Thursday, March 28, 2013
This morning the wind was from the NNW and stable around 16 mph. I figured it would be a good day to stay in and finally put up a kite - 16m Crossbow and the Raptor Pro. It has been literally since last May since I last kited - but as expected - it's just like riding a bike. Except that here on the Outer Banks the water and air temperatures are still in the 40s. With the cold and the compression offered by the wetsuit, my left hip felt much better, but I didn't do anything radical just in case. La took these pictures from inside the jacuzzi at the place we are renting this week. For once I didn't feel guilty for having a good time while La and the kids froze/sweltered/got pelted with sand/attacked by bugs - I did come in after an hour because I couldn't feel my fingers anymore. Another great day on the Banks! I thought I might have diversified too much bringing SUPs (with paddles and windsurfing rig), fishing rods, kiting equipment - but for once I got to use everything I brought down. And we've got a few more days to go! Now I just have to fix my hip....
We can't go to a barrier island and not surf - unless you have a bum leg like I do (I have been fighting a weird hip pain). We brought the SUP boards over and I was fully prepared to change into my 4/3, but when we got the beach after our time at the village, the surf was mostly lack luster. That coupled with the winching pain I would have to endure while suiting up and carrying the board over the dune, I opted to break out the surf casting rod. On the first cast we brought in this stingray. I got it off the hook quickly and back into the water - although Marlon kept asking if we could eat it - he's been craving sushi again but I didn't think it was that bad.... We caught another stingray shortly after and decided to call it a day. We made it just in time to catch the next ferry without waiting and then caught the sunset at Hatteras Village. Awesome day!
This was our Wednesday - took the ferry over to Ocracoke and explored Edward Teach's (the infamous "Blackbeard") hideout of choice. Marlon spend some of his other time studying history on the topic of the pirates during the colonial period. We were packed in like sardines on ferry ride over, and the interesting phenomena of seeing the same people over and over again (I guess we are tourists too) settled in for the rest of the day. The Blackbeard Exhibit House coincidentally opened for the season and we sat through the movies and walked the exhibit to learn just a little more about Blackbeard. Afterward we drove to the National Park Service station to check out what else was going on - feed some gulls and watched the mainland ferry dock (that one was much bigger - but you also had to pay to get on it - the Hatteras run is free). After a late lunch at Daijo (neat little restaurant) and checking out the nautical shops, we headed back towards the ferry with one more stop planned...
We spent the second half of Tuesday up at Manteo - to specifically checkout the aquarium and to do some quilting recon for La. The aquarium was not gigantic like the National Aquarium or Atlanta's, but it did focus on the local fauna and was very charming. Marlon and Noe both had a great time at the touch tank - especially with the eager cownose rays. Admission was inexpensive, so if you find yourself in the MAN-E-O (not MAN-TE-O) area, head towards the airport and check out the aquarium. We also checked out the "Lost Colony" area - Marlon spent some time in his history studies learning about what happened to the settlers. Good thing we had GPS...
Tuesday, March 26, 2013
49 degree water. Overhead surf. Mostly out of shape me. Two and a half sweet rides. La caught the inside ride of my last one on her Galaxy phone. I was in a 4/3 wetsuit. I thought for sure the water would have warmed up a little more by this point. Oh well - you have to get it while you're there. The Starboard Element served me well, although I noticed the increase in feeling chop with the hardboard (since I had been using the ULI some much recently). We're headed off to the Aquarium for the afternoon. Stayed tuned for more OBX barnstorming.
Monday, March 25, 2013
I made a decent sized omelette for breakfast, and from the same table, here is the view of the sunset. We are staying at the Waves Kitesurfing Village (run by Kitty Hawk Kites). Nice place to hang out for the week on a proper vacation (it's been a while since we've had one of those - we travel a bit, but usually stay at convenient places vice nice places)!
It's Spring Break for the kids and we are hanging out in the Outer Banks. WE LOVE THIS PLACE!!! From trying to properly pronounce Chicamacomico (Chimichanga always rolls off the tongue) to hitting the old haunts (like the Ocean Air shop formerly known as Windsurfing Hatteras), this place is timeless for us. My hip is giving me grief right now so I opted to flyfish instead of SUP surf. This spot was just south of the New Inlet (recent storm breech? - they had a bailey bridge rigged up to cross the new water way). I didn't catch crap!!! This is like the fourth time I've gone this year and I haven't even seen a fish. I brought my gyotaku stuff down and a ton of fishing equipment - I even bought a tourist fishing license. I'll resort to using bait in a day or so. The kids loved digging smaller holes (not their normal stand inside holes) while La collected shells. The only issue was the cold - with winter still clinging, we were lucky to hit 50 today. The wind did not help. Tomorrow we'll probably hit the Aquarium at Manteo Island and check out the Wright Brothers Memorial at Kitty Hawk. I'll also try to sneak in a SUP surf session in the morning (cold water helps sore hip joints right???!!!???). No matter what we do, it will involve a lot of chill'in - literally and figuratively.
Sunday, March 24, 2013
About a mile or so down the road on the Maryland side of the Potomac is Fletcher's Cove. Pretty sketch entrance, but it is worth the trouble. Lots of people fishing. The current was a lot slower. A couple of people fishing in a boat just offshore were killing it - not sure what they were using for bait, but it was working (catfish??? Maybe stripers...). I helped a father and son get their boat down to the water and headed back home - had to finish packing for Spring Break (going down to the OBX).
There has been some internet buzz within the Tidal Potomac fly fishing community around some recent Shad catches along the Potomac - so I took a couple of hours to check out the spots and get ready for some fishing. I checked this spot first - the Virginia side of Chain Bridge. When I finally got to the river's edge, there was a ripping current, not a place where I think a flyline would do well. This spot has had some history attached to it (if you can read the picture of the sign). Maybe in the summer when the water level is lower (and running slower).
Jimmy and Cindy - old friends from Hawaii - were in town and paid a visit. Thanks for spending time with us guys! It's always good to see you. Too bad we couldn't surf. Or kite. Or SUP. Have I said DC-NORVA-MAR sucks for surfers???
Sunday, March 17, 2013
This is the new cover of Fly Fishing In Salt Waters. This represents a change in the previous version that has largely stayed the same since 1994. I almost blew by the magazine on the rack because of the difference. The content is different as well - the imagery reminds me of "Field and Stream" where the presentation is given in a more "pay attention - this is an epic journey" flavor instead of the "I'm an old fly fishing guide and I'm about to tell a story so come on and grab a seat". Time will tell if there is a difference, and whether it is for good or bad - at first pass it does seem like a plus up in the imagery department, but they seemed to do away with the fly tying tutorials. Hopefully it does not take the turn I feel Outside magazine took a bit ago - stories and articles that cater to the elite, the well funded and single - you can look but you, the common man with a normal job, loving wife and a couple of great kids, cannot touch, afford or take the requisite time off to make the trips listed with the gear shown on the pages ($7000 bikes???? really????). This diversion did take my mind off the fact it is still 40 degrees and cloudy outside - if I stare long enough at the pages with the Seychelles then quickly close my eyes, I could feel the warmth of the sun and the blue water as I wade the flats - ok not really but it confirms I am all wintered out - bring on Summer!!!
Sunday, March 10, 2013
In more ways than one - closer to our Spring Break session down in the Outer Banks. Closer to filling up the fly boxes for said trip. Closer to breaking the run of no bites. The top box has mostly Shad Darts in various styles - we're a bit closer to that run also (I'm hoping the first week in April). I've been plying the net looking for flies that look interesting to tie. I stumbled on a picture of these tiny shrimp. They reminded me of the Opae Ula we have - it was fun figuring out how to tie these. Now hopefully they'll bring in the goods... about catching fish - after a jog today, I checked out the lake by our place - I saw two smaller bass and several minnows. No bluegill yet, but with the sun shining, the water warming up it should be back on in maybe a couple of weeks. For now, I'll keep tying flies.
So we did break out the fixed line flyrods and tried our luck. First we stopped at the Kent Narrows bridges. We didn't see anything so we kept on moving. We did settle for the dock we previously fished at Annapolis - nice sunny day but we didn't get one bite! I think I've been fishing three times this year so far and I have not gotten the time of day once... I'm going to have to do something to change my catching streak - maybe burn some flies as a sacrifice???? The pink and purple flies were given to Noe by the Casting for Recovery crew at the CCA event - I won't burn those (Noe won't let me). The mini gurgler inspired me to cut some sheet foam...
On Saturday we packed a lunch and drove out to Kent Narrows, MD to check out the Fly Tie event. It was neat but smaller than I thought it was going to be. La had a good time checking out the different vendors and I finally got some black crystal flash (all the shops have been out of it here for a few weeks). I passed on the National Capital Anglers show today - it was too nice outside to not spend time in the sunshine - mid 60's for a high today. Next year I'll probably flip flop these two events (skip the CCA and go to the TU).
Wednesday, March 6, 2013
The big snow storm delivered in many ways - lots of wet, sticky, slushy snow (I think we got a foot of it), it closed down a lot of schools and businesses (free day off!!!) and it prevented us from wanting to go out and about. Besides doing things I never get to do anymore like sleeping in late, having a nice sit down breakfast and taking a nap, I took some time to venture into areas I haven't gone before - tying crab flies. Intimidating - yes. Impossible - no. Accomplished - mostly. This one came out decent, but the other supposedly simpler ones will be hard pressed to entice a redfish to eat. Isn't that what winter is for - to have the time to sit down and tie up a bunch of ammo to randomly shoot to fish??? Next time I'll post what all I've tied up so far in anticipation of our upcoming migration south to the OBX...