Jumped two, landed 0. Poon fishing...you take the good with the bad, you take the bad with the good.
Bait proved to be a pain again at Longboat Pass so we pressed back out to the beach pretty quickly. We loaded up with bunches of pinfish
We found ourselves with some happy poon and after a bit they welcomed us to their environment. One pod of 100 joined another and then another - Rich and I called it a megapod. Kinda like those HUGE schools of dolphins you see on Nat Geo. Just a huge black mass of fish. Pretty neat.
Here's a small sample of the "Happy Poon".
The side imaging sonar showed us pretty clearly what we already knew - this was a big pod, but they were not very hungry. It took about 60 minutes of leapfrogging the poon for Rich to start off the day. He hooked up on one that was basically right under the boat. "Here we go John...". I watched his line straighten then peel off. The fish showed himself about 50' away from the boat and 6-7' out of the water. It was a nice fish - was being the key word. It was unbuttoned, but Rich was still pretty juiced from the run. Unfortunately things happened so fast that by the time I got to the camera the gig was up. No photos of fish number 1.
Regardless we kept leap frogging the fish and eventually the wind settled in on one direction and we had a decent game plan. The real question was were these fish more interested in food than sex...seems sex won out as we fished that same pod for hours. I'll let you decide which is more important to you.
Here's an image of daisy chaining poon on the side imaging sonar. The center line was the path of the boat; you can see we were pretty much on top of them. In some cases the pod was so big we could not cast across it. Each one of those white blips is a poon; the black is the sonar "shadow" of that same fish. You can see that the school blots out the screen to the right of the school. That's a bunch of fish.
So we were faced with the dilema - leave fish to find fish, or stick it out. Just as we were about to leave Rich gets on fish number two. This time I get to the camera, but the fish won't present itself. I start telling Rich - "That's a nice shark you have there. 200+ poon and we picked up the shark." The shark was just hanging around the boat, almost chilling out. Rich didn't seem to be making much progress, but eventually the rod was pretty much showing that we were up and down on the fish. I looked in the clear water and didn't see any color. I went around back on the helm and snapped a couple shots of Rich applying heat. If you look closely you'll see the school of fish on the sonar.
More heat application by Rich.
After that I pretty much put up the camera and waited to get the shark in. Of course things seldom go the way you think they will, and all the sudden the shark made a heck of a run. Like crazy strong..."Sure sounds like a poon Rich." I went around back to get the camera and the fish decided to come up at an inopportune time - she wallowed around like the fat hawg she was. Course she was big enough to land on the braid that had been doubled up and snap it. Geeze...
Another hour or so of frustration, we threw in the towel. We had had a great trip and the Amanda Buff ,
well she got us home in one piece. We had our shots, maximized them, had great weather, jumped 2, and we lived to tell another tale.
Here's a side image of a megapod...I believe it was smaller than this image indicates as I'm pretty sure we turned as we went by, but you can see it's pretty big. Call it +300 fish
So...the $100K question...
Is all that technology worth it?
Frankly the jury is out. On a school this big one once you find them they are hard to lose (assuming no one powers over them). What the sonar told us was that we were on the right line, but again with good polarized glasses you could see these fish. The sonar did eliminate some water because sometimes the shade from a cloud would mess up our line of sight and we would rely on technology or the old fashion way. "You see 'em rolling?" At the bridge the technology does help. Not too many people kayak the bridge - and frankly I wouldn't recommend it, but to each his own. Sonar does help find bait for sure. On the side imaging bait looks more like a cloud than individual fish. This unit cost about $600 now; if I were to have an unlimited budget I would buy an 8-10" screen. 5" is not enough, but my boat is so small 8" would take up a bunch of real estate.