A great report of fishing in Ft. Desoto on the weekend of May 21, 2003.


Dave Latimer

I see from your reports you are still the king of the sound.

I have fished very little lately because of our charity auction and then because of a rash of my wife's relatives staying with us. I didn't think I was going to be able to fish this weekend because of relatives being here. Friday, Patty asked me if I would take her and 4 of the relatives to Shell Island for a lunch picnic on Saturday.

The wheels started turning and I told her I would be happy to but the boat hadn't been in the water in 6 weeks, and I wasn't sure if it would run. I suggested that I should take the boat out early and make sure it was working, and she could bring everyone to the ramp later. She immediately saw through my reasoning and asked me to take her brother in law out with me so he could fish, too. "Sure", I said, and we had a plan; fish till 10:30 then pick the girls up at the ramp.

Ron loves to fish but had never been in saltwater before, and a Bluegill was a sporting gamefish where he fishes. I was a nervous wreck! I don't know how you do it. I was terrified having to produce fish for someone else. We hit the water at 6:00 at Fort Desoto, and headed for the first spot. Ron’s long cast was about 50 feet at first, but he listened well and pretty soon he was doing OK.

He got the first strike and pulled a small trout up to the boat, but lost it as he was bringing it in. He couldn’t believe the size of it, and was all excited (it must have been all of 15”). I was hoping he would experience a redfish before our 4 hours were up. I mostly guided and told him where to cast hoping he would have a good time.

About 15 minutes later he had a huge red explode on the Top Dog Jr. It actually scared him, I think, because he jumped back dropping the rod on the deck like he thought Jaws himself was going to chew his way up the line and into the boat. I, somewhat less than calmly, told him to grab the -------- --------- rod. He did, and the Red was still on! I was lucky to still have that combo.

He proceeded to have the time of his life, but the red went under the boat and broke the line. Well, at least he got to fight a nice fish. I then explained about not reeling against the drag, but he said he never had a fish that pulled any drag. I also explained that if he dropped a rod like that fishing with my buddy Butch he would probably have to swim home. He promised to hold on from now on.

We soon got out and waded using exudes. I got a 26” red on the 2ond cast, and when I got him in Ron just couldn’t believe the size of it. I made him stay near me after that and handed off the next 3 reds I hooked. He actually did a darn good job fighting them and he landed two of them.

He was having a great time, and it was almost as much fun watching him as if I landed them myself. That area slowed down, and we went to another area that I thought would turn on with the tide at that stage. We waded for about 15 minutes before I got the first hit there and I decided to land this one myself, a 28” double spotted Red. The next 2 I got I handed off to Ron, and he was as excited as anyone I have ever seen catching a fish. He still hadn't hooked his own, (except the one he lost on the top dog jr.) and I told him that was the only way he was going to fight another one that morning. I went back to the guiding mode and kept telling him where to cast and about 5 minutes before we had to stop and go get the girls he got his own fish. It hit the spoon I tied on Ron's line the second it hit the water. The way Ron was smiling and carrying on you would think he just had sex for the first time. He landed it and it was a solid 26” red that fought well, and will be remembered in pictures for a long time to come.

Ron said we caught about 12 or 13 Reds, but I think it was 9 or 10. We kept a 24" and a 25" for dinner for everyone. Pretty darn good morning, but I think I will be having northern guests more often now. One more week and the house will be back to normal.

Hope to have more reports soon.


If you have any questions or comments, would like to book a trip, or would like to submit a story, please email me at capt@barhoppr.com.

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