Catchin’ For Kids Rockfish Tourny

Only being allowed to bring in one fish (according to Virginia law), my 37.6-pound striper was good enough to earn me second place overall and a nice cash prize of $1,500.

It was cold yesterday morning when I got up at 3am, loaded and towed my ski – an ’01 Yamaha SUV 1200 rigged and wrapped for nearly every imaginable form of fishing – from Poquoson, Virginia across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel to the ramp at Kiptopeke/Concrete Ship.

I had entered a Toys for Tots charity fishing contest, the Catchin’ For Kids Tournament. The weather was terrible 25 knot with gusts to thirty winds, steady rain and a small craft advisory. Not exactly the kind of stuff you want to go out in a big boat in. But, it was pretty fun on the jet ski; I felt like I was at Water Country USA or Busch Gardens as I rolled up and over the 4-to-5 foot short duration waves.

I ran about two miles off of the ships and put three lines out with live eels. My first drift I had three knock downs and netted two nice striped bass. I kept one that totaled 47 inches. Pulling that one in was a blast! The next long drift I had no strikes.

According to law, I can only keep one big fish here in Virginia and that is all I needed to hopefully be in contention. Nonetheless, the conditions were getting worse so I decided to go back in. Returning back in, I learned that several other boats either did not go out or had done likewise and came back in early.

The Catchin’ For Kids tournament started at 6am, so I needed to be up by 3am to make there in time. Unfortunately, the weather was pretty uncooperative, which forced many boats in early or kept them from launching at all.

It’s not unusual for me to be the only fisherman out on a personal watercraft. But when you’re the only PWC in a tournament and you come in second place to a full-sized vessel, it’s even sweeter.

With time to spare, I went back home, cleaned all my gear, had lunch, watched the bald eagles fly around my backyard and took an hour nap. Life is good! Catching up on some much appreciated sleep, my wife and I then went back to Norfolk and weighed my fish in at Vinings Landing Marina in Little Creek.

My striper ended up weighing 37.6 pounds! This gave me second place and $1,500 in winnings! (My striper came in only .6 pounds under the winner.) Not bad for the only person on a jet ski. Ha!

Big Fish! Catchin For Kids Rockfish Tourny” was first published on December 8th, 2013, and can be read in its original form on To book your own Jet Ski Fishing adventure, call Brian Lockwood at (757) 342-5780.

This was a great tournament put on by Rick and his cadre of volunteers to benefit Toys for Tots, in addition to the entry fees that went to the charity, everyone involved donated new toys for the cause.

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Brian Lockwood

Starting with a used '01 Yamaha SUV 1200, Brian logged 450 hours of riding and fishing within 18 months. Since then, he has become an ambassador for PWC fishing, providing presentations for Bass Pro Shops, national fishing competitions, and boat shows. His blog and subsequent posts on Atlantic Anglers and Tidalfish bring in over 15,000 readers with each post.

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