incoming we'd be in the fish, maybe not as many as the crowd south but we should find some away from the fray. Around 3:00 the doggies switched from spineys to smoothies (normally indicates warmer water and drum for me) and I knew we were close to being in the fish. Nearly exactly at the high tide mark a low rider rung spinner I was fishing bowed up in the spike and squealed off and I was in to the first drum of the trip. I have to say there is an added challenge as folks are riding by to keep a low profile with a 46" fish on but we did a pretty good job of keeping the info and location quiet save for a few folks that stopped to watch. After a long snowy winter,10 hours on the road, and being up for 34 hours it was a very gratifying fish especially in March. Tyler was Johnny on the spot with the camera as usual and no I wasn't trying to match my top and waders...

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There were high fives all around and some celebration beers for my first fish of the season and my first big drum on a spinning rod (which was key tossing big weights into a 20+ SE wind). About 2 hours later at dark there was a similar occurrence. By this time the water was looking real nice, the sun was low and we were tossing mongo bunker chunks thinking the fish would be in closer with the falling sun. That was indeed the case and a 48" fat and angry sansaspot drum took my bait and I enjoyed a fantastic fight at one point faking like I had tangled my lines as some fisherman drove past...can't trust a drum fisherman...

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As it got dark my confidence continued to climb and we lit up the rods for a long night of spring drummin'.

It didn't take long for another screaming run and this time it was Tyler's turn to get in on the action on his first night fish fight. With all those lines, the wind, and the current it is almost as much work clearing the lines as it is fighting the fish but we got it done and released another March drum (about 47" this time).

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Reports from down the beach were sparse so we felt pretty good about moving from the mix and scoring these private hole drum. We stuck it out until around 10:00 when our eyes and bodies couldn't take it any longer. I had set up the truck for napping on the beach but we heard they were kicking folks off the night before so we opted for a room at Blackbeard's and decided to sleep in arriving for the incoming tide again after a massive breakfast at Pony Island.

We didn't hit the beach until 12:00 at just about dead low tide and decided to fish until the front hit the beach right around high tide. I made the call that we'd also be leaving early rather than sticking out the 35kt NE winds and waiting until Saturday night to get back out. After our success the day before we felt pretty good about the trip and content with our three nice fish.

Friday was tough fishing with 10oz sliding quite a bit on the hard 25kt SW blow, you could only get about 8 minutes with your bait in the zone before you were washed into the hole and started to get sanded in. It was quite an orchestrated system re-baiting and casting 5 rods in specific sequence with all the current, wind, and line in the water...the dozen or so dogfish didn't help either. Around 3:00 we started to get smoothies rather than spineys and an hour later I was bowed up again right on que. A 44" fish hit the beach around 4:00 and our confidence climbed again thinking of a repeat. The pic doesn't do the water justice, it looked like we were offshore it was so blue, just a beautiful afternoon...for now...

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Not long after I landed this fish Tyler bowed up again but the current, tangles, and fish took us well down the beach away from the camera and we released our 5th big drum of the trip. Not long after we got back as we watched the front approach I commented to Ty that every time I've been on the beach when a front line hit I bowed up almost at the instant of the weather change, 3 for 3 is more than conicidence to me so we watched the rods and the front approach knowing that all hell was going to break loose weather wise in the next 10 minutes. Sure as the sun rises just before the temps dropped 17 degrees and the wind did a 180 and increased 15kts on top of the 20kts it was pushing prior a rod doubled over and Tyler was into his 3rd fish of the trip a cheating 40" with shoulders like I've never seen on a smaller fish and it put up one hell of a fight. It was old man and the sea style as the surf began to blow 20ft in the air and it turned dark and cold in an instant. I cleared the lines knowing that we'd be packing up and heading home after 3 nice fish a piece and getting it all right for a change. We got the days, the temps, the winds, the bait, the location and the gear all dialed in. There is some pretty interesting background shots in this series, check out the front. Now 4 for 4 when a front hits the beach.

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Ferry ride was fun too!

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&%@ i SHOULD HAVE WENT!@&^#&^&^

Beauty report Ben and some nice :icon_porc::icon_porc::icon_porc: to go with it!

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heard of two wednesday night as well...you're right...should have went! Not much on the end though, fish it like you do at home rather than dumping into the mix and it may pan out a little better if you get down.

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Incredible... Very nice job. Thanks for the report and pictures!

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Thanks guys, nice to get a fish where I can post a report! I still write them every time just most don't get posted. I'll be trading my island hopping for AI stripers this season with a new baby coming in June...can't be too far away so I'm looking forward to seeing some old buddies

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Looked like a perfectly Drummy day!

I like all the different layout of the tail spots, really cool!

Nice job Ben!

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Ben,

Saw your pics on tradewinds! Nice fish, just 2 more weeks before my pilgrimage south!

I'll be taking one of your creations in the tool box.

Dave

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