Two days effort on a beautiful weekend. 12 reds, 1 gator trout and another gator lost...not many pics.
It was one of those weekends where things were lining up for a great weekend of fishing. The wife and daughter were at Disney for some Orchestra competition, Wonderboy had made it back home from UF and I wasn't oncall for work.
Originally I thought I had things lined up with Wonderboy for some powerboating and chasing big[ger] game, but a couple calls from his girlfriend and that was the end of that. Can't say I fault him...it would give me an excuse to test out the latest gizmo that I inherited from my nephew - The Spot
. My nephew used it riding across the country on his bike.
For those of you interested in his story here it is
. Yes - he quit his job to bike across America. My plans for the Spot aren't quite as lofty as his, but the Emergency button may come in handy. BTW - it is kinda creepy cyber-stalking someone. Back to fishing.
I canceled the boating and opted for kayaking on the South Shores of Tampa and found myself fishing with a fellow kayaker at 7:30am.
I was fishing a New Penny 4" ZMann paddletail with a splash of Pro Cure (aka - love juice, cause the fish love it), but had switched to a different type of retrieve. More like a bass fishing tactic. Pop sit Pop sit. It's a much slower technique, but in the past it had seemed to be money with the gator trout. Not having much luck I noticed that the water was really clear - like Key West/Bahamas clear. Which was great for spotting fish - it also meant that they could see me just as easily if not better. Not much was happening in the early AM, and after I spotted an Osprey aborting an attack I pushed offshore a bit. Fortunately he kept hovering but backed off at the last minute - nothing spooked out. "Being a bear of little mind" I pushed a bit closer heaved for all I was worth and was rewarded with a nice 22" red - but all his buddies got my attention. Like all 30 of them. They skedaddled and that was that...one red out of 30.
These guys were too big for an Osprey, but regardless they were on edge.
With the tide switching I pushed inland and started casting to dark spots surrounded by white. I'm sure the grass was acting as a heat sink and managed to get probably my second best or best gator trout. Call it 26/27"... I kept it in the water and gave it the release to grow up...that said had it been in the upper teens/lower 20's I might have made a meal of it.
I did a bit more of the same except I hopped out of the kayak and found myself in the gin clear water spotting fish - and them spotting me. With the sun fully out now the game became more of a hunt than a fish. I spooked out multiple what I'm now calling "leggers" - reds as big as your leg. (Full credit and royalties go to my fellow kayaker - "John check out these reds as big as your leg.)
Course vertically challenged folks might take exception to this term - but hey - it's my term so tough luck.
Fishing now like everything was a bonefish, I had to worry about presentation, shadows, proximity...a whole new ball game. Fortunately I played the game decent enough to land (OK - a Sportsman release right next to me) another gator (call it 22") and one more red - maybe 24".
I even ran into a school of reds that easily was in the 50-70 numbers. None and I mean none would bite. Kinda odd, after throwing everything but the sink at them they eventually they spooked out. Frustrating but pretty neat. Probably not to my partners chagrin, I may have even spooked them out because after about 10 heaves I cast straight into them - frustration.
It certainly was a different game, but it almost felt like I was chasing poon off Anna Maria in June.
On Sunday I cashed in some chips and went a second time. Same lures, but I didn't move as much. I found good water and let the reds come to me. It was a pretty good tactic - and a lazy one at that.
That said, it seems the Pastor asked where I was. I told my wife "Hey...wait until June. That's when the fever will really kick in." With Wonderboy home for Spring break I texted him. 10 reds - mostly lower 20's. What are you doing?
"Hanging with the girlfriend."
Well played Wonderboy, well played.
I got home and opted to install yet another kayak (aka Y.A.K) that was originally destined for West Palm Beach, but was overruled by she who must be obeyed.
Here's some shots of the two mated kayaks.
On a related story I did get Wonderboy out in the stinkpot on Tues to chase larger game but things didn't work out. Just Grouper and a big ol' shark that pwned us. Regardless the weather was awesome. I did see these older (late 60's early 70's) gentlemen fixing up their boat lift.
Feel free to caption as you see fit.
I'll call it "Older, but perhaps Budweiser?"
Here's one more shot - find the kayaker. Might explains close calls...overcast, dark kayak, on dark water. It was about 4pm.
Hint 12 o'clock off the bow and when the kayak was lined up with the trees it disappeared 100%.