Hey everyone, it's actually been a while since I have posted anything...even a reply, haha. Life sort of gets in the way, BUT I have been fishing a lot so that's always a good thing. Actually myself and another member, Pat (PN82), have been fishing once or twice a weekend for a few months now. We've actually done a few night trips as well.
Since we primarily fish Upper Tampa bay, last Sunday (8/1) we decided to hit the creeks as the Snook bite at Weedon had dramatically slowed down...for us anyway. We decided to hit a creek just South of Double Branch. It was a decent incoming tide as it had been a negative before...just after launch I decided to make a couple casts with a Bone colored Spook...within 5 minutes I had landed 2 Snook that were barely twice the size of the spook, haha.
This actually happened several times throughout the next 3 hours...the only decent fish I had hooked spit the hook 3 feet from the yak and I wasn't even able to get eyes on it since it was hugging the mud, but I'm pretty sure it was a slot red. Well, after sitting on a hole at the mouth of the creek catching 10-16 inch trout on literally every cast for over an hour (it was fun for a while, but the amusement wears off quick), we decided to work our way back hoping for that decent Snook bite. Well, 5 minutes in I made a cast to a mangrove point at the intersection of the two creeks...worked the spook almost 10 feet off the mangrove in about 2 and 1/2 feet of water, then BOOM!
I knew exactly what it was and how big cuz her entire head came out of the water. What was interesting about her was she only made one really good run toward the mangroves...scared me for a second too since she was powerful and I was using 25lb fluoro. Luckily, she decided to just hang in open water after that and within around 5 minutes she was in the boat. Didn't fight as much as I expected but was an awesome fish nonetheless!
She measured out at 36 inches...my biggest Snook to date. Definitely have the bug to get that 40 now!
The HardCore Kayak Anglers Club is based in the Tampa Bay area of Florida and composed of the many avid anglers who have chosen a kayak as their main method of fishing. We are very active in our community hosting tournaments year round and having "Fish_N_Munch" gatherings regularly. We are into "catch and release" fishing and participate in clean-up/restoration efforts to preserve our fishery for future generations.
There are NO dues to be in the 'Core but donations go toward the betterment of your club.
Managed to get out today with my buddies Matt and Taylor. I dont get my new kayak till next week but Taylor let me borrow his and we had a decent day. Started off the morning around 6am with a slow incoming tide and a NW wind around 10mph. Temps are still not cold enough to really drive in the big Snook into the back country but cant hurt to give it a try.
First fish of the morning was a decent Jack on spook that I caught and from then on everyone was catching Snook to around 20" nothing crazy but still good fun. Say around 830 I was able to stick a 26" Red on spook. We totally forgot it was a Sunday and we were praying that we didn't have to much boat traffic but that didnt happen. After I was able to stick a 31" Snook thats when the people started showing up. We had 2 ghennoes,1 canoe and 1 skiff come back where we were and just blow out everything. They didnt even care we were fishing. One guy came back to just catch bait. Like are you kidding me? Blow us out with your 150merc to just catch bait.. Then proceed to make comments about how we "look like we know what were doing" Ok,ok, back to fishing.
After all these boats I was able to get a small Tarpon on the Zman and a bunch of other small Snook around 20". Matt and Taylor caught plenty of small Snook,Ladyfish,Black Drum and Jacks. It was actually a decent day even for Sunday and all the idiots we had to deal with. After this next week it's going to be nice to have my kayak back and get to fishing like I used to.
Main rigs I used today were
Shimano Stradic Ci4+/St.Croix Legend Bass/Fins Pink Windtamer/30# Seaguar/Spook jr
Daiwa Ballistic/St.Croix Legend Bass/Fins Pink Windtamer/30# Seaguar/Zman Minnowz
First On Fly
I had been planning for this all week. I practiced tying several different flies all week. Nothing impressive I assure you. After about my eighth attempt I tied up a close representation of a craft fur minnow. I used an Owners #4 Mosquito hook and Clear Cure Goo eyes. I decided this was going to be the fly I throw come the weekend.
It was a Saturday morning. I had one objective. Catch a snook on fly. Mother nature was not going to cooperate. The winds were calm, westerly at 6 mph, but it was overcast and raining. High tide was predicted for 11:30 am. I had planed to kayak out to a place I am very familiar with. Giving the tide and combination of wind I thought would produce some nice fish. As typical with fishing in Florida, you are forever at the mercy of the weather. Be ready and have a contingency plan. My alternate plan was to get some of the "honey-do" done and hit the out going at a local shoreline spot if the weather changed for the better.
With the low tide coinciding with sunset, I was thinking I'd have a better than average chance at hooking up with a linesider. The location I like to fish from shore is very tide dependent. The second half of the outgoing is the most productive. I headed down to my spot at about 3:00 pm. The water was flowing nicely, and there was bait visible every where. The mullet were jumping and some telltale wakes were pushing the shorelines. I spent about fives minutes getting the line wet and and picking my ideal casting position. I rolled out my first cast and let it sink down just about one foot before I started to strip. On about the third strip the line stopped and I felt it. Hook set. I pulled on the line keeping it tight and raised the rod. Fish on! I'm thinking to my self "Are you kidding me!? This pure luck!!" I see this fish come flailing itself out of the water. Wooohooo!!! It's a snook!! I take a deep breath and let everything around me slow down. I'm concerned I foul hooked him. I know this has to be done perfectly. I do not want to lose this fish. I think about and predict every reaction I make to this fish. It was a short fight, but I was okay with it. It minimized the chance of losing this little snooklet. I bring it in close, reach down and bass grab the fish by the mouth. Boom!!! I did it. I just landed my first snook. A perfect hook up in the corner of the mouth. My adrenalin pumping! I'm ecstatic. I'm shaking. Time for some pictures! After a couple quick shots with the Gopro, I carefully released the snook to fight another day. He wasn't anything huge, roughly about 20". That doesn't really matter. It's a snook.
I should know better, but for some reason I thought I would be able to top this fish. Wrong. I spent the next two hours wearing out my arms. This would be the only fish I catch today. You know what though? It was totally worth it.
The forecast today was horrible for flats fishing because of high winds, so
we headed for some back country protection and found a bunch of super
small Snook and Reds. The topwater bite was ok but the low and slow swim bait
action was the ticket today.
We probably caught 50 fish with these guys being the better ones.
UTB Slam-Big Snook In The Trees
Wanted to fish the ICW today for some gator trout but I got a late start and by 9am the wind already started picking up out of the north. I wasn't about to risk wasting time getting blown around in my kayak all day so I decided to hit up some backwater areas in Upper Tampa Bay. Tide was low and still pouring out of the creeks when I launched but the rat redfish were stacked in just about every little cut and channel. Probably caught 15 of them before I started looking for something bigger. Paddled farther into the backcountry and still kept catching little reds. Finally got a decent slot red on a 4'' MirrOlure paddletail near a mangrove island in a small cove. A few casts later a huge trout comes out of nowhere and slams my lure right next to my kayak. After an intense couple seconds of headshakes and completely soaking me this beast of a trout gets off. I catch a smaller 15-16'' trout a few casts later and decide to paddle out of the backcountry to the bay and fish the flats.
Tide was starting to come back in and it was looking really good. I start throwing a spook jr around and catch some more slot trout and a few jacks. Then a jetskier comes zooming by, minutes later three people fishing in kayaks throwing pyramid sinkers with shrimp come onto the flat, and two mullet boats are motoring around throwing nets. The jetskier comes back and decides to do a couple laps around everybody and zooms straight up the middle of the flat. Everything that we hate and try to avoid while fishing appeared on the flat I was fishing within five minutes.
Tide was up a little ways so I paddle back into the backcountry and start throwing a spook jr up under the mangroves. I get like five really nice blowups but they didn't connect. I see a really nice little pocket in the mangroves and make a perfect cast, I let the ripples around the topwater go away, and start working it back in slow. Click...click... SMASH! I wait till I feel the weight and set it. ZZZZZZZZzzzzz... straight back under the mangroves. Glad I put on 50# leader before going after the snook. I play the fish out and get it in the open. A few more runs at the mangroves and a couple jumps I finally get the fish in.
Didn't get a measure because I wanted to get her back in the water quick and get away from the mangroves. There was a huge snake hanging over the water from a branch like 3ft away from me. Pretty sure it was a moccasin.
I work the spook around the mangroves a little more and caught two smaller snook around 18''. It was getting dark and I was sketched out about the snakes in the mangroves so I headed in... pretty good day!
Cherry Poppin' Weekend!
After seeing a couple reports from Glenn, a few of us (Dan C., Dan D. Andrew, Chris, Steve, Josh & myself) decided to take him up on his repeated offers of inviting us down for a weekend of back country Tarpon. All of us but Josh managed to get Friday off & we decided to leave ridiculously early to get some fishing on our own before hooking up with Glenn. We hit the Port Charlotte area with not so great luck in not so great windy weather. We all agreed to try & forget all about Friday & focus on catching up with Glenn & doing some catching with Glenn. Here's where I'll just talk about my Saturday experience. It started out wet, & I mean the wet that keeps weekend boaters home. Put it this way, we were the only ones at the boat launch that had a full bait & tackle shop on premise. The tide was pushing real hard which made for a tough "peddle" (Oh yeah that's my first cherry poppin moment, my maiden voyage in my new to me Hobie Outback!!) up the canal to one of Glenn's honey holes. Once we got to an area where the water wasn't pushing as hard we started casting at the docks while listening to Glenn tell us the ins & outs of the area that we are headed to. Along with the gentle reminders to keep this area to our selves. When we turned the corner to see the "hole", we were met with roll after roll of tarpon everywhere. There were also just as many manatees which kept us on the edge of our seats. My plan was to get one on artificial, so after throwing top water, subsurface, jig heads, spoons & even some DOA shrimp I gave in & tied on a 5/0 circle & grabbed some live shrimp off the mother ship. Glenn gave me a quick run down on how to hook the bait & to let it free line to the bottom with the occasional rise & let it swim to the bottom again. After I had expired the first shrimp, I hooked on another one & cast it out. While performing the aforementioned rise & fall method I noticed a slight tightness on the line. I let it sit slack for a few more seconds. Tried again & got the same tightness on my line. I let out a quick little whistle to let the other guys know that I was about to set my hook. I gave the rod my best bass fishing hook set & it was on!
I didn't get a lot of drag screaming runs, but I did get dragged around in circles quiet a bit. When I saw the first jump & how big the fish was, I eased up on the tug of war game & focused on tiring out the fish. Close to 15 minutes later, it was boat side! Boom!! Tarpon cherry popped!
Feeling like a veteran, I continued peddling around in hopes of hooking into another one even though I was thoroughly pleased with what I had accomplished so far. Then it happened again, that same slight tightness in the line I felt earlier. Quick whistle & hook set!!
I didn't toy with this one as much because I could feel it was much smaller & I had a lot more confidence in my tackle.
It was a phenomenal day of fishing & everyone that started out looking for a Tarpon, landed a Tarpon. Big thanks to Glenn for not only teaching me a lot about flats fishing, but for also putting me on my first Tarpon!!
Off The Beach!
So Saturday morning rolls around and the rain was pouring at my house in Dunedin, I decided not to go to the fish-n-munch (Apparently I'm not very hardcore lol). After seeing that there wasn't much king action on Saturday I decided to go see if I couldn't find a Mac or two. I launched at about 6:40 give or take, quickly found bait and sent my green back behind the kayak. I figured it wouldn't hurt to paddle to deeper water so I started straight out. By the time I'm about 300 yards off the beach my reel is singing. I hadn't been on the water more then 20 minutes at this point. The fish decided that its best move was to put a crab trap between us and after a few short minutes I had a really nice Spanish!
I put my second greenback on and send her back to an inevitable death. This time I watched the fin come, eat and break off my wire. Stupid sharks. Round 3. I decided to float and let the bait do its thing instead of draggin it along. A few short minutes later I was hooked up again. This time it was a Bonita that took me for a ride.
I really underestimated the amount of blood these fish can bleed. My entire kayak looked like a murder scene. After a difficult de-hook process I did my best to revive it but the slow moving fish stood no chance against a little black tip that snatched her up almost instantly after I let go.
After that I couldn't find bait and thus ended my day.
BONUS: I decided to try the new version of sony vegas and threw this together for shits and giggles.
Teach Him The Art Of Reeling And Cast
Steve M. Gibson
My boy Jacob and I took a quick trip around the pond in our new Emotion tandem. He quickly surprised me and stood up and said he was going to find us some fish. He will be a future HardCore member for sure!
Content copyright 2009. Russ Caipen. All rights reserved.