Cloudy/rainy weather....topwater excitement

Launched out of CRB at 6:15m yesterday with Dave (stormy). I had not done much fishing south of CRB so that was the plan. The noseeums are vicious at the ramp in the AM and then the mosquitos joined in at dark so have your repellent handy. We went out to the farthest mangrove point on the left and headed south along the shoreline. I started with the Spook Jr. in bone of course and Dave with the DOA chugger. It was overcast/cloudy and the sun only came out for a bit during the entire day. Conditions were ideal for a topwater bite. We missed a couple of fish early and then I caught a nice 22 3/4" red off the point at 6:38am. I picked up a small 15 3/4" red at 6:55am after missing a monster strike moments earlier. Just eight minutes later I caught a 21" red. Fish were active and feeding. A number of fish were striking my lure but missing it. It was exciting.

We worked on down a bit but the bite kind of shut down. We decided to circle back around and work that shoreline again. It wasn't until 8:20am that another fish was caught....a 10" trout for me on the Rebel Pop-R. We were struggling a bit near the bank so we moved out to a little deeper water to work some potholes, but they were difficult to find with that cloud cover. After another fishless hour, Dave finally got his skunk off the boat with a 12" trout on the "clacker" at 9:20am. Three minutes later I picked up a 14" trout on the 3" RT mullet in shadflash. Another 12" trout for Dave on the "clacker" at 9:27am. His twin brother for me on the mullet at 9:38am.

The flats weren't very productive so we headed back to work some mangroves on the shoreline with some flukes. Dave picked up a 17" snook in the mangroves at 10:02am. I continued to throw the spook out into deeper water on the flat. It paid off with a 19 3/4" snook at 10:10am. Ten minutes later I caught a red just shy of 17" on the spook. I caught a trout just shy of 13" on the spook at 10:22am. The spook jr in bone continues to amaze me. It is such an awesome bait. The action is incredible. It will catch everything. Fish after fish struck the bait. Many were smaller trout that couldn't get it in their mouths. However, some strikes on it were vicious and explosive. Often times a fish was following and I didn't know it until I stopped the bait and started it again. If you get one, make sure and change the hooks. I only changed the back one and the one in front bent on one of the reds.

We zigzagged our way south working the flat and then back to the mangroves. At 10:34am, Dave picked up a 13" trout on the fluke on the flats. Nine minutes later I picked up a trout just shy of 12" on the spook. At 11:28am, Dave picked up a 15' trout on the fluke. Dave caught a 12" trout on the fluke at 11:47am. I picked up a 16" red at 12:02am on the spook.

We struggled badly to catch anything for almost the next four hours. During this time, we were working mangroves with flukes a lot and Dave pitched his into one spot. A few twitches back towards the boat and apparently an extremely large snook grabbed it and went straight under the mangroves. His locked-down drag was screaming and he palmed the reel, but it was pointless. The snook sliced his leader. It had to be a very large snook. By now we had worked a long way down towards Port Manatee. We could see rain off in the distance and the weather was picking up. We headed back towards CRB.

We began to work the mangrove islands near the ramp. Finally, Dave caught a nice 26 3/4" snook on the fluke worked in the mangroves.

We continued to work in and around the islands. At 4:30am, Dave caught an 18" redfish on a jig and paddle tail grub. Like clockwork, it began to rain pretty steady at 5pm. Luckily, it wasn't hard and didn't last too long. It had been forever since I caught a fish, but I finally caught an 18" red on the fluke at 5:55am. We struggled back in these islands. Everything looked the same and it was difficult to determine where the fish might be. We went back past the ramp and worked some areas there, but to no avail. Back out to the flat, but the wind was blowing pretty hard. It was now getting dark so be ended where we began and fished the point near the channel. Dave lost a decent red at the boat and I caught a 20 1/2" red on the spook at 8:15am. Dave caught the final fish of the day at 8:42am. It was an 18" snook on the large Badonka-Donk in bone.

We headed home. The bite was excellent early, especially for the reds. I got lots of action on the topwater. We did struggle for long periods of time, but both of us ended up getting slams. Dave lost a monster snook and I had so many missed strikes/hookups and fish come free, but that's what keeps us coming back for more.
Improve Our Fishery - Practice Catch and Release


  • SnookmeisterSnookmeister Posts: 1,035 Officer
    Nicely done, yea that spook jr is the bomb. Mine have all been claimed by mangroves, lol. No reds came home for dinner? I was on some topwater reds yesterday in Dunedin. I love topwaters but like you said you just miss fish sometimes.
    Catch 'em and Release 'em!
  • TarpontineTarpontine Posts: 231 Deckhand
    Nice report, great detail. I as well am a big advocate of the spook jr in bone...which one was donated to a roughly 30inch snook this week. Absolutely crushed it coming out of a small cut in the mangroves in the 4th st/275 area, then as customary she turned into the groves and ran hard. I tried to palm her a touch and put the brakes on when the drag wasn't cutting it and got gill plated. Bought 2 more spook jr's the next day, and will be back with a report once report worthy.

    Thanks to both of you though for sharing the wealth of info...I am relatively new to the forum, but experienced fishing the Tampa Bay waters, and I always learn a thing or two reading from each of your reports.

    Tight lines.
  • ShadowcastShadowcast Wimauma, FLPosts: 1,051 Officer
    Great report!
    Capt. Jon Bull
    Sales Rep - Ankona Boats, Salt Marsh Skiffs, Tavernier Skiff Company
  • RennieRaeRennieRae Posts: 718 Officer
    Great report BA! I too love that spook Jr but I seem to miss a lot of fish because they hit it so hard!

    What kind of trebles do you prefer when you change them out? brand? size?

    Thanks in a dvance and keep up the good work/reports. Always enjoyable! :thumbsup

    17 ft. Ankona Native with 40 hp Suzuki 4 stroke - Skini Rennie
  • Bassin AssassinBassin Assassin Posts: 1,248 Officer
    The fish do hit that spook hard. It just amazes me the amount of fish that I too don't catch given the # of strikes I get. I went to ****'s the other day to find some good replacement hooks. I looked in the fresh and salt section and the selection was limited. The best hooks I could find were some Gamakatsu #2s so I picked them up. They were in the saltwater section but they didn't have that dull gray appearance like other sw trebles I have purchased before. These were black/nickle. They look pretty stout though and are gibber than the original hooks. I would definitely get replacements at least the size of the originals and maybe a size bigger. I like a larger one on the back, but that's just my preference. I would get at least the 2x, but have gone with 4x also, which didn't affect the action one bit. I may have to order some from BPS or Cabelas to really get the sw trebles I want.
    Improve Our Fishery - Practice Catch and Release
  • RennieRaeRennieRae Posts: 718 Officer
    Thanks Dave. I'm on it...

    17 ft. Ankona Native with 40 hp Suzuki 4 stroke - Skini Rennie
  • dieselbeefdieselbeef Posts: 652 Officer
    im gonna git me one o them thar spook thingys
    16 ccf wellcraft.....
  • troutman561troutman561 Posts: 575 Officer
    Nice work. I have only fished the area twice but already love it. I definitely change of scenery from the oyster bars and mud flats of Volusia county..
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