Monday, January 16, 2012

Should Have Stayed In Bed

The plan today was to meet up at Gravelly Point and head south on the river to Blue Plains. I had been tying up carp flies all week and even had a few carp-filled dreams over the past few days.

Dalton, David, and I were set to meet up at 10am at the boat ramp. The outside temp was 24 degrees. I couldn't have been that cold as my neighbors still had their windows open. They must be from Saskatchewan or Lapland or someplace cold.

I layered up.

  1. Feet: Smartwool socks
  2. Legs: Patagonia silk weight --> 686 mid layer --> Patagonia puff pants
  3. Torso: Patagonia silk weight ls --> Patagonia mid weight --> Barbour wool sweater --> North Face Nupste down vest --> Kokatat paddle jacket 
  4. Hands: old Orvis fold over mitts
  5. Head: Turtle Fur neck gator --> Smartwool balaclava --> Patagonia platypus hat
  6. Skin: The little exposed skin covered in Dermatone Z cote. 
I wasn't planning on going in except to launch the boat. Those layers were just for the cold air temps!
The tide was low and incoming. There was ice on the ponds as I passed the golf course and ice on the edges of Roaches Run. Ice formed on the boat ramp.

The wind was howling, blowing in from the south at what I later learned was 23 mph. We loaded up the boat and pulled out into the main channel.

The water was brown from the wind. Whitecaps surrounded us. Water was blowing into the boat. Dalton was not wearing waders and quickly getting soaked. We putt-putted into a rising tide and a southern wind with major gusts. It was 70 degrees warmer last time I fished with David! Today was cold, and windy, and wet.

As we passed the southern end of the airport I noticed we had taken on a lot of water. I cut the engine and we started to bail the water. Emptied Nalgene bottles and Gatorade jugs worked ok. I started up again and went a bit slower to achieve a more even plane with the boat. We stopped taking on water and sped up a bit. We could see the point approaching. I thought my spine would stab my brain from the boat bouncing up and down.

As we pulled in we were surrounded by a massive school of gizzard shad. They darted this way and that to get out of the way of the boat. We could see just their backs sticking out as the water had virtually no visibility.

I cut the engine and dropped anchor in what is usually super clear water. I couldn't see a thing. Dalton and David strung up their rods. I decided to focus on safety and bailing of the water we still had. So at this point my hands are about 4" deep in the water pooled at the stern of the boat. My fingers are numb. Good thing I brought my dry top to prevent water from soaking up my sleeve.

The waves were relentless. Water was splashing all around. The boat rocked back and forth and up and down. I had to keep my eye on the horizon to keep from getting sea sick. The wind was pushing the boat up stream!

The anchor was dragging on the bottom. We were drifting back up toward the monuments. The boat usually faces downstream, it was now pointing and moving up. Dalton sort of dead drifted a fly. I think he realized it wasn't worth it. David tied on one of my carp bugs and was tossing it with a sink tip. There were gizzard shad all around us and a few carp bounced out. We drifted around the point and got a break from the wind. David landed two oak leaves. We decided to call it a day. It just wasn't worth it.

After maybe 10 minutes of fishing we pulled anchor and motored back up. The waves going up were HUGE. Whitecaps rolled around us. The boat went up and down, as the wind was at our back it was much easier traveling.

We pulled into the boat ramp around noon. The docks were almost covered in water. Lots of water moving upstream from the wind plus the high tide. We pulled the boat out, packed our gear, and got the heck out of there.

My hands still hurt. I took a hot shower and just had a mug of tea. Still hurt.

I offered the lads a rain check to go out again when its warmer and not as windy. I'll keep y'all updated.


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