Ozello Yak Fishing - Sunday, December 18, 2016.
Short version: Two short trout and one 18" redfish.
Longer version: Arrived at the Pirates Cove boat ramp shortly before the break of dawn. The Crystal River Marine Science Station weather station (near the intersection of Crystal River and the Salt River) indicated the wind speed was 7 miles per hour.
With an equipment reduction and taking only necessities for the trip, loading the kayak at the launch is much easier and quicker. On the water by 07:30 hours.
Wind out of the south southeast with the water falling into the Gulf of Mexico with a cloudy sky above. The sun’s rays, due to the cloud cover, couldn’t find their way to earth. All physical conditions taken into account, the plan was to head north, find a sheltered creek and follow the mangrove islands in a circle back to the ramp. With any luck the tide and wind will help with the trip back.
First fish (speckled trout) boated within 10 minutes of launching. It was a short. A second short trout boated within 100 feet of the first. This is looking good!
I crossed a deeper channel with a quick current moving toward the Gulf of Mexico. A cross wind pushed the yak at an angle to the current toward the direction that I intended. Approaching a tiny island that split the current, I noticed fins breaking the water’s surface on the opposite side of the island. Paddled silently into casting range, I reared back and **** the soft plastic with a 1/8 ounce jighead just past the disturbance. Didn’t startle the prey! Slightly lifted the lure off the bottom and BAM!!!! ROCK!!!! ARRRGGGG!!! Couldn’t get it unsnagged. As frugal as I am I pulled my yak to the lure and unhooked it, thereby spooking the fish. Oh well, continued my quest.
Followed the mangroves and fished the points with moving water. Looking for differences in water surface (signs of fish?) while casting toward the mangroves. Approaching the mouth of a small creek I saw disturbances on the surface at the near point. I knew there are rocks and oysters on the bottom and felt the disturbance was due to the water flowing over the rocks. I cast past the point and quickly jigged the soft plastic over the rocks. As it past the rocks I slowed the retrieve. BAM!!!! Fish on!!! Short fight for the 18” redfish on my 2500 series fishing reel and light 7’ rod.
Onward! Continued up the creek. I approached a narrow cut with current. Glided to the opposite side and cast the weighted soft plastic across and up the cut. Twitch, twitch, twitch BAM!!! ZZZZZZ snap! Limp line! Arrrggg!! It was great while it lasted, 2 seconds. Examined the end of the line. Looks like the 20 lb fluorocarbon leader broke at the knot. My bad!
More casting as I decided to work my way back slowly. Came into the open bay. Fought the wind and current to the leeward side of the opposite mangrove island.
Cut across the last channel and coasted into the launch area. Time 10:30 hours. Chatted with a few other kayak fisherpeople at the launch before packing up for the trip home.
The Crystal River Marine Science Station weather station posted the wind was at 8mph and gusts of 21 mph. So no wonder I was having a difficult time with the wind!
Tough paddle today. Otherwise and awesome day!
Pioneer 197 Sportfish