Thanksgiving in the 'glades, 26 November
If family obligations don't get in the way I do like to spend Thanksgiving solo out on the water... and with all of my family somewhere else - that was yesterday's routine. I launched out of Flamingo early on then made the run back into the interior to do a bit of exploring - as well as trying some different routines to see if any fish were interested (tough keeping them entertained some days)..
My first customer tossing a topwater (Rapala Skitterwalk in "old school" colors, red and white) wasn't a fish at all though...
this very frustrated 7 - 8 foot 'gator came out of the shallows and did chase my plug several times without success... Guess winter's coming, since that's when we see a fair number of them up in the big bay, Whitewater... I do know a few old timers that claim a bay without 'gators won't hold many snook back up inside where it's a mix of fresh and salt waters...
Fortunately I was able to find some trout in Whitewater Bay that were just fine with topwaters...
and any other lures sent their way... Right now, up inside, most of the trout are a bit small -this one was 16" and in the slot. Fortunately for him my "dinner trout" was an 18" specimen later on that day out on the coast... In the weeks ahead the trout in the interior will increase in size and numbers.... Although the only spot I fished had enough of them that it was a bite every cast with either topwater or leadheads with Gulp tails... I'm certain that clousers and a fly rod (or a simple popping bug...) would have been attacked as well... I left them biting after a quick half dozen or so as well as a big ladyfish or two...
With a good incoming tide it was time to check out the coast of the 'glades, north of the Shark River, working alternately topwater and under the surface with DOA Baitbusters. At one spot I made a few casts with no result then put that Baitbuster in the right spot and it was off to the races. I didn't know what I'd hooked but it was strong and very, very quick on a medium drag setting. I got down to business and added as much drag as I was safe with by feathering the spool on the spinning reel with my thumb until I finally turned the fish without seeing it at all. Once it was back away from the mangrove shoreline it made several more shorter runs before coming to the skiff... When I saw it was an over slot snook I did my best to stay cool while reaching for the Boga Grip - and the fish had slowed down enough to make it possible... Here's the photo - for comparison the reel is a Daiwa BG 3500 (slightly bigger than a 4000 Shimano Stradic...).
big mama snook, measured at a bit more than 35" and weighed 15lbs on the Boga Grip before being very carefully released to fight another day.... best off -not one other boat in sight anywhere that day... She would have made a great video - but you can't have everything while out poking around on your own (and I'm a bit old for all that Go Pro stuff..).
The rest of that long day I did some exploring in places that I've never been before making the long run back to Flamingo (covered a round trip of 70 miles that day - the 'glades is just too big for anyone to make more than a superficial sampling of all the possible places that might hold fish). Tomorrow I'll be back down there with a father and his two young sons...
"Be a hero.... take a kid fishing"