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The best gift of all

Left the dock around 7:30 a.m. on Christmas eve and headed to Annie's b&t. Without and pinfish or pilchards in stock, we had to make do with 3 dozen select shrimp. Got to spot number one in Palma Sola bay. Put out 3 lines in the water; 1 freelined shrimp, 1 shrimp with a popping bobber, 1 shrimp with a splitshot. After about 30 minutes (roughly 8:45 a.m.) I get a hit on the freelined shrimp. As I began to reel in, I noticed the fish wasn't jumping. Since this was our normal trout spot I figured it was a trout...It was a nice surprise seeing a healthy young Redfish boat side.

After another two or so hours of fishing this spot and the surrounding oyster beds / grass flats, we picked up and headed towards AMI deepwater docks (Rod'N'Reel pier area). As soon as we got to the first dock, I could see greenies all around. Given the bait shop said they were pretty difficult to come by (and were all out), I naturally got out my cast net. After about 15 minutes, filled the well up with about 5 dozen. With pilchards in the boat, we decided to hit some more oyster beds and mangroves around AMI instead of the docks. We got lines in at spot 3 around 1p.m. We freelined 2 pilchards out the front, 1 pilchard with the popping bobber out the back, and I threw a doa until it was time to check lines (or there was a fish on). About 45 minutes in, one of the freelined greenies was hit. As soon as I started to reel in, I saw the jump. It was a snook! Just after releasing it, a second fish struck the remaining freelined pilchard. In 5 minutes, we landed two nice snook.

Unfortunately, had no other hits at that spot for the next hour. Picked up lines and hit a submerged dock on the way home. Picked up a keeper Sheepshead on a shrimp, but threw it back. Right as we pulled up to our house, we figured we'd use some of the couple dozen pilchards left over from the day. We hit the dock closest to the ICW in our neighborhood and caught a very small mango and the smallest snook I've ever seen..around 10". Still had great fight in him LOL. All in all in it was a great day of fishing (catching) with an even greater gift.

Total Tally:
(1) Redfish 19" (threw back anyways)
(1) Sheepshead 13"
(3) Snook 23" , 25" , 10"
(1) Mangrove Snapper 6"
(1) Lizardfish ... who even cares...

Happy Holidays, and tight lines!

-SS

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