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Roadside Redfish MIWR 9/24

Started the day with the intention of more beach fishing the mullet run. Storm came through the night before and the forecast was light winds out of the NW. Sounded good.

Got to Playalinda at first light and was unwelcomed by a very angry surf, and no discernable bait within casting distance, or otherwise fishy activity. Next time I'll bring the canoe for backup. Maybe.

Plan B: Scout some new areas to launch for flats fishing and maybe take a swing from the shore. After a lot of unfishable paths, and sighting many BIG gators, I came to a barely castable area with some good bait activity within reach. No discernable Reds but the smaller ones seem to hang around mullet schools so it's worth a shot or two. The trail is only wide enough for one vehicle and I had a young guy "trapped" behind me, but not really since he was doing the same thing I was.

Being the consummate gentleman sportsman that I am, I waited til he picked his spot and got the first cast off. Then it was my turn. I could feel the lure and line bouncing off the mullet but nothing taking. Second cast and I'm not really "on the hunt," making a little small talk, thinking how to salvage the rest of the morning, etc, and I let the line go slack. Well, in old Largemouth Bass fashion, I start to pick up where I left off and, shazam, I got a fish on. Not jumping or pulling too much drag so I figure it for a smaller red. He shows his colors and sure enough. In order to bring it in, I would have to drag it through a thin line of mangroves and some mucky shoreline, so I fight him at a good distance and let him get it all out of system before I try and bring him through the tangle. It worked. He was dead weight and caused no extra problems getting landed.

The fish taped out at just under 19" and while I usually don't keep them that size, I considered this one a gift, and in the bucket it went. Tried a few more schools but nada. Got the bright idea of driving down below the cape figuring it would be protected from the wind but was very surprised when I got there that the wind was coming from the southeast and the surf was almost as blown out as up north. Once again, no activity from south of Jetty Park to just north of PAFB.

Sometimes all it takes is one unexpected lower slot Red from the side of the road to save the day.

Buona Fortuna
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