Thursday, September 29, 2016

Water to Woods

    From fishing post to hunting. Fall is my favorite time of year but as usual there just isn't enough time in a day. I kicked off my bow hunting season with a trip close to home. On the 17th of September I awoke to a warm muggy morning that felt more like fishing weather than hunting. I was itching to get in the woods so the hunt was on. Plan was to hunt my favorite ridge in Patapsco Valley State park. I did not get much scouting in prior but my nephew had and armed with his intel and my experience in the area my hopes were high that luck would be in my favor. Luck would have other plans and I guess the full moon and warm temps had the deer moving early and they crossed under my stand under moonlight and out of harms way. I had to forgo the evening hunt for family plans but it was good to get a taste of the woods.
    The next weekend would be the annual pilgrimage to the western part of the state that my hunting buddy's and I have been taking for the last 20 years. Since I was absent on this trip the last few year I was really excited to get back up with the boys for a long relaxing weekend in the hills. Our camp would be set in Garret State Forest in far western Maryland. The plan, get out of work on Thursday load the truck and head west. My nephew Ryan and great nephew Dylan picked me up and  we met up with one of the crew and convoyed to camp arriving about 10 pm. The rest of the group had arrived earlier in the day and had most of camp set up we just needed to get our tents up and gear unloaded. When we arrived camp was empty which was unusual for it being so late we would soon find out why . One of the crew had shot a doe and it ran in circles leaving a hard to track blood trail which got them turned around which led to a longer walk from the woods then they would have liked ( can you say compass boys and girls):). After yours truly went to locate them in the woods and we got the deer back to camp and hung up, some of us might have partook into to many adult beverages, but I'm not naming names. Needless to say I was a bit late getting in the woods on Friday and the deer were not as late passing my blind as I was watching them from atop the ridge. I at least new my spot was producing and I would have a good chance on the evening hunt. I took the youngin with me for the evening hunt which turned into a long sit watching chipmunks frolic in the leaves one turkey in a hurry and no deer until dusk. The wait it turns out was worth it I had to wake the little guy so he could watch the nice big ole buck come sauntering right up the trail towards our position. Here is where I would like to tell the story of my awesome shot and show the triumpant pictures of my trophy. But as I like to say pictures or it didn't happen and it didn't. The buck stopped at about 60 yards out bobbing his head as he noticed a big camo block where there wasn't one the day before and he was not about to test his luck. As he backed out unmolested and circled our position just out of range I realized I was shaking like a leaf in the wind. I hope I never lose that excitement and I hope that my young hunting partner gets to experience it.
    Camp was great and I would see multiple deer from my tree stand the following day however luck was again not on my side as either the deer were to small or out of my bow range. In all there would be multiple misses in camp, 2 deer taken, and whole hell of a lot of great food eaten. Good talk with old friends and cold beer. We were definitly livin the dream
Dylan with our camp duck Woody. Woody's egg was found in the mud under a wood duck box and hatch with a broody chicken at my buddies farm.

Snaggy Mountain camp shelter

Veiw from the ground blind

Lake house at Herrington Manor state park where we used the shower house 

Getting yummy venison on the cart

BillyBob cooking up some venison meat balls and fixins
Frog leg appetizer

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

MyOBX Fishing Report

If you read the prior post you would know that I spent a week down the Outer Banks, more specifically Nags Head. Now I guess you can go there lay next to the pool or by the ocean and drink eat and be merry. However any angler worth his salt would just not be satisfied with being that close to amazing fishing and not get a line wet. And after arriving on the 3rd of September and suffering next to the pool for a few days of the blow. The weather finally cleared enough to launch my plastic yacht and see what was catching.

I was up on Tuesday well before sunrise, shaking off the previous evening libations and ready to kick start the morning. A short drive put me behind Oregon Inlet fishing center where I dropped the yak and headed  north into a stiff breeze. Plan on day one was to catch some flounder for dinner then poke around for reds and sea trout. The flounder Came early and often but not with much size. Truth be known I probably missed more than I caught, flounder fishing is a lot more subtle than the stripers I chase back home so I was getting excited at every nibble and snatching the lure away before my flat friends were ready to commit. I chased a keeper all day but the recently stirred and shaken water was only giving shorts.
The great thing about OBX is the variety. Along with flounder I caught weakfish, blues, small sea trout, lizard fish, and a few other species I did not recognize. I had intended to fish until dark but I noticed my kayak wasn't feeling right about evening so I pulled in some shallow water hoped out and open my front hatch. It was full, I don't even know how the kayak stayed so stable. This was about the time I made a bad decision with my phone. I used an old gulp pail and my sponge and emptied the water from the haul. I figured I would fish back to the launch and would be fine The deepest water I had come across was 6 foot deep so walking back was a option and I didn't want to miss fishing time for a pesky leak.
Dont know what this guy is
I had snapped some awesome pictures of the storm on the way down and of fish I had caught to this point along with my full haul. Knowing my kayak could become unstable if full and I could turtle. I stuck my iphone in a dry bag and put it in the kayak, Wrong decision long story short bag leaked phone took a 3 hour swim and so yeah, you can guess the rest. Now a true fisherman would swear that the picture of the big one was on the phone but I won't go there this time got to stick to my "Pictures or it didn't happen" speil.
first small flatty

Bonner Bridge Oregon Inlet

More Dinks

Head boat heading in
small weak fish

Off Shore fleet Oregon Inlet

construction cranes for new bridge Oregon Inlet
I decided not to take the yak out on Wednesday instead opting to toss lures into an angry surf and try and figure out my leak. The surf turned up small blues but not much else though I could see the commercial fleet just off shore tearing into spanish macks. It was tempting to launch the yak through the surf and try my hand but with a mystery leak and no paddle company. I used my rarely used better judgement.
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With no obvious hole I launch back out of Oregon Inlet on Thursday this time in search of redfish and seatrout specifically. Water was still stained and with my lack of knowledge in either fishery I knew it would be a long shot, but hey its fishing. I was met with my first skunk of the week after about 6 hours of paddling and only a picture of the scenery for my trouble. That and a kayak full of water and a now obvious crack at the scupper in the seat. The crack was right at the flex zone where my boat was strapped to the car on my trip down and I guess loading and unloading finally made it visible. This would end the float trips for the week with one day left as I had nothing to repair it with and was frankly to sore from paddling a fully loaded yak around. I spent the rest of vaction soaking up the hot tub and self medicating with awesome local brew.

The outer banks is one of my favorite places in the world. Something about living on a sandbar just lets you see how fleeting life is and make you want to get the most out of it. Keep Living The Dream

End Of Summer Road Trip OBX

        Its been a couple of years since the wife and I took a vacation and 10 since we went on vacation alone. So we loaded up the Xterra  strapped the Kayak to the top,put the dog in the back and headed south into tropical storm Hermine.  I watch the weather for 3 days to make sure I took the right route and left at the right time. We didn't want to drive through the storm but we also didn't want to miss a minute of beach time. The plan was to skirt the storm and drive in behind it as it cleared Virginia beach area then head on down to our destination in South Nags Head OBX. The plan work out well and we skirted the storm only having to change paths for 2 flooded roads and one accident. I took some awesome pictures of the angry James river going through Hampton Roads and down trees and power lines closer to the banks. Those photo's are lost for ever because my work I phone doesn't swim as well as I do.All was well, we stopped and got the requisite pulled pork BBQ for lunch and made great time with not many people on the road. Then we hit Wright Memorial Bridge, We could tell on the way down that some high winds had passed through (see trees and poles down). However the tree line was blocking the true force mother nature had in store. As we pulled onto the bridge ole ma nature did her best to rip my 14 foot kayak off the truck. Another picture lost was of the drive of a neighboring car's look of horror as my kayak turned sideway's and buffeted up and down.We did eventually make it across stopping in a wally mart parking lot to tighten straps and take white knuckles off the steering wheel (hers not mine). The rest of the trip to the realtors office was not as eventful even with the transformer blowing outside and power going out. I will give Sun Realty some props for being prepared they had back up power and didn't miss a beat.
     Our how was nice though everything in the area had blown into the pool and because of the wind I couldn't even pull the kayak off the car until Sunday. First night in the house was a little rough, you had to get your sea legs on. If you have never been to the outer banks everything is built on stilts and when it blows so does your house my pup was freaked the whole night. Once pass the excitement we settled in for a relaxing week.
Hatteras light house

Frogs were everywhere every time we opened front door 2 would hop in

putting the dunes back on pea island

White marlin release flags flying at Oregon Inlet

Sunset over park viewed from our balconyx

Bodie Island Light

Sand on the road in Avon

Mind you this guy was like this in a steady 30 mph wind

Puppy found this little guy
If you have never been to the Outer Banks its worth the trip even if you don't like the beach. Plenty of history nature and did i mention great fishing though that' s a later post. Yup, I am still Livin the Dream.