Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Pagan River Blues
The plan had been to head over to Kiptopeake early Sunday morning and spend the day toggin. It’s no secrete that the tog bite is hot during the spring, and I had been reading reports all week about good numbers being taken, so I packed up my gear Thursday evening in anticipation of a Sunday tog trip. What is it they say about the best laid plans? Well, one thing led to another and to another and slowly it became apparent that this kid wouldn’t be doin’ any toggin’ on Sunday. Sometimes you just have to roll with the punches is life. Well, at the last minute Ken Cussick and I decided to try a local spot we’ve wanted to hit for about a year now. This area is known for hardheads (croaker) and blue cats. We decided to try for some cats. Last time we did this was March 2010 up in Surry, Virginia on Chippoakes creek. We didn’t catch any blue cats, but we did managage to spend a nice, sunny but cold day on the water. Anyway, we launched our yaks and headed downstream to the bridge. We worked the bridge area with cutbait for a couple of hours with only two or three hits. The tide was outgoing, but as it changed we moved back up stream to try our luck in some shallower water. Some anglers seem to have an aversion to bait fishing and I’m not sure why, but I don’t share that sentiment.... well... unless I’m LM bass fishing... but that’s a whole different mindset. So we paddled upstream a little distance and backed our yaks into some reeds on the inside of an little bend in the creek, baited up with some fresh cuts of shad and put out our lines. I grew up on this kind of fishing and I really love it. My dad would take me and we’d sit up our lines on the bank of some muddy creek and catch croaker in the summer and specks in the winter. He was an expert at catching bait and I swear he could find a fish in raindrop. Brings back memories. Well, after about 15 minutes I decided to try some positive thinking to get some good luck flowing down our way and get this catfish bite going. So I started talking about hush puppies and how good they were going to taste with the fresh fried catfish I planned to have for dinner. Wasn’t sure Ken could hear me... he was down the shoreline a few yards, so I talked a little louder as I watched an eagle try to rob an osprey overhead. I was just about to get into the philosophy behind properly prepared sweet tea when my reel went off. After a short battle I landed a nice 20” blue cat. From that point the bite was on for the rest of the afternoon... not a blazing hot bite, but a steady one that was good enough for me. We fished for about 7 hours and between the two of us caught over 20 blues. By the end of the day I had a stringer full of blues ranging from 22” down to about 12”. Got home, skinned em and fried em up for Sunday dinner with the family. Does it get any better than this? It was a great day on the water, one I hope to repeat very soon.
Note: I should be set up to photograph my catches soon. Unfortunately, without the help of a camera mount, I am not coordinated enough to hold the fish and take the pic without dropping either the fish, the camera, or both.