Temps lower 60's to lower 70's, winds 8-12, water temp guessing mid 60's; negative tide; 3-4 reds +10 trout, 1 silver trout, 1 snook
Christmas had lots of potential for fishing, but family obligations and nurse duties for a marathon puke session put fishing on hold until 1/2. The last time I recall seeing a stomache bug taking out so many people as fast was in Panama - that jungle stuff will wipe you out. Fortunately I side stepped the heaving and only ended up being chief RN for a couple/few days. With the walls closing in [again] I needed to get out and New Year's Day was in the works.
It was a late start and I was OK with that; my stomache was still goofy, but by 8:30 I was anxious to get moving. By 9:30 I was on the water and thought that I had waited to long. I barely made it out of the launch without a haul out. Normally I take a quick shot of the start of the day, but camera at home it wasn't meant to be.
Finding moving open water I opted to start with a bone top water. A quick miss showed that the fish were around. I just let the water continue to push me out and seeing some "deeper" water I went with my goto rootbeer 3" mullet paddletail. Soon enough I had a nice 19-20" red boatside. [New Years resolution - no measuring unless it's a personal best.] Skunk off the boat I wanted to push out and get into deeper water. Looking out it had haul out written all over it - 100 yards tops I thought. 200-300 yards later and dragging the boat I had a good sweat going. Apparently I misread the weather or the winds shifted - I thought it was going to be 8-10 N/NE, it was 8-10 S/SW. So between the negative tide and winds there was scarcely enough water to paddle in.
Out in open water it was a tough bite; I used the Osprey overhead to find fish, but even they were like "Time to move on." Eventually they settled on a spot about 3/4 mile downwind; paddling into the wind seemed like a headache so I left them to their own. Drifting with the wind I manged to snipe a single red, but he decided that going under the boat was in the works and I manged to lose him. Geeze...
Figuring I would drift back to the launch site I paddled past the launch site and into the wind. After about 45 minutes of good exercise I walked some more to my trout hole. It was a long way to go, but at least I would be able to drift back to the launch. With a quick bite I was on trout on the first, second, and third cast...it was pretty much catch until you tire of the game or try and biggie size it. I switched to an apricot riptide flats chub and finally upgraded to a decent fat upper teens trout. I tried to get a bigger one out of the hole with other lures and techniques, but after a while I decided to move on to reds.
Finding myself with the seasock out and just drifting along I found a nice cut I had missed earlier; just as I was about to swap from a firefly flats chub I pulled in a rat. Nice, but I was looking for his big brother. Couple more casts with a paddletail and a twin red came starboard side and was promptly released.
Farther down the line I stuck with the rootbeer paddle tail and managed to get one two more decent sized trout. I also managed to have a fellow kayaker cut me off my drift line off and fish the water I had intended on hitting - nice. I guess people see you catching and figure,"Hey that's where they are." and are oblivious to others intentions. Either that or they are fishing newbies... I guess just being rude could be true. Regardless time to move on.
Figuring I would do some exploring I was on the leeward side of some smaller islands, and eventually found some movement. With the water flowing back into the estuary and the winds calming down the water speed really picked up. Sure enough I managed to get on a red full of fight, and he brought his twin brother with him. The free red kept smacking at the other one right at the mouth. Just as I reached for a second rod to see if I could double up, the fish figured out where the boat was and he took off. Curses - a double would have been a good way to end the day. I landed the original red - call it mid 20's, maybe a touch more. I wonder why the bigger one always seems to be the second one? But that was the case again.
Heading towards the ramp figured I would actually try and close out a slam and saw a couple spots that looked awfully snooky. Good ambush spot on a corner, sun warming things up, water moving. Switching to more of a bump and drop technique I stuck with the rootbeer paddletail and hoped for a smallish snook. I figured by now the bigger ones had moved on. Fortunately one stuck around and after being pulled into the trees and several really good jumps I managed to land an upper 20's snook. The fish was definitely fat and definitely healthy.
That was the last cast of the day...I paddled on in, check on the Vomitorium Inn (aka. home) , loaded up the boat, and drove home. Seems like Riptide was the ticket for the day.
A GA win, and a low to mid 60's slam started out the year right. Perhaps this will be the year I catch up to Wonderboy's inshore slam.