Grip and Grin: Moonlit Cows | Kayak Angler Magazine | Rapid Media
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"I got the PB I was looking for so I'm not complaining." "I got the PB I was looking for so I'm not complaining." Photos: Courtesy Troy Meyerhoeffer

Go under the cover of night to nail a true hog.

"My friend Mike is a salt guide in Maine and owns New England Kayak Fishing guide service," said Troy Meyerhoeffer, a Wilderness Systems and Power-Pole pro staffer. "I had been planning to head north and get some nice fish with him before they headed south. I finally got a little free time and headed up last month.

The only plan was to find fish and we didn't even know where, or if, we were sleeping. We met at Al's Bait & Tackle in Beverly, MA to form a plan. We decide to do a little river trolling with tubes for a few hour and see what happens. We found fish but not the big girls we were looking for, but picked up 9 fish in the 25-inch range.

After that it was either a long paddle to a place where we might get some fish, or make the hour drive to Maine and hit a cove known to hold fish and then go to Mike's house and get some sleep. We chose to drive to Maine and saw some nice fish on the sonar, but no takers so we crashed at about 1am.

Day 2 we decided to try another river and see if we could find some cows. Again trolling tubes, we picked up one small fish and did have some decent hits, but no hook ups. We finally gave up and went to Mike's to grab some of his wife's awesome chili and got a plan going for the night. After some debate I said we just need to go back and hit what we did today and see if some fish came in at night. We did spot a big fish so we hoped there were more and got some good info from a guy swimming on the beach where we wanted to troll. Luck would have it all but one of the eels we had died, so it looked like we were trolling their limp bodies.

Troy Meyerhoeffer body 1

We hit the river around 9pm at really low tide and paddled out into the ocean, which was only a few hundred yards. The plan was to troll the dead eels up and down the beach. I'm still learning to fish salt so trolling the breakers that were crashing the beach in pitch dark was a little intimidating. You really couldn't see how close to shore you were and too close in might get you flipped in the waves. I just watched my sonar and stayed in 5-6 feet just to be safe.

An hour into it Mike got a 39" and I had yet to get a hit, but we were just starting to mark fish around 10:30. Game on! I pulled up by Mike and decide to let a little more line out and felt the hit. Hook set and the battle was on. She towed me right toward the breaks and Mike comes behind and starts pulling my kayak back to a little deeper water. I pulled in a nice 35" and did my happy dance. 35" is my personal best from March so I started looking to upgrade.

Mike kept getting hits and dropped baits. I realized after feeling the one hit that I was probably missing some with my rod behind me, so I moved it to my lap where I could see it better. Tap, free spool it for a second and set the hook and I pulled in another decent fish, but not the one I needed. 

I made a few more passes and kept getting hit. I stopped each time to jig the eel and it got picked up, but they keep spitting. Then I got another small tap and started to jig the eel. She picked it up and I let her run a few feet and set the hook. The rod doubled. I was happy I just installed power handles on my 301s and I started beating her up and got the fish to the boat fast. I got a small glimpse and the line takes off again. I started screaming for Mike to get over to me. I get her close and she runs few more times. 'Mike she's big!' Finally got her boat-side and got the Boga in her mouth. 40" incher in the boat and I was happy!

We continued to get some nice fish, but I was really tired around 3am and decide to make one more troll as we only had the eels on our hooks left. I got all the way down the beach for one more pass. At this point I had my rod behind me, not really caring, but sure enough it got slammed and I missed the fish. 'Ok,' I though, 'I'm going to go back down and make another pass.'

I turned to go down and the eel got slammed again and she ran hard. I finally saw the fish and she was pretty close to 40". I reached for my Boga but couldn't find them so I just grabbed her and pulled her on the yak. But she still wasn't done and hit me with her tail and slid back into the water. I grabbed the leader and threw my leg under her and pop the leader snapped! I watched her go in the water along with the last eel. That was my sign it was time to go to bed and rest up for the ride home and get the first shower I have had for 2 days! I got the PB I was looking for so I'm not complaining."

Troy Meyerhoeffer body 2

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