Richie had invited me up to take a look at the motor he was willing to sell me at a very fair price. Decided to make a day of it and fish Crystal River, especially Kings Bay with all the boat docks. Got up there. Got the motor on and hit the ramp at Pete's Pier around 10am. The water temp was 70-72 during the day. Water was pretty clear. We went over to the big island just west of the ramp. I began with a spook working the shady side of the island. On I believe the 2nd cast, I got a good strike and had the fish coming but it popped off. Never got a look at it but it felt pretty good. Threw up with the RT Mullet and had another fish on but it got off. No more strikes there so we went to work some docks. The water was really shallow and there were no dropoffs close by. We went behind the marina area to find some more shade.
Richie got on the board with a small 16" snook caught on a DOA shrimp. No more strikes in there so we headed down river to work more docks. I had a strike from a snooklet in some shade near a boat slip but no hookup. Again the water was real shallow near the bank and we were getting a lot of that black gooey grass on our lures. There was also a lot of monkey snot , leaves, and floating grass in the King's Bay area. We went farther down river and were just working some shallow areas near the bank. Nothing. Farther down river and I had a couple of strikes near the Ft. Island ramp, but did not hook up. The river is pretty non-descript and everything looks the same. The wind was blowing pretty good and the river is not that wide. Lots of boats, kayakers, paddle-boarders, sailbots. etc. Also, lots of manatees and I actually ran into one with my trolling motor. It was rough.
Farther down river and still only 1 fish for our efforts. We went past the bridge and off into a bayou and worked a couple of oyster bars for a while but again no fish caught. It was now about 3pm so we headed back towards Kings Bay. Five hours and I had not landed a fish. We came up to a shallow bay on the north side. Worked the point. Nothing. We went back into the bay and I finally connected with a fish under a dock. Got it to the boat and it was a small bass that popped off at the boat. No more strikes in there so we began to work docks on the north side. We worked dock after dock and i was unable to get one strike under at least 20 docks.
In King's Bay now and we work the shade on the north side. More docks and more nothing. Fish are hitting the top out in the middle so Rich starts throwing at them. He catches one and they are ladyfish in a hole that is about 18' deep. We did that for a while and we caught a number of ladyfish, but that was not our targeted species. We went back over to the big island and nothing. Back up to work area behind the marina and I throw my spook next to the back of a boat. Finally, I catch a little snooklet.
Keep working back in the shade and I throw past a point. Walking the spook back and it gets crushed. The fish jumps and it is a pretty good bass. Get the fish in and she was about a 2 1/2#er. Keep working it and I get another bass on but she comes off. Get another strike but don't connect. It is getting dark now and Richie connects with another ladyfish. We head for the ramp.
All day long we saw very little fish activity. Just a few mullet jumping, but when it got near dark, fish became much more active. My take from this experience is that I am so thankful for what I have here in the Tampa area. That was some of the toughest saltwater fishing I have experienced. To work so many of those docks and not catch one snook under any of them blows my mind. I threw topwater so much today and hardly any strikes, except early and late. Not even a little trout. I am still in disbelief at how poorly we did today. We certainly tried our best. At least I got another motor for my boat at a fair price. Thanks Richie. It was fun fishing with you. I am sorry we didn't do better.