Crystal Murray and John, as part of an Osprey Bay Kayaks sponsored event, brought a group of four kayak fishermen and women from the Tampa Bay to Chokoloskee. I had the pleasure to be with the four Friday afternoon for a mother ship ride.
The bite had been off for both snook & redfish in the preceding the days and the only (feeding) tarpon we’ve been able to locate are way up feeding in the freshwater (accessible only by kayaks & canoes).
The tides were poor at the time when we were able to leave, but the forecast was for 5-10 from the NE ... perfect for the flats and the grillion speckled trout around now so our plan was to scoot to the grasses for action and then work our way into the islands.
As we turned the corner on the outside that NE breeze was actually from the West killing the grass flats idea, so we headed up the Houston river a bit. We made on drop high in Storter Bay. The wind was tough as was the current, so everyone seemed to appreciate the “tow” across the bays. Unfortunately the fish still had a seriously, bad case of lockjaw!!
Susan Mitchell, who is a member of, Ladies Let's Go Fishing - Sarasota, did manage her first snook on artificial baits. However, jacks, ladyfish and a few small snook were all that were in the cards for this day. A very tough bite ... but a nice trip non-the-less. Gary, Tom, Wally and Susan … you were troopers through it all and I would love to have you all back sometime. A few good fish certainly would have made things better. I guess, sometimes, the fish have to win.
Friday's 5-10 NE forecast became Saturday's reality ... A good of mess of trout for the three anglers in a day's ride ... lots of the obligatory lady fish, jacks, Spanish mackerel and blue fish. What a difference a day makes! Good eats for the evening meal ...
Sunday, it was backwater time with Carl Miller, his son Dave and grandson (9) Zach of Boston. Dave and Zach fished last year about this time with this good success ... Zach even got a creek named for him. Carl had snook on his mind after a year of listening to his son talking about them ... He stuck to throwing a 3" shad tail and managed about 8-10 snook and one redfish. Dave landed another 7-8 on a variety of baits. Little Zach, not to be out done, landed 4 snook, 1 reds and 3 large sheep head... The largest fish (that looked like to be ~ 12 lbs) freight-trained little Zach into the trees... that is two years in row for the little guy!!! The fish need to get smaller or he needs to get bigger!!
Little Zach, after a close encounter with a palm sized spider was ready to go before we stopped. He would catch a fish a say to his dad … “That was fun, but we should go now!!” We should have listened to him!! … All three layers underneath my “semi-permeable” rain gear were soaked by that rain event Sunday. Well, at least the guys have something special to remember … a cold!
Monday was superb … Larry Henning, in from Galveston, put 32 snook over the side with his eight weight. Most were small, of course, but he did manage three slot sized fish and added three redfish that he “sighted up”. Larry is a superb marksman with the long rod … a real pleasure.
Tuesday, was on of the toughest days since, well since Friday … Gordon Reiss and his friend Steve in from the Chesapeake Bay area hung tough, however. On nice black drum, two snookletts, two redletts, three or four snapperletts and few full grown ladyfish … We could not buy a trout. That was one of the toughest Ѕ days in a long while…
Yesterday was not much better. I left with a couple from Kansas City, Mo. at noon intending on catch a few trout first off. The NW wind had the water looking like chocolate milk. The first two spots I stopped, I found other anglers fishing there before me (places where I have never seen others fish … Oh, well) so we headed into the back out of the wind. The bite started slow, but by mid-afternoon, things picked up. Dave caught 7-8 small snook on his shad tail and Charlene a couple of others. She had a tough time when she switched to shrimp … The sheep head and snappers hand it to her pretty good … caught a few, but mostly fished in awe at their bait stealing ability. However, they were a very fun to be with.
I still don’t understand the reason for winter …
The next scheduled kayak fishing trip using the mother ship trip is set for Feb 15th ... so get out off the couch and join us!!! The other dates on posted on the website.
Tight lines …
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