Tuesday, June 19, 2012

A Salty Report

Fishing is so relaxing but yet so intense. It’s full of emotion, just like any hunting adventure, which is why I love it. Being in the woods or on the water is my therapy and a way of balancing out the stresses of life. That being said, it was time for another fishing trip down to the flats. This time we headed down to Steinhatchee, FL for the weekend to get in 2 solid days of fishing.

There were four of us in the boat so we had plenty of opportunity to catch our limit on trout, but it didn’t pan out that way. Friday morning’s weather was perfect. It was overcast, windy, and the waters were choppy. We drove north out of the channel markers and kept a close watch on the weather. We hardly caught any trout, and the few we did catch were all shorts. By the end of the day, we only had a couple of keeper trout in the fish box and one flounder. The primary lure we used was 4” Pearl White Berkley Gulp shrimp. It was a slow day catching anything and we just couldn’t find the right spot where the fish were hiding. We headed back in before sunset to grab some dinner and an evening walk around the marina. We were gazing at several of the off-shore boats when a lady approached us about the Triton boat we were drooling over. It was brand new and hadn’t touched the water. It had several fancy electronics, an iPod hookup, and an amazing Minn Kota Talon anchor system….all powered by a beautiful 300hp Mercury motor. Her smiles couldn’t get any bigger, and we don’t blame her, but we had to take advantage of the moment and ask her for a fishing report. She told us to try heading south instead of north and gave us some advice on some lures to try.

Saturday morning rose and I was ready to hit the water and grab some fish! But first, we stopped in the marina to buy a few more lures and ice, and then it was time to get our game faces on. Our direction was south and the weather was calling for a beautiful, clear day. We drove about 7 miles out and once we found grass and 3.5 foot of water, we stopped. We noticed several boats in the area so we felt confident about a new hole to drop our lines in. The lures we started out with were 3” Pearl White with Chartreuse tail Berkley Gulp shrimp under Cajun Thunder corks. I started fishing more aggressive….I would pop the cork and work the lure back into me, instead of letting it just sit there. I would also reel in faster and jerk the bait a few times. The results were better than the day before. I ended up catching several back to back short trout and Lady Fish. We all caught several shorts, a couple of keeper trout, a few Lady Fish, Lizard fish, a couple of small sharks, and a flounder.

This one area we drifted over was full of sandy patches and grass mixed together. Every time I cast out, something would barely tug on the shrimp and pull my cork under water. I waited at least 3-5 seconds to try to set the hook and every time the fish would let go. We figured it was either pin fish or black sea bass toying with it. So I changed up my time on setting the hook. I kept my slack out and as soon as the cork went under I snatched the hook. A few times it worked and I reeled in short trout or black bass. About 30 minutes later, I hook into a nice trout. I calmly told my husband, Phillip, to grab the net. I held on tight, kept the rod tip up, and reeled him straight to the net. As soon as he got closer to the boat I knew I had a keeper! He measured in at 19.5”. I looked at my husband and said, “Now where have all these big ones been hiding?” That was the biggest trout we caught that trip. Several years ago when we first got into salt-water fishing, it was nothing to catch a trout over 21” long, and we would get upset for catching something small, like a 19.5” trout. Things have definitely changed and it seems a lot harder to catch any trout over 16”, more so those big gator-size trout. But I will admit that it has been a couple of years since we have been down there so we have to learn everything all over again. After lunch, we caught one or two more keeper trout and a few more flounder. My husband caught a really great Needle fish! That was fun to watch him reel that in as the line zipped across the water! Even though we didn’t catch our limit, we still caught several different types of fish and it’s always fun to see what you can reel in. Until next time……keep it REEL!