Saturday, August 25, 2012

Morning on the bay

Just a quick report from Lemon Bay. I made it out early with intentions of hitting some docklights. This time of year its quite possible to catch a slam out of these docklights, especially the ones with close proximity to grass flats. I managed a couple of snook, a trout, and a ladyfish before the sun came up. I missed a good amount of hooksets however.

Any day that starts off with a snook on the fly is a good day in my book. After the docklight bite shut down I went in search of a red to complete the slam. I couldn't quite find them, they had moved on from where I found them a couple of weeks ago. Irregardless I managed a few more trout, a nice mangrove snapper, and a massive sailcat that chose to fight exactly like a redfish until it showed its face. It's funny how a fish can peel some drag and be exciting, but immediately become a burden by showing it's face, or should I say its whiskers. Anyways, it was a beautiful much needed morning on the water. Let's hope Isaac doesn't leave us with any ill effects on the fishing for the next few weeks!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Fun Fishing

Beach snook are a blast on light tackle!
Had the opportunity to spend a weekend with my buddy Jared and we fished pretty much the entire time. Beating the heat was the name of the game, so we took the opportunity to walk the beach for about an hour around sunset with an inshore trip on the boat planned for the morning. The beach snooking was decent, not tremendous, but we both had some success with our trusty DOA shrimp. We managed to beat the floating grass by fishing a nice stretch of shoreline on the harbor side of the lighthouse beach on the south end of Gasparilla Island. We hadn't caught anything until we saw a blowup in a small pod of bait, and managed a few hookups out of that commotion. Surprisingly there weren't as many fish holding to the structure as usual. After a few fish we decided we couldn't beat the mosquitoes so we called it a night pretty early.

The next morning we had ambitious plans of being on the water by 5:30, which turned into rolling out of bed at 6:30. Having already felt like we wasted a good hour of fishing, we got right on our way. Right off the bat I hooked up to a small snook on our first drift over a grassy area at the base of a mangrove island. A second drift of that stretch yielded nothing, so we moved right along. The next spot is somewhere we can ALWAYS catch a few trout no matter what the conditions, and my largest yet was caught here in the middle of the day on a DOA shrimp. Two drifts didn't even yield a hit, and we were both shocked. I began to say I was surprised that we hadn't caught a trout yet, but before I could finish my sentence Jared hooked up. It was a nice 19 inch fish that found its way to the cooler. After another fishless drift over this spot we moved on. Our next spot yielded a very interesting array of species, in a matter of a few minutes I caught a baby grouper, a little mangrove snapper, a grunt, a pinfish, and a trout. All of those fish took a Yo-Zuri 3D Minnow. Unfortunately we couldn't find anything with good size on that flat and the sun was getting high, so we decided to start exploring.
They're bigger if you hold 'em out, right?
We pulled up to a shoreline that neither of us had experience fishing, and I must say this will immediately become the shoreline we fish first from now on. A school of redfish was working around a school of mullet, and two of the biggest snook I have ever seen were cruising around an oyster point just off this shoreline. The redfish weren't hungry for any of our plastic offerings, but the snook were happy to play along. Nothing of great size came to the boat but they were still good fun. I managed 4 snook, a trout, and a funky array of grouper snapper and grunts for the day. All came on either DOA shrimp or the 3D Minnow.

Steinhatchee Scalloping 2012

If only they were all this easy to spot!
The annual pilgrimage to Steinhatchee to gather up a scallop dinner, while tough at times, was an overall success. Everyone had fun, nobody got hurt, and scallops were had. We did not find quite the numbers we saw in 2011, but we managed a few meals worth. The water was dark for the first 4-5 miles north or south out of the mouth of the river, but cleared up beyond that point. Unfortunately that put most of the scallops and most of the boats in a relatively small area compared to most years. We discovered late in the week that they were buried deep in the grass, where in years past they have almost been sunbathing right on top of the grass. We didn't manage to reach a limit on any of the days, but we came close twice.

The inshore fishing was all but non-existent with the fresh water dumping out of the river from all of the recent rains. There was also a very large amount of floating grass. Despite the lousy water conditions we still managed to have a great time. Our condo was fantastic, the drinks were cold and the pool was refreshing as ever. Sometimes its not the catching that matters but the memories made with family and friends!