It was a balmy 36 degrees when I texted my partner in crime that if he wanted to take an honorable surrender for the day all would be good. "Pool freeze protection just kicked in. Giving you another chance." "LOL bring it on." was the reply.
I showed up at his house with thermals, insulated running pants, 4 shirts (layering like and Ogre is best), waders, a light wind breaker, and my British military surplus Navy insulated jacket, 2 buffs, ski cap, gloves, lunch, my wading back pack, and rod. Oh yeah...and my laptop - I was oncall.
Pushing out from the Apollo Beach channels we saw that the entire South shore was pretty much exposed.
Looking West/South West things looked high and dry for miles. Winds were still in the 10 knots range.
With a winds blowing 20-30 knots on Sat, and winds out of the North on Sunday we opted to run to the Northward side of the bay. Course this had us running across the bay at about 30 knots in 40 degree weather. I got sprayed a couple times, but the wind was the tough part. Even with gloves on my hands were freezing; I kept them out of the pockets just in case we hit a larger than average waves.
I managed to get a quick shot of the Captain and bid a hasty retreat to the helm.
Finally at our destination I hopped on the gunnel and started scanning for fish - a couple die hard kayakers had beat us to the destination. Looks like they had paddled quite a ways. One fellow's rod was bent over - good size trout. We pushed in as far as we could and parked the boat. I commented that this was either going to be epic or a bust. Regardless it beats sitting at home watching TV. Hopping overboard we started wading the potholes - I got one pretty quick, but had neglected to have the drag set tight so when I set the hook it was a weak set - the fish came unbuttoned (and it felt like a nice one). Regardless, I walked a bit farther down wind. About 20 minutes later I hooked into another good fish. This fellow gave me a run for the money. I was really surprised to see him fight as hard as he did. I figured the cold water would have him more lethargic. Regardless at 29-30" he made some serious runs.
He swam off strong enough. I checked the leader and threw out the Houdini Zmann some more. This time I managed to see the fish and they were what I'll call danger close - about 10' away. I pitched as softly as I could but wanted to avoid dropping it on their head. Bringing it surface the first red breached and missed, but the second one hit the paddletail on the fall. I reeled slowly made positive contact and opted not to set the hook - I wasn't sure if I was on weeds or fish. I watched him shake his head and decided to set the hook - a couple more head shakes and he was off to the races. This fellow had plenty of energy and on 10# test there was no horsing him in. Capt Corey was securing some photos of the fight and just when I thought the fish was done, it saw Corey and it blew out another 30-40 yards like a big snook. We both chuckled. I commented that I think this guy is bigger than the last.
Fish landed Corey gave me 31-32". Certainly a bruiser. With no measuring stick I'll take it.
We fished some more but other than watching Osprey pick off trout after trout not much was biting. After a couple hours the winds died and I guess the temps hit 45-50, but the run back was still a brisk one.
Not too bad for a 36 degree morning, but boy was it brisk. Next week looks warmer, but with Gaparilla who knows what will be on the water.