One of the most unique places in the United States is Assateague Island. Located in both Maryland & Virginia the barrier island is home to hundreds of feral horses. It all began in January 2017 when in a conversation with Joe Hosler about doing a Kayak Fishing Excursion there. Not knowing the area it was tough to pick a date but we picked what worked out best for the two of us. I then figured it would be nice to extend it to fellow kayak anglers. A post on facebook and an enormous amount of interest followed. The date was set for June 9 – 12 as still in the spring the hope was for a less buggy experience.

Assateague is said to have the second highest mosquito populations just under the Everglades in Florida. Insect repellent with deet is highly recommended. The camp is set up for tenting camper or RV but has no hookups. It’s amenities include an out house with cold showers but its a  great trade off for the outdoor beauty the park provides.

Assateague Island National Seashore Park Kayak Fishing Camp

This was the first run while personally never visiting the park had no idea what to expect. For this reason the car camping was our best bet. There are many factors while wilderness camping that can make it a good trip or a tough one weather conditions being a main one. Rain can be one of the worst. Even in the summer things will not dry in humid places making the adventure cold and risky. “Backcountry Camping” at Assateague the closest camp in Maryland varies from 2 1/2 to 13 miles away from the ranger station.  No fresh water is available at the back-country sites so paddling in water would be a must.

Car camping as opposed to wilderness camping is much easier while weather is still a factor it can be overcome easily. The amount of gear you have with you is not limited to what you can take in your kayak. So for those reasons car camping was the way to go on the first run at Assateague. Campsite reservations fill up quickly at the park so planning out dates happened well in advance. I booked 2 sites in January which can hold up to 6 campers 2 tents and 2 cars.

Friday:

Assateague Island National Park is located in Maryland about an hour south of my home. Ricky took the drive from Philly and crashed at my place the night before. I was waiting on a special delivery from Torqeedo of a Sunshade 50 solar panel for charging the Torqeedo battery. It was amazing as it arrived at the moment we are hitting the road!

The Road to Camp:

Fortunately the camp is only an hour from my house so we were there in no time. We stopped at Buckys bait and tackle shop for bait and also got a flounder sandwich for lunch.  Ed and Noriel were already there and set up by the time Ricky and I arrived. Dee and Kelly were also already there so we set up our camp. We needed firewood as the park states you cannot bring firewood from out of state.

Its pretty neat as the Assateague road in there are about 20 different places that sell firewood both honor boxes and salesman. After loading up on wood we and then hit the water. In search of flounder and set up with crapping handlines we fished and crabbed until the evening. Suddenly Ricky had a fish on. It was a small striper. Who knew. Some time went by and I started catching them on the buck tail and gulp.

One after another 14 in all which was followed by an amazing sunset.

Horses crossing the bay at Assateague

Right after the sun past the horizon horses crossed the water from sod banks which they were grazing on the salty grass during the day. The full moon raised above the trees at that exact time.

 

Ford F150 Chillouette with Kayaks

We did a bit of grilling back at camp. Some sausages that Noriel brought. It was late due to the long days and no one really felt like cooking. We then all went and crashed out only to be awoken at 2:30 am by other campers setting up and being very inconsiderate. Ricky said something to them and they didn’t care. We figured in the morning since they packed up quite early that they were not supposed to be camping there to begin with.

Saturday:

Mosquitos outside my tentWaking up around 5:30 to await Jeff Little’s arrival and to cook up some breakfast.  The mosquitoes that were caught between the screen dome and the rain fly of my tent were still trying to eat me alive. The dash to unzip the door and run to the concrete or become breakfast to the blood suckers. Well I made it. The other guys were just getting up also. I started cooking bacon and eggs for everyone. Jeff arrived and ate with us. We filmed a short video on the Torqeedo Sunfold 50 Solar Charging Panel.

Convoyed up we drove off the island to South Point which lies on the west side of Sinepuxent Bay. Launching at a boat ramp we learned the water was colder than that closer to the island. It was funny because it probrably took us about 20 minutes to drive to the boat ramp while it was only 1.8 miles from the Assateague Island Drop in.  Water was deeper in this are a reason we went there but couldn’t find a fish the whole day. Resorted to crabbing and caught mainly females which is illegal to keep for dinner in Maryland.

Jeff was able to get in a bunch of footage for the Torqeedo video. I covered how to use the Torqeedo motor while flounder fishing. Making new drifts wind tide etc. It does save from a lot of paddling throughout the day. Then went onto hand lining from a kayak for crabs. Technique bait, and how to anchor. All great information which I will post up on my blog when I get around to it! Everyone ended up giving up around 2 PM and headed back to camp for dinner. Becky, Ricky’s wife had prepared  chicken and veggies for grilling! Good thing I brought the Camp Chef cook op and grill top.

We did manage to get out again in the evening for the bass again. Wasn’t as productive as the evening prior but did catch a few.

 

Sunday:

The attempt to sleep in was impossible due to the fact the sun was beating on my tent. The heat was becoming intense. Ricky was leaving soon and so were Kelly and Dee. Jay Sav had to leave Saturday unfortunately due to a family emergency. Ed Noriel and myself decided to fish where we did the evening before and try some crabbing there also.  Crabbing was very slow and almost uneventful. Only a strange thing happened. I had a small bunker on one of my crab stringers. Suddenly it was pulled really hard and the bait was gone. What could have that been…

Couldnt say anything for the fishing. Didn’t even have a hit but next time i will throw a bunker on and let it sit on the bottom. We all were bored and decided to head back to camp around 1 PM. I was able to set up the Torqeedo Sunfold 50 to get a gauge on how much battery it would charge in a certain time. Realistically its 50 watts of charging so it will charge a full battery over the time of 2 full days of sunlight.

We had leftover chicken sandwiches for lunch and I cooked the steak for dinner. We were all sort of beat and didn’t go out fishing on the last evening. A heard of horses came through camp in the late afternoon.  They just walked through feeding on the tall grass not minding ours or other campers presence. Then they rummaged through a neighboring campers trash. Its bad to leave trash or food out at the camp. Horses are not built to consume human or other animals food. They eat grass.

I went down to the beach for a clear sunset. We had our last campfire and the wind in that campsite again saved us from the mosquitoes.

Monday:

Well it was an early wake up again. This time to pack up and head home. This was a very enjoyable few days of doing what we love best. Camping, Fishing, and hanging out with good friends. This will most likely become an annual trip for us. All are welcome to join. Please do! Hope to see you all next year.

Wrap Up: 9th Annual Point Pleasant Beach Elks Kayak Fluke Tournamentimg_8863-2

The 9th Annual Point Pleasant Beach Elks Kayak Fluke Tournament again was a success this year. With 50 registered anglers topping previous years numbers by about 15 anglers! It was a hot day in the 90’s but definitely late July fishing weather. Since Jersey Paddlers closing The Kayak Fishing Store agreed to sign on as the kayak division main sponsor. Without them and a few other sponsors such as Orion Coolers, Yak Gear, and Yak Attack it would not be possible to have prizes for those who entered and also benefit the selected charity. Heroes On The Water was the 2016 charity the tournament benefited.

See the results at www.KayakFlukinNJ.com!

Save the Date for the 10th Annual in 2017! Hope to see you on July 22nd 2017!!!

Fishing Journal 2015_07-11:

SFsocc4The Sunshine Foundation Fluke Tournament 2015 came upon me with no real warning. I had my dates off although my calendar displayed the correct date. Along with other big changes going on at the moment in time it was easy to mess up the dates.

The plan was to stay at my friend and fellow kayak anglers camper which is located 20 min from the tournament spot. Leaving Friday afternoon after 5 hours of work. The decision to take all back roads to Egg Harbor proved to be a good idea and also was nice to take roads through areas in NJ I have never been. Most people think New Jersey is an entire state of industrial companies and polluted but there is a higher percentage of Jersey that is farmland and old colonial style towns.

Going straight to the captains meeting since being unable to get there until 6:30 Eric Chamberlain and his son Brandon were there. I went in and registered and received a T-Shirt and a captains bag. Then it was back to Ricky’s camp. Eric made dinner in a dutch oven consisting of beef potatoes carrots and broccoli calling it cave man food. It was decent. Someday I will own a dutch oven.

big rig egg harbor1The alarm went off at 4 am. Ricky had coffee going and he made us all an awesome breakfast with scrambled eggs bacon and potatoes!. Great way to start a day of fishing hard! Then we were off. We drove down a pretty much single lane road through all of the marsh and over wooden bridges. I had never seen anything like it in NJ.

At the drop in we just backed our vehicles to the water and dropped the kayaks right there. After launching i decided to try a little jigging right at the ramp. First cast fish on! It was a short fluke coming in at 15″.  Fishing wasn’t really that great. It was pretty windy all day.  By the end of the day Ricky had 6 shorts and i had the same of 6 short fluke landed. Nothing close to a keeper.Sun paddlin

On the way back I caught a few blue claws of really nice size just hanging on my jig! We fished 7 hours and the outgoing tide and part of the incoming.

Around 2:00 PM we headed in. Drove back to camp and hung out for a little while before heading over to the awards BBQ. The food was decent. It included Pulled Pork Sandwiches, Burgers, Dogs, Corn, and watermelon. They were selling a nice beer glass for 5.00 which included free refills of coors lite. The awards were handed out and no kayakers all 13 of us entered drum roll. No Fish! The tricky tray prizes were insane!

sunset at campAfter the awards dinner we went back to the camp and I hung out with Ricky and his wife Becky. Ricky and I took a walk around camp. Showing me around  some really nice spots. The sunset photo is from a point on the Mullica River. Chips Folley Campground is a really beautiful place. Its one of those hard to find Gems of New Jersey. CF camp pier

Ricky and I had planned on going fishing again in the morning but he was pretty spent. He had a guide service on Friday and now had fished all day Saturday in the tournament.

I feel this tournament was well put together. I was surprised there was only 13 kayakers registered in the tourneys 4th annual. Its fun to fish new areas and especially with good friends!

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