Dan had one at 19" and Specks got a 32" Striper surprise.
I was awakened at 0600 by the howling of the wind and violent swinging of the trees. I urgently checked the forecast and the previous predictions of 8-12kts turned into 20kts with gusts to 25kts. DAMN YOU NOAA! I retreated back to Ocean's East to vent my frustrations and hopefully devise another plan of attack. Kiptopeke was suggested since the concrete ships are known to hold small togs; however, while continuously checking the weather, I noticed the forecast called for diminishing winds later in the morning and afternoon. By 0930 the 20kts came down to 14kts and I decided it was time. At 1030 I launched my kayak and accepted the 3 mile punishment I was about to endure for that chance to fight the togs.
It took me almost an hour and half, but I got there in good spirits, optimistic and focused on the mission. With the incoming tide almost done, I deployed my blue crab on a dropper loop with 4oz of lead and felt it infiltrate the rocky hold out of the togs. It took a little while to find the right place, but once I did, I felt that quick tap, followed by another tap, and I jolted my rod up.... but my rig was already disarmed by the skilled blackfish. It took me 5 or 6 times of getting picked off before I was able to hook one up. And as soon as I did, I was grinning ear to ear. It fought hard. Hard enough for me to think it was going to be bigger than 15".
Over the next several hours I did battle with about a dozen strong togs with the biggest going 20". That fight from the 20"er is what I came for. All that traveling, prepping, paddling in the wind was worth it to fight that fish.
Justin Mayer came out to join in but sadly, the bite was just about gone by the time we met up. Plus, the outgoing current was extremely fast and without the proper anchor system, Justin had a hard time staying in the eddies behind the pilings. Sorry buddy, I'm sure you'll get on 'em next time.
We got off the water around 1930, grabbed a bite to eat and rendezvoused with Ric Burnley at the HRBT for a night raid on the light line stripers. The incoming current was just as insane as the outgoing earlier and made for very tough striper hunting conditions. After a few more hours of punishing myself and not hooking up with any, I decided to leave the stripers for another day and be happy with the successful tog trip. Tired, exhausted..... happy.
About the Author: Rob Choi is an avid kayak angler from the Chesapeake Bay area in Virginia and a Pro Staff Member at Yakangler.com. He has earned a reputation among the locals as the fish junkie with reckless abandon to logic, time, and societal norms in his pursuit for the "tug that is the drug". He shares his love of the sport through his blog www.angling-addict.com.