It was official: my dad and I decided trying to do the whole Haulover Canal thing in a tiny tandem and night without the proper equipment was insane. So we decided, why not take the boat? The ramp is right at the canal, we don't spend any money in gas scooting over there, we have more room and a place to keep bait alive instead of getting sloshed by water in the bucket; it's so simple.
We decided to try it out Friday morning instead of at night, that way we can scope out different areas during the day. This time we brought along my younger brother (Evan) and my cousin Jullian who was in town from Puerto Rico. Evan is a pretty experienced angler, but my cousin has only been fishing twice in his life. What better way to earn his Man-Card than to horse up a couple Bulls around heavy structure?
We pull up on the first hole and I instruct my bro and cousin on where to place their casts. I tell them not set the hook because we were using circle hooks to prevent gut-hooking. This concept completely flies over Evan's head as he sets the hook like an Olympic FLW Angler, but somehow still hooks up :o For years he has been trying to land a Bull Red from either Sebastian or the flats, and today the Gods decided to let him have a little fun
Shortly after a few pics and a healthy release, I hear Jullian saying "I think I have one, guys." My first thought was he might be hung up, until I hear music to my ears. ZZZZZZZZZZZZZ!!!!!!!!!! And he's right in between the fenders!!! I panic a little, thinking his 1st fish may be lost due to being broken off by all the junk on the bottom. Turns out, he handled the whole thing like a champ with little direction
We decided to pick up and move to another area we have seen a lot of people pull out monsters in the past.
First, a quick side-story: My father is an incredibly busy guy. When he isn't doing a million different projects to help pay the bills, he is working for FEMA, which requires him to travel out of state for 4 months at a time. For the past few years, our time on the water together has been pretty limited. I was away at college, only having a few weekends to head back home here and there; most of the time he was away in N. Carolina helping FEMA with hurricane clean-ups. Not to mention, the times we get to go fish are days where conditions are not favorable and we usually get skunked. But for the past few days our luck has been starting to change, and I haven't seen him this happy in a looooong time
So when we decided to leave this morning, my dad asks me a question he always asks before any trip: "Are we going to bring Beefy King?" In short, Beefy King is a 7ft Penn Slammer rod with his ridiculous Shimano Spheros 12000 and 400yds of 30lb. braid. Yes, it may sound like over-kill, but ever since a few Tarpon spooled us at Sebastian Inlet he decided he NEVER wanted another fish to get away . This rod hasn't really gotten much action since we bought it, simply because it is a beast to cast and you fatigue after holding it for 10 minutes. But he didn't care. Earlier I had caught a little whiting on shrimp and thought about throwing it back until he says, "Well, why don't we use him as bait?" I remember a friend on the Jax Kayak Forum (*Cough Cough Arun Cough*) mentioning he used Whiting heads for Bulls at the pier...a little bit of blood on the boat and we have ourselves a MASSIVE chunk, bigger than both my fists put together. He lobs this mess out into the middle and we play the sit-and-wait.
Not much happens for a while, until I hear "Fish On!" from my Dad in the front of the boat. I see he has Beefy King in his hand...and I hear the drag SCREAMING off the reel...and I think, "I had the drag set pretty tight on that thing this morning." Whatever it is, it's ridiculously huge and pissed off. I thought this thing would run up on the flats it was pulling so much line! After a 15min battle, exhausted, concerned it may wear through the leader, we see it surface...
I'm just thankful we brought along Beefy King today. Without it, we may not have stood a chance lol. It came to 44lbs. and 46", beating the record for Tuesday night. Luckily, we are in the winter months, so after a few seconds the fish was revived an swam away healthy with not complications.
I'm not sure yet whether all of this is luck or strategy; probably a little of both. All I know is I'm looking forward to treating others to some awesome fishing out here in The Canal, and spending more time with Dad. I now know who's boss