Fishing Report Bull Round Up - Spring 2017 Season Recap

Discussion in 'Chesapeake Bay' started by RavensDfense, May 25, 2017.

  1. RavensDfense

    RavensDfense Angler

    2017 Spring Red Drum Recap

    Being on the Eastern Shore of MD is a blessing and a (small) curse each year. As fall ends and the doldrums of winter set in, our fishery goes somewhat quiet (from a kayak perspective). It doesn't really get going again until April. Most of the big stripers that guys catch in February/March are well north of us, so we are forced to sit back and watch with envy (or make the drive). However, when the temps begin to creep up into the mid 50's, low 60's, we are the closest to the Chesapeake Bay's hardest fighting, most sought-after prizes....BULL REDS!

    This year, with the unusually warm winter we had, the water temps on the Eastern Shore of VA began to creep up much faster than expected. By early April, they were pushing 51-52 degrees. After two weeks of patiently/obsessively looking at the water temps, it was time to make an exploratory trip south in hopes of catching a red. Gary (Hemmingway) and I loaded up our big fish gear, dry suits, and headed south.

    When we launched, to our surprise, we were not the only ones there. A group of VA guys was just behind us. We pedaled/paddled out to where we thought they would be based on the tide and water temps, but found nothing but cold, clean water. After several miles and a couple of hours of searching I get a call on the radio that one of the VA guys hooked up. Gary and I pedaled like crazy to catch them, as they were over a mile away. When we arrived they were snapping pictures of the three reds they landed. Gary and I began to launch our swim baits in all directions; a literal bombardment of lures raining down into the vast, open water. The drum gods were looking out for us that day because soon after our first set of casts, we both connect. After a few pulled and bent hooks (these fish are so strong) we landed two beautiful drum; mine at 47" (Ill let Gary share his sea monster). We paddled around for the next hour or so, hooking into bull reds. I landed 3 that day and lost another 3, due to being under-rigged in the hook department. After searching for several more hours we lost them, but still went home smiling knowing the early arrival of reds meant we were in for a hell of a season! Here are some pics of that day....

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    (Photo Credit for above four photos - Wayne Yu)

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    Then the wind arrived! We waited and waited and waited some more for the wind to settle down. It seemed like it was taking forever to find a day that it wasn't blowing 15-25 mph. After over two weeks of waiting, we finally found a very small weather window that looked (at least on paper) that is was doable. When we left Salisbury at 12:00 noon, it was howling 25 mph. The entire ride down the shore, we looked as the flags stood out on end. And then, just like that, when we pulled up to our launch, the wind stopped dead. We launched to calm conditions and quickly found a GIANT school of bulls. Quickly landed a 47" red, and I look over to see Gary doubled up! After some pictures, I used my fish finder to find a school in about 20 FOW, dropped a bait down and BAM! Fish number 2 on! We searched for a while longer and continuously found the school; only we ran into the same pulled hook problems we had our previous outing. I lost 6 more reds before we found the school one last time. As we were pedaling back in, we saw a huge oil slick a few hundred yards ahead of us. To our pleasure, sitting just up from the slick was the culprit. A school of 50, mid 40-inch pulls feasting on floating crabs. We casually pedaled up to them and made our presentations to the school. They were all over it and Gary and I landed two more mid 40 inch reds. We also had a tag along that day; my old college roommate who had never caught a red. He landed a beautiful 45 incher after a few missed hook ups. We ended Day 2 with 7 between three of us.

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    Thankfully, it didn't take long before we were back in the saddle. A week later, we were headed down Rt. 13 South in the darkness to our launch. Feeling confident and dialed in, we headed to where we thought they would be. They were not there. They were about 200 yards further :p. For the rest of the day Hemmingway, Slobber Bob, myself, and one other guy beat up on the drum. We found them all over the place without another person in sight. I landed 5, Gary landed 4, Slobber Bob 1, and Adam 1. The coolest part of the day was as we were pedal in, we saw tons of dolphins sliding up onto shore, flipping baiting up in the air and into their mouth. Wish I could have gotten a video but of course every piece of camera equipment I had was dead.

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    Even the birds cooperated in this picture. Typically our reds have a light color, but this gal was lit up! (Photo Credit - Gary Marine)

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    On the final day of our spring season, we ended the day with four reds over 40", but forgot the camera equipment. :(

    Gary and I ended the year 21 red drum over 40"; many pushing 48-49"" and one fish that Gary caught that may be the largest red I have ever seen in person....easily over 50. Similar to years past, we put in A LOT of miles each trips; likely pushing close to 80 miles in four trips. Being in a Hobie made it a lot easier!

    Thanks for reading!
     
  2. TechnicalFisher

    TechnicalFisher TechFish Staff Staff Member

    What a report!!! Just promoted it to front-page status. You guys are doing an amazing job of pushing the limits of what's possible on a Yak, those fish are trophies from any platform. Really great write-up and pics.

    If you don't mind sharing, can you give some very general info on what kind of depths these fish are in during the spring run and what you use in terms of tackle and lures/bait? Thanks for the great round up post!!
     
  3. RavensDfense

    RavensDfense Angler

    Whoop whoop! Thanks

    I don't mind sharing general info. We use a combination of swim baits and live bait. Storm lures used to be our go to swim bait, but the hook quality went downhill big time this year and I lost a few fish. I switched to Hogy swim baits and they worked well, but at $8/piece they hurt to lose if the fish finds a piece of structure such as an old crab pot or submerged stump. Peeler crab also works well if you are bottom fishing structure, such as a sod banks, rips on points, drop offs, or ocean breakers if you want to go really far south and fish the barrier islands. On days when you cannot see them, this is how we are forced to fish.

    This year was a little strange when providing specific information about depth because it widely varied. The majority of our fish came in 16-20 FOW.

    As far as my set up goes, I use a 5000 or 6000 sized spinning reel on a Heavy power rod with 50 lb braid and 60-80 lb leader. Mono is fine as they are not leader shy at all. You'll still get plenty of a fight on this set up and it is less stressful on the fish. In such deep water, they can really "dig" down and the Heavy rod helps you gain some sense of control.
     
  4. Jerry Norris

    Jerry Norris Angler

    Wow!
     
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  5. Digger

    Digger TechFish Staff Staff Member

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  6. Kevin7mmstw

    Kevin7mmstw Angler

    Awesome report. You guys are killing it. Nice job and hoping for many more of your reports.
     
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  7. RavensDfense

    RavensDfense Angler

    Thank you all.
     
  8. TechnicalFisher

    TechnicalFisher TechFish Staff Staff Member

    Awesome- thanks for the great info!


    Sent from my iPhone using The Technical Fisherman
     
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  9. Josh K

    Josh K Angler

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  10. Outstanding!!!!
     
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