I met Rob Kurens at the Circle K near my Florida home at 7 AM. We headed out to Sanibel ready for a day of fishing. Traffic was light on the way out, and we were on the water by 8 AM.
The wind had been mostly south for the last few days, and the forecasted low tide was 0.0, yet there was no water. It sure looked a lot lower than it should have been, expecially with predominantly south winds. I hoped we could use the very low water to advantage.
We headed toward a hole I love to fish when the water is low, and fished some edges that are usually productive along the way. There wasn't much doing. We were there just as we got to the low tide. Through the morning we fished hard, and the bite was very slow. There were lots of hits that weren't serious enough to connect. We did manage a few snook, but the fish just weren't in a mood to eat. We hit several areas that usually produce, with only a fish or two to show for our efforts. Rod did jump one of the juvie tarpon early on, but it only lasted a second. Later in the day we finished with a nice jack crevalle.
Around 2 PM Rob called and said that he was burned and needed to get out of the sun. He later told me that he had been down with the crud for about a week, and the sun was getting to him. We headed in. We had managed only 6 snook, a catfish, and a jack for the day. It had been breezy, again most from the south, but the fish were just in a funk.
Wednesday was my first trip with Glenn Truesdell, who has recently retired and moved down from New York. He lives near me, and surprised me a few weeks ago when he dropped by with his Liability Release, and I got to meet him and we had a chance to chat. I liked him immediately and sensed we would have a good time together. We seemed to have a lot in common.
Glenn's primary objective on this trip was to learn about kayak fishing, which is not just about the act of fishing from a kayak, but about learning about shallow saltwater fishing. Once we were launched we made our way out to an area where we had a couple of feet of soft bottom under the boat to have a casting clinic. The ability to cast long distances and with accuracy is critical to success in the skinny water. I teach the concept that every cast should be your best cast, and he who casts the farthest, almost always catches the most fish. I've seen that to be true for most of my fishing life. So, we spent probably an hour and a half, starting with the basics of the components of a rod, through how to control the cast to put the lure where you want it, how to eliminate wind knots forever, and how to stop a big fish and control it with light tackle. It's stuff most folks never figure out on their own. Once we were done with that, we set about trying to find some fish. It had been a tough bite the day before.
We fished hard for the rest of our day, and only put about half dozen fish in the boat, which included 2 trout and 4 snook. Glenn was happy with the day and what he'd learned. Soon we will get together at my place and I will teach him all about tides with the aid of a laptop. We did have a great day on the water.
I met Gary Lehman and his life-long friend Mark Seipel at the launch on Sanibel at 7:30 Thursday morning. Gary and Mark were happy and upbeat about the day. They were also funny guys, and I knew we were going to have fun. I wondered as we talked and got the boats ready if the bite would still be off as it had been for the last several days. I told them what had been going on, and they assured me that it didn't matter one bit. They were there to have fun, try out the Ultimates, and learn about fishing here, especially in the kayaks. Once they actually saw the boats in person that morning, they were very intrigued.
Once we had all three boats in the water, we were off. My gut told me this day would be different, and that the fish would eat, and we would indeed have a good day which included some fish. I took Gary and Mark to an area where we could work down an edge where we'd been doing well with snook and redfish. But, not in the last few days. We got ourselves set up, and went to work. And, we caught fish. Snook and redfish. The three of us continued to work the area as a team, and good things happened.
We hooked several fish that were too big to turn, including a juvenile tarpon. I had a fish hit me so hard that it almost jerked me off my feet, and nearly took my rod and reel out of my hands. Another really big fish took off for South American and after several minutes of battle, the line went limp. Once the line was retrieived, the leader was cut cleanly, as if by oyster or sharp gillrake. Damn!
We continued our quest, and caught more snook, a jack, ladyfish, a nice trout for the West Coast Slam, a wicked strong 27" redfish, and the best snook of the day by Gary, at 27-28 inches. Mark even had a run of three catfish on jigs! But, Gary ended the day properly with his nice snook, and we headed in.
It was a fun day with a couple of great guys, and I'm looking forward to a repeat down the road!
It was Friday, and I had my first trip with Eric Krosky, of Westford, Mass. I was hopeful that the bite would be as good as Thursday's was, but I knew the tide would be very weak, but very high. Those tides happen when the low tide doesn't go but about half way out, and then the next high tide is moving about half of what it would on a good strong tide, but it does get pretty high.
Eric met me at the launch at 7:30 AM, and we chatted as I got the boats ready. I liked his attitude about fishing. I told him that the fishing had been slow, but had been good on Thursday. I assured me that he loved being on the water, enjoying nature, loved to fish, and catching was not the important part of fishing for him.
We were launched and on our way by 8 AM. We began by working the edges on the lower part of the slow outgoing tide. There wasn't a lot doing. Along the way we had a condensed casting clinic. From there we worked some holes and managed a few fish. We just kept plugging away, and hitting spots that are normally productive.
We had a good time, and by the end of the day Eric and I had caught a dozen snook, a big jack, and a trout that was just short of the limit. No keeper snook or reds on this day.
Eric had spent the day in the Ultimate 14.5, and loved it. He said it was unlike anything he'd ever been in, and was perfect for fishing. He also was able to stand up and fish. Eric said he had had a blast, and that it had been a great day.
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