Temps lower 40's to upper 60's. Water temp - estimating 65ish. Winds 0-10. Four Snook and got "powen
-ed" by a big gal (again). Seems I went a bit heavy on the contrast for the photos - probably should re-calibrate my monitor.
"Weaver the weatherman" had forecast some pretty stiff winds (8-11) and following the examples of some fellow kayakers, I decided a river trip was in the cards. My wife had also been giving me grief about stealing her camera for all the fishing shots. So with the mandate from she-who-must-be-obeyed in hand, I took the bulkier T2i.
Up at dark thirty I took my time. It was pretty darn cold, but I still managed to beat sunrise.
I paddled out into the mist and took my time getting some shots of the fog and sunrise. I'm not 100% sure on how I managed to get a flare on the sun; perhaps it was the polarizing filter. Regardless I took a bunch of shots, but was only pleased with a couple. This one made the cut. I used bracketing on the camera - frankly Canon should make it "stick", but every time you power up you have to reset it. On the cheaper G12 it sticks - go figure.
Ironically after the sun had burned off the fog, the water speed picked up. I was hoping I hadn't burned the best fishing time taking photos.
I pretty much let the outflow carry me downstream. Armed with the new Zman paddle tails and jerk baits, I succeeded at maintaining a solid goose egg. Not to be outdone the white topwater yielded the same results. Perhaps it was the cold weather, the front, or my angling skills, but the morning had all the looks of a classic look of a "bad day fishing is a better than a good day at the office."
Unfortunately for this fellow it seemed that neither was true.
At first I thought he was tangled up in fishing line, but upon closer inspection it seems he died of natural causes. At least it did not die of being hooked in the mouth. Those are spider webs. Looked like a pretty miserable way to die.
After about 3 hours of getting frustrated with the goose egg, I had a decent paddle back. I was counting on the tide switching to make it a bit easier, but the switch took about 45-60 minutes more than I expected. Swapping out to yea trusty Johnson Sprite I figured that I would go to power fishing. My plan was to get close and personal and take my casts from 15-20' to 5-15'. Fish the shadows and get way back in the docks. Earlier I was avoiding losing gear, but with the goose egg I figured what the heck.
As luck would have it as soon as I changed techniques it was game on.
I found some moving water on the back side of a dock and pitched sidearm to minimize the splash. Feeling a solid thwack and seeing a big explosion on the surface I knew that this was a good fish. I also knew I was out matched on leader material (I stuck with 20# for more bites). I'll call it an upper 20's maybe a lower 30's snook. Having learned my lesson from last year I tried to pitch anchor, but was too slow on the toss. Drag was now being pulled out at an alarming rate and you could see the intention of the fish; I clamped down on the spool, but the fish kept pulling the kayak upstream towards the dock. Just short of the anchor reaching the end, the fish wrapped me around the post, and with a quick snap the gig was up.
Mental note - gear up, clamp down, pitch anchor faster. This "ain't like fishing the flats". There's a ton more structure.
I decided to stick with that fishing approach and tied on another gold spoon. I kept working the shadow lines, but opted to get what I call "danger close" on the casts - kayak 10' away from the dock and cast 4-5' under the docks between the posts. I hooked up several more times. Averaging 14-16" with one slightly bigger one, I was able to horse them out of the docks and then play them out in more open water. Had I hooked another big fish there's no way I could have pulled it off.
That said I stuck with the spoon until noonish and then called it a day. Here's a smallish sample.
I cleaned up, scarfed down some slop, and took the wife out to catch the matinee of Lincoln. A pretty good movie. Course you need to mortgage the house for popcorn and a coke.