As the end of summer classes drew near, things became more intense. This week, I was in class and knew I would be exhausted, physically and mentally, when I returned home Friday night. I ended up studying from 4:00 on Thursday to 2:00 on Friday, followed by a 5:30 wake-up call. Knowing this, Allison decided to come to North Carolina this week to spare me from having to drive the four hours home.

On Saturday, we worked out and really enjoyed being together, but Allison knew I wanted to get out onto the water, so she agreed to go with me to a nearby creek for a chance to catch some reds. I borrowed a kayak and obtained some intel from Tim at Allison and I planned to head out early next morning. I got up and crept from the room to catch some bait off the dock behind the bachelor officers’ quarters. Taking my cast net, I ended up with a four-finger mullet and several dozen peanut bunker. I caught so much, I had to throw half of them back.

Allison and I found a spot where the incoming tide was washing over some oyster shells and put out a spread, despite the wind. After a half hour of no action, I was ready to move and asked Allison what she thought. She said that a ladybug landing on her kayak meant good luck, so I rebaited the rods and we both waited.

I’ve learned that Allison is the lucky one, and this day proved no different: Minutes after getting set up, Allison had a screaming run and ended up fighting and landing a healthy 19-inch red — her personal best. I rebaited her, and she had another run, but it was short-lived. She got another but was cut off on the oyster shells. I got another solid run and boated another 19-inch.

Having all our bait stolen was a first for me. These reds were biting like smaller fish, pecking and staring at the bait. If you waited for the twitch, you could hook the fish; otherwise, they’d pick you clean. By the time we figured this out, most of our bait was gone. Then Allison hooked up to another red that tried to run her around a crab trap and up the oyster bar! She made it back over the bar and masterfully landed it using the boga grip. Measuring 20 inches, it is her new personal best!

Without bait, and with the tide turning, we left the fish snapping. We were all packed up and leaving the parking lot by 11:50. It may not have been a ton of fish, but we had a great time, leisurely hanging out and relaxing between bites.