Epic wind - Epic bite - Snookzilla Strikes
Launched early in the morning into light winds which picked up steadily throughout the morning. After a quarter mile peddle I make it safely in between some islands. The winds steadily pushed a lot of water into the North edges of the mangroves creating a lot of tidal like movement. From prior experience I knew that snook and reds would be waiting along the edges for an easy meal. Not long after I began catching snook after snook within a foot or so of the edges. Casting became very challenging as the wind picked up and took my lure into mangroves which required some complicated recoveries. After adjusting for the wind, my accuracy improved as I placed a cast within inches of the mangrove edges. One or two twitches, and the lure stops cold and a solid fish takes off towards a larger mangrove patch. I palmed the reel a bit and changed the direction of the fish towards open water. After safely manuevering my yak away from the hazards I stood up and began the fight. The fish stayed low and pulled hard with multiple runs, the sign of a good sized red. After a nice fight I measured the fish out to a little under 29" with a pinched tail. Safely revived and released I moved on to find more fish. I continued to catch small to medium sized snook for the next few hours and a small red. Continually inspired by the great bite I headed over to a previous waypoint where I had caught a lot of red fish in the past. This particular point always has a high concentration of mullet and large snook have been spotted along the edges. As I worked the general area my lure continually had short strikes and a I landed a few more small snook. The mullet and other small bait continued to surface in a flight for their lives. Knowing that something large must be chasing them I placed a cast within a foot of the mangrove point and the bait pods. I twitch the lure 2 or 3 times and it stops cold, as if I snagged a log. The log starts moving and I know the next few seconds will determine if I land a trophy or talk about the one that got away. Instinctively, the fish heads toward the mangroves and I immediately drop the rod tip into the water and begin palming the reel as my finger tips accidentallly come in contact with the braided fishing line. The violence and speed of the first run literally burned my finger tips as she ripped line from the reel in a mad dash to the safety of the mangroves. After surviving the first run and avoiding snag land she heads towards open water. She surfaces and I see a massive head and huge dorsal fins as she circles my kayak. I loosen the drag so as not to lose the fish to a warn leader. She runs again and jumps fully out of the water, which is not very common for a snook this size. Afterwards she heads to the opposite side towards the safety of the mangroves. I apply a lot of pressure and know I must seal the deal quickly. I grab my Frabill net and within 2 feet of the mangroves I manage to net her much to my relief. I stake up, pull out the GoPro and capture the moment. After a quick revival, she swims off to grow into the 40" club. Needless to say I am smiling all the way back to the launch site.