7th Annual Cape May Kayak Fishing Jamboree

Bonfire under the full supermoon.

Bonfire under the full super moon.

 

 

It was a different type of event this year for the 7th Annual Cape May Kayak Fishing Jamboree. 2016 marked the passing of a kayak fishing legend Jon Shein. In dedication to him to remember him and his influence on the what is now called the kayak fishing industry.

A new venue! The camp ground we previously occupied wasn’t really ideal anymore due to price increases and the distance between people staying there. The Kayak Fishing Store had agreed with event staff from Jersey Cape Kayak Fishing (JCKF) to host the event at the shop. Camping as we call it J-Bay style allows all of the attendees to hang out and share the along with stories, food, jokes, pranks, and the commodore that Kayak Angers share. J-Bay style also means the camp is right near a launch area which is walk able. Most anglers will rig their kayaks up for a full weekend of fishing. Some will keep their kayaks ready to hit the road to fish in other places.

The Cape May Kayak Fishing Jamboree is like a boondoggle. It is geared up to bring friends and family together for a last hurrah before the weather turns freezing and most do not fish. While raising money for great local charities

 

For me this year was the easiest commutes to Wildwood for a Jamboree as living in Delaware and working in Lewes its a ferry ride away.  Although the ferry is about 1.25 hours its relaxing. On the way over I spotted Amy and her husband Gus and hung out with them for the ride over. Following that hit the Cape May Brewery for a sampler and a growler fill of a beer called Turtle Gut and a six pack of Devils Reach! Excellent!.

It was great having the venue being the Kayak fishing store. I arrived around the same time as many others. Scattered around were RV’s tents and car campers being set up on the grounds of an old boat grave yard which also houses the Kayak Fishing Store. There were kayak anglers from many walks of life and places. They came from as far north as Maine to as far south as Virginia. Captain Jim had arrived with the newly patched old moldy his pop up camper which we would call home for three nights.  A bonfire was set and a Dutch Oven was placed into it. A 1/4 cooked roast was offered then there was a half stick bang to start off the festivity’s and fishing.  The 7th Annual Cape May Kayak Fishing Jamboree was officially underway!

The next morning it was fishing time. Awaking prior to the sunrise the night temps must have went down to the low 30’s. As a few anglers were already out fishing with my camera in hand i awaited the fiery sunrise. The wind was stiff and cold.

As more people arrived we went out and fished the Herdon inlet Rock walls. The fishing was pretty good with our whole crew limiting out on Tautog. I had a beauty at 17.5″ Its not hard to limit out as each angler is regulated to keeping one fish over 15″ The tide starting moving again so we headed in to enjoy a fish fry along with some fresh steamed clams Dee raked from her home waters on Long Island. Fellow anglers stopped by our campsite and enjoyed some of our catch. Moving around camp there were some other excellent meals shared among the attendees present.

Saturday Morning meeting Charlie (Lunchbox) LaBar at the 2 mile launch we fished a bit in search of Stripers. While waiting for the tide to flow out hues of the sunrise glistened from the East. Marking fish was nonexistent along with no strikes on the line. Over the radio was one casualty a fellow angler went into the water trying to rescue a fishing rod. Fortunately he was ok. October presents cold air and water temperatures which for kayak anglers is a risk. The tide changed and we were sucked out the Cape May inlet. No paddling really necessary. Once at the tip of the southern jetty wall it was game on. Green crabs and sinkers at the ready drop a line. Around 15  total anglers made the trek to the ocean. Many tog were landed and it was a great time. A nice black drum was also landed had to be 25 lbs or so.

Just about the last ones out there we quit and headed back. Charlie was running his Torqeedo on 0% which amazed me because I have never ran mine past 20%. But he made it and kind of against the tide. IT was about 30 min before slack.  Loading up and headed over to charlies summer home for a much needed shower.

Back at camp traded stories of the day. There was drones flying by taking the effect.  Gary ward and Larry Newman were still fishing. I don’t think they even enjoyed a meal the entire time. They fished hard and wanted that calcutta more than anyone. The evening set in and it was time for dinner and prizes. The iconic seafood pasta and roast beef was served once again as a yearly feast. Three tables filled with prizes and a Pelican 120 kayak were up or grabs plus the Wolfpack beer raffle. This night the bonfire was amazing and photoed above. All kinds of strange graffiti appeared on a red ford. Ribs were grilling. The sole owner of everything ate everyone’s food and all was good.

Sunday morning was a pack up day for most.  Best of all the calcuttas were awarded to Gary Ward and Larry Newman respectively as they got the bass and blues regions. I never got a final list of  Calcutta awards but its a non tournament. All for fun and that’s they way it should be. If you have ever been to a boondoggle the jamboree is the same just the northern way.

Excellent job by Chris Parson The Kayak Fishing Store Prostaff team and JCKF!

Looking forward to october 2017 for the next one. Hope to see you all there.

Kayak Fishing December in South Jersey

Fishing Journal 2015_12-06 & 12-07:

Kayak Fishing December in South Jersey

With the unseasonable warm weather here in New Jersey many kayak anglers have been taking advantage of the extended fishing season. The striped bass are still around making their way south during the 2015 fall migration. Typically this time of year they have gone past the Jersey Shoreline and are into Delaware and Virginia. Also around still are the Tautog. So for the weekend the plan was to target both of these species from the kayak. On my way south again!

Although it is Unseasonably warm for this time of year dressing for warmth and safety are still a concern. The mornings temperature prior to sunrise are below freezing in the high 20’s but by 11 AM its border lining 50 degrees. For these trips dressing warm is important.

Dressing for the Occasion

On the base layer I am wearing hunting thermal bottoms and Under Armour cold gear compression top. Over the thermal bottoms i am wearing only Exofficio fishing pants and then Kokatat Tempest pants.  Top I’m wearing a wool shirt a fleece jacket and then Kokatat Tempest Dry Top. On the feet wool socks and then heavier wool socks to keep the feet warm! And a wool beanie under my wide brim hat. Dressing this way I felt actually warm enough to not use the Glacier gloves. If it were windy gloves would have been necessary and a wool face mask or neck gator.

Preparation for the next day
loaded on the trailer

Arriving to meet Ricky at Chips Folly on Friday night after work. The drive was pretty smooth making it to camp in 1.5 hours. It was already cold in the high 20’s  good thing Ricky already had a fire going to keep us warm. After catching up we proceeded to load the kayak trailer with my Jackson Kayak Big Rig and Ricky’s Native Propel. Loading our gear into Ricks car was to be easier than driving 2 vehicles.

 

 

 

 

 

Fishing Hard or Hardly Fishing

frosty big rig

 

The plan for the AM was to leave around 6:30 to North Wildwood for bait and then down to Cape May for Togging the inlet. We needed to be on the water no later than 8:30 AM to ride the tide out the inlet. Well in the morning the alarm didn’t sound and I awoke seeing it was beginning to get light out. It was already 6:30. Then it took 45 min to get out of camp due to the dog and various other things. We arrived at the bait shop at 8:00. We both made the decision to try fishing in N Wildwood due to the idea of not making the outgoing tide which is needed to make it out the inlet.

At the Kayak Fishing Store boat ramp we say Chris Parson, Charlie, and Rob were already fishing the bridge. When we launched they were done with that not finding a single Tog. They were off to go out on a rental motor boat to cover more water.

 

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Launch at The Kayak Fishing Store North Wildwood NJ

 

Ricky and I hit the water minutes after and headed straight out to the rock wall jetty’s within the inlet. The tide was just about slack which are prime conditions for togging this area. There were people fishing from the jetty’s which was different for me as I typically fish is area when one fish is allowed to be taken due to regulations. This time of year the ability to take 6 over 15″ attracts more fishermen to the shore.

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Ricky with a Tautog

It was a really slow day fishing with Ricky and I only landing one fish a piece. The day was beautiful and that enjoyment was welcomed. We tried just about everything. From plugging trolling jigging. There just weren’t any fish inside the inlet. The ocean was another story. Hundreds of boats were killing the striped bass. All day long hearing guys transmitting over the radio limiting out on Stripers. The inlet was too dangerous that day to pass on a kayak. The fish were in reach but these are the limitations of kayak fishing sometimes.

 

 

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A Panorama of North Wildwood

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Chris Charlie & Rob

 

 

We ended the day hanging out with Chris, Charlie, Rob, John and Kennith. Talking fishing and the sport while enjoying some pizza.Ricky and I left around 3:30 and went over to the Cape May Brewery where I purchased a growler fill of their Belgian Double called Devils Reach. We headed back to camp as the sun went down and the temperature dipped back into the high 20’s. Enjoying some brews and a nice warm campfire. The plan in the morning was to get up early and fish Oyster Creek.

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday:

IMG_3573Well my alarm went off and meaning to hit snooze I shut the alarm off. OOps. Ricky woke up at 5 and it wasn’t looking good to get to the spot prior to first light. THis was to be my first time fishing at Oyster Creek. It is a special place as it is an outlet from cooling the Oyster Creek Nuclear Power Generating Station. The water temp says a constant 55- 60 degrees all winter long making it very unique.

We left camp around 6 AM. It was a chilly 27 degrees but was supposed to heat up to around 50 degrees at noon. Arriving at the IMG_3577launch the fog coming off the water looked neat! Taking the tide out we reached where the creek dumps into the bay. Just before casting various lured 4 boats went by one at full power. Spooking whatever fish may have been there. Unable to find any fish we called it a day around 11:30.

I would love to fish there again preferably under the lights in the dark. From what i understand is the place is a Striper heaven. We stopped at a bagel place for a bite to eat then headed back to camp to winterize the camper and then head home. Prior to leaving I was able to capture some beautiful hues of the days sunset over the Mullica River.IMG_3668

 

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Wrap Up: 6th Annual Cape May Kayak Fishing Jamboree

Wrap Up: 6th Annual Cape May Kayak Fishing Jamboree

Its hard to believe 5 years present at this gathering! Missing the first occasion in 2010 due to the weather. Great times and this year topped the rest with good weather and excellent tog fishing. The 2015 or 6th Annual Cape May Kayak Fishing Jamboree is run by Jersey Cape Kayak Fishing and The Kayak Fishing Store benefiting Heroes on The Water New Jersey Chapter.

Thursday:

My adventure began Thursday night as the plan was to meet Ricky at Chips Folly Campground. The camp is about 2/3 of the way to Cape May NJ. After my work and dentist visit I headed straight south arriving at the camp just at dark making great time as Ricky had also arrived about 10 mins prior. Ricky began to get things together for fishing the next day and then we were off to the shooting range. Unfortunately we didn’t know the range hours were till 8 PM so there was about a half hour enough time for me to take the safety course that the range requires then left back for camp and dinner. Becky being awesome once again had prepared dinner that Ricky brought to camp. It was excellent she made mac salad and Buffalo Chicken sandwiches! MMMM so good! We hung out for a bit more then crashed out early anticipating a long day.

Friday:

Ready to leave pines_TPHArising at 8 am had some coffee. Ricky had to finish loading up. We wanted to be in Cape May by 11:30 to catch the slack low tide. I tried to help out loading up as much as I could splitting firewood and loading that into my truck. Finally around 10:00 AM we left camp to hit the Bait Shop in North Wildwood then to the Kayak Fishing Store where we planned on fishing for the day.

The bait shop had plenty of green crabs for us to purchase as Blackfish (Tautog) candy. Also decided to pick up a pint of shucked clam since we were to be fishing in the ocean the next day. Also picked up a few tog rigs and some pink soft baits.

finally fishing friday cape may_TPHOff to the Kayak fishing Store. We were to launch asap but as it goes you have to say hi to everyone.! Not that that’s a bad thing. IT was great to see Chris, Bob, Lunchbox, and Seaflea part of the crew that volunteers to run the Jamboree. Among others whom haven’t seen in a while. I begun to gear up my yak and prepare for fishing. I had a lot to do as i didn’t rig any rods or anything prior.

Finally out fishing. By this time it was a bit rough and the tide was screaming in. It was warm and sunny though with no clouds in the sky. I motored out against the tide with the Torqeedo on the Jackson Big Rig. The area of North Wildwood and Cape May due to the strong currents having a electric motor or a hands free propelled kayak can be clutch! I’m not saying paddling is impossible but for keeping stationary over rocky areas that it is easy to be snagged its either anchor up or suspend your kayak.

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Togging the Rock Wall at Hereford Inlet NWW

Anchoring can be acquired by using a 3lb anchor tied off to the nose and line zip tied to the top. Along with minimal  100 feet of anchor line this will be used to anchor the stern of the kayak away from the rock wall or jetty. A disposable weight such as a 20 oz soda bottle with the top cut off and filled with concrete and a looped coat hanger or an actual jetty anchor made of light gauge rebar with the ability bend out straight to allow unhooking.

Togging the

Togging the Pre-Fish

My attempt to anchor up failed due to not having enough rope and plus the heavy wavy conditions the anchor probably would have pulled anyway. There for trying to suspend with ton of current and a lot of waves was impossible. The effort yielded no fish but a few nibbles. I decided to haul back to the creek Ricky was fishing for bass. He was about to give up anyway and my buddy Brian had arrived.

Back at the ramp I decided to give it another hour and fish the bridge with Brian for Blackfish (Tog). The entire hour went by with only 2 hookups that unfortunately resulted in snags. Blackfish once hooked will dive hard into the structure that they typically hang around. The only way to avoid this is set the hook and reel as fast as you possibly can to hold them away from the structure. If not the fish will get you snagged up. They are masters at de-hooking themselves also. Best thing to do is let the line slack wait them out Sometimes they will swim away from the structure or others they will drop the hook allowing you to un-snag your rig. Then sometimes your just completely snagged. Best thing to do is cut retie re bait and add new weight.

Skunked on the pre-fish and for the first time in 2015 fishing season. With that called it a day loaded up our kayaks and gear. Back at the campground by the time my tent was pitched it was time to sign in. After the captains meeting we all hung out and ate food along with some beverages. Ricky had brought pulled pork which was awesome and the Chamberlains brought venicin that they cooked int heir camp fire which was amazing! Time flew by getting to bed a little late around 11:30, 4 am was to come way too soon.

Saturday:

The 4 AM alarm sounded. It was a cool wet morning. Some people were up and getting ready to go. I woke Brian up and he met me at WaWa for coffee and breakfast. We then made it to the drop in around 5 am. After rigging up and launching in the dark we proceeded to fish the bridge lights. The tide was ripping out to the ocean. My first cast with a paddle tail soft bait small hits revealing a shredded swim bait we knew it was small bluefish. I switched rods to one rigged with a small cast master metal lure. Casting into the bridge lights 2 cranks and fish on. Small Bluefish up to 13″. Fun to catch. Unfortunately leaving the WiFi function on the GoPro turned on the prior day the camera battery had died right after taking the photo on the left.  Morning twilight was soon to be upon us. Brian was looking for tog on the bridge as I fished the sod banks for Stripers.sat morning good morning

As it became dawn it was time to head out to the ocean. The 4.5 knot tide was ideal as it was outgoing. Basically you get sucked out! Casting plugs and jigs on the way out the inlet but no hits unfortunately. Upon crashing through the waves into the ocean wasn’t reading many fish so switched rods for trolling. Trolling for about an hour and a half  managing 2 bluefish up to 14″ a small striper at 22″ and a dogfish. The sun had risen fully but was blocked by large clouds. Combined with the damp NW wind it was actually pretty cold out for most of the morning. Fishing was slow. By this time there were approximately 10  kayaks togging the South side of the inlet jetty. 20151024_111511One guy already had landed a 21″ Blackfish.  Joining them within a minute I had a fish on. Another dogfish on crab. Was able to manage a good position and next fish was a nice one! 18.5″ Blackfish! Managed around 12 landed and 3 snags that couldn’t be shook loose. We even had a ton of entertainment with a boat trying to anchor to the jetty for at least 2 hours. Charlie loosing his paddle then someone finding it! Amazing!!

tog fishing wallHad been drifting clam for over an hour in hopes to pick up a bass or a bluefish which resulted in a bunch of small dogfish.Around 12 noon looking around it seemed everyone had left.  Brian and I were the only 2 left in sight. The tide had turned to the incoming and the ocean suddenly became big. I was ready to cruise back in. Brian took a few more casts and then retreated. It was a quick getting back riding the tide in. Reaching the launch it everyone had landed and was packing up. Brian and I left with a Blackfish apiece as the limit is one per angler.

black fish

online-store-1446684056Almost the last to leave the launch we headed out and since it was my birthday after grabbing a bite to eat Brian and I proceeded to the Cape May Brewery!  Upon entering the tasting room was packed! Music was playing and people were having a good time! We took the “Self Guided Tour” while starting off with the IPA.  Then we moved on to purchasing the tasting kit which allowed 5 4 oz samples along with a souvenir glass for an extra 5 bucks. It seemed they actually may pour around 5-6 oz when you get the glass. The line to the bar was long due to the crowd there. We made a system to get our sample fill then get back to the end of the line. By the time we would get to the bar we were ready for another sample. Particularly I enjoyed their Belgian Double and the IPA on Nitros. I never had an IPA that had the smoothness like a Bodingtons Pub ale or Guinness porter.

food lineIt was now getting late as we left the brewery around 4:30 and the dinner was to begin around 6:00 back at camp. Upon our return a bit of socializing and it was time to eat and run off the dinner and raffles. The all familiar Tader Salad, Roast Beef Sammiches, and the famous Seafood Pasta was on the menu again! There was in total an estimate of around 70 people for the dinner! The Calcutta winners announced and the raffle commenced. I found out the hard way why measuring and snapping a photo of every fish caught is a good idea. A 12″ fish won the Bluefish Calcutta pot. Caught a 14″ fish that I had neglected to photo! Lessons learned.

manley rod to vetDuring the Raffle Brian Swingle of Manley Rods Prostaff Raffled a nice Manley Rod off to a veteran. Frank Patla a US Veteran and Kayak Angler won the rod respectively! The raffle contained a ton of donated prizes such as rods, reels, kayak gear, tackle, and a ton of swag.

The Wolfpack put on their annual craft beer raffle again this year. To enter you need $5 and a six pack. Winner takes all of the beer home and the $5 is donated to HOW NJ! Rory won the raffle this year and donated the beer to everyone!

In all a great time. Everyone went to there respected campsites for camp fires beverages and to reflect upon the day of fishing. It was great seeing new faces at the event to add that the sport continues to grow in good fashion. New friends were made and life long fishing partners.

Hope to see you all there next year!

Wrap Up : 2013 JCKF / TKFS Jamboree Benefiting HOW NJ – Success!!

Another great annual event is over. What a great time! A total of 98 were registered anglers. Arrived on Friday afternoon after picking up a Big Tuna Demo from Jersey Paddler. I ended up going straight to TKFS to see who was fishing and how they were making out also to possibly fish. It seems as i arrived there and said hello to everyone at the store they guys were coming in. The typical crew of Capt. Jim Gary Brian and Chris. They were all togging at the bridge there. They amazingly all limited out within 2 hours. As they came in the winds were blowing a steady 20 with gusts to 30. So I decided to join the crew for fresh fried tog.
Tautog is incredibly tasty fish. One of my favorites in fact. Hung out with the guys for a little while them met up for the captains meeting. Collected my captains bag. A lot of cool swag again this year! These guys know how to put together a bag o swag! Had the opening toast then got ready to go fishing for the 9 PM start.

Wawa Turkey Dinner Bowls are back!!!!! Grabbed me one of those for dinner! Arrived at the drop in location and ate my dinner. By the time i was all loaded and dry geared up the 5 guys i was going fishing with ere nowhere to be found and I was unable to get radio contact for some reason. There was no game plan I was aware of so i trolled out the inlet with no hits. Finally got a text and paddled to the location of the other guys.  They were already into the bass. I guess it was pretty much too late by the time i arrived i saw some of the guys boat small bass but i had none all night. Decided to bail at 2:00 am.

The plan was to sleep for 2 hours if possible then return to the same fishing spot for sunrise. Eh yeah that didn’t happen. After awaking around 6:30 and getting to the drop in around 7:30 it was togging day!. Cape May has an incredible togging fishery. Togging from a kayak is ideal as typically you are going to be fishing around structure such as bridges rock piles wrecks and jetty’s.

Picked me up 2 dozen green crabs from the bait shop. Each crab = 2 baits. Using meat shears you will simply cut the crab in half front to back and also cut the claws and legs off.  My rig was a high low tog rig with the sinker at the top. You can also use a single hook rig which most use in the area. Tog are tough fish to catch because as you hook them they swim quickly into the structure below. Snagging your rig up and fraying the leader. You have to hook the fish and begin reeling asap to keep the fish out of the structure. I pretty much stuck with baiting with 1 hook as 2 dozen green crabs can be all used up within a couple of hours. The fishing was great. Easily landed well over 15 fish. None over the legal limit to keep though.

Before the day was over I decided to join the guys along the rock wall out the inlet. The wind was fierce blowing at a steady 20 gusting id say to 30 mph.

Tried to fish the area but with the incoming tide ripping and that stiff wind it was just close to impossible. Snagged my rig up cut it and left to go back to the campground and setup the HOW video on the projector for the dinner.

The dinner was excellent as it has been in the past. I wish we played the video before the awards and after dinner so everyone would have been able to hear the audio.

We ran off the raffle and that was the night. The wind continued to blow all night. Next morning packed up and that’s another jamboree in the books.