June Report 10k Islands

Hello everyone,
After a couple busy months of not being able to come back to this paradise, I finally made it back! Summer is definitely here, lots of bug spray and a few fly swatters to keep those giant horse/deer flies the heck away from us! Summer is definitely my favorite time of the year here, feels like you have the place to yourself! Anyways it was nice to have what I would call normal weather and tide patterns to work with on Friday, not what was going on when I went in March and April. So, we get out earlier than usual and head to a couple spots on the baron river. The boys wanted to get on some mangrove snappers for some fun and the tides were right for the spot, so we went.. after a couple catfish and a bunch of mangoes.. my son hooked into one of these beasts!
So far this is his largest black drum to date.


Then we were getting an unusual by-catch with the normal snappers and catfish that we are used to there.. little rat reds! they were so cute and ready for sport!


The kids wanted to head out for our targeted species, snook, we were going to hit some of the beaches on the outer islands and try our luck there after finding some pilchards (whitebait) but every time we would find a school of baitfish, they were just too small, they were the size of my pinky finger, but there were plenty (so I guess that is a good sign) Plus I didn't want to make a long haul in the rental boat because the engine sounded funny and we were having some starting issues, so we decided to stay to the outer islands closer to the main channel.

We found a nice spot in the gulf where there was a slight drop off from hard bottom (around 2ft of water) to 6 feet and sandy bottom. This was the surprise spot of the day, very productive as well! Since we were not able to find whitebait, we were using live shrimp on jigs, then it happened.. our drags started screaming out like crazy, at first I thought it was a big snook, but it didn't fight like one... got it to the boat and wow.. a bonnet head on shrimp???


This was the smaller of the bonnet heads, reason for which I was inclined to let my sons who love sharks bring it into the boat to hold it. We caught about seven total in an hour and that was it for the sharks (I have video from the GoPro that I will try to edit and add to here) Then we saw a lot of porpoises in the gulf and started to catch some strange fish that I didn't expect at this time of year, one we actually got a photo of!
A fatty pompano! So we got into a school, only took one photo because the other two made it close to the boat but shook off at the side.


Then right after my son Paul catches a doormat flounder... once again, he shook off while Paul tried to put him in the boat. But it was a fun surprise.

Afterwards we moved to another spot looking for snooks and reds, but finally we found the Spotted Trout again.. didn't take photos of the trout because we were on one after another, but they were from 16-22 inches. But there were also big mangoes at this spot (which was a grass flat with lots of potholes in about 2-3 feet of water) and they were a blast! Here is the biggest one, I believe this one was 18inches according to the sticker on the boat (that measuring tape thing, kind of like a law stick, not sure what it is called).


All in all it was a great day where the tides and weather seemed normal to me and where I thought fish would be they were.. the snooks eluded us, but that is okay, our arms are super sore from all the fish and we even left early (2pm, we usually leave at 5) because we were just exhausted from all the fish!! This might have been the first day where catfish were only 20% of our catch! :rotflmao
Hope some of you find this report helpful and I hope next time I will be able to find some whitebait and hit the shorelines like I wanted!
Thanks,

Charles

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