Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Hammering the Puppy Drum

There has been quite a few reports lately of puppy drum and lots of them. So I decided I was going to head out and give it a go. I called a couple of local fishing buddies and got a few heck yeahs and a few maybes. Either way I hitting my local hotspot bright and early Saturday morning.

Today I was joined by my buddy Richie Bekolay from Hook Line & Sinker (Richie's Report). Richie has already been on the puppy drum the last few weeks and we quickly decided where we were going to start.

Immediatley I got a blowup on my Pink Skitterwalk but I missed that fish. The very next cast I had what I thought was a little striper popping at the lure. After a few retreives I had a little better blowup and set the hook into this nice 23" Specked Trout. Richie took a few quick pics for me and I got her back in the water. This was a good sign because I haven't heard many reports on decent specks being caught.
Photo Credit: Richie Bekolay
Richie and I made our way to another flat and almost immediately I hooked into a pretty good red. While I was realing this fish in I quickly realized there were about 30+ more reds swimming with it. I told Richie who was only about 40 yards away to make a cast at my line and he hooked up right away. This was some good teamwork and he made a perfect cast not to interfere with my fish.



For the next few hours we Hammered them. Well, I Swinging Hammered them... Gold Digger, Electric Chicken and bubblegum flash. Biggest red of the day was 28" with quite a few in the 26+ range. Landed a couples specks up to 23" so all in all not a bad day on the water.


Monday, June 2, 2014

When it all comes together...

You know that fishing trip that you and your buddies always talk about. C'mon, you know the one! It's the one with all those big fish. The one where everybody was hooking up and landing monster fish. Well, this happens to be one of those stories!

The day started like any other by getting up at 3am. Getting the coffee going, making eggs and lots of delicious bacon. Finish up by packing a huge lunch and getting on the road.

I got to the ramp earlier than usual and started to unload my gear. Preparing your gear the night before really has it's advantages. I was in the water about 10 minutes upon arrival.

Even though things were going pretty smoothly this morning and I wanted to get right to fishing. I had to stop and take some pictures of this beautiful sunrise.

I decided today that Powerteam Lures Swinging Hammers were going to be the bait of choice. I was only on the water for about 1 1/2 hours when my rod buckled over! My first thought - "Man that was quick"! First up was a 47 12" RED Pic on a Swinging hammer....

I tried taking some solo pics and this is what I got. It's not easy to get a good picture, as some of the guys make it look, haha. A Yakattack Dogbone and Panfish Portrait helps.

Now for a little rewind.

This morning I was going to meet Richie Bekolay and Rob Choi on the water. They decided to hit a spot they thought would produce. Sure enough, right after I landed my fish. I got a call on the radio from Richie - "47 1/2" on the board"!
Photo Credit - Rob Choi
We were only a few miles apart at this point so we decided to join forces. I'm sure glad we did, because this went from a day of fishing to a day of catching!

Not very long after we got together, I spot a black cloud about 200 yards away. I immediately looked up to see if there were any clouds. Nope, not a cloud. As the 3 of us got closer to the school of fish. We realized it was stripers! These weren't just any stripers. These were citation class fish!

Richie lands the first fish - a 48" Virginia Citation - His personal best!
Photo Credit - Richie Bekolay
I threw out my PTL Swinging Hammer and BAM!
Photo Credit - Richie Bekolay
My personal best Virginia Release Citation Striper at 46"!

Photo Credit - Richie Bekolay

Rob Choi - Not wanting to be left out of this striper mahem. He was throwing the fly rod to these bad boys. After a few throw Rob lands his first striper of the day at 41". He quickly followed that up with another 40"er. Rob's full report here - Slingin' Big Flies

Over the next few hours, we chased that school around. These fish were now spooked and didn't want any of our offerings. We decided to get back after the big reds.

Only a few hundreds away from the stripers. Richie looks at his Hummingbird fishfinder and says "Fish right there man". As he was casting his other rod, my trolling rod starts peeling drag!

                                49" Citation Drum on a Powerteam Lures Swinging Hammer!
Photo Credit - Richie Bekolay
Photo Credit - Richie Bekolay
Right after taking a few pictures we got back on the fish. Richie is looking ahead and as he's saying "What is that!" I am standing in my kayak and says "Reds, lots of reds!" We decided to take a second or two and make sure we made perfect casts to these fish. They were heading right towards us and coming fast.
We both made perfect precision casts and hooked up at almost the same time! As we were being pulled around by big reds, I couldn't help but think "What a day!".

Photo Credit - Richie Bekolay
Photo Credit - Richie Bekolay
Schools of reds were going to our left and to our right. We were surrounded by them. I have never seen that many reds at one time. I landed another red right at 40" to end the day.

Richie and I got to land both Bull Reds and Striper Citations in the same day. Not very many kayakers that we know can say that. That makes this day just a little sweeter.

Totals for the day:

Rob: 41" striper, 40" striper

Joe: 49" red, 48" red, 47 1/2" red, 40" red, 46" striper

Richie: 48" red, 47 1/2" red, 47" red, 48" striper, 40" striper

It was truly a trip that will be talked about for years to come. A trip that you usually just dream about just happened. A trip that had good friends, lots of laughs, citation class striper AND bull reds.

Sometimes, it just all comes together...

Hooked Up 1


Friday, May 30, 2014

Start of the Bull Red Run

My 2013 bull red season was without a doubt one of the best fishing seasons I have ever had. With 8 Virginia release citations and 2 fish going over 50+"'s it was going to be hard to top. Or for that matter, even repeat. Catching just one of these citations in an entire season is a feat in itself.

The main goal for 2014 was to just catch one! My first trip out to the Eastern Shore of Virginia we were going to have near perfect conditions. Awesome water clarity and low winds should equal a good day of drum fishing. Today our hopes were high. Today we were going to get it done!

I was joined by my good friends Richie Bekolay and William Ragulsky. Our goal - get out to the shoals and find the fish! Richie has a rough 2013 Bull Red season going 13 or so times without a fish.

He worked extremely hard last year to find these fish and for whatever reason it just wasn't his time. This year was going to be different, he kept telling me (and himself). And sure enough he made it happen on his first trip. Richie landed this awesome Bull that measured at 46" - His first Virginia Bull Red Release Citation!

Photo Credit - William Ragulsky
  Congrats on the awesome fish buddy! Check out his full report here Monkey Eviction

As Richie was fighting his fish I stood up and noticed the huge school moving off to my left. I made several casts with multiple fish on then off again. I made another long cast and a fish exploded on the bait! I was in for my sleigh ride. As I went back and watched the GoPro video I giggled like a 12 year school girl the entire time. Just shows you how exciting it is to catch one of these beasts of the Chesapeake Bay!

Photo Credit - Richie Bekolay

Photo credit - Richie Bekolay

The last couple of months I had a quite a few people tell me that I had a "Lucky" 2013 red season. At first I was a little offended by the comments because I did work hard. But then one of my friends posted something that helped. "The harder you work = The luckier you get!" Another one of my favorites is "Work hard to put yourself in a position to be successful!".

Do your scouting - Watch the video's - Check out past reports. But most importantly. Go out and create your own reports. Don't just wait until you get one because by that time it might be too late....


Monday, March 3, 2014

Back on the water...

A mouth full of Conviction Craw!
It's been a while since my last post. Heck, it has been a while since I got a chance to get on the water. My shoulder surgery went very well and 9 weeks later after lots of rehab I was really needing to fish. 

With the KBF Open right around the corner, I wanted to get on the water a few days to iron out the kinks. And this past Sunday was the perfect day for it with 65 degrees, sunny with a little wind mixed in. 

I only had a few hours to fish so I decided to hit up a local lake to try my luck at some largemouth. Immediately I could tell I was a little rusty. The day started off with me missing a few big fish early. Poor hooksets will do it to you every time. The bass weren't hitting the first couple of colors aggressively. I kept switching colors and weight sizes until I found the right combo. This was the 1/4oz Tick Shake Green with Greenpumpkin/light blue swirl conviction craw from PowerTeam Lures. Go getcha some!

This first fish landed was just over 16"s. These fish were tucked tight into the laydowns. You really needed to focus on the middle of the laydown in the thick stuff or you wouldn't get bit. The perfect combo for this type of technique is 30-50lb braid with 25lb flouro leader, about 36".

Ok, less talking and more pictures... I followed that up with this 19.5" chunk!

The day was really starting to heat up... I had already thrown back a couple of 18" fish while working some docks and more lay downs. I pitched my bait deep into the V of a large fallen tree limb. The bait hit the bottom and then "THUMP". I set the hook hard on this fish. I knew this was a better than average fish. After about 30 seconds of heart thumping fight! I landed my first Virginia Largemouth Citation at 22 1/2". I didn't have a scale so I would estimate this fish at 7-7 1/2 lbs.

With easily my largest Virginia Bass in the books I wasn't expecting much for the rest of the day. However the bites continued for the next few hours. Here are a few of the pics...

The day ended with a total of 11 bass with the majority of fish - over 18.5". My 5 biggest were 22.5, 21, 20.5 20, 19.5 fish totaled 103.5"!! 

This was clearly a day to remember and hopefully the start of a great fishing season. If you haven't yet, go check out PowerTeam Lures lineup of soft plastics. You won't regret it! I hope to see you on water!
(video to follow) 


Monday, November 11, 2013


This past weekend with the winds predicted at 15-20mph. I decided to hit the sweetwater for some largemouth bass action. I had only a few hours to fish each day so I hit a few public lakes here in Williamsburg.

I tried throwing spinnerbaits and cranks in the deep drop offs. Nothing, not even a strike.
I decided to slow it down a little and start throwing some craws and worms. I found some stumps in about 8ft of water off a main point and starting pitching a NorthStars custom swim jig with a PTL 4.5" Conviction Craw. The first cast bounced off the stump and I had a "thump" before it even hit the bottom. This nice 17" chunk to start the day. I took that pattern to each little point I found and consistently caught fish; 9 fish between 15"-18"

The next day I got on the water about the same time. I had patterned these fish pretty good the previous day and was going to continue more of the same. Today was a little colder and windier. Trying to stay in one spot wasn't working out to well. I had only landed 3 smaller fish (12"-15"). I missed 2 or 3 good bites today. I had 1 bigger fish on for a few seconds and shook off.

I scouted some more of the lake out for future trips. I then came back to the spot I missed the big one. With the winds calmed down I made it to the stump quietly. I made a perfect cast just inches from the stump. I could feel the bait bouncing off it on the way down. Once it hit the bottom I left it for 30 seconds or so. I made one hop off the bottom and "tick"! I set the hook hard and knew this was a little better fish. Not a bad way to almost end the night!

For those of you wondering what bait's I using; here you go!

The last two days I used the 4.5" Conviction Craw with a 1/4oz Tick Shake and NorthStars Custom Swim Jigs. I caught about the same on both green and black/blue so I have two favorites. When the craw bite slowed I tossed the 7" Tickler in Junebug with a 1/8oz Tungsten screw-in weight.
You can't forget the special ingredient, the magic that pulls it all together!
I soaked these in Hog Tonic - The best scent on the market!!
Please check out their baits and scents! 
For a 10% discount click here -->> PowerTeamLuresDiscountCode.


Monday, November 4, 2013

Breaking in the new rods...

When I arrived home from work on Thursday, there was a unexpected surprise waiting for me. It was a package from Bill Merrick and Chad Hoover from ALL PRO RODS. It included 3 APX Graphite Pro Series Spinning rods, 7' med and 7' med/light. Check them out at

With my new rods in hand, I needed to try and hit the water soon! I called fellow APR Pro Staffer Richie Bekolay to see if he was available to fish Saturday morning. And he was game (as usual)! Although, it is a tough decision this time of year with deer season underway.

I met Richie at the ramp before light to see if we could get on the early bite. Just as we were leaving the ramp, a fellow kayaker greeted us. This wasn't just any tall, sleeveless man at the ramp. This was Forrest Short! For those of you who don't know this man; he's the local Speckled Trout Master. He has 30+ Virginia Citation trout this season alone! Not to mention all the Freshwater citations!

We all arrived at the vortex trout fishing hole (Forrest's nickname for this spot) together and pulled the kayaks up in the grass. When your fishing with a guy like Forrest, you let him pick his spot first and then span out from there. It didn't take him long to show us how its done. First fish up was a beautiful 26" citation! Forrest continued to teach us how it's done with two more citations, 24.5", 25"! He kicked our butts! And it was great to be able to fish with him for a few hours. It's amazing what you can learn from watching such a great fisherman.

 I finally got on the board with a 17 1/2" and 23 3/4" trout, just short of citation.

Photo by Richie Bekolay

A few weeks prior to this trip, I had a huge trout launch completely out of the water and missed my Skitterwalk. I had the image of that trout in my head for weeks. So I left Forrest and Richie to head over to that spot. I know that it's ridiculous of me to think that that fish was going to still be in that area, but I had to try.
I made it over and quietly and pulled the kayak up on the bank. I grabbed my 7' APR Pro Series rod and made my first cast and nothing. On the second cast I was retrieving my Mirrolure, when I felt just a slight bump and set the hook (now that's why you want a sensitive rod). My reel started peeling out drag, and I knew this was a better fish. After only a few runs, I thought maybe it was a good red fish, but then I got a good look. This was a stud of a Speckled trout at 26 1/4"!

Photo by Richie Bekolay

Photo by Richie Bekolay

Photo by Richie Bekolay
Could this be the trout from a few weeks ago? I'll never know but I'll take it! I put the fish on my lip grippers and made my way back to the guys. Richie was in the middle of landing a nice fish himself, a 25" striper. The day ended with us landing 4 citation speckled trout and a couple of nice stripers. A great way to break in the new rods! Thank guys, we have to do that again soon!  

HOOKED UP              

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Chasing the Slots

These last couple of weeks have been so busy with me personally. My wife and I moved into our new home in Williamsburg and getting on the water just wasn't going to happen anytime soon.
Well, things started to settle down here in the new Underwood household so my fishing adventures continue...

The first of these trips took me out on the salt, to chase some slot reds on the flats. I was pretty excited because I just received a shipment of All Pro Rods! I really wanted to put these new rods to the test right away. Let me tell you this - They didn't disappoint! The Atlantis Series and EL Series Extra Light Graphite Rods are powerful, lightweight and sensitive are what all anglers are looking for in rods. If you get a chance check them out here, you won't be disappointed.

The reds were out in full force. At one point I had two different schools of reds 20+ on both side of the kayak. I was hooking up and casting another rod to try for a doubles. I was able to hook up twice this way!

The baits of choice were PowerTeam Lures 3.6 JP Hammer Shad and the Swinging Hammer in multiple colors. I prefer the Spicy Goby and the Smoking Minnow in the 3.6 Shad. I have been experimenting with different and even some of my own concoction. If you get this near a Red with a little Hog Tonic he will annihilate your bait! They aren't just for a bass anymore!

  This was only a 20" red but it had 12 spots on one side. Pretty cool looking red!

One of my "custom colored swinging hammers"!


With the red bite turning on as of late. I haven't had much interest in the Sweetwater. However, stay tuned for my next report where I get a couple of days to fish with my bass catching son, Wyatt.