Virginia Angler looking for advice

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StuttsCreek
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Virginia Angler looking for advice

Post by StuttsCreek » Sun Jan 04, 2015 2:19 pm

Hello, I am Pat Harrington TKAA member from Mathews,VA. My buddy and I are planning a trip to the Panhandle /Wakulla area this year and looking for some advice. First and foremost, where to stay? I'm not on a shoestring budget but the Hilton isn't an option either. I was looking at the Shell Island Fish Camp, any opinions? Second we are fishing both salt and fresh water while there, any suggestions for the best time of year for Largemouth, Reds , Trout etc ? We are planning on about a week long stay with the Hotel (or whatever) as base camp. Single vehicle with a trailer. I figure that the locals can give me better reviews and knowledge about the area than a review on trip advisor. Thanks

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Mongo
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Re: Virginia Angler looking for advice

Post by Mongo » Mon Jan 05, 2015 4:27 am

You can find fish here in fresh and salt all year long but based on my limited experience in this area, I would recommend targeting the Spring time between April and June for both. I don't have any first hand knowledge of places to stay on the coast but I think I have seen several favorable posts on this site about Shell Island Fish Camp. Try doing a search under the various tabs for that specific location or "lodging". I think there are also some listed off the main page of this site under: Links: Favorite Businesses.To maximize your fishing experience in a limited time you may want to contact Rob, Reel-Fin-Addict with the Wilderness Way Outfitters, (850) 877-7200. Rob provides a kayak only guide service that is very reasonable and would be well worth the investment to provide a kick start to your trip. Rob grew up in this area and can sure catch the fish!

Some reciprocal advice: My sons and I are planning a two day float trip down the South fork of the Shenandoah in May of this year. Any recommendations on the best put in/take out location and camping availability along the section that you recommend? I have read several articles but thought you might have some insight?
Last edited by Mongo on Tue Jan 06, 2015 8:44 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Virginia Angler looking for advice

Post by StuttsCreek » Mon Jan 05, 2015 8:05 am

Thanks Mongo. We were considering a guide as part of our trip plan so we could get familiar with the area.
As for the Shenandoah, I live in Mathews VA on the Bay and have limited experience on that river. I do know that there have been unexplained fish kills in that river.
I would contact VA fish and game to see if the fish have recovered. I would consider fishing the James or the New, bigger fish and
some decent guides. Check out flyfinatics posts on the TKAA website. Grant is an avid fly fisher and very familiar with that part
of the state, as is his partner wolfman ( I don't recall his name offhand) Looking forward to seeing you guys down there this year :D

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Mongo
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Re: Virginia Angler looking for advice

Post by Mongo » Mon Jan 05, 2015 11:22 am

Thanks for the info on the Shenandoah! You will probably get other responses to your post, anglers on this site are extremely helpful and willing to share information. I would suggest reposting when you narrow down the dates for the trip, I have seen local anglers that have offered to accompany "Newbies" to the area depending on the target location. Have you previously fished this area?

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Re: Virginia Angler looking for advice

Post by StuttsCreek » Mon Jan 05, 2015 2:29 pm

This will be my first trip to the Panhandle. I have fished the Saint Johns area a few years ago for Bass. This trip will be more about fishing, and less partying :D

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Re: Virginia Angler looking for advice

Post by Mongo » Mon Jan 05, 2015 3:19 pm

You will be hooked on the shallow water salt water fishing here! Very similar to bass fishing in fresh water (minus the oyster bars :lol: ) Most of your targeted species will usually be in 6 feet or less of water sometimes less than a foot. 8O You will spend a lot of time throwing at the grass points and other structure.I would definitely invest in a guide for the first day if you can't hook-up with a local to show you the ropes. :A1

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Re: Virginia Angler looking for advice

Post by BigIrish » Mon Jan 05, 2015 5:32 pm

Welcome Pat, The salt is great in the Spring, we have a tournament on the first weekend of May. Cobia and Tarpon show around then.

Shell Island is great for guys, and grandsons but it is a little rustic if you have women but the Inn at Wildwood is modern and only about 2 miles away.

Rob will show you how to catch fish, well worth it. He has a place just up from Shell Island on the Wakulla, make sure you catch a Spotted Bass while you are here for your bucket list.

Tallahassee has Lake Jackson, it is full of water again, and it is a world class bass lake. The Texas Kayak Wars hated anytime someone from Tallahassee joined in, they accused us of using the same 29 inch bass over and over again, but it wasn't! :lol:

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Re: Virginia Angler looking for advice

Post by StuttsCreek » Mon Jan 05, 2015 7:53 pm

Thanks guys, it seems that we fish similar to you guys. Popping corks for reds/trout etc... If you are ever up here come to Mathews.
We were voted as one of the top ten small towns in America last year. Paddling friendly and some good spots to fish. We have had our
challenges over the years dealing with pollution and sea grass dying off. Oyster aquaculture has seemed to help turn the tide along with
the new menhaden regulations.
Mongo was you avatar pic taken of a Gator while fishing? Thats downright scary. The worst we have to deal with is a water snake :D

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Re: Virginia Angler looking for advice

Post by Mongo » Tue Jan 06, 2015 8:41 am

StuttsCreek wrote:
Mongo was you avatar pic taken of a Gator while fishing? Thats downright scary. The worst we have to deal with is a water snake :D
:lol: :lol: :lol: No, I have a hard enough time casting accurately with two hands!!! :20 Gators are common in both fresh and saltwater here. More so in fresh and the St Johns has plenty of big gators. Respect them all and don't contest their territory (especially those that are 10+ feet 8O ). If one is after your catch, let him have it. Don't transport any yappy small dogs (gator Hors d'Oeuvres) and don't eat anything the night before that will cause you to make sounds that mimic a gator call. :oops: :lol:

Like sharks or any other large predator, just use common sense. You are not their preferred prey and they will not be a problem if you don't spook them or lure them in the boat with you.

If you run into one this size get out of Dodge and don't look back:
http://outdoorsdownsouth.com/the-bigges ... /#more-986

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Re: Virginia Angler looking for advice

Post by Shorewalker » Thu Jan 15, 2015 3:24 pm

Where you pick your lodging will depend on your ratio of saltwater versus freshwater time. Lake Jackson is a good fifty minute drive from the coast (wildwood / shell island). Local rivers can offer some good oppurtunities as well for bass. I fished a lot of bass in Texas but I fish whole lot more saltwater now. Make sure you bring a walk the dog topwater for early morning inshore action, although I bet Rob will issue you one on the guide trip if you forget.

I would probably agree spring is your best bet for that combo. May 1 -2 we have a very unique charity kayak tourney with tons of local flair. It is a great way to meet a lot of good people.

Note: Read the Forgotten Coast Essentials at least five times. It will all make sense complete sense by your second day on the water.
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Re: Virginia Angler looking for advice

Post by StuttsCreek » Sat Jan 17, 2015 8:07 pm

Thanks for the advice :D

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Re: Virginia Angler looking for advice

Post by rc109a » Tue Mar 10, 2015 10:01 am

I am the other Yaker joining StuttsCreek down there. I just wanted to say thanks so far for all the good advice. It has been several years since I was stationed in FL (Mayport) and I am looking forward to being back even if it is only for a week (that is the longest my wife would let me leave now since I retired from the Navy, guess she is tired of the deployments).

We decided to rent a cabin on NAS Pensacola around the May 10th time frame. Hope fully this will give us the opportunity to see the area and not feel pressured into rushing things. Its hard planning a trip to an area your not familiar with and expecting immediate results. We both know that is not going to happen. We are looking forward to enjoying our vacation and hopefully catch some nice fish. We are both studying up on what we can find regarding gear to bring and what to expect. An advice will certainly be well received.

If anyone ever comes up to our neck of the woods and needs advice or a fishing partner, just let us know. We always enjoy meeting new people and trading fish stories.

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Re: Virginia Angler looking for advice

Post by jsuber » Tue Mar 17, 2015 7:51 pm

TKAA member. I helped start that outfit with Cory Routh, Chad Hoover, Daryll, Wayne, Ric, Kevin, and many more. Lots of places to fish around here. Check out our launch map for lots of different places. Come down for our tournament May 1st and you can eat for free for two days and fish all you want and maybe take home a couple of kayaks.

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Re: Virginia Angler looking for advice

Post by rc109a » Wed Mar 18, 2015 8:42 pm

TKAA is a great club. It has helped not only myself, but countless others enjoy kayaking and helping others. This year is going to be outstanding with all the club activities going on. This weekend is fly casting lessons from shore with practical exercises out on the yaks. Next month is a friendly fishing get together along with Heroes on the Water. You defiantly have laid some good groundwork that others have built upon! We are looking forward to coming down and hopefully get some good pictures and meet some other kayakers!

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Re: Virginia Angler looking for advice

Post by Shorewalker » Tue Apr 07, 2015 3:03 pm

Pensacola is a bit out of our range at about a 3+ hour drive from here. I know there is another kayak group out that way but I don't have a lot of real experience with them.

http://www.gulfcoastkayakfishing.com/index.htm used to have a forum but went with a facebook page and the kayak section of

http://www.pensacolafishingforum.com

There might be others as well.
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