It had been a while since I soaked any line and having to go out of town the later part of the week I gave Capt. Louie a call Sat. to see if he could go Monday? He answered and said he was out in the woods by himself playing w/ his "Big gun" up near his hunting camp in Steinhatchee. Seems his wife left him out there to go find some better area???
Anyhow, he told me that sounded good and we could check out the tides & weather, talk again Sunday P.M. and maybe give it a go? The weather didn't sound too bad except for the east wind predicted around 10~15mph. We met in Inverness at 8:00am and while driving west on #44 we desided that maybe the Y-town might be a good idea because of all the sheltered area to fish so we turned north on #19 and headed for Capt. Ed's!!
As soon as we dropped my tub into a 62 degree very shallow river we started throwing metal & plastic around w/ the trolling motor down following the river west twards the Gulf. Louie connected 1st w/ a 1lb. LM bass hitting his top-water! Switching rods & lures we continued down river w/ only a couple uncomitted bumps for the next 1/2hr or so untill we came around a huge rock where Louie said he had caught both snook & reds before! Sure enough while Louie had his head turned saying something to me something HUGE came up and swirled on his slash bait. The boil in the water looked like it was caused by a sea cow leaving us guessing what it might have been???
By now the water was up to 63 and the East wind was howling w/ the sun trying to come out but looking up there was still lots more white than blue! The closer we got to the river mouth the more small mango snappers we started catching but no matter what we used we were still getting pretty much shut out!!! Neither one of us wanted to get bounced around out in the Gulf in my flat bottom tub and by now at around noon the tide was still going out even tho High tide was suposed to be at 10:30am!!! With no water out in the Gulf forget trying for reds around the oyster bars and flats outside so back up the river we went!
Cruising up the river at around 15~20mph trying to stay on plane w/ that east wind in our faces, I was watching the bottom conture on my sonar and notices that some of the deep holes were showing some fish marks. Louie remarked that they could be sheephead and since I remembered the shrimp I had frozen after our last try at looking for those striped devils, we figured we'd give it a try> What did we have to loose at this point?? After circling for a landing over went the anchor at the upriver side of a 18' hole. We both threw out w/ Louie using a jighead and me a fishfinder rig w/ a #1 hook. Louie cummed the area w/ bits of shrimp and after a few minutes I felt a tap-tap and reeled in to find my hook empty! I said that didn't feel like the machine gun attack of a small snapper!! Way back in My foggy memory banks I sort of remembered how to hook these thangs after that tell tale tap-tap... After 2 more bait and steels I finally dialed in on one and up came a sheepie just short of being a keeper! I told Louie I think we may be on to something!! Then I hooked what felt like a pretty good one and after a short fight on 10lb class tackle up came a keeper> I didn't mesure it but it was as long as my size #14 crocs so into the cooler it went! Not huge but it was a start!!
We kept at it for about anothe hr. moving around from one hole to another and catching maybe a half dozen more small one> GRRRRR!!! I hate just getting one keeper in the cooler but thats what happened as the bite just stopped dead!!! I think maybe the tide had finally changed direction and by now at around 2:00pm we figured there was only one option left so we headed up river obeying the slow speed sign for a mile or two eating a sandwich and enjoying the wonderful scenery and wildlife. Saw a big Tom turkey in the thick woodland about 50' from the river's edge and a bald eagle circling landed on top of a big dead cypress tree squalking about something> Ever notice they have a very high pitched voice for our national bird? Much higher than a hawk or osprey!! Then a smallish hawk looking bird we couldn't identify sitting up in a tree eating what looked like a mullet?? When we got closer we saw it was a very small osprey> shoula known!!
Capt. Louie who was driving my boat most of the day (Hey, why not sit back enjoy the ride when you have a good chauffeur right??) turned the boat and said letz fish!! I dropped the electric motor and stepped carefully up into the bow seat w/ my flyrod and gave it a wirl! That far up river the current was moving just a little to fast to flyfish even tho the wind wasn't a problem w/ all the big trees up there. Even w/ a heavy clouser deep minnow streamer on, we would drifted pass my target before the fly got down in the strike zone! If we were moving up river fishing instead of down, it would have been different I think but my electric would bearly move us up river against that current. So after about 20 minutes of some really ugly casting and Louie growling "don't hook me w/ that thang!!" I switched back to my spinning rod to which I tied a "Yankee" lure! A Mepps willow leaf in-line spinner w a blade I painted white and put a red stick on eye-ball thinking I would try it for reds some day. After a couple casts I hooked something small which got off before I could identify it. So I cast back to the same spot and wham, a small bass about 1/2lb liked my spinner! After that it was all the "Capt. louie Show" where he schooled me on how to catch river bass!! I guess he caught about a 1/2 doz up to just over a pound before we called it quits a couple hundred yards above Capt. Ed's!
On the way home we talked about our river trip and how at 63 degrees which was as high as the water got, it was just too cold for the snook (Our target species) to eat and with all that fresh water pouring out, the trout or reds may have stayed down river in the more brakish water> WHO KNOWS??? but as Fisherman we always have to 2nd guess ourselfs and try like hell to figue out the why's, when's and how's???
All in all it was a pleasent day on the river w/ one of my favorite fishin buddies> No I didn't forget You Moon> The Thursdays just hasn't panned out lately!!!
Can't wait to get back out there and try again!!!