I met Todd Lawson, who I'd done a beach snook fishing trip with last year, at the ramp at 7:00 AM. The beach snook were not cooperative that day, and I offered Todd a Pro Bono kayak fishing trip to make up for it. This was our day.
We got our two Native Ultimate 14.5 Anglers in the water by 7:30 and were on our way. By the time I parked my van and got back to my boat, Todd already had his first snook. He caught several right out of the gate. Great! I told him that if he wanted to fish his way toward me, I was going to go and check out a spot that had been hot on the low tides, and the water was very low. I headed out. Once at the spot, Todd would give me a report via the radio each time he caught a snook Meanwhile, I was poking around, experimenting with colors, etc., trying to find a good bite. I was not on my game. I missed several good redfish hits without a hookup. I caught some snook. I worked the area hard, and eventually Todd caught up to me. There were plenty of fish there. I left Todd to work on them, as I went to check out another spot.
Once at my spot it was slow, at first. The water wasn't moving. After a while I saw Todd come into view maybe a quarter mile away. I started catching where I was, but Todd was on where he was. He'd get on the radio and tell me, "I've got a snook. I've got a nice redfish. I've got a trout for the SLAM." etc. He was catching. Finally, he caught up and joined me. We both caught a few more fish, but he smoked my butt on this day. Long story, short: Todd bagged 9 snook, 2 redfish, and 1 trout, for the SLAM, and added a nice jack. I finished with 7 snook to 26 inches, a nice jack, a nice trout, and missed 4/5 redfish. It was a pretty good day, and the weather was breezy, but beautiful.
When the bite stopped, it stopped. It was after 2 PM, and I suggested we get a head start on the tough traffic situation getting off the island.
Todd is a very good angler, and I felt no need to give him any coaching. He said it was the best day of fishing he'd had since he's been coming down. I'm happy with that.
I hope to see him in October, on his next visit.
Don Godard, of Syracuse, New York, met me at the Circle K near my home at 7:30, Friday morning, and we were on our way to the waters of Ding Darling in the fog that had been around for a few days. A cold front had passed through without much notice during the night. Our scheduled low tide was greatly exaggerated by the north winds the front brought with it. The water was lower than I'd ever seen it in this part of the sanctuary. It was the day after the full moon.
We were pretty quickly launched, and on our way. There was no water anywhere! I suggested Don begin fishing not far from the launch, and work his way down the shoreline. I would go and check out a hole that had been giving up good fishing on these low tide winter days.
As I moved on ahead, I saw many big female snook holding on the edges. The water was so shallow in many places that I had to raise the trolling motor. I actually had several really hard hits as I trolled my way to my destination. Once there I caught several snook and a jack. I had a tarpon of about 3 ft. in length roll in front of me several times. But, when I cast to it, I wound up with a snook before it was over.
When Don caught up with me he'd caught a couple of snook, a keeper trout, an undersized redfish, and a jack crevalle, I think. I instructed Don on how to fish the hole, and went on ahead to check out a couple more spots. Once there, I fished my way along an edge, and hit three snook in a row, and called Don to come join me. Once he was in position, I moved on down to the next area i wanted to probe. It rarely disappoints.
I hit some more snook quickly, along with a redfish, and called Don in to me. I got him positioned and then moved off to his left a bit to fish a little and watch Don hopefully catch some fish. We caught a few fish there, but once I suggested Don throw his gold spoon, he quickly hooked a very nice redfish and put it on the stringer with his trout.
By this time it was 2 PM. We both had nice redfish on our stringer, along with Don's trout. I suggested we head in and hope we didn't get lost forever in the Sanibel afternoon traffic. We finished the day with 12 snook, 1 trout, 1 ladyfish, 2 jacks, and 3 redfish. Not too bad for fishing right behind a cold front.
All in all it was a beautiful day with a great guy, and some descent fishing. We made it to the middle 80's.
Saturday brought my first trip with Adam Irving, of Greensboro, NC. Adam is a fly fisherman, and this would be his first time in a kayak and fishing from a kayak. We met at the Circle K near my fish camp, and headed out to Sanibel to fish the waters of Ding Darling. Boy, was I surprised when we got there. We were on the second day behind a cold front, and it had been blowing out of the north on top of an already very low tide, and there was no water to speak of. Land was showing everywhere.
We got out Ultimates launched and headed out. I suggested Adam start working the shoreline not far from our launch, because there are usually snook all along it. I told him I would go on ahead and check things out at a couple of my low water spots. The problem was that the wind had not only emptied the bays, etc., but there was no perceptible water movement. This was shaping up to be a tough day.
I decided I would troll my way down to my first spot. As I got to the area that I usually start to fish, I hit a descent snook. Wow. Something actually ate a bait. I called Adam and told him to come to me. There were surely more fish. But, would they bite. Once Adam was there I moved on toward my ultimate destination.
Shortly after arriving, I caught a very nice redfish just off the edge of a bar. Shortly after that, I caught a keeper trout. Three fish and I had the SLAM.
Adam radioed me that he had caught something on fly, but didn't know what it was. I later determined from his description that it was probably a mangrove snapper. Later as he worked his way toward me, he caught a nice jack crevalle. He finally caught up with me at the hole, and we caught another jack, a large ladyfish, and several snook.
We knew the fish were there. Getting them to eat on this dying tide would be the trick. I left Adam there with instructions on how to work the hole, and went on in search of a bite. I let a nice redfish get away and caught a sheephead, and that was about it. I headed back toward Adam, and along the way I caught another snook and missed a good hit.
By the time I got back to Adam, it was approaching 3 o'clock, and I suggested we head to the barn. I told Adam that I'd comp him another trip next time he came down, because I was not happy with what Mother Nature had done to us on this day. I suggested Adam troll on the way home, and I'd hang back and watch. Nothing was happening until we got to the area where I'd caught the first snook that morning, and Adam hooked up with a descent snook. I reminded him that was where the first fish was caught and suggested he work the edge before moving on. Well, Adam is a very good accuracy caster, and proceeded to pepper the shoreline and finish the day with 5 or 6 more snook.
We headed home on a good note. Back at the launch Adam told me he'd had a blast in the Ultimate, and was amazed at how comfortable it was. We had some good conversation on the way home, and actually got off the island pretty quickly, considering it was spring break.
All in all it was a good day with a great guy, and avid angler.
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