Temperature - low 50's, cloudy, winds 10-15 (gusted to upper teens), water temps upper 60's to low 70's, 3 anglers about 10-12 reds, 1 gator trout
With a 4am "emergency" work wake up call the 5am alarm was pretty much useless. Course the battery had to die on the smoke alarm above the visiting guest so it was an interesting morning before the day had even started. 5:30 had Wonderboy moving and by 6:00am we were out and moving.
We hit our wading area around 6:45 and I was confident that the cooler weather would warm things up. Boy was I wrong. Increasing winds and increasing cloud cover had things cooler than expected. Regardless we waded out and hoped for the best.
Wonderboy started out the morning with a heavy fish and all parties thought "Oh Oh...here we go again."
Bundled up for 50 degree weather and 15 mph winds it wasn't too bad.
He was fishing the 4" riptide paddle tail. I'm not sure if bigger lures always equals bigger fish but these paddle tails have been brining home the biscuits lately. You can see the color pattern is more of a white bait pattern.
Here's how you make a lower to mid 20's red look 40". Shoot from below, put the camera on macro and focus on the fish.
We knew we wanted to bring home some reds for the 18 visitors we had. However, it was really early in the came and the red was release. Wonderboy would regret that later.
Pushing farther out we saw that the duck hunt might have been a bit better.
Conditions quickly deteriorated and the winds picked up. The sun would come and go, but more going than coming. I found a "hole" that was near some darker decaying grass and got on a lower 20's red that thought he was more snook than red. He skyrocketed and was 1-2' out of the water and spit my riptide firefly pattern flats chub.
I figured that this looked like a fishy area and decided to fish the area. I was quickly rewarded with another mid size red. Fumbling with the fish grip I managed to give him a sportsman release. Looking at the chub I saw that the lure was torn beyond use. Reaching into my bag I realized that was the only firefly pattern I had, but did had a pepper white 3" mullet. I tossed it out and worked it slow. Two to three casts later I thought I had a nice Red on but saw that the trout was larger than average. I normally don't harvest a big trout, but figured one a year was ok. This guy/gal was about 25".
Seeing that fish were congregated and happy I ended up having to put yet another lure one. I went with what Wonderboy had on. I moved over about 10' and with winds now gusting to the upper teens I cast straight up and almost used all the line of the spool. As luck would have it a solid red hit and I wasn't getting much line in. We went back and forth and eventually I managed to get him in - a 5 spot 25" red. Stringer now full my day was complete but I did managed to close out my slam with this fellow.
Having been tagged before I contemplated just cutting the line, but I told myself "Self, if you can get it in one shot do it." It was a bit of dancing but after the ray wore himself out I managed to get my last paddletail.
Closing out the slam with a ray I told my buddy that I think I had a back door slam going, he gave me that "Did really you just say that?" look.
I seldom harvest fish, but with 18 people at home, feeding the crew with fresh fish became a higher than normal priority. The blackened redfish was awesome and lasted all of 30 seconds.
Back on land we tallied up the totals - Wonderboy 1 red 1 trout, buddy 6 reds, me 4 reds, 1 trout, 1 ray. Not a bad day considering the weather. Heading home we actually heard on the radio "It's the most wonderful time of the year." I would have to concur.