The YakAttack Team on Briery Creek

by Tehya Cifers

Most Thursday’s are relatively unimportant, serving as an awkward transition between midweek and weekend. This particular Thursday, however, was different- it was sunny, 75, and clear. For many, these conditions point towards a hike or a long walk. For the YakAttack team, it pointed towards kayaks, water, and most importantly, fish.

Joey and Patrick, two of our engineers, went with Sundari and I to go hit the water. One moment, we were sitting at our desks, hard at work. Suddenly, we all blacked out and found ourselves at the sunny banks of Briery Creek a few miles outside of Farmville. None of us are sure how it happened, but we all agreed not to question it.

When we arrived at Briery, we were all ready to get going. The bright green of summer had started to fade in central Virginia; yellow highlights could barely be made out in the leaves of the oak trees surrounding us. The air was sweet and heavy with scents of earth and water, accented by the beginnings of fall. The tree line at the bank faded gracefully into the reflection of the lake, and a calm breeze made the only disruptions in the glassy surface. Once my kayak hit the water, I was pleased to feel a little chilly, but the novelty of the chilliness wore off once I accidentally flipped a paddle full of water down my back.

Joey had his 2019 Hobie Outback on the back of his truck, so Patrick grabbed the new Huntsman Bonafide SS127, Sundari snagged the Venom SS107, and I happily jumped into the Endless Summer Aqua EX123.

Sundari was equipped with a rod hosting a small spinner bait. Her boat, rod, and lure were all chartreuse. I was throwing a black and blue wacky rigged worm, and Patrick had an assortment of lures to choose from. I think he cycled through a wacky rig, a chatter bait, and a whopper plopper over the course of a few hours.

Joey was the star of the show. He had six different rods, all with different lures. He changed between them as time went on, trying to gauge what the fish wanted. The fish, it seemed, were interested mostly in the Ned Rig that Joey had to offer them. About 45 minutes into paddling around and fishing, Joey caught a small bass. The more I fish, the more I realize that the size of the fish isn’t as important as the thrill of feeling the rod give an electric jolt, and the congratulations and camaraderie of fishing with friends. When you surround yourself with the right people, even a minnow can feel like a river monster. (With all of that having been said, I’ll choose a 20 inch bass over a minnow every time.)

There’s something deeply nostalgic about being on the water during the fall. Time feels like it’s slowed to a crawl, and the hum of the woods creates the perfect backdrop to take a deep breath and lose yourself in the wilderness around you. I found myself gazing towards the bank, thinking of the peaceful and wild community that the forest has been designed to hold. The only sound for a good while was the happy plops of our lures hitting the water. The sun began to set, and painted the sky pastel shades of yellow and pink and purple that faded imperceptibly into one another.

I was jolted out of my reverie by Joey’s yell of “Got one!” I turned to see his rod bent towards the water, and his face was lit up with excitement. It was clear, even from a distance, that Joey had hooked a beautiful fish. He landed it into his kayak, and grabbed his phone and measuring board. The bass he had just caught measured at 17.75 inches.

He released the bass just as the sun began to dip below the tree line. After a few more moments of hopeful casting, Sundari coaxed us back to the bank, suggesting we get everything settled and put away before it got dark. Once we loaded everything up, Joey got onto his phone to look proudly at the fish he’d caught against the measuring board. Somehow, his phone deleted the picture, but thankfully Sundari snapped a good one of him holding his bass.

We piled back into our vehicles and started back towards Farmville to drop off the kayaks. I looked back towards the bank, already looking forward to being on a kayak again soon. The lake, to me, is a constant and faithful friend. The water calms me down, clears my head, and helps me focus less on the mundane day to day tasks and more on the bigger picture. Being outdoors fills me with hope- hope for the present, hope for the future, and hope for my next big catch.