Unfortunately this will be my last trip for my bay boat for the year. I squeezed out a good year and ended on a high note.
My last trip started out with 4 guys that just wanted to fish and have fun. We met at the dock and I chose to wait out the fog a bit and have some light in my favor. My radar is very good but with the amount of small boats running the river I wanted to give me a chance. As it was the thick fog was only on the west side of the Mississippi. The east bank was clear as could be.
I did encounter some patches of fog and it was not as dense as the Tiger pass and Jump area. Once we made the 20 mile run I had my first chance to see what I had as fishermen. This one guy Joe was definitely not familiar with a fishing rod at all. He held the spinning reel up and reeled with the right hand backwards. He had trouble casting past the shadow of the boat. Another was holding the spinning rod at the butt end instead of at the reel. The 4 of them on my boat slinging hooks around also kept me on the alert. Time for me to become an angling instructor before I become a doctor extracting hooks or worse yet have all my equipment broken.
Our first stop was in Sheepshead territory. We were on them thick. There were an occasional trout but the sheepshead kept hitting the deck. Doubles were on order at times. The competitiveness was there as well as a lot of "jaw jacking". We had a few black drum in the mix also.
Unfortunately Joe hooked on to a big fish. This is where he got indoctrinated into the proper way to use a spinning rod. The many sheepshead had him doing things right but this fish was not coming to the boat at all. He never experienced anything like this before. With him running all around the boat as the fish would drag him another guy hooks a good size fish. I netted Joe's bull red first and then get the black drum. From there on Joe and Edward kept at each other. Joe had the redfish and biggest while Edward had the most. It never stopped even after they got to the dock.
With well over 20 sheepshead, a few trout and 2 or 3 black drum in the box the dirty water moved in, the bite went south, and I had to make a move.
Last trip I developed a gremlin in my charging system for the trolling motor batteries so I had to use the big motor that has a tendency to spook the trout. I have a 250 Yamaha with only 750 hours on it that is running quiet and smooth so once I was in position I drifted a few feet into the spot I wanted and we were on trout almost at once. As our live shrimp were getting low I set up a Vu Du shrimp on a spare line and cast it out. First cast nice trout right away. Second cast and I put #2 in the box. Once the bait ran out everybody was on Vu Du and the box filled up fast. Plastic out fished the live.
We still had other fish joining the mix as well as the trout. I put 2 redfish at 28 and 29 inches in the box and tossed back 3 other redfish that were a lot bigger.
People worry about hurting fish and killing them. I don't know if this fish was born this way or lost most of it's tail when it was very young and grew another as it got older. Could not resist taking a picture of this sheepshead.
By the time we left I had no idea how many trout we had in the box. I knew I was not over my limit but my fishbox was so FULL. I had to stuff some into the corners just to make room for the last few trout we caught. I was hoping to find a redfish or 2 on the way in but the area I went to was dirty so I headed to the barn. If I had found any slot reds they would have had to go into my live well. Had absolutely no room in the fish box. What a way to finish the season. 2 totes required to empty the fishbox. 85 trout, 36 sheepshead, 2 redfish and 4 black drum.
I am stripping the boat down and having some major work done on it. A whole new transom and several other things being done. Should be ready to run by Feb. I will still be fishing on my Glacier Bay targeting Wahoo and I will be running on other boats also.
Wishing everybody a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Above all Stay Safe!
Life is Good!
Fishing is not a matter of life or death. It's more important than that.
CAPT HOOP -- OUR FREEDOM