Below is the story that I posted to my FaceBook page along with three photos. You can use it on your website too if you like. You should really consider a FB page. It's easier to update with stories, photos and such than a website (although having a website too is important). I've told of my fishing experience with you countless times to friends here. What the heck am I doing back in Chicago? I want to be fishing for snook again!!!
To all my fishing friends,
I was fortunate enough to fish last week with a very experienced guide, Capt. Butch Rickey off the southeastern side of Captiva Isl. He was a wonderful guide and teacher. Last year, he sold his large fishing boat and switched to kayaks. His awesome kayaks are fully outfitted and even have trolling motors! — a much appreciated luxury, especially on the long journey home.
We used quality light Shimano spincaster reels with 6' BPS Med-Hvy. rods with 20# red braid tipped with 18" of 30# mono as a leader. Had success with 5" plastic swim baits with a 3/4 oz red jig head and also classic Johnson spoons (silver or gold) casted around oyster beds from a distance. The bay was surprisingly shallow and murky at early morning tide (full moon). Lots of floating grass to contend with, but fishable.
The red fish (see Captiva album) was just over 18," and eventually made a great meal. My snook was 33" and gave a long and thrilling fight. It ripped off line and circled a tiny mangrove/oyster island — I had to literally chase it around the island to avoid breaking off. In the end, I was really lucky to land it. Thankfully, Snook do not have crazy teeth, rather they are much more like a bass. I grabbed it with a double-handed death grip and pulled it up onto my lap. I was still shaking with adrenaline when I radioed Capt. Butch to come over to take a photo of my catch. It was an honor to handle a fish that size and return it to fight another day. My snook was the last fish of the day and one of the biggest my guide has seen so far caught from a kayak .... A perfect ending to a perfect fishing day ... just as it's supposed to be.
We spotted several bald eagles and an osprey nested in the tops of dead trees. We also got a surprise close-up encounter with a manatee as we accidentally paddled over it in the murky shallows.
BTW: The effects of the 2004 category-4 Hurricane Charley were hardly noticeable -- Only a few dead trees remain viewable stripped bare and grey along the unpopulated mangrove areas.
P.S. If you want to book Capt. Butch, his website is: www.barhoppr.com
Kevin C. Duffy