Saturday, July 25, 2009

Live Shrimp

This week's trip to Pelican Point was full of new and exciting happenings.

I had some volunteer activities at the MBNP on Friday and was also able to participate in some conference calls while watching the Colorado River slip into the Gulf of Mexico.

That's what I call work-life balance!

We saw this small gator cruising down the river on Friday evening. That's the first one we have seen this close to the trailer. Our neighbor better watch her little dog!

We threw topwaters and other than a couple of ladyfish on Thursday evening, there seemed to be no fish interested in eating. On Friday morning, I watched several big trout hang out along the bank right in front of our spot but they just weren't interested in anything I had to offer. I even witnesses a redfish come up and put his mouth on my topwater and casually swim off. It looked like a kiss... I did also see a dolphin cruise by within 30 feet of my spot and when he spooked the trout I gave up.

On Friday night, I had an interesting experience not soon forgotten. I was fishing off the boat dock catching small trout under the lights when a BIG trout grabbed the small trout I was fighting. I was unable to get the hook in the big one but saw it several times with the 10" sand trout sticking out of it's mouth. I'm estimating the big one was over 24" based on what I could tell from my recent experience. It was quite a sight with the sand trout with a DOA shrimp in his mouth being carried around by the big speck. All that was visible of the sandy was his head. Even though I didn't get to land him it was one of the most exciting fishing experiences I've ever had.

We were going to take the boat out for a ride up the river on Saturday morning but since we had to leave early, we opted to fish from the bank instead. I saw this big black drum making his way along the rocks below.

We were out fishing before breakfast throwing tops, cranks, and plastics but again the big trout were there but would not commit. We got a few halfhearted blowups but none of the fish would take the lure in their mouth.

I finally had enough and decided that if we were going to catch fish I was going to have to change tactics. I headed off to get some live bait and came back with a bucket of live shrimp. I've heard a lot about fishing for specks with live shrimp but didn't have much experience at it. In this case I knew the big fish were there and live bait is nearly fool proof.

I laced up a Cajun Thunder cork with about four feet of 20lb mono leader and a single treble hook and stuck a big lively shrimp on by slipping one of the hooks under his horn. I made a short cast to where I'd been observing the trout and it was game on almost instantly!

My first fish was this 22" beast that proved to be the big one of the day.

I got Tracy rigged up and before long she had her first fish - a nice 20 incher.

This old girl showed evidence that she had been caught before as her bottom jaw was split. Apparently, it didn't keep her from feeding as she was nice and fat.

We caught six nice trout and ended up pretty even - we both caught one over 20", we each caught a 20 incher and a nineteen incher as well.

Tracy was on track to take the lead but her hook gave way on a nice fish. In the heat of the action, neither one of us had checked for nicks or wear in the leader and after several big trout had been chewing on it, the 20 lb mono gave way.

Blame it on the guide...

Fishing with live shrimp is as fun as I had heard but can be a little pricy if you don't catch fish. I figure that our catch cost about $1/pound live weight. I that is whhat it takes I guess it was worth it!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Boat Ride

We took the boat out for a spin this morning.

The river was calm and there was rain predicted for later on in the day.

Hop in and let's take a ride...

First you have to launch successfully - watch out for the hidden sandbar!

Click on the video above to experience the ride.

Always slow down as you pass fellow fishermen to keep from creating a wake.
Once you get clear you can get back on plane and cruise at 25-30 mph.

Captain John at the helm.

We were up to our old game of chasing speckled trout with topwaters. We returned to the same spot up river where we had caught several specks. The big sows were hanging out near this concrete bank stabilization. We aren't sure if this is a feeding or spawning spot but all the big trout we have caught here are full of eggs.

We had a few pesky skipjack trying to hit our spooks.

This little guy got tangled up with a lure almost as big as himself.

Tracy struck silver on her first cast. She saw a fish working, made an accurate cast just beyond the fish and worked the lure right into the fish's strike zone.

I didn't get a picture of Tracy's first (or second) trout but she took this one of my first topwater trout of the morning.

In a couple of hours we had boxed four nice trout - one just under 20" and three over.

We each caught two fish - just enough for a nice meal for us and some to give away!

Now it's time to head back to the launch.

Here is the view of the boat slips - the ramp is on the right side.

After backing the trailer down the ramp, it's time to bring the boat in.

Once you get it lined up you can drive the boat right up on the trailer.

Most excellent photography by my First Mate, Tracy.

Thanks for visiting and for coming along for the ride!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Redfish in the Marsh

There are several road hazards that graduates of the Smith Defensive Driver System are taught to avoid. Snakes in the road like this big rat snake didn't make the list but probably should have!

I encountered him while on the way to the boat storage to load up the kayak for an early morning paddle at McNab Lake. It was hot and still when I put in at 0600 but after 4 hours of paddling and "fish hunting" I managed to string up a limit of reds - two in the upper slot.

Check out the video below to get a small feel of what the day was like.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Topwater Trout at Noon?

The past couple of weekends have been brutally hot. Temps in the triple digits and not much wind has made for some tough fishing conditions.

I recently read on a guide's fishing report that he was recommending throwing topwater lures near midday. I thought I would give it a try and was surprised with the results.

We have also been figuring out the trick to fishing in the "Second Honeymoon". We finally got some fish slime on her as we caught some nice trout in the river.

Tracy has really taken to fishing for trout with tops. She can really "walk the dog".

This 20" trout had an 8" mullet in it's belly and still wanted the spook jr.

Ken & Nelda's sign brought us good luck!

The boat earned it's keep today.

Tracy always catches the pretty ones.

Here is the first mate at the dock as I go to back the trailer down the ramp.

This 22 1/2", 3+lb trout hit a full sized super spook at noon. It was 100deg in the shade!

Go figure...