Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Two Day Work-a-Fish-a-thon


This past weekend I got a call from Rob Choi asking me to join him with a night of fishing before a day of fishing, or a "Fish-A-Thon," as I like to call it. I have been SLAMMED with work, my newborn, and my upcoming move. There was NO chance that I would be able to fish...or was there?

Friday morning I was convinced that I would be working all day Saturday, but toward the end of Friday I found out that I couldn't start work til noon...That left PLENTY of time to do what I love best...Fish-A-Thon.

As luck would have it, my awesome wife was headed out of town to visit her parents, so with no convincing at all, she told me to go for it! I called Rob back to let him know that the Fish-A-Thon was ready to commence.

Thursday night was a little rough for me because of my newborn Max. I figured I had about 4 hours of sleep. Friday was a busy day of work in Virginia beach from 8am til 8pm, but I made it home by 9:30 and was out of the door by 10:30.

My course was set for the Elizabeth River in search of speckled trout. Although the Elizabeth is kind of like paddling through a giant cesspool, the fishing rarely disappoints. I made it out on the water just before midnight, about an hour after Rob. Within 15 minutes I hooked my first trout on my handy dandy, trout killing, topwater bait, the Zara Super Spook. I LOVE topwater fishing. I don't even know why I brought my other rods out that night because from 12am til 4am I threw the same spook and caught 7 speckled trout ranging from 19" to 22" and one fat 23" striper. That bait just doesn't seem to catch small fish and I'm OK with that!

By 4am the fishing was getting a little slow and I was slightly worn out...just slightly. Rob and I headed in, packed our stuff, and took off to Oceans East II tackle shop. We arrived around 4:30am and took a nap in our vehicles til about 6:00am. I awoke to a grinning Asian knocking on my window with a bag full of blue crabs. I tried to gather myself as best I could, so I could mumble a few words at the tackle shop to buy my bait. I think Rob is one of those MORNING people...makes me sick, but I couldn't have him showing me up now, could I?

From there, we took off to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel and launched our yaks from the beach. It was a beautiful calm day.

Up to this point I was trying to be nice and not mention how Rob's fishing was going so far this trip, but if I leave that out, I'll have to leave out an important quote from Rob. I just can't do that...Sorry Rob. (I'll try to make this quick and painless.)

Although he got to the Elizabeth River one hour before me, I was still able to catch the first fish...and the second...and the third...and the eighth. Somehow Rob managed to not catch a single fish in the five hours on the water that night. I even teased him by catching a fat 23" striper just 6' off of the bow of his kayak. I really don't know what it was that night. I guess I just got lucky.

I LOVE that paddle!

That luck is what prompted Rob's important quote. He said:

"The way things are going, I bet the first tog you pull up this morning will be a citation!" 

Well, as luck would have it, that is exactly what happened. We fished for less than an hour and I landed my first ever citation tautog! It was right at 23" long and weighed 8lbs 12oz on Rob's digital hand scale. It was caught using my Release Reel and a simple tog rig with a quartered blue crab for bait.

Photo by Rob Choi

Photo by Rob Choi

Photo by Rob Choi

Photo by Rob Choi
Rob landing his first, of many, tog that day.

I released her soon after Rob took a few pictures and this short video clip...

I don't often show a lot of enthusiasm when I land fish. For whatever reason I usually stay calm and collected, but that fish just made me yell in excitement. I felt much better after letting out a nice 


I only caught one small tog after that, and I had to start paddling in by 11am, but that was the easiest three mile paddle back from the First Island I ever had! Nothing could drag me down after a fish like that! Not even the eight hours of work I put in after all that binge fishing. 


(It still swam away)

I thought that work was going to be painful, but the excitement of the fish kept me going just fine...so fine in fact, that I decided to try the Elizabeth River one more time before heading home. At about 9pm I got to the same spot as the night before and used the same lure. It was a little cold and raining, but one fish decided to cooperate. I caught a 20" speck and soon after HAD to call it a night. 

Why did I HAVE to quit? Because I found myself falling asleep DURING casts. That is no exaggeration. I would bomb that heavy aerodynamic lure in the air and before it even hit the water I would doze off. Occasionally I would be awake when it hit the water and give it a few twitches before falling asleep, but I decided that it was time to call it quits due to my body's inability to function properly. I got home around 11:30 and I can honestly say, I don't remember my head hitting the pillow. It was a great 40 hours of being awake.

Do you still think you can say, "I am too busy to fish?"

 Not likely.

 I'm not saying that trips like this are for everyone, but if you truly have a passion, feed it, and don't let a little thing like sleep get in your way.


  1. You truly are a nut dude!!! Congrats on the C-class Tog and all the fishies you put a hurting on. I hope to get out this Friday for my own extended outing.

  2. Y'all just had to hit the ER when I was out of town, I think I may have to keep my spring Reds and Speck spots to myself. Gotta love binge fishing and congrats again on the paper tog. I

  3. I don't know how you 2 do those fish-a-thon's.... No way I could do it. It always seems to pay off for you though! Congrats again on the paper Tog. You should post something on facebook so everyone knows ;)