Monday, November 11, 2013


This past weekend with the winds predicted at 15-20mph. I decided to hit the sweetwater for some largemouth bass action. I had only a few hours to fish each day so I hit a few public lakes here in Williamsburg.

I tried throwing spinnerbaits and cranks in the deep drop offs. Nothing, not even a strike.
I decided to slow it down a little and start throwing some craws and worms. I found some stumps in about 8ft of water off a main point and starting pitching a NorthStars custom swim jig with a PTL 4.5" Conviction Craw. The first cast bounced off the stump and I had a "thump" before it even hit the bottom. This nice 17" chunk to start the day. I took that pattern to each little point I found and consistently caught fish; 9 fish between 15"-18"

The next day I got on the water about the same time. I had patterned these fish pretty good the previous day and was going to continue more of the same. Today was a little colder and windier. Trying to stay in one spot wasn't working out to well. I had only landed 3 smaller fish (12"-15"). I missed 2 or 3 good bites today. I had 1 bigger fish on for a few seconds and shook off.

I scouted some more of the lake out for future trips. I then came back to the spot I missed the big one. With the winds calmed down I made it to the stump quietly. I made a perfect cast just inches from the stump. I could feel the bait bouncing off it on the way down. Once it hit the bottom I left it for 30 seconds or so. I made one hop off the bottom and "tick"! I set the hook hard and knew this was a little better fish. Not a bad way to almost end the night!

For those of you wondering what bait's I using; here you go!

The last two days I used the 4.5" Conviction Craw with a 1/4oz Tick Shake and NorthStars Custom Swim Jigs. I caught about the same on both green and black/blue so I have two favorites. When the craw bite slowed I tossed the 7" Tickler in Junebug with a 1/8oz Tungsten screw-in weight.
You can't forget the special ingredient, the magic that pulls it all together!
I soaked these in Hog Tonic - The best scent on the market!!
Please check out their baits and scents! 
For a 10% discount click here -->> PowerTeamLuresDiscountCode.


Monday, November 4, 2013

Breaking in the new rods...

When I arrived home from work on Thursday, there was a unexpected surprise waiting for me. It was a package from Bill Merrick and Chad Hoover from ALL PRO RODS. It included 3 APX Graphite Pro Series Spinning rods, 7' med and 7' med/light. Check them out at

With my new rods in hand, I needed to try and hit the water soon! I called fellow APR Pro Staffer Richie Bekolay to see if he was available to fish Saturday morning. And he was game (as usual)! Although, it is a tough decision this time of year with deer season underway.

I met Richie at the ramp before light to see if we could get on the early bite. Just as we were leaving the ramp, a fellow kayaker greeted us. This wasn't just any tall, sleeveless man at the ramp. This was Forrest Short! For those of you who don't know this man; he's the local Speckled Trout Master. He has 30+ Virginia Citation trout this season alone! Not to mention all the Freshwater citations!

We all arrived at the vortex trout fishing hole (Forrest's nickname for this spot) together and pulled the kayaks up in the grass. When your fishing with a guy like Forrest, you let him pick his spot first and then span out from there. It didn't take him long to show us how its done. First fish up was a beautiful 26" citation! Forrest continued to teach us how it's done with two more citations, 24.5", 25"! He kicked our butts! And it was great to be able to fish with him for a few hours. It's amazing what you can learn from watching such a great fisherman.

 I finally got on the board with a 17 1/2" and 23 3/4" trout, just short of citation.

Photo by Richie Bekolay

A few weeks prior to this trip, I had a huge trout launch completely out of the water and missed my Skitterwalk. I had the image of that trout in my head for weeks. So I left Forrest and Richie to head over to that spot. I know that it's ridiculous of me to think that that fish was going to still be in that area, but I had to try.
I made it over and quietly and pulled the kayak up on the bank. I grabbed my 7' APR Pro Series rod and made my first cast and nothing. On the second cast I was retrieving my Mirrolure, when I felt just a slight bump and set the hook (now that's why you want a sensitive rod). My reel started peeling out drag, and I knew this was a better fish. After only a few runs, I thought maybe it was a good red fish, but then I got a good look. This was a stud of a Speckled trout at 26 1/4"!

Photo by Richie Bekolay

Photo by Richie Bekolay

Photo by Richie Bekolay
Could this be the trout from a few weeks ago? I'll never know but I'll take it! I put the fish on my lip grippers and made my way back to the guys. Richie was in the middle of landing a nice fish himself, a 25" striper. The day ended with us landing 4 citation speckled trout and a couple of nice stripers. A great way to break in the new rods! Thank guys, we have to do that again soon!  

HOOKED UP              

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Chasing the Slots

These last couple of weeks have been so busy with me personally. My wife and I moved into our new home in Williamsburg and getting on the water just wasn't going to happen anytime soon.
Well, things started to settle down here in the new Underwood household so my fishing adventures continue...

The first of these trips took me out on the salt, to chase some slot reds on the flats. I was pretty excited because I just received a shipment of All Pro Rods! I really wanted to put these new rods to the test right away. Let me tell you this - They didn't disappoint! The Atlantis Series and EL Series Extra Light Graphite Rods are powerful, lightweight and sensitive are what all anglers are looking for in rods. If you get a chance check them out here, you won't be disappointed.

The reds were out in full force. At one point I had two different schools of reds 20+ on both side of the kayak. I was hooking up and casting another rod to try for a doubles. I was able to hook up twice this way!

The baits of choice were PowerTeam Lures 3.6 JP Hammer Shad and the Swinging Hammer in multiple colors. I prefer the Spicy Goby and the Smoking Minnow in the 3.6 Shad. I have been experimenting with different and even some of my own concoction. If you get this near a Red with a little Hog Tonic he will annihilate your bait! They aren't just for a bass anymore!

  This was only a 20" red but it had 12 spots on one side. Pretty cool looking red!

One of my "custom colored swinging hammers"!


With the red bite turning on as of late. I haven't had much interest in the Sweetwater. However, stay tuned for my next report where I get a couple of days to fish with my bass catching son, Wyatt.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Chasing Trophy Sheep

The day started early. Left to right - Joe - Rob Choi - Alex Britland - William Ragulsky
Photo Credit - Jay Brooks

Some Sheepshead fishermen make it look so easy but I’m here to tell you; IT IS NOT!
I was introduced to Sheepshead fishing sometime in August of last year.  While at the Yakattack Tournament in 2012, I listened to Rob Choi share his excitement of catching the mighty Sheepshead. I knew I needed to get out there and give this a try.
I wanted to know everything I could so I could tackle these fish.
Where to start:  I read reports, blogs and talked to some of this sports best Sheepsheads anglers (in no particular order), Rob Choi, Kayak Kevin, Lee Williams, Jay Brooks, William Ragulsky, Matt Anderson, Seth Goodrich and Alex Britland. These guys consistently hookup with trophy Sheeps every year. I’m thankful to have had the opportunity to fish with and learn from these guys.
Well, little did I know that I was going to be in for a long ride. I have had mostly downs when it comes to Sheepshead fishing. I’ve had so many excuses about why I haven’t landed one. I was even getting sick and tired of hearing myself (and I know others were too).
These fish make some powerful adrenaline filled runs back to the pilings, immediately shearing my line. I’ve had fish right to the kayak and my 50lb flouro would just break. They will humble a fisherman quickly!
August 10, 2013 will go down in my book as the most stressful fishing day in recent memory!
I’m usually a pretty happy fisherman. I enjoy it when others around me have success. Today was going to be no different, I thought. Today was going to be my day; I knew I was going to catch the fish that has eluded me for 15 CBBT trips. Yes, this was my 16th trip dating back to August of last year.
Today I witnessed Jay Brooks land several fish in the 23”-25” range! William Ragulsky landed 25” and 17”! Alex Britland landed a 15”! Rob Choi landed a 26”er! I was happy for these guys but the truth is, it was tearing me up as well. Jay Brooks after landing his second fish paddled over and said “sorry bro”!
I realized that at this point they were all feeling my pain! Rob has been one of my biggest supporters in my sheepshead quest. If you’ve ever thought about sheephead fishing you can learn almost everything you need to know right here --> Sheepshead Tips and Rigs by Rob Choi
The day was quickly coming to an end. Rob and I were the last ones out when even he said he’d had enough.
I told him I was going to spend another 45 minutes or so. I just didn’t want to give up just yet. The winds and current were just perfect for this type of fishing and I didn’t know when I could get out again.
Well, wouldn’t you believe, it actually paid off! Only 20 minutes or so passed. I dropped a fiddler crab down next to my new favorite piling.  Immediately I felt that oh so subtle bite. I set the hook HARD. Then I made about 4-5 cranks before this guy went ballistic on me. He drove straight to the bottom peeling off the drag. I got him turned a little and got another few cranks on him. The next thing I know I could feel my line rubbing against the piling. I have learned from past mistakes that this is the most critical time in the fight. If you feel your line rubbing pilings, you immediately put your reel in free spool! This is so unnatural because slack line is a sure way to lose trophy fish.
Just remember this: Your line rubbing pilings ALWAYS trumps slack line!
When I put the line in free spool, I got my kayak turned around and headed right between the pilings after him.  Once through the piling, I reeled in just praying that the fish was still there. Once I felt that heavy line and pulled on the fish. He headed towards the other pilings. This time my kayak momentum was taking me away from the pilings.  I was able to get his head turned around. A few cranks and head shakes later. I landed my first sheepshead! A true Chesapeake trophy!

I would under normal conditions release this fish. However today was the 23rd Annual Angler’s Club Challenge and all the proceeds were to benefit the Catching for Kids Organization. This was a catch and keep tournament, so I took this fish to the weight in.
Eight fishing clubs from around the Virginia area entered the tournament.  It is comprised of mostly powerboat fisherman and TKAA is the only kayak club represented.
This was the largest Sheepshead weighed in and took First Place! This guy measured at 26” and 13.28lbs!
I feel as though a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders today. And I got to help my fishing club to their First Place Tournament win!

                                                       Congratulations to the TKAA Team!
I have so many great friends in the kayak fishing community. And I thank everyone for the support!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

The beat of a different kind of drum!

Over the past few weeks I've gotten a few chances to head out to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel for that ever elusive sheepshead. For whatever reason, I just can't seem to land one of these fish. I can get a few bites, but pilings and bad hooksets seem to get the best of me.

I had gotten word from Rob Choi that a few sheeps were just caught at the first island. So I quickly made my way there. I ran into another kayaker who told me he just landed a 20 and 21" sheepshead. So I was feeling very optimistic about my chances.
After an hour or so with nothing to show for it, I decided to put a little Hog Tonic from PowerTeam Lures on my mole crabs. I figured it couldn't hurt and I finally got a solid sheepshead bite! Well, at least that's what I thought...

I felt my line moving to my left and set the hook, HARD! I realized immediately that this was not a sheepshead, it was way to big with some unreal head shakes. It took me about 5-6 minutes to land this fish. Getting this fish into my lap on a Hobie Revolution was not an easy task. After a few tries I landed my first ever black drum that measured a whopping 43 inches!
Big thanks to Rob Choi for helping me out with this fish. He took the time to give me a hand in reviving "bid ugly" and helping me with some great photos!

For the record - I won't leave home without my HOG TONIC!
Photo Credit - Rob Choi
Photo Credit - Rob Choi

If you ever get a chance to catch a Black Drum you will get SLIMED!

On my second trip out to the first island I was again hoping to land that elusive sheepshead. I was rewarded with my first ever Tog. This one measured at 15 inches. Plus, I got a chance to check off another species from my list.


And the sheepshead chase continues….


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Tournament Fishing for Boston...

This past weekend I was fortunate enough to be fishing the The Tidewater Kayak Anglers Association (TKAA) and the Pirates of Lynnhaven (POL) Kayak Fishing Tournament to Benefit the Victims of the Boston Marathon Bombings. More information on OneFund Boston can be found here OneFund Boston.  
This morning was going to be a different kind of fishing day for me. Today was going to be a relaxed atmosphere and more of a social tournament than what you would normally expect. Plus, today I was going to have the best fishing partner I could ask for, the kind of partner who thinks you’re the best fisherman around. The kind of partner that doesn’t care what type of kayak or fishing gear we were using today.
My son, Wyatt, was that partner today. He actually woke up and ran into our room and said “DAD, you ready?” I got up and made us some breakfast, then loaded up the rest of the gear. I told him to get into his seat and he ran back to the garage and grabbed the net. The last trip we made I forgot the net and we lost a nice flounder at the boat. He made sure that didn’t happen today!
Today I was getting to fish Lynnhaven Inlet. This was an area that I have never fished before so I didn’t expect much. My goal for the day was to help Wyatt land some fish, and that we did…
Our first fish of the day was a nice 21” flounder, followed by 2 more keepers, 17 ½” and a 16 ½”.

A big THANK YOU to Jeff Lockhart for helping me out on the water today. I had forgot my Hawg Trough measuring board and Jeff was almost always within sight to allow me to measure our fish.

Wyatt got a chance to head to the bar with me, an oyster bar, J. We got a chance to stretch our legs and fish along side Wayne Mills, Tommy V and Ben Hoover (the other Philly guy). This was our chance to try for the slam and get a redfish or speckled trout. We didn’t catch anything on the bar so we headed out again.

We headed off oyster bar in search of our slam. Wyatt was having a blast casting his little ugly stick with gulp. While we were drifting and the sound of “I got one” rang out very loud. Wyatt’s little rod was buckled over and, at first; I thought he had nice red. It was a 15” STUD croaker! All while enjoying a ring pop, haha.

It was getting late and we were about to head to the ramp with our catch. I decided to head over to drift by some of the docks and see if any reds were around. My first cast was perfect right near the edge of a little eddie right up against the docks. I felt the strike right away and hoped this was a red. Sure enough I had my 17 ½” red on the board.

I loaded up the kayak and headed to Salty C’s for the weigh in. We met fellow Hobie team member, Chuck Wrenn and his son Jacob and grabbed a table for a bite to eat and wait for the results.

The results were in and Wyatt and I won 1st place with a 38 ½” Slam! Congratulations to all the winners and to everyone who participated.  

On the way home my little guy couldn’t wait to show mom HIS trophy.

We met a lot of great people and made many new friends. I truly enjoyed every minute of this tournament and want to thank Joe Maccini, Russell Hamm, Andy Backowski and anyone who helped make this tournament possible.

For me this wasn't about winning, this was about spending time with my son and to support a great cause!



Croaker Division:
1st:  Kyle Sullivan - 14 5/8" (yes 14 5/8")
2nd:  Jimmy Miller - 14.5"
3rd:  Bob Deml - 11 1/4

Largest Saltwater Species:
1st:  Tim Quintana - 21.5" Ray
2nd:  Thom Mattauch - 10 1/4" Roundhead

2 Fish Slam:
1st:  Joe Underwood - 38.5" Red/Flounder
2nd:  Kris Lozier - 37 1/4" Red/Flounder
3rd:  Andy Bakowski - 32.5" Red/Flounder
4th:  Louis Nguyen - 31 3/4" Red/Flounder

Honorable Mention:
Joe Underwood's 4 year old son, Wyatt, caught a 15" CROAKER!!!!  Way to go Wyatt - we have anglers who wont catch a 15" Croaker all season!!!  Great job Wyatt!!!!!!!!

We had a total of 36 Anglers competing today in the tournament.  Thanks to Salty C's for hosting the after and awards party and for their generous donation!!!  Thanks to Rob Lee, Mark and Kris Lozier, Russ Hamm, and Wayne Bradby for your generous donations for prizes and raffles.  And finally thanks to all the anglers and spouses/friends who came out to fish and then join us at Salty C's.  We raised a great deal of money for One Fund Boston.  Thanks again!!!


Friday, June 7, 2013

Finding Reds and Fishing with Friends....

My last couple of outings have taken me to the Eastern Shore and to Rudee inlet.
The first trip was to the Eastern Shore.
I got to the ramp early and was soon joined by quite a group of fisherman; Rob Choi, William Ragulsky, Alex Britland, Tommy DeWitt, Luther and Tyler Ciphers.
I was lucky enough to hook up with the first fish of the day; a 47”er.

Williams Ragulsky was the second to land a fish; a 45” drum.

William Ragulsky-red
Photo Credit William Ragulsky

Soon after that Tyler Ciphers was fan casting after seeing Billy hook up and landed his first ever red drum @ 42”. Luther’s said at the ramp that his main goal today was to see Tyler get on a fish. Way to get it done Tyler!

Rob Choi was the last to hook up on a nice red. Rob has had his ups and downs chasing bull reds this year and I was stoked to see him land this 48" red! Check out his report here --> Angling Addict .
Rob Choi's 48" Drum
The second trip I finally got a chance to fish with Marty Mood; AKA “The Champ” and my good friend Richie Bekolay. We fan into a few fish but never were able to get on a hook up. On the way back to the ramp we were greeted with 25+MPH winds and a school of drums that we spooked. I ended the day with my first ES Skunk!

Trip #3 was the TKAA monthly member event at Rudee Inlet. This was a special trip for me because I got a chance to bring my son Wyatt for his first ever flounder trip. He kept telling me he wanted to a catch a striper, haha. While we didn’t catch any stripers, but we were able to get on a couple of flounder, reds, spot and some croakers.

We got back to the ramp at around lunch time and loaded up the car to head home. And before we left the ramp he was already sleeping.

Trip #4 took me out the Eastern Shore. I was heading out for a solo trip so I had my YakAttack Panfish Portrait w/dogbone ready for some hero shots if I was lucky enough to get a hook up. The day started off with me trying to catch some bait. And I couldn’t find anything around the usual spots. I didn't waste much time. So I figured this was going to be a trolling or random casting kind of day. I ended up running into Kayak Kevin. He had run into a few random fish but no hooks up yet today. We decided to tag team and see if we could find the fish.
I ran over a school of bait on my fishfinder and decided this was a good time to try and catch some. I landed 4 kingfish/Roundheads pretty quickly and decided to troll with live bait. After only a few hundred yards my Release Reel was zinging and peeling drag. I grabbed the rod and starting to reel. After only 15 seconds or so the circle hook pulled out of this fish and I was left with only an empty hook in my hand. Quickly realizing that I had the other rod out with a swimbait, I started retrieving the line very quickly and got slammed!  I had a solid hook up and it was game on! I landed my 12th red of the season and my 8th Red Drum Citation of the year.

The winds started to pick up so we called it a day.
Red drum fishing is very addictive! When you know they're still around, it’s very hard to stay away!

Hooked Up

Monday, May 13, 2013

An abundance of Reds...

Do you know whats better than being dragged around the Chesapeake Bay by a Bull Red?.....

My day started off a little later than expected. The night before I packed my truck and was ready to hit the road by 5:00am. When I was about 25 minutes away, I realized I had forgotten my battery for the fishfinder. Those who have fished with me know that it’s one of the most important tools that I use. Turning around would take another hour away from my fishing time but I knew that I would regret it later.
With my battery in hand, I finally arrived at Ocean’s East 2 for my blue crabs and was quickly out the door and unloading my kayak at the ramp. There were only a few other boats and kayakers out before me and I took my time getting to my spot.
The winds were expected to die down a little from the last few days and I was a little excited from my last trip. My expectations for the day weren’t that high because I knew my last trip was a rare occurrence. Not too many people go out on their first trip and land 3 bull reds, so trying to duplicate that feat was considered by all - “impossible”!
It’s been said that the Chesapeake Bay fishery can down right magical! And for me, that day was today.
The day started off by heading out to Fisherman's Island and then out to the shoals. The wind and tides were a little rougher than predicted and since I was planning on fishing alone today I really didn't want to anchor up.
I decided that I would peddle around to different area's and just fan cast. Trying to sightcast to reds with the water clarity at about 12" wasn't going to work today.
I pretty much had the entire area to myself until I saw a kayaker heading my way. It was Kayak Kevin heading out for a few days of fishing and camping - Kevins fishing reports. After a quick conversation about my last few hours of fishing without even a hit. Kevin had decided on another plan of attack for the day and I was all in - until... FISH ON!!
While talking and drifting I was still fan casting when my rod buckles over and I was Hooked Up with my first Bull Red of the day, it was a 46" Va Release Citation.
46" Red Drum

Needless to say Kevin's plans had quickly changed and within a few minutes he landed a nice one as well.
Remember earlier when I said I had forgotten my battery. Well, now I was really happy that I turned around for it. While Kevin and I were paddling/peddling around looking for the school, my Lowrance just lit up with marks. I knew right then that we were in them. I stopped peddling and was ready to make a cast when my line gets tangled. Kevin makes a cast right in front of me and FISH ON! I made a few cast and I was Hooked Up.
44" Red Drum

We went back and forth for the next few hours chasin' bull reds and by the end of the day I had landed 6 Virginia Bull Reds measured at 42", 44", 45", 46" and two at 47”!

47" Citation Red Drum

47" Citation Drum

45" Red Drum
  Today was one of the those days on the Chesapeake Bay that you dream about! The reason we get out of bed at 4:30 when nothing else could possible wake us. It's the kind of day you hope you and your buddies have on every trip.

Thanks to Kayak Kevin for all the tips, advice and capturing these great shots!

If you've never seen Kevin's DVD's, please check them out here  They're worth every penny and will make you a better fisherman!

At the start of this report I asked - Do you know whats better than being dragged around the Chesapeake Bay by a Bull Red?

Well, there isn't too much that can top that!