So we're thinking that "the pass" had been pretty decent for poon action, and with the winds blowing in the lower to mid teens we abandoned the kayak poon trip off of Clearwater and opted for powerboating.
Finding bait was pretty easy and the Enola Gay, my new net, really dropped the bomb on the threads. On the second toss we had probably too much bait, but we knew we would be snipping some. Nothing like tossing in 23' of water with a ripping current and still pulling them up them. Unfortunately we over filled the baitwell and killed 95% of them.
Pulling into the pass we could see some big breakers so I dutiful went to the outer edge where we were surprised by nonbreaking wave that stood up straight in front of us. We were only doing 20 knots or so, but with the prop screaming still managed to catch air - not exactly what I had planned, but we came down smoothly. Not a first, but only have I caught air on another occasion - and that was close to WOT.
Regardless we had a pretty good feeling for the day. The tides looked good, but the water did look a bit stirred up. Unbelievably we saw two kayakers in the pass. With some serious breakers and winds in the mid teens I was REALLY suprised, but to each their own. These did not look like tourist kayaks, but fishermen. After a bit they bid a retreat.
We started chumming (editorial - I'm tired of chumming and will eventually come up with some safe gizmo to cut bunches of threads at a time). I have a couple midevil contraptions, but they don't snip - more of a grinding. After a couple few chunked threads went out I started getting nibbles and losing my bait. Hmmmm...pinfish? Nope...it wasn't much of a fight on poon rigs but we put the beat down on these fellows.
After a bit more chumming and switching to lighter gear we started to pull in mack after mack after mack...fun, but not the targeted specie. I put the big boy rod (Cabo 60, 8' Teramar) in the rod holder and decided to soak a thread. More macks were entertaining us - and we had a good chum slick going. Hands were a bit slippery from the slime of the chum, but I was pretty good to go. As luck would have it I was on a mack when the big boy rod teed off and drag was peeling off at an alarming rate. I figured I would take the big boy rod out and place the lighter gear in the rod holder and go from there. Pulling out the rod I was forewarned that the fish was really green - it surged twice. Finally managing to get the rod out, I had the butt on the forearm and was secured when it happened. Yes...one more really good surge from the fish and I watched in slow motion as my rod left my slimy hand and went for the splash. Like a torpedo full of bubbles and a good wake I watched it run for a good 25-50' straight towards the Skyway. More stunned than angered I looked at my buddy and just kinda went - "Well that sucks." I actually started cracking up because all I could think of was that episode in Gilligan's Island when Gilligan was holding on to a rod and we was being pulled faced first into the water. After a few more choice words there was nothing left to do but pull down the other rig. "Well that's a first." I wiped off all the slime from my hands and vowed not to let that happen again. [sigh]
Having recently won a raffle I was going to try out my new fangled go-pro like gizmo (which may be up for sale to repace said rod/reel combo). It's a panasonic HX-A100 I bought a clip to attach it to the visor. Not to obtrusive and you really don't feel it when it's on the visor.
After a bit more chumming and some more macks my (second) big boy rig slowly went off. More of a slow bend than a burst - so I wasn't sure what to expect. Here's the video, I didn't do much editing but on the extremely remote chance that someone actually pulls in a Cabo 60 / Teramar Combo you can see what it looks like.
This was another first for me - if you want to skip all the huffing and puffing go to 2:26 or so. Best viewed in HD.
After some more macks, snapper, and sharks we called it a day. Managed to get home, clean up the boat and the following day had some fabulous snapper tacos. The wife commented that it was the best fish we've had to date.
Lots of firsts on the trip - some good, some not so good, but a fun day regardless. I'll be looking for a new rig - perhaps a Saltist, but man are they proud of their gear.