Kayak Fishing the "Ships" with Kayak Kevin E-mail
Monday, 12 October 2009 06:18
One of the greatest success stories on the Atlantic coast is the comeback of the striped bass. I think the greatest discovery for trophy stripers from a kayak is the concrete ship breakwaters off Kiptopeke, on the Virginia Eastern Shore.

kayak kevein

 The concrete ships are solid concrete and re-bar cargo ships built during WWII. Before the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel crossed the bay, a ferry ran from Norfolk to Kiptopeke. Nine ships were sunk in a line to act as a breakwater, giving protected water to the ferry landing. The ships are a large structure and very close to the launch. 200 yards out of the ramp and you can drop eels in the easiest place to catch a trophy striper anywhere in the striper world.
 Before we found them at the ships, we would chase diving gannets off the VA beach ocean front. Dragging two pound weighted hooks called mojos and giant lipped crank baits trying to run across a trophy. We would even paddle to the dangerous and turbulent high rise section of the CBBT. Once we found them at the ships, everywhere else took a back burner.

kayak kevein

 Knowing that stripers are a structure orientated fish, there’s no doubt why they are in that area. That part of the bay along the eastern shore is a myriad of drastic underwater structure. Shallow shoals and deep slews create a mountainous underwater landscape. There are areas that can go from six foot to 80 foot, within a few hundred yards.
 The 80 foot slew that begins just north of the ships, and runs for 20 miles up the bay, was created by a meteor impact 35 million years ago. The theory is the area is a winter staging ground for eels. The stripers come down the coast during the yearly run and feed on the eels. A few eels are all you need, and the rigs are simple.
 I use a heavy 6' 6" custom fiberglass rod by JB rods with an Abu Garcia record no.60, spooled with 40 pound Power Pro. An egg sinker of two to four ounces is slid on the main line above a bead, and tied to a barrel swivel. I use an arms length of 60 to 80 pound mono leader below the swivel that is snelled to a 9/0 Owner cutting point hook. I hook the eel up under the jaw and out its eye. The rig is simple and fishing the ships is even easier.
 I concentrate on what we call the ally of the ships. It’s the opening between the two bows or sterns of the ships. These spots funnel the water into swirling currents that concentrates the bait. It’s an awesome ambush point for big stripers. I use one rod to minimize wrapping another line and scraping the rod tips when a sea beast fights me against the wall. I drop my eel into the eddies of the ally, to the bottom and three cranks up. I keep the eel suspended two to three feet above the bottom with the clicker on and the reel in free spool. I sit on the rod butt and paddle to hover in position.

kayak kevein

 The coolest thing about fishing the ships is that it’s a social fishery. Unlike other big fish spots where you’re anchored and spread out, everyone fishes close to each other. It’s a social event, and the stripers aren't scared by the constant joking and kayaks banging loudly against the ships. And they aren't fazed by the hooping and hollering during the fight.

In these tight quarters, when your buddies line goes ' zip, zip' reel your line up fast and get out of the way!

 The greatest thing about the ships is that all skill levels have a chance at a trophy striper. From beginners to experts, first time kayakers to old salty paddlers, anyone can land a 40-plus-inch striper.

 The prime time is December. If you want the best shot at the big ones, make your vacation plans now. 

Come on and GET ON'EM.  

 

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