Tag Archive: sunfish

Fly fishing therapy at the annual shad run on the St. Johns river

By Kevin Eastman

Interesting story on my little 2 hp Yamaha I use on the boat. I know I haven’t used the motor in at least two years, maybe longer. I pulled it out a few weeks ago. The gas tank was full of non leaded gas that has had marine stabilizer in it. I didn’t really think it would run well but I put it in a tank and gave it a pull. The little bugger started on the first pull. I used that tank for my trip below and it never gave me one problem. I was pretty surprised.

Now for the fishing.
This week I decided I needed to make the two hour trip from St. Augustine to the upper St. Johns River for the annual Shad run. Actually upriver is south for the St. Johns, as it is one of a handful of rivers that runs from south to north in the US. The Shad migrate from the ocean to the headwaters of the St. Johns to breed each year. They are fun to catch on light fly gear and are tenacious fighters. I decided I didn’t want to bother hauling my skiff and the hassle of packing everything so I popped the W500 in the back of my Ridgeline, threw the motor in along with some fly gear and was on my for a little fly fishing therapy, launching at the Jolly Gator Fish camp.
I didn’t exactly kill them but caught a couple to satisfy my itch. I also hooked two of the larger Crappie, and Bream (Sunfish to you Yankees) that I have ever landed. So, not a stellar day but at least fish were had. The area is very unique. The river meanders through a large expanse of grass and marsh lands that are used for grazing horses and cows. Plenty of wildlife from herons, egrets, white pelicans, otters, gators, wild pigs, and other creatures. The river also contains quite a variety of fish to catch, including hybrid striper bass. I usually get one trip in a year for the Shad run, though this year I may need one more to see if I can do a little better in the catching department.

 

 

 

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A few of my favorite things and “the best money I ever spent”

By Jill Toler

 

Hello my Wavewalk friends! It’s been way too long since I posted a story about my most awesome W700 and how happy it makes me.

So, last October I traveled a little ways to a town called Vandemere, here in North Carolina. It’s actually not too far from me as the crow flies but, the crow didn’t build the roads. The town just prettied up the boat ramp and surrounding land to make a very nice area for the public’s pleasure. I really wanted to try a new technique and fly combination that my good friend, Capt. Gary Dubiel invented, to catch some fish. It’s called the Pop-n-Fly and although I didn’t catch anything on this particular day, I caught a bunch the day after Christmas fishing with Capt. Gary. The area was just beautiful and I really enjoyed fishing and paddling. What I didn’t enjoy was the skunk. I don’t care for getting skunked so, I had to come up with Plan B.

Plan B was to slide in at Lee Landing to fish the Upper Broad for redemption. Plan B was executed and yielded a great catch of sunnies. Sitting in my kayak tossing little poppers and catching sunnies is just about as close to perfect as you can get, as far as I’m concerned. My “happiness” meter pegs out every time.

On June 3rd of this year; yes, it was a looooooong time between kayak trips, I thought to myself: “Self, you should give Northwest Creek another try”. I have not had the most success in Northwest Creek; except for that awesome day after Christmas fishing with Capt. Gary, with catching much of anything. Fish are hard to come by in that area for some reason. Anyway, loaded up the kayak the evening before so that I could be on the water early and execute what I thought would be an outstanding time of fish catching. Yeah; not so much! I’m pretty sure I will NOT return to Northwest Creek until at least November or December.

Knowing how I feel about getting skunked, I bet you can guess what I did that afternoon? Yep. Lee landing and Upper Broad Creek kayak fishing time! After some lunch and a nap, I took the W700 back to it’s roots and commenced to redeem myself and the day in a fantastic manner. So much so, that my smartypants phone became overheated from taking pictures and being out in the sun that it refused to take the picture of that 3 pound bass that I caught. My thought of course was, “Seriously!” My words were more like “son of a biscuit eater!” Here I have been fishing with one little popper and catching a bunch of fish, when this big bass sucks that popper down like a grape slurpee and runs around that kayak like a dirt track racer and my smartypants phone suddenly becomes sensitive to Eastern North Carolina weather! It even displayed a bright red thermometer in case I didn’t quite understand the displayed message of, “phone must cool down before use”. Well, I considered dunking it in the relatively cool water to help with the hot flash but, my inner adult thought better and just politely tucked it inside of my new favorite bag that I found at Academy Sports.

The bag is actually a kayak fish keeping bag that I discovered held ALL of my stuff and sits just beautifully on the saddle in front of me. I do secure it with some cords that have a ball on one end and a securable hook on the other so if I flip the yak it will still be attached. I slide the ball up under the teeth of the saddle and it stays in there nice and tight.

Back to the epic afternoon of fish catching… I managed to catch a whole bunch of sunnies and some bass in a relatively short period of time. The time of day was just right and the barometric pressure was falling, putting those little fish tummies on chow down time. My adventure evidently caught the attention of some folks that live on the creek as well as a couple of fellas that were trying to duplicate my success. After explaining fly fishing everybody wanted to know about my ‘boat” so, I showed it off and answered all of their questions.

This past Saturday, the 10th, I slid out to Upper Broad Creek very early and paddled way up the creek to an area that I had not fished. The morning was just so beautiful and peaceful. At least until the Saturday bass fishing tournament guys came screaming up the creek. The fish were very picky that day and although the numbers of fish I caught were low, the size was impressive.

I still regard my Wavewalk kayak as “the best money I ever spent” and I am looking very forward to paddling and fishing this year. Y’all take care and keep the stories coming as I love to read all about your adventures.

 

 

 


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Happy “Sunnie” Labor Day

By Jill Toler

Due to a host of things; such as an infection, a tree on my house, storms, and heat indices that hovered somewhere near “pit of hell”, it has been a while since I have been on my W700. That was all remedied today with a trip to Upper Broad Creek with my other fishing buddy, Marla. Marla knew that I had been kayak fishing and thought she might want to get in on the action so, one day she purchased a kayak from a friend. She needed a maiden voyage and now that Hermine had finally left town, today was the day.

We got launched and Marla was looking comfortable so I pulled out my fly rod and tossed a popper towards a little stump. The water was very high and the wind had kicked up pretty good but, it only took a few seconds before I had a strike. And a miss. Okay, let’s try this again. Get in position, sling about 40 feet of string to the right of the stump, and SWIRL! Another miss. Really!!! Nothing to do but change the popper. I chose a smaller popper in the same chartreuse color and tossed it at the very edge of the reed grass since I figured the high water would have the fish up in the grass. SWIRL, STRIKE, and TIGHT! Hot diggity dog, I caught a fish. A very cute little pumkinseed.

I checked on Marla then started working a stretch of bank that had reed grass, stumps, and some downed timber; in other words, sunnie paradise. Toss, strip, FISH! That happened a whole bunch of times and I was very happy. Most of them were very photogenic and agreed to pose for a quick pic. I fished a little cut out of the wind and landed one of the biggest sunnies I ever caught. She was nice and chunky and pulled like a souped up John Deere. Just fantastic.

Marla and I had a great afternoon of kayak fishing and more than once she said how awesome my W700 looked and how much she liked it. Next time I might ley her try it out. When she does there just might be a two owner, green, sit-in kayak for sale here in Eastern North Carolina.

the-fishing-ground

Upper Broad Creek

fishing-buddies pumkinseed-fish (1) pumkinseed-fish (2) pumkinseed-fish (3) sunfish sunnie-sunfish W700-tips

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Sweet Redemption, Namely Fish

By Jill Toler

After getting skunked this past Sunday, I just had to try it again. I went right back to the same spot that I fished on Sunday morning to try and determine if it was me, or them. I’m still not totally sure but, I didn’t get skunked today.

I was on the water by 6:30 am and casting away by 6:40 am but, it took a little while to figure it all out. I started out fishing the same bank as I did on Sunday and didn’t even get a bump. I used intermediate line and a lightly weighted fly because I figured that the fish may be holding in deeper water since it had been so hot lately. I guess not. It made no sense that no fish were there but, I gave it my best for about an hour and a half.

I paddled over to another bank and worked my way down a canal that had a marina with docked boats on one side and some beautiful structure on the other. I tossed my fly within a foot of the shore and worked it all the way back to the kayak. The wind pushed me on a quick drift headed out of the canal and parallel with the shore so, I would paddle back up into the canal so I could fish the area thoroughly. On about the fifth cast I finally hooked up with a white perch. Boy was I happy to finally have caught something; I was starting to question my fly fishing ability. I knew that I hooked that fish close to the bottom so, I made a few more casts and then tied on a small white clouser minnow fly hoping to entice another white perch or maybe even a striper. Or a flounder, or a drum, or a trout, or even a bass; really anything would be fine at this point. No such luck.

I moved to another area on the same shoreline and tossed a little popper to see if I could catch a sunny. Sometimes their mouth is so small that they don’t get the hook in their jaw and just bite the legs or the tail of the popper. It took a bit of finesse but I finally hooked one of those little fellas. I was very, very happy. I’m telling ‘ya, I was about to seek counseling for my no catching condition.

I caught a few more and felt a lot better about myself. I know I shouldn’t take getting skunked so hard but, I do. I fished until about 10:00 am and headed back to the ramp because I had to be at work by 12:00 noon. I was cutting it mighty close.

I saw some extraordinary stuff during my expedition and the funniest was a big ‘ole Osprey getting chased by a little squawking bird. I thought, really dude, you are only about 10 times the size of that bird. I guess somebody was a bit too close for comfort. I also saw a big Osprey nest and an Osprey bringing stuff back to it. I took a picture of it. The most beautiful thing I saw was a dragonfly that looked like it had been dipped in shiny copper. I have never seen a dragonfly that color. I held out my paddle hoping that it would land so I could take it’s picture but, it had somewhere to be I guess. I really need to get a video camera so I can capture all of this wonderful stuff.

All in all it was a great day and I am so blessed to be able go kayaking and fishing and experience the beauty of nature where I live.

 

Blow down 2 NW Creek Blow down NW Creek little sunfish NW Creek Osprey in flight NW Creek (2) sunfish NW Creek white perch NW Creek

 

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One of those days – No fish caught, just a great paddling stroll

By Jill Toler

I am an early riser each day due to work so generally I wake up early on the weekends as well. This morning I actually slept in until 6:00 am, which put me a little behind in my “dawn patrol” plans. In my younger days, a few of my friends and I would hit the beach as the sun was coming up for a little dawn patrol surfing and boogie boarding. Last night I made a plan to do a bit of dawn patrolling in the W before church.

Loaded up about 6:30 am and headed to a new place for launching and fishing. I was on the water before 7:00 am; which was later than I intended, and throwing a popper in a very fishy looking area. I fished and paddled for two hours and never caught a fish. I know, I was shocked too. I did not expect to get skunked in that area but, I suppose it happens.

The area is Northwest Creek around Fairfield Harbour, NC. There are a lot of waterfront houses with docks and great cover in between the docks; reed grass, stumps, trees with overhanging branches, etc. I was at a loss since I didn’t even catch a sunfish. I paddled to the other side of the creek to try over there. The wind had shifted overnight and was blowing right down the creek and it was a bit difficult to stay in position. Still, nothing. I decided that it was just going to be “one of those days”. I paddled around to do a bit of sight seeing, then headed back to the ramp. Even though I didn’t catch any fish it was a beautiful morning paddling around in my W700 and I am thankful that I had the experience.

Here are a couple of pictures from my morning view.

scenery-near-fairfield-harbor, NC

 

view-of-the-shoreline

 

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