85 degrees, winds about 15 in the morning, 5-6 in the evening, water temp roughly 84; bunches of trout, one boatside snook and some that got away.
I had originally planned to fish the Skyway with Wonderboy, but at 4am I woke up to see that winds were at 17mph. I awoke him (as well as Wonderpup
) to see if he wanted to go kayaking. He opted out - he's not much for kayak fishing in the wind. I rerigged three rods and headed out and figured I could hunker down in the groves.
As I pulled into CRB at 6:30ish, I was perturbed to see that the winds were practically idle. Regardless I paddle out towards Big Pass. I found some decent sized schools of mullet, but the Spook produced a whole lotta nothing. Fishing Big Pass I saw a couple fellow kayakers, but they didn't seem to be tearing 'em up either. Alternating between a Mirrordine and Spook, I fished the pass fairly hard, but more goose eggs. I threw in the towel and head out towards "deeper" open water - 3-5'. I had conceded Reds and Snook for the day and figured I would see if there were any decent sized trout laying around. Paddling out I realized that the weather guys were more accurate than I originally gave them credit for. The winds were definitively picking up - but not bad enough to keep me from standing up. I figured if I stood up, I would cover more ground quicker.
Throwing a gold spoon, a Mirrordine, and Exude plastics I was rewarded with a monster trout of at least 8".
With high tides, slow moving water, and high winds it was looks like another good eco-tour day. I started hitting the pot holes when I saw a very large object coming up from behind me. This was by far the largest shark I have seen in the bay and in 4' of water he was just keeping his dorsal fin under water. Using my boat as reference I would put this Bull at 9' maybe 10' - no worries though, I was safe in my 12' Commander (I did however, feel like one of those guys in Africa looking at lions in one of those open air vehicles) . 3-5' away, I stopped fishing and just watched him cruise off. Three casts later I saw him again - he was staying about 20 yards out, and circling the boat. Occasionally the fin would pop up out of the water. "Well this is interesting." I thought. With boats within hollering distance I wasn't terribly worried. After a while he figured out my fishing skills were pretty crappy and moved on to someone who might get on fish. The ultimate insult.
About 20 minutes later I hooked into a really nice fat trout; the pattern for the day was just drag the lure over the sand, practically like bass fishing. Let it sit, drag, sit drag...the downside to this technique is that you occasionally will gut hook one - with a good one boat side, and my trying to revive this nice fish I had visions of that big ol' Bull coming in for a snack. Hmmm..maybe this one should come home for dinner. Just as I was thinking that the trout took off. Keeping an eye out for sharks and reviving the fish had preoccupied me enough that my paddle had fallen overboard and with the strong winds (estimating them at 12-15 now), had it not been secured it would have been on it's way to St. Pete. That would have made for an interesting day at best.
Regardless, once I figured out the pattern it was game on. I was bringing in bunches of trout. Nothing huge, but fun...and the skunk was certainly off the boat, and called it a morning.
By noon I was back home - a quick cleaning of the kayak, some chow, and a power nap and it was time to get the big boat ready...night snook fishing was in the cards. (Gotta cash in those Father's Day chips early.)
Wonderboy, myself, and my neighbor head out of Wiiliam's Park. The winds were still blowing a steady 12-15, but we head towards Apollo Beach. We were hoping the winds would slow down by 7pm. We had a tough time finding Pinfish, but eventually found 'em. With about a dozen in the boat we started hitting the lights. About 20 minutes into it I was on...I had bumped up to a 3500 reel on my poon rod with 40# test. "Ain't no way I'm losing one in the docks." The fish put up a pretty crappy fight - WTH?? I landed quite possibly the largest sail cat I had seen. Awesome...this thing was so greedy it couldn't stuff the oversized Pinfish down it's gullet and wasn't even hooked. The dorsal fins kept the fish from coming out it's mouth. I cut the line and just moved on to the next light.
By now Wonderboy was getting a good feel for how to fish the lights. Taking turns on the bow, we found a decent bright light and had him toss in. Just as the cast looked like it was done and should be reeled in he was on. The fish came up strong and head shaking we knew we had a snook. Powering him out of the pilings he had the fish boatside quickly. I grabbed the line and was going to man handle him in, but one quick head shake at it was over. Next time I'll use the net. It was probably a 28" snook.
Using the trolling motor we circled back and this time my neighbor tossed in. It was over almost as fast as it started...dragged peel for about 5 seconds. It looked big, but we'll never know. The fish never slowed it down, and was off fairly quickly. Just shook the hook....we left the light but came back in about 30 min. DOA shrimp in hand we tossed in but it wasn't meant to be. Powering out around 11pm we made it home around midnight or so.
A quick rinsing and in bed by 1am.
The fishing wasn't great, but we all had a good day and franky the weather was gorgeous. I should have taken more photos, but I was just having too much fun doing nothing.