Had my ol fishing buddy down from our college years this past weekend. He hasn't felt the drag scream of a hooked redfish since his move to the saltwater-less B-ham, AL from the marshy sawgrass of Duval County, FL 3 year ago. That soon would change. The plan of attack was to hit up West Bay Sunday and East Bay Monday. The wind and tide would dictate the specific areas we would fish througout the day. However, after a quick stop at Howell tackle towards the end of last week, my plan flip-flopped. Intimate knowledge of reds in East Bay wouldn't allow my boat to head West before spending some time to the East. 34 degree weather awaited us outside Sunday morning. I looked at my buddy and said "coldest day of the year", "let's go fishing". Where was this weather at the end of January when I was swatting mosquitos from from deer stand as the last moments of AL's deers season expired?
Dunked the boat around 7:30, light WNW wind and still cold as hell. About an hour and a half, 6 rounds of heave-ho and 4 numb feet later we got our lines wet. Low water would be an understatement. The area we were headed to had No-water, I mean birds feet were dry. We had no choice but to fish short of our destination. To our great pleasure we started to spot some reds. Some singles, some groups, some tails and some schools. The fish were skiddish and seemed to have lock jaw. We changed tactics a few times and finally got em hooked up. We boated 2 bottom of the slot fish and broke off 2 nicer ones. All in all we saw somewhere between 50-60 fish by noon. We were pleased.
Polished off the day a go to trout hole and ripped the lips of half a dozen 16-18 in fish. Good start to a 2-day ordeal.
We headed west on Day 2. Healthy wind around 10knts out of the SSE. Fished the North side and not much happenin. Did spot a couple small reds and a 19-20" Trout. They saw us before we saw them. By mid-day the Steam Plant was calling us. We got in the musical chairs of boats and had some fun. We musta surface walked 50 sub 10" trout to the boat. Some not more than twice the size of our grubs. I don't care how much of a purist you are, that place is fun in the winter time. I only hope everyone abides by the same ethics of release only so those fish will stay there. My buddy got to see some bigguns right under the boat and bending the rod after an uneventful morning is better than caffeine.
Headed back into a strong atleast 15knt SSE wind. Had to cross the meat of the bay in 1 to 1 1/2 ft chop. I've got to give props to the new vessel. The 18HPX Maverick I picked up from the gang at Ships Chandler handled that slop with ease at 30mph. My spinal cord and I were thouroughly impressed.
That's the first 2 consecutive days of fishing I've had in a long long time. It was great to do it with "trout king of the NE". Only better things to come as the water warms up!! Look forward to Spring.