It's Thanksgiving week, and my sister-in-law is visiting. Now that my wife has help with watching the boys, she suggested that I take a fishing trip. Isn't she great? I considered going back to Kiptopeke for some togs, but I don't want to make that drive again so soon after the last trip. I also wanted a relatively short trip, so that I could still spend some time at home with my family. So in the end I opted to try the Occoquan river for some crappie.
|The kayak launch at Occoquan Regional Park|
|Don't forget to pay the launch fee. I got a ticket last time because I put my deposit in the wrong box.|
I took my time getting out of the house, so I arrived at the launch around 9:30AM and launched at 10. The water was calm, but there was a slight breeze that made it chilly and hard to stay in place for most of the morning.
|I think this is the lightest I've ever packed on a kayak.|
The focus today was strictly to catch crappie. I wasn't going to even try to catch anything else, so I only took my ultralight fishing outfit with me with two tackle containers for grubs and jig heads. Today was also my Tarpon 100's maiden voyage. It's a fun little boat. Very maneuverable, very stable, and it has decent speed. At one point I caught my paddle in a crack on a floating dock which put me in a weird position that rocked me pretty hard in the boat. Maybe its wide hull makes it super stable. Oh, because it's a bit wider than my Prowler 13, I did have to adjust my grip on my paddle a bit to get good strokes.
|My go-to perch rig. I figured it would work for crappie as well.|
For the next 4 hours, I fished all sorts of fishy places hard. Shorelines with submerged trees, floating docks, piers, and bridge pilings. I used 1/16 and 1/32 oz jig heads with small grubs that I typically use for white perch. I figured crappie in the Occoquan probably have similar habits as summertime perch in the Severn. Many times I got small nibbles, which I suspect were smaller crappie or maybe bluegills. I managed to catch one crappie at 5 or 6 inches, and a largemouth bass at 7 or 8 inches. Not much pullage, but it was good to see that the fish were there. I'm planning to go again later this week with another kayaker - hopefully we'll have better luck then.
|The fish that saved me from a skunk.|
|All the various jigs that I tried today. The darker ones seemed to get more nibbles than the lighter ones.|