And he said to them, "Follow me and I will make you fishers of men." Matthew 4:19

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Boys' Weekend '13: Rise of the Plastic Navy

It's Autumn.  My favorite fishing season.  And my favorite weekend of the year was coming up again.  With Mark's thumb mostly healed, and my surgery a distant memory now, we were all ready to continue Boys' Weekend in the fall again.  But what to do..., what to do....

With the ongoing issues on the OBX regarding driving permits on the beach -- if we even COULD go on the beach that is, and housing for everybody, this year we opted for something a little different.  We decided to take my favorite activity and add it to Boys' Weekend.  Kayak fishing.  I knew we had enough kayaks for everyone, so we just had to work out the logistics of when and how to do it.  Several different weekends were considered, but when Joel from Alaska said he could make it if it's the weekend of 11/9, that settled it.  Anyone willing to come all the way from Alaska gets to decide the weekend!  As we got closer, we also found out that our two favorite "Ohios" would also be able to join us.  Johnny "Back Splat" M., and Jeff "Splash o' Gin" J. were back in the game!  I was excited.  With Ted, Parke and all the other usual suspects, it looked like we would have as many as 11 participants -- though due to circumstances beyond his control, Randy would be very limited and come just for Saturday dinner only.  Still, it would be a record number of guys for the festivities.  We were all looking forward to it....

First to arrive was Ted on Thursday evening.  A drink with Mike, a chicken BBQ dinner with the kids and a Manhattan with Randy later, and we hit the beds.  It would be a busy weekend.

With wind being the only detriment to kayak fishing, we opted to hit Bennett's Creek on Friday morning.  Jerry had scouted out the waters, and the winds were a little much for the Nansemond River and our favorite spot there; so our favorite waterfront neighbor was spared an onslaught of kayaks in the waters around her.  Apparently the Suffolk police would not be disturbed by her phone calls on Friday...

Before 8:00 a.m., Mark had driven down from Richmond to my house, and showed off his new ride -- the Aircraft Carrier/Rolls Royce of kayaks I spoke of a couple of posts ago... The Hobie Mirage.  ( )  He was very proud of the fact that this $3,000 version cost him very little, thanks to gifts from others.  Still, it was classic Mark.  We all laughed and admired his new rig.  But would it help him catch fish.....
The Hobie Mirage is only the beginning... By the time Mark had has all decked out, I think it could do everything but open your beer and fillet your fish....  If you caught a fish, that is....
After breakfast we all drove to Bennett's Creek Park and hit the boat ramp there.  Mike and Jerry met us at the ramp, and Boys' Weekend had officially begun.  With Joel, Johnny and Jeff to arrive in a couple hours, the rest of us hit the water.
A cool, brisk Friday morning launch held promise of striped bass... we hoped.
As Jerry knows these waters better than most, he instantly paddled to his special spot (even though it hadn't produced for him lately), and very quickly had hooked up with a fish.  He brought it up before anyone else had even arrived, let alone cast -- but alas, it was a short striper.  A throwback.  But at least that meant the fish were back and here!  A few minutes later, he hooked up with another fish.  This one was a 19" striper, and the "Blue Team" was on the board.  Jerry had very quickly put them up 1-0.

I paddled over to take a photo of him proudly holding his catch, but enjoyed watching the wind and current take him into the overhanging tree by the shore....  It was almost as funny as when he waded to a sandbar several years ago, only to wade into water deeper than his chest waders -- that was also caught on film.
Watching the wind in Jerry's face push him back into and through this tree was a riot.  I kept telling him, "Hold it... hold it... as he drifted back, seeing what was about to happen."  I'm mean, I know.
"Hold it, hold it.... oops, Jerry, are you okay?"  His response:  "This tree and I are now on a first name basis."  I enjoyed a good laugh, because yes, at this point I was jealous.

The proud angler with his catch after his intimate encounter with the tree.  That's Ted in the background, dealing with his own issues.
Because of his past years' BW performances, Jerry made the joke that now that he caught a fish on Friday, he was done and wouldn't catch another fish the rest of the weekend....  Little did he know....  I laughed.

As some of the other kayak anglers made their way downstream, I opted to stay around.  Only to be rewarded with this little guy -- at least I wasn't skunked.  But it didn't count for the "Red Team".
This ambitious little white perch attacked my soft plastic grub -- and he wasn't more than 7" or so, himself.  Unfortunately he didn't count as a gamefish for the Red Team.  We were still down.
After another hour or two of no more fish for any of us (those that remained in this first hole) I got a call:  Joel had arrived at the launch at the same time as Johnny and Jeff, and they were all coming now!  I was thrilled.  Joel wasn't just my best friend growing up, he is a top notch photographer.  We would be blessed with great shots of the rest of the weekend.  I paddled over to greet him, Jeff and Johnny, and by the time I got to Johnny, he needed me to measure a striper for him.  Unfortunately, it was 17" -- an inch too short to keep, and so back in the water it went.  Still, I was impressed that he had caught one almost immediately on arriving to our area.
Joel took this shot of Jeff J., tucked away in the grass, hoping the fish don't see him.  Unfortunately, they didn't see his lure at all, either.

I didn't do too much better, though.... at least not yet....
Nor did Ted....
So eventually we all decided to try and find the rest of the gang downstream....
We all paddled down stream (which was against both the tide and the wind) and found that Mark, Mike and Parke had gone to the local restaurant on the shore and had gotten a nice lunch and a 6 pack of beer -- for only "$70", said Mark.  It was his treat.  And a very nice treat it was.  As Parke paddled towards me, I could see that his stringer was dangling from the side of his kayak -- always a good sign.

"How'd you do?" I asked.  He smiled and offered me the rest of his lunch.  Then he lifted up 2 keeper striper, and told me he threw back another "shorty", as well as a white perch.  He had found his own lucky spot.
With a full stomach, a beer, and a limit of striped bass, Parke was definitely content -- and the fisherman of the day for Friday....  And he put the Red Team into the lead, 2 - 1.  That's my boy!
The tide was slack and the afternoon was wearing on, so we all opted to head back to the ramp and head to "Guineabunkport" -- the Douglas compound in Gloucester, a.k.a., the Red Roof Inn....
It was time to head to Bass Pro Shop, and then head to Mark's cottage, where the fishing would continue....
I will tip my hat to Bass Pro Shop here; and they don't even sponsor me (yet...).  I had bought a fishing rod from them in July, and it had snapped in half when I caught a snag recently.  It wasn't abused, and shouldn't have broken, but none-the-less, the top half fell into the river, and I only had the bottom half.  I showed them the rod (as well as my BPS Rewards Card) and they replaced it, no questions asked.  With a new pair of polarized sunglasses to replace my previous ones, and I was ready to go.

An hour or so later, we arrived at the cottage.  For those that hadn't been there yet, it was quite impressive....
The view from the "Front", which faces the York River -- I'm sorry, it's considered the "Chesapeake Bay" there.  That's much more prestigious, as well as on a higher tax basis....

Johnny and Mark -- looking like he really isn't happy to see us.  But he was....  He just hadn't caught a fish yet.  That's why he's grumpy here.
With the tide at dead low, there was no point in fishing at the moment, so it was time to start imbibing and eating well.  A fire in the fire pit, with a little swig of a beverage or two, and we were all enjoying sitting around and rehashing many told tales of olden BW's of yore.  While Parke (still the newbie in the group -- as well as the best fish cutter in the group) filleted his and Jerry's stripers.  And then he joined us, too.
A cigar, a little Crown Royal, and "Squeaky" Elmer T. Lee bourbon, to go with a beer or two -- and the stories and B.S. started to flow....   
A lame attempt at fishing from the "3D" pier, and we were back at the cottage, ready for some homemade venison chili, brought by Johnny.  And all I can say is, after a long, cold, windy day outside and on the water, nothing! tasted better than that.  Add some baked bread and cheese, and we all had seconds.
A huge pot of homemade venison chili was reduced to almost nothing after we were all done with it.  Then it was time for more bourbon....
This weekend's whiskeys included the top 2 winners from February's BW bourbon and shooting contest:  4 Roses and Elmer T. Lee.  Some Corner Creek and Crown Royal were also great for sipping....
After hours more of conversation and a drink or two, it was time for bed.  Though some stayed up until 2 a.m. I was not among them....

The next morning, we were greeted with a wonderful sunrise....  It was going to be a great day -- we hoped.

A gorgeous sunrise over the Chesapeake Bay

With the coming day, we were hopeful of more fish....  Would it come to pass?
A new day dawned, and we were ready to fish... but first, it was time for Breakfast!
By the time we made it downstairs, who was already waiting for us, but Jeff D.  He had arrived, having finished his fatherly duties, and joined us at 5:30.  So we were now 10.  A new Boys' Weekend Record.  After a delicious breakfast made by Ted, of blueberry pancakes, bacon and sausage, and real maple syrup to go with the organic OJ and coffee, and then it was time to dress, load up the kayaks and equipment, and head over to Mark's parents' cottage.  We would launch from there, because the water got deeper quicker there, and the incoming tide was still too low to launch from Mark's beach.

The caravan of trucks loaded with kayaks drove a couple miles and then we unloaded.  Just one problem, however.... Jeff J. threw his keys onto the dashboard of his Jeep Wrangler Unlimited, and then proceeded to lock the car.  Bad move.  A delay of about 15 minutes, while we all tried to unlock the truck; but then Magic fingers Mike worked the rod and was able to get the key and hit the unlock button on the key fob.  Voila!  The day was saved, and we could all launch.

By the time we had the kayaks on the beach ready to launch, it looked like the BW Plastic Navy was ready to raid the beaches of Normandy -- or at least the nearby docks, piers flats and islands....
It was almost time to launch...

But first, a couple of photos of the Plastic Navy
10 Kayaks deep.  All quite different.  For 10 very different kayak anglers getting ready to hit the York River.
Okay, so it wasn't Omaha Beach 6/6/44:  We were leaving, not arriving... but it was quite an onslaught we were getting ready to launch....  we hoped.
Jerry and I paddled up to the little Perrin River.  Jerry had his Lowrance depth/fish finder pinging below him, and while the depth and structure looked promising, there were no fish.  The water was so clear we could see our lure approaching from 20 feet away, as we were reeling it in.  Mark and Ted joined us, while everyone else headed out towards the flats and the islands.  After about 30 fruitless minutes in the Perrin, Ted and I decided to join the rest.  I wanted to see where Parke had gone.  He usually has a pretty good nose for fish....

I saw him a quarter mile ahead on the flats before a channel cut through, and went and talked with him.  Meanwhile Ted was right behind me 50 yards or so.  As I'm talking with Parke, Ted hooked and lost a fish.  At least there was hope....  And then he caught a small puppy drum.  So there were fish in the area, at least.  I cast towards the drift and settled into the flats about 30 yards from Parke.  Suddenly a felt a tap, tap, tap, wham!, as a fish kept hitting and then finally took my lure.  It was fish ON!  I knew it was a nice fish, but couldn't tell what it was yet, even though the water was so clear.  The Nantucket sleigh ride was a little bumpy through the waves of the flats, but the fish finally tired and came up to the surface.  It was a nice striper!  No, wait!!! Holy cow, it was a monster speckled trout!  I started praying its weak mouth wouldn't unbutton my jig, and that it would fit into my net.  I swooped my net to get it.  Missed!  Dang it.  It dove and fought some more.... (Please, please, please don't come off, I thought....)  It came back up, and I got its head in the net.  Not good enough; it was too big and fell out and fought some more.  Then when it came up again, I swooped my net under its middle, and it folded into the webbing -- its head sticking out one side, its tail the other.  I hooted and hollered, it was the biggest speck I'd ever caught, and could be a citation, I realized.  I'd measure it later, but first I had to get it on my stringer.  A fish that big deserved to be double hooked on my stringer.  I was taking no chances that this guy might break off.  Man, I was happy.  Parke was jealous, and said I caught his fish.  Too bad, I said.

Mark and Jerry were finally coming out of the Perrin towards us, having had no luck there, and I paddled towards Ted to show him the fish as Mark came over.  We were all quite excited.  And it was time for a photo or two.
Over 24" and 5#, this fish was indeed a citation trout!   My first.  It was a good day, and I was thrilled to share it with my fishing friends and family.
The only thing bigger than that trout, is perhaps my smile.  This "gator" was fat, and beautiful!
With the trout safely on my stringer for the moment, I watched Mike catch an 18" trout nearby, and saw that everybody was now coming to this area.... That is everybody but Joel.  So, with everyone else  fishing the flats where I had caught the beast but Joel, I went out searching for my loner, Alaska friend.  Who knew where he was... but I was determined to make sure he wasn't forgotten or left behind -- not that he minded.  If I know Joel, I know that he enjoys his alone time, and doesn't worry about minor things like being social, or having a ride home.  Still, I wanted to see if he'd had any luck and if not, to bring him to where we were catching some fish now.  Heck, for all I knew he had limited out, and was now taking photos of birds....
Indeed, Joel was out on his own... enjoying the beauty of the York River.  These next several photos are all from him....

Crystal clear waters and grassy shores would typically be the perfect place to see puppy drum -- had it not been so cold at the moment.

Joel snapped this photo of Jeff J. while taking a walk on an island.

Joel's rig for the day... in addition to a nice Nikon.

the waters of the York are beautiful, and are perfect for fish and people....

Finally I was able to track him down, and entice him to join us over on the flats where I had caught this beauty.

We both paddled back and joined Mark on his Aircraft carrier sized Hobie.

While Mark was enjoying a beer, his new kayak, and changing lures often -- but still no fish....

Then Mark pulled away from the refinery across the river.  Oops, that's not Mark, that's a tanker.

Meanwhile, also nearby was Parke... who was having a little bit of luck.
At that point, I paddled over to Parke, and he showed me that he had caught a flounder.  Unfortunately, it was a 15"er, just 1 inch short of being a keeper.  After I measured it, we released it into the waters below.
This flattie was small enough, and lucky enough, to live another day after I measured him.  But it was neat watching him flap down into the deep, clear clean water below our kayaks....
While next to Parke, I cast a few times myself.  Suddenly I had fish on!  And what did I bring up to my yak, but another 15" flounder.  After confirming he was also an inch too short, he also swam back to the bottom of the river below.  But on the very next cast, I felt the tug of a different fish.  Sure enough, I brought up to my net, a nice 17" speckled trout to go with my other one.  Next to the citation, he looked almost small.  But I knew he would still tasted good.

At this point, however, the wind was picking up significantly.  Mike had had enough of the weather, and since he had his 18" trout, in addition to another fish, he decided to head back to shore.  Like a mother duck leading her babies, the rest of the Blue Team followed suit.
Cap'n Mike led the rest of the Blue Team back to shore, so they wouldn't get buffeted by the winds anymore.  Meanwhile, the Red team continued to fish.  And that's when I caught my second keeper trout....
As we all drifted back over the main channel leading to the Perrin River again, I finally was ready to go back to shore.  Perhaps we could still fish from Mark's brothers' pier.  But the winds were starting to pick up tremendously.  I headed back, and shortly behind me came Mark, Ted, Parke,....  and eventually Joel again.
As I paddled back to shore, Jeff J. took this shot of me holding my two keepers.  The smile says it all....  It was a good day on the water.
We all brought the kayaks to shore, loaded them up, and then Mark wanted to take one last photo of me and my fish.  Too bad he was more interested in the fish than in my smile....
Okay, so maybe he got my smile, but he didn't get the top of my head.  At least the big fish is full front and center....
One more photo of the happy angler and his prize catch.  It was a fatty!
We drove back to the cottage, and then went back to his brothers' pier.  It was amazing how much the wind had picked up.  We filleted the fish, and added a chum bag to the water... but there seemed to be no fish interested in any of the dozen or so rods we had cast in the river around the pier.  I wasn't upset.  I enjoyed a beer and a victory cigar, and enjoyed the rest of the afternoon....
with the wind howling, we still tried to fish from the "3D" pier for a while... To no avail.

Several hundred feet of wood planks and seagull $#!+ -- and the occasional seashell, from the gulls dropping clams on the pier to break them.

Jerry, the Sta-Puff Marshmallow man, and his pants that blew up in the wind when he sat down.

When Ted, Mark and I had had enough of being cold and catching nothing, I took my victory cigar, and we headed back to the cottage.

Me enjoying my cigar, while my driver and bodyguard (also both Red Team Members) protected their new man of the day.  Red Team was now leading 4 - 2.
Recognizing that nothing was happening, we all decided to call it a day late in the afternoon, and headed back to the cottage to relax for a little bit.  It was during this time that both Parke and Joel took some more interesting photographs of the beauty, both great and small, in the area.
While cleaning my "gator" trout, Parke took a couple of shots of the large mouth the speckled trout has.

The yellow lining and sharp teeth highlight the last thing many a minnow saw, before this fish saw my plastic grub.

After cleaning the fish, I pointed out a praying mantis to Parke, and he took it as a pet for a while....  Here it is posing for a picture on his hand.

A beautiful silhouette of the mantis in the low afternoon sun.

Joel took these shots over the course of the weekend.  When the tide was low, it was very low -- which limited our fishing drastically.

Eel grass lined the shore at low tide, signalling a healthy shoreline for bait fish, crabs -- and bigger fish....

Sea oats in the afternoon sun.

Joel has proven year after year, he has a very creative eye to capture the beauty of nature around us.

While the osprey family had migrated away, their nest in the front yard of the cottage remains, waiting for them to return in the spring.

Parke and Joel eventually met up, with their camera skills -- and Joel took this shot of Parke with his little friend.

It was fun watching the brown pelicans playing musical chairs, kicking each other off of a post, only to fly to the next....
Then it was time to eat!  And here, I would be remiss if I didn't first pay tribute to our favorite friend in the food service industry, Jeff D....

Twenty Years ago, long before the internet made sending emails so easy, I would send out newsletters to all the Boys of Boys' Weekend.  I'd spend some time doing them, and had fun doing them, too.  It was that year that Jeff D. decided he wanted to join the group.  The newsletter that year was so popular, that it has been framed by two of the original members, Mike and Mark.  Mike now has it up in his house, while Mark has it hanging in his cottage.  Here's a copy of it.
With Jeff D. on the far left (his first year), Mike next to him,  "Finney next to him, then me, then Ted, then Mark, and then Lee, five of us still partake in BW.  And this year, all totaled, we had 11 participants during the course of the weekend.  A new record!  
Joel saw the newsletter framed on Mark's wall, and started reading it.  In it, he reminded me, that I mention how if Jeff D. were to bring some samples from his Food Service Industry job, well, we would appreciate it.  Little did I know then....

Through the years, Jeff has single-handedly turned Boys Weekend from a baloney sandwich on the beach, to a pot of spaghetti on the cottage -- to some outstanding, fine, gourmet dining.  And that is not an exaggeration.  This year was no exception.

Our first appetizer was 100 fresh, salty oysters, and all the fixin's to roast them with cheese, peppers, hot sauce, bacon, butter, cheese sauce, or whatever else you could imagine on them.  We all stood around like a pack of hyenas waiting for a chance to go in for some food around a kill.  Oh, and speaking of scavengers looking for a kill, our favorite lawyer Randy showed up just in time for the food festivities.  We were all thrilled to see him.
Oysters grilled, to go with a beer, a swig or two of bourbon or Crown Royal, and then some clams....  It was all delicious!
 After the Oysters, Jeff D. broke out a hundred clams, as well as the fixin's to make clams casino.  The clams were sweet, and between the two appetizers, I was full -- at least for a while....
The oysters and clams were definitely a big hit.  And the grill kept us warm from the cold air and growing winds.

Pouring the cheese/butter sauce over the shellfish, while waiting for them....  Man!  They were delicious.  I challenge any restaurant to make a better oyster or clam....

These hyenas had better manners than we did around the grill, waiting for the oysters and clams to be ready....
Adding the various toppings to the clams and oysters made them extra scrumptious; but nothing was better than the bacon.  And speaking of bacon, Jeff brought with him over 20 pounds of bacon.  TWENTY POUNDS!  How many pigs' pork bellies that is, I don't know.  But it was sure a lot of bacon!  Our arteries would be hardening, for sure, before the weekend was out.  After the appetizers, (and another bowl of venison chili) Parke headed away from the guys.  But that was okay.  He had caught fish, and been a big part of Red Team's lead.
Jeff J. with the best catch he had all weekend!  Pig candy!  It was 20 lbs. of happiness for guys.
We went back upstairs, and settled down to beer, bourbon, Crown, and college football.  With um, some of us (um, J.J., and M.J. ahem) enjoying perhaps a little more liquor than others.  When Jeff D. brought out a monster pot roast with carrots, potatoes, onions and gravy, that had cooked for 3 hours, we had a nice glass of red wine to go with that.  But J.J. never saw the pot roast.  He was already sound asleep (read - "passed out") upstairs in bed....
The last known photo of J.J. before he disappeared.  While Mike's smile only grew through the evening, as he found his "happy place".  Mark, Johnny, Randy and myself were able to enjoy the whole evening.  And then Randy had to leave to head back home....
The food item brought by Jeff D., perhaps most cherished by all, was admired even more than 20# of bacon, and that was a huge plastic tub, larger than a giant Cool Whip tub, of pure Brie cheese.  With this, Jeff made a couple of egg and cheese casseroles, to be baked and enjoyed for breakfast in the morning.  After the casseroles were made, Randy had to go... and he disappeared -- with the Tub o' Brie!  Oh well, at least we know where he lives.

The next morning, we woke up to the smell of bacon, bacon, and more bacon.  And pancakes.  And casserole.  And, of course, coffee.  Unfortunately, we also woke up to an unending wind that pretty much ruined any chance of kayaking on the York that day.  We had a leisurely breakfast, then helped clean up the cottage, and decided to head back to Bennett's Creek.  But Mark was heading back to Richmond, so he wouldn't be joining us.

We thanked Mark for his gracious hospitality, gave hugs all around to him, and then headed back to Suffolk to the Bennett's Creek boatramp again.

This time I was the one who paddled quickly to Jerry's spot -- but I wasn't faster than Johnny!  Johnny cast and drifted over Jerry's spot, dang it!  But I noticed he was reeling just a little too quickly.  Perhaps he forgot it was 20' deep there; but I realized I still had a chance at any fish that may be there.  I cast in front of him, to where the drift began, and cast... let it sink.... twitched... and Fish ON!  I fought the fish to my net, and was rewarded with a keeper striper.  Meanwhile 50' away from me to my left, Joel was also fighting a fish.  His was a shorty striper, but it did mean that the fish were around.  That was good.
First keeper striper of the season for me.  It would only be made better if Ted and Joel also had some luck.
After a few minutes of all of us fishing the area for a bit with no more success, the majority of the guys headed down towards the bridge again.  I opted to fight the wind where I was.  Why leave fish to find fish, I thought.

But no more luck was had by me, or anyone else in my spot with me.  That included Jerry, who hadn't had another bite since his fish on Friday.  His past history and his prediction had held true again.  After a couple of hours, everyone had had enough -- there were no fish.  But Joel and Ted had not yet returned.  I volunteered to find them, and paddled downriver.  When I found them, Ted had caught a short striper that he had released, and Joel had indeed, caught a keeper.
While Ted didn't catch any keeper fish over the weekend, he did at least catch a few fish, and learned to appreciate the advantages and joys of kayak fishing.

I was glad that the guy who had traveled the farthest did at least catch a couple of fish, as well... including one keeper striper.  To go with all his amazing photographs.
So we all paddled back to the boat ramp as the afternoon sun got lower.
Ted was flinging spray, he was paddling so quickly.  It's a great upper body work out, going as fast as you can on a kayak.

the whitecaps on the creek, and the wind made going back to shore a bit of a challenge.

Ted eventually caught up to J.J. who was the last of the Blue Team to get to shore.
We rounded the last bend, and approached the boat ramp, when suddenly the Marine Police SUV showed up.  After a friendly and nice conversation with the two wardens, they asked if we had had any luck.  When they saw me break out my tape measure, they knew we had had some luck.

I volunteered to measure the 2 fish that Joel and I had caught, but realized that my measurement didn't count -- theirs is the one that mattered.  So I suggested that they measure them.  The one warden broke out his own tape measure, and said that both fish were legal, at about 18.25", each.  (Though Joel's was a bit fatter than mine.)

The wardens were friendly, and we enjoyed our talk with them.  But it made us glad we don't keep shorties.  That could have been trouble....  Good thing we play by the rules.

So the final tally of fish, was Blue Team 2 (thanks to the 19" striper from Jerry on Friday, and the 18" trout by Mike on Saturday), and Red Team 6 (thanks to Parke's 2 stripers on Friday, my 2 trout on Saturday, and Joel and my stripers on Sunday).  Red Team had dominated Blue Team again!  And for another consecutive year, I had caught the biggest fish -- and another personal best.

After packing up all the kayaks and equipment, we went back to Mike's for an impromptu big fish dinner for everybody.  I filleted the two rockfish when we got there, and then we enjoyed a beer on Mike's new covered porch.  I then proceeded to make broiled trout, and some lightly fried rockfish with crushed pecans.  Janie made a salad and some beans, and by the time they added a couple bottles of good Virginia white wines, we had a wonderful dinner, with plenty for everybody.

Then it was time to go home.  We bid our goodbyes to everybody and headed back home to my place.  Sunday night Joel, Ted and I just sat and relaxed -- and looked at the photos Joel had taken.  It was, indeed, another terrific Boys' Weekend.  We were glad we had done it, and sad it was over.  Then Monday morning, Joel and Ted headed back north, as did Jeff J. and Johnny.  Each of us was now back or headed back to our regular lives again -- only to hopefully come together again next year, for another edition of Boys' Weekend....

So until that next time, my friends,

Fish ON!

P.S.:  Apparently things didn't get any better for at least a few Blue team members....  Jerry decided to go kayak fishing Monday morning, since he had off for Veteran's Day.  He texted me that he "lost a nice one", but was going to keep trying....  When I saw him later that afternoon, he was pi$$ed!  Apparently he didn't put his new i-phone 5 in a ziploc bag, and the water was still a bit rough.  And somewhere in the bottom of the Nansemond River, is now a soaking and eroding, useless cell phone.  And Jerry's just a few hundred dollars poorer.  And then Jeff J. sent me this photo of what greeted him and Johnny when they woke up Tuesday morning, back in Ohio.  I had to laugh, "Welcome Home", I texted him....
5 inches of snow fell on Cleveland Monday night and Tuesday morning....  And we even got some flurries around here Tuesday late afternoon.  
Needless to say, I think we're all already looking forward to next time.... It's a great group of guys, I'm blessed to call friends, family, and fishing buddies, one and all.  (And one day, one of them might even out fish me.  But it wasn't this year, either....)  ZING!  Ha ha!