We needed to scout on Monday, having been away for two weeks. Rain poured down most of the day. We didn't go.
Tuesday an east wind of 20-25 met me at the ramp. Still the sun was out, so off I went.
I actually found some fish. The water had dropped since my last visit and in a few places it showed signs of clearing up a bit. Redfish were working along a few shorelines. I tried fishing while simultaneously poling. Never easy to do, it's even harder when the wind is howling. Still, tossing a Johnson Minnow, I got three bites and put a slot red in the boat (released it).
I was supposed to be scouting, not fishing, so I stopped fishing and continued looking. I didn't see much anywhere else.
Wednesday Mike, Tom, and Gunther joined me looking for some redfish on spin action. The water had come up a couple inches, but the fish were still where I had left them- cruising the bank, crashing minnows, even saw a couple tailers.
Mike got the first red on a DOA CAL shad tail. The fish was almost under the bow of the boat when Mike stuck him. I haven't had one bite so close to the boat in years. It was quite extraordinary. It wasn't a big one, 20 inches or so, but it was a redfish and I was darned glad to see it come aboard. It posed for a photo and was released.
Mike had the hot hand, as a while later he made a beautiful cast in front of a cruising fish. The fish ate the CAL tail and a few minutes later 25 inches of redfish was being photographed. It was also released.
We had several other shots which were not converted and our half day ended much too quickly.
Thursday I cruised the wildlife refuge looking for gremlins that might booger up the show and tell. The main one was that all the dike roads except the Gator Creek- Peacock Pocket road are closed, even Biolab.
Friday Nick Colantonio and John Carnacchia (spelling probably wrong on that name), fly fishers from Tampa, joined me for some redfishing in the Mosquito Lagoon. The water was a foot higher (see the graph here) and two degrees cooler than it was on Tuesday. The wind was again fairly howling, this time from the west.
The fish were NOT cruising shorelines, and believe me we looked. After four hours we had seen four fish and only had a shot at one of them. We came to a small hole in the area where I had been seeing the fish on Wednesday. "Would you guys indulge me for 15 minutes?" I asked.
After staking out the boat I chucked two pieces of mullet containing circle hooks into the hole. I asked Nick to let me know when 15 minutes was up.
At six minutes one of the rods went off and John reeled in a slot red. We released it and set the baits again. Six minutes later one of the rods went off and Nick reeled in a slot red. We released it and set the baits out again. Fifteen minutes went by without another bite so we pulled the lines in and went fly fishing again.
We ran over a few fish but the water was too deep and dirty for us to see them until they blew out. Nick got one shot at the end of the day but the fish spooked off the fly. With that we wrapped up a tough day.
Saturday we had the show and tell and Sunday the on-the-water show and tell. Both went well. Wish you'd been there!
Today son Alex and I went redfishing together. Actually Alex fished and I poled. The water is even higher than it was on Friday and it is still rising. We had a couple half baked shots, the kind where you try to make a hurried nine foot cast. The water is too high and dirty for sightfishing. Hopefully it will drop some this week. We need a west wind to blow some water offshore!