When the fishing gets tough, the tough keep fishing! July 15-22nd
Well I've certainly had an eventful week since I've been back in southwest Florida. I've had my fair share of ups and downs, but I'd say there were many more ups than downs! I started the week putting friends on big snook, and then went on a seemingly never ending search for redfish. Fortunately, my luck changed after a few slow days being back on the water.
After two unsuccessful redfish trips that ended with a few good snook and some snapper, I decided I'd spend a day scouting for fish before my next trip out for redfish. I searched up and down until I finally found an old area that had a few decent fish. I called up Tim for a late morning/afternoon fishing trip the next day, and he jumped at the opportunity to join me. We started the afternoon (took us longer than expected to get out on the water) catching pinfish on the flats. We loaded up on 5 dozen silver dollar to hand sized pins, which I figured would be plenty for a short afternoon of fishing. We tried a couple areas that I assumed would have some fish, but just like the other days we couldn't buy a fish. With a pretty good tide, we hit up the same area where I had seen some solid fish the day before. We used live bait, chunk baits, and even some ballyhoo to switch things up...no luck. Frustrated as ever, I decided to try another area I didn't have success on earlier in the week with the hope that the good tide would get the fish chewing. On the way I made a quick decision to stop and try a spot I hadn't fished in years since the tide was right for the area.
We once again tried live baits with cut tails without any success, and eventually we tried cut pins...which of course didn't work either. At the point of giving up on redfish altogether, Tim and I began to reel in our lines when all of a sudden Tim's rod doubles over with a decent fish. It turns out to be a lower slot redfish. I cast back into the groves and hook up almost instantly! This continues for a couple casts until things slowed down. I decided 23" fish were a good sign, but maybe a bigger bait would produce a bigger fish. I chucked a huge piece of pinfish up under the groves and sure enough after a little patience a larger fish picks it up and gives me a run for my money. After pulling it away from the groves, the redfish came in quite easy due to the warm water. Finally the 25+" I was hoping for.
Unfortunately the extra time we spent at this spot allowed the storms to build up and sneak up on us.
We took cover around Sanibel, and eventually made our way to tweenwaters for some grub. Grouper bites and mahi fish tacos made for an awesome dinner, and gave the storms enough time to pass. As we made our way home, we happened to run into an AMAZING sunset. Clearly God was on our side this day, as we didn't even get a drop a rain on us and ended the day with such a beautiful sunset!
That night I talked to good friend and forum member Captain Trey Moore (swsnookred). He was telling me how he had a slow bite that morning, so he wasn't sure what our plan of action should be the next morning. We decided we would hit the fish real early and get back to the ramp in time to make it to church.
I suggested an area that I had seen some solid fish at in prior months, so Trey, Josh (capnahab), Trey's brother Sam, and I drove to the ramp at 5:20 or so and were on the water by 5:40. We had frozen ladyfish and top waters for bait, and we were ready to slay some fish. We pull up to the area I was talking about before the sun had even risen, and there were mullet pushing, bait jumping, and fish boiling all over! We had high hopes until Trey's trolling motor randomly cut out on us. With no trolling motor, Trey and Josh jumped out and pushed the boat just up wind of all the commotion.
Lady fish chunks went a flying, and the rods begun to bend! Every cast resulted in some type of pick up. We caught redfish, trout, and catfish for about half an hour. After our three catfish per spot limit had been reached, we began moving down the flat until we hooked or saw fish on our topwaters. Josh boats a solid 20" trout, and Trey manages to see a BIG redfish chase down his top water. We put the powerpole down, and begin chunking ladyfish once again. Catfish, catfish, and more catfish...finally Sam casts away from all of us and lets his bait soak for a few. After missing many fish and catching some redcats (catfish that act like redfish) this morning, Sam was about done with fishing. Thankfully his luck turned, and a larger fish picks up his bait and doubles his rod over screaming line as it ran across the flat. All four of us saw the initial boil, which made us think "GAME ON"! After netting the big, bronze beauty, it measure out to a hair over 31". With a big fish in the boat, we were content and decided to head on home. We were back to the ramp by 945, and just missed the heat!
Early morning reds!
Josh with one of his fish
It was certainly an eventful week on the water!
Tight lines and God bless!
The snook are thick enough to walk on! I figured I better find the redfish so I can take home 1st place in the Danielle Blackburn tournament in August! I'll be back at the snook after mini lobster season
Another nice report... Thanks for your contributions. Btw, are the fish being caught in water as shallow as pictured or are you fishing an adjacent cut or drop off? I know some of the fish are coming out of the mangroves you reported on, but that big fish is pictured in maybe 18" of water? I've been catching cats while finding reds but the water is always deeper than the water pictured...