I had Joe in from California. He follows the fishing in this area on Bloody Decks. We were scheduled to fish offshore but that was not going to happen. It was too rough to roll out there and the clean water was 60 miles offshore. We decided to go inshore.
Once out to our destination there was a lot of bait and big fish were feeding. I started out looking for bull reds. It soon was evident there were a lot of sharks feeding in the area. I had one roll up on a bait that was a good 6 feet and thick. Did not get a good look at it but from size and shape it may have been a bull shark. We were fishing in 4 to 5 feet of water and they had all the room to run once we set the hook. Some broke off but one we hooked I had to use the big motor to chase it down just to save my line on the reel. At one time I was running, not idling, forward and still watching the spool getting thinner. This horse was cruising. Eventually it broke off. Thank you!
After an hour of sharks and gafftop catfish I decided to search for some slot size redfish. Even though the water was stirred up the tide was falling so I went a place that usually produces. Before I got there I got there I stopped at a spot that had water moving around a point. We fed a lot of hardhead catfish.
Once at the point I wanted to fish things looked better. I tucked in behind the canes to give us a little protection from the winds. There is nothing like fishing in 1 to 2 feet of water when with absolutely no warning a yard long piece of muscle splashes the calm water and the drag starts screaming as the battle begins. This fish fought well but I was disappointed because I thought it could have fought better. For Joe fighting his first ever redfish he was thrilled.
I think the thinner redfish do not fight as hard as ones with shoulders. Maybe somebody else can confirm or deny this for me. We continued fishing there weeding through hardheads, croaker, and ladyfish. Joe hooks up to something different and adds another inshore first to his list. Unfortunately this is only the first fish worthy of being inviting to dinner with us.
My day was not going well at all. After hitting several other points in the bay I was in I attempted to move to another place about 10 miles away. The wind was howling and the water was a bit rough. Once in open water I said the heck with getting pounded and ducked back into the bay I was in. We ground it out catching everything except what I was looking for. We did manage some rat reds. Joe was amazed as to the fight of a 1 pound redfish when it first hits the bait. You see the splash and feel the pull and swear you have a keeper. Even as it gets near the boat you still think you have a keeper only to land a 14 to 15 3/4 inch fish. We did manage almost a carbon copy of our first black drum.
As the day got later the winds eased up a bit and I decided to attempt to run to the place about 10 miles away. This move would put us a lot closer to the marina anyway. As I was rolling up some of the bay boats were running the opposite way. Looks like they were having a bad day also. I noticed some pelicans diving as I approached the new area. I have made many trips in this place smashing bull reds all day here. We were finally getting something to pull on with almost every cast. It did not take long before the Gafftop cats wore us out and we moved on. It was getting late for an inshore day but I was still searching. In the new place the fishing got a bit better. We picked away at the fish but could only find this one slot size fish for the box.
The day was long. We had action. It was very hot but the winds and clouds helped ease the heat and allowed us to stay out longer. There are plenty of small redfish out there growing into our future fishing adventures.
By the end of the day Joe had enough sunscreen on that he looked like a zombie. Even though we had a poor day of fishing there was more than enough action for him to truly enjoy the day. On the way in he was remarking about how beautiful the marsh is and how unique it is from the rest of the country. I cleaned the few fish we had and brought them up to Venice Marina restaurant. We had them fried, blackened, and grilled. The fish was all cooked to perfection. I liked the grilled the best but that is my taste. I did not refuse any of it and made sure there were no leftovers.
Life is Good!
Fishing is not a matter of life or death. It's more important than that.
CAPT HOOP -- OUR FREEDOM