My Adventure Story
Kiptopeke, Virginia lies at the southern end of the DelMarVa Peninsula just a few miles north of the entrance of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel and is home to Kiptopeke State Park.
In December 1948 nine concrete ships were partially sunk a few hundred yards offshore to serve as a breakwater for the ferry service that operated between Kiptopeke and Little Creek in Norfolk. The ferry service flourished, making up to 90 one way trips a day, until the opening of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel in 1964.
Now, over 50 years later, the concrete ships serve as a magnet for striped bass and the fisherman that follow. Each fall as the temperature starts to drop, striped bass leave their northern homes and the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries and congregate in the deep waters that lie just offshore of Kiptopeke.
The fish are large. Jim Sheffield, of the Virginia Anglers Club, landed the 2 and 4 pound line class records here in recent years. The fish weighed 50 pounds 9 ounces and 44 pounds 2 ounces respectively and on December 14, 2006 my sons caught a 48 pound 8 ounce striper with Captain Max King.
Water temperature is key here. Once it drops to 42 degrees the stripers move south or offshore. And so it was this year..."Fernpod" Cousins and myself traveled to Kiptopeke to find marginal water temps at best and to make matters worse they had dropped almost 10 degrees in less than a week.
After a full day of drifting eels and seeing not one fish caught among the fleet we decided to call it a day. An unreal sunset entertained us as we waited in line at the ramp for our turn to head home...