CK April 13, 14, and 15

My older son had a weekend off from baseball and my wife and daughter were leaving to go on a cruise with her mother so the logical thought for me was let's go fishing in CK for the weekend and see if any kings or cobia have made it up yet and play with some Spanish Macs.  During the week it looked like Sunday was going to be a bust weather wise so I decided to get an early jump on the weekend and took off work Friday so we could head over Thursday night.  My younger son decided to stay behind and go school Friday because of an "important test", so my fishing crew Friday morning was my dad and my older son.  We woke to an unpleasant wind so inshore trout fishing was our only option to start the day.  We headed up to North Key around 8:30 and fished the flats and ditches on the northern side of the island.  We all started out with popping corks rigged with various weighted jig heads and gulps.  Dad and son chose 4 inch New Penny gulps while I went with a tandem rig and white with chartreuse tail 3 inch gulps.  Well the bite was slow for all, but the new penny gulp fisherman by far out fished me with my color choice.  I experimented with some other colors and baits on the tandem rig, but couldn't find anything else the trout preferred over what my fishing mates were throwing. However, I was able to get an 18 inch keeper to commit to a red fish magic spinnerbait rigged with a bass assassin swim bait in a violet moon color.  Meanwhile the new penny gulp fisherman were able to put 3 keepers in the boat.  Seems like most of our strikes came on the inside flats closer to the north key.  We barely got anything on the outer bar.  Around noon we decided to move out to the flats between deadman key and sea horse when the winds decreased slightly.  The new penny fisherman put two more keepers in the boat in this location.  We then ran out and briefly fished the flats south of snake key, but only managed to catch dinks.  By about 1:30 the wind died and we finally got to run out to sea horse reef to go catch us some Spanish Macs.  We trolled 1/2 ounce Charlie worms bucktail jigs with a trace of 27# wire at first but found that casting the jigs with fast erratic retrieves was more effective and fun.  We put 6 decent size Spanish in the boat then released the rest of the ones we caught.  I caught us some bait with the sabiki and then we decided to head over to the king fish hole to try and get us a king.  We trolled around for a while with no luck and then finally had a taker.  However, instead of screaming the drag this one went down into the rocks a few seconds after it got hooked and hung me up so we figured it was a gag.  After a little while longer we ran into what looked like a school of Spanish feeding on bait.  We hooked up a few times on our live bait rigs, but nothing stayed connected.  Then we saw what looked like a decent king or big Spanish following the bait, but it never committed.  Water was flat calm at that point so I don't know if the fish could see the wire or what.  We ended the day trolling some rapala magnums, but nothing was interested.  Called it quits around 6:00 and headed in.   My mom and younger son joined us at the condos. I cleaned the fish while drinking a couple sailfish brewing company catch and release amber ales.  Then met a couple childhood buddies who were also in town at 83 West for a sandwich and some more beers.  Fun day.  Sure beat going to work. 

Saturday we woke again to a wind speed that meant we would have to delay going offshore.  My older boy, mom, and I headed out around  9:30 in search of some more trout.  We ended up finding four keepers fishing the flats south of deadman key.  Popping corks with new penny gulps were once again the ticket accounting for most of the fish and three of the keepers.  I picked off the other keeper on my red fish magic spinnerbait with a new penny doa swim bait.  Just like the day before, the winds subsided around 1:00 so we ran in and picked up my younger son who "doesn't like trout fishing" and headed out to sea horse reef.  The Spanish Macs didn't disappoint and provided plenty of action for my crew while I caught bait.  My older son hooked a good size shark that provided a couple minutes of excitement until the 20 test leader gave way.  Only saw it for a brief second, but I think it could have been a blacktip.  Once I got a several greenies, a small blue runner, and several pinfish in the well, we headed out to the reef looking for something bigger.  It didn't take long for us to get a few drag runners, but nothing wanted to stay hooked up.  I was beginning to get a little frustrated with losing fish when all of a sudden one of the rods rigged with a live greenie bent over and the drag started screaming.  There was a boat anchored nearby and I thought the fish was going to run into that boat.  My older son grabbed the rod and the fight was on.  After several runs the fish tired and I was able to sink the gaff into a big king fish that I would estimate was close to 4 feet in length.   As  I brought the fish into the boat it landed right by my younger son's feet who evidentially had drifted off to sleep in the chair unbeknownst to me.  My older son grabbed him and pulled him back quickly.  He woke up and his eyes about popped out of his head after realizing there was a big toothy fish right at his feet.  Luckily he didn't get hurt and we all got a big laugh and good fish story out of it.  Back to fishing we went.  I ran out of greenies so I slow trolled/ drifted some pinfish behind the boat.  Well I guess they got too close to the bottom.  Our next two fish were keeper size gags, 25 and 27 inches. Younger boy got the pleasure of reeling in the bigger one.  We put both back and told them to come see us again after June 1st.   We again ended the day trolling the rapala magnums and my younger caught him a smaller king that made it into the fish box.  Afterwards I joked how he caught more fish than me and also got him a nap in.  We headed in around 6:30.  I deferred the fish cleaning duties to the next day and celebrated our catch with several Sea Dog Sunfish bottle beers.  Since the weather was going to be ridiculous on Sunday, I drank a couple extra that night. 

We slept in Sunday.  I cleaned the fish and we headed back to Central Florida around noon.  That night I grilled up a few of the thick king fish fillets.  I marinated them for a few hours and I have to admit they were excellent. Everyone else concurred.  Another great trip to CK.  Hoping to get back over with the wife in a few weeks for some more king fish and hopefully cobia action.  


  • ElapidElapid Posts: 56 Greenhorn
    congrats on a great weekend and thanks for the report
  • SaltygatorvetSaltygatorvet TallahasseePosts: 2,154 Captain
    Nice work, congrats 
    You should have been here yesterday
  • capt louiecapt louie citrus countyPosts: 9,400 Moderator
    Excellent !  Thanks for the detailed report. Makes me want to go fishing !
    "You'll get your weather"
  • xmuskyguidexmuskyguide Beautiful HomosassaPosts: 1,431 Officer
    Great family fishing trips
  • CyclistCyclist Posts: 22,741 AG
    Great report, thank  you.
  • SloughSlough S.w. Ga./ St. JamesPosts: 4,329 Captain
    Good dill on the weekend and thanks for the great report.
    I didn't say it was your fault, I said I was blaming you
  • Snook SpankerSnook Spanker Inglis / YankeetownPosts: 1,750 Captain
    Thats a fine day of fishing in anyone's book!! way to go!!!
    I am'z what I am'z and that'z all that I am'z!! > Popeye!
  • Gator4LifeGator4Life Gainesville,FlPosts: 542 Officer
    Nice fish! Great report. Nothing like a relaxing weekend at CK. My favorite place to stay.
  • MGDMGD Posts: 1,001 Officer
    Sweet work w the Kids!
  • 4WARD4WARD Cross Creek,FLPosts: 846 Officer
    Nice couple of days, and nice write up as usual.
    "I hate graveyards and old pawn shops
    For they always bring me tears
    I can't forgive the way they rob me
    Of my childhood souvenirs"... John Prine
  • RedbonzRedbonz Posts: 4,524 Captain
    Nicely done...
    If it don't fit force it. If it breaks it needed replace anyways. :banghead
  • Big Bend BrianBig Bend Brian Posts: 1,405 Officer
    Outstanding write up! Well done. Does't get any better either sharing that with your family.
    Great job Kap!
  • Jim311Jim311 Posts: 4,841 Captain
    Nice to see some good fishing coming from that area. I was beginning to wonder if it would ever recover.
  • flats habitflats habit Posts: 131 Deckhand
    Great report! Thanks for sharing what worked.  That king and those gags made the trip, I’m sure!
  • SlackerSlacker Posts: 1,407 Officer
    Nice work. Made some great memories for all of you.
  • mburke001 aka TripleBmburke001 aka TripleB Posts: 1,083 Officer
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