Tides were looking good, and winds were so so, but coming off a successful trip the day after Thanksgiving the daughter and I decided to give it a whirl. With the green light from the spousal unit we were up at 5:30 am and hoping to be on the water at 6:30/7:00am.
I'm somewhat hesitant to hit the waters the day after a full moon because I'm a believer that the fish will feed heavy on the bright light from the moon. Regardless we were on the water hoping to make some more good memories.
The winds were relatively low and this time I was standing in the kayak; the daughter was roughly 75 yards away - time for her to start figuring this stuff solo. She stuck with the white spoon; I went with a gold one. I saw a large swatch of water heading into the water making a clear "V". I hollered over to Amanda "Here they come - 100 yards, 12 o'clock."
She fired off her first cast. I was convinced it was way too early as it looked to be a good 20 yards short, but first cast and she was on, and boy was she...with a 5 knot tail wind and a big fish pulling on our faster kayak she was boot-skooting across the flats. I "dropped anchor" using the micro power pole (review on this gizmo later) and managed to get on as well. Fighting my fish I saw that she was really motoring away. I hollered over "Drop anchor!!! I'll be there in a few." I landed my lower 20's fish and saw that she was still on. However, she was making good progress on it. "Well that answers that Amanda. Nice Jack. They fight good don't they."
Her grin said it all - this was her fish solo fish with no walking her through the effort.
We looked for the school of fish, but they were on a mission and no where to be seen. "Let's keep drifting but spread out." With building winds I gave her a sea sock to slow down the drift. I watched her deploy it, but she was still beating me down wind. "You're going too fast - check that sea sock." Adjusted she was still drifting faster than I, but at a much more reasonable clip.
We drifted for another 20-30 min. I was scanning the horizon for activity when I saw about 100 yards away now she was on again - and what looked to be another quality fish. She did a fine job on the fish. She posed for the photo supporting the fish properly and all - a nice mid 20's red. I asked if she wanted to take it home for dinner and she said yes. Filleting would be her job, carcass duty would be mine. We had just brought one home about 4 weeks ago, but she seemed really proud of the fish so Redfish for dinner it was - plus we had visitors in town again.
Interestingly the weather change and the winds blew some pretty thick fog our way. I had Amanda stay a bit closer and advised her that if the fog separates us (which has happened in the past) to drop anchor and just stay put. I've been out there when it's been so thick that 10-20 yard visibility was the best you had. Here's a shot of what we saw coming. I was surprised to see it so thick in 5-10 knot winds.
Regardless, fish released we had settled on a pattern that the fish were running the troughs and not huddling in the holes. We set up our drifts again. I saw a series of swells that looked out of the norm and cast my Johnson Sprite Gold spoon in and was rewarded after about 4 casts with a really solid thwack. This was a good fish and he was giving me fits - at one point he was buried in the grass and I had to put the rod between my legs and paddle upwind to loosen it up, but the fight wasn't over yet. Several passes around the kayak, over the second rod, over the micro powerpole, under the kayak...by now Amanda had moved in and saw that this was a larger than average fish. Eventually the fish tired out and I looked down and saw a really nice thick Red. "looks like chunky monkey." I measured it out at 30", and Amanda took a couple shots.
Fish released and the fog seemingly thinning out we fished a bit more, but the bite felt like it was done. It looked like Amanda was wearing out too. She was out of the kayak wade fishing but mainly walking towards the launch site; after a bit she put the rod down and decided to just walk...err...shuffle. Plenty of rays this time of year.
Throwing in the towel we paddled into the wind (again) and called it a day. A tally of about 7 reds and 1 Jack. Spoons ruled the day - hers a white Aquadream, mine a beat up Gold Johnson Sprite (treble hook swapped out).I added a lower 20's red to the stringer.
At home the neighbors know the routine when they see the filet table - the wife took more pics of her filleting fish...meanwhile I had the task of a big clean up including fish carcasses. My Dad saw the bloody messed and decided he better sit down - inside. He's not good with blood and guts.
Fish filleted up we decided to have fish tacos - with two reds we had enough to feed 7 people. I chunked and spiced them up...
Blackened them up...
The wife put out the fixings and her special tartar sauce and viola - dinner was served. Seems I goofed on the camera and some shots were out of focus, but dang was it good. I had 3 tacos. The son 3...plenty for everyone.
We toasted the efforts of the daughter and thanked her for dinner.
"So...you think you're ready for some tarpon this summer?"
A coy "Maybe." was the reply.
I think she's ready. It's not the fish that's as tough as is getting her out of bed at 5:30am.
Time we'll tell.