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Post Info TOPIC: Report for the Week Ending 12/12/09 for Pine Island Sound


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Report for the Week Ending 12/12/09 for Pine Island Sound

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Two trips again this week. We had progressively poorer tides as the week moved along, but we fished the best two days and did pretty well. We had to contend with fog, no-seeums, and cold water, and finally had to wait on the water to warm to get a bite.

First up on Monday was my friend Billy Herrington, of Maumelle, Arkansas. We've been fishing together now for four years, and he's a very skilled angler and a whole lot of fun to have in the boat. We have a good time. And, it doesn't take him long to re-adapt to our kind of fishing each year. We'd had to cancel our trip from last week when the big rains came with that front, and we fully expected a tough day fishing behind the front.

We headed over to B span, wondering if there would still be bait around. Billy recounted how he'd run the boat last year as I threw the net around the causeway, and had been very uneasy about it. I reminded him that he'd done a great job, and didn't throw me out of the boat!

We set about chumming and figuring out the current. There was barely a breath of air moving, which would be an issue later. It took more throws that I cared to make, but we finally got the bait in well and loaded up. We were ready to fish.

Billy and I decided we'd do something we hadn't done before, and headed up the river. I hadn't been in the river to fish in a long time. I'm usually just passing through with Dr. Hitt. We were bucking a hard running outgoing tide, and it seemed to take forever to get through the long manatee zone to Shell Island. Our first spot has been very good to me over the years, with big snook, big jacks, flounder, and the occasional redfish. But, the water there was gin clear. We eventually got right on top of a big female snook before she spooked away, but it was obvious she was just laid up trying to warm up. We saw a few smaller snook on the move, but couldn't get anything to bite, even though we did get some interest in our chum. After looking at a couple other spots, I'd had enough, and we headed back down the river.

We headed north into the Sound gliding along on glass slick water. We settled on a beautiful spot in the mangroves. Within two minutes the no-seeums were zeroing in on us, and we were forced to move away from them. We fished our way along a mangrove edge, pitching shiners up near the roots. We managed to miss a couple of snook hits, and then all hell broke loose when Billy hooked a really nice snook. He put a butt whippin' on that fish, and before she was at the side of the boat with a Boga Grip around her lower lip. Billy was thrilled. That was his biggest snook yet. After that it was fat trout. We caught a couple in that same spot, and then caught a few more a little farther down the shoreline. They were running about 3.5 pounds. On further down we ran into lots of big snook on the move, but couldn't get any of them to eat. It was time to move on.

We headed to a spot I knew to be full of snook, big and small, hoping that we could get them to eat. We had some interest in our live chum, which was encouraging. We didn't get an immediate bite, but all of a sudden the snook began to eat pretty well. We caught a few snook and trout, then it slowed down. We moved to the other end of the pothole we were fishing and were immediately on a hot bite. Billy caught some really nice snook, with the largest going 28 inches, and any number that were five pounds. There were a few more trout, too. By the time we were done, Billy had boated a good two dozen snook, and several trout. We hung and made sure it was really over, but I was pretty sure it was as the tide was done.

By then we'd both had a workout and were starved. We headed to the Waterfront Restaurant for what is always a fantastic lunch. What a perfect end to a great day!

Tuesday morning I met Mike Eckhardt, down from Minnesota, for the first of what I hope will be many trips. It had been foggy Monday morning, but had pretty much lifted by the time Billy and I were ready to leave the dock. Tuesday morning was different. The fog was thick and seemed to be getting thicker. I knew we could follow along the causeway and make our way safely to the B span flats and get started on bait. That would take about an hour, and by the the fog should be gone, I thought.

But, it didn't work out that way. We got plenty of bait, but once we were done it was still just as foggy as when we'd arrived. I could see the faint outline of the sun at times burning it's way through the fog. I told Mike we'd trim the boat to stay on step a very slow speed, and navigate our way up into the Sound using the sun. On the first leg of the run to York Island I had to keep the sun just over my left shoulder. We picked up the shoreline at St. James and made our way through the York Island Cut, and then kept the sun over my right shoulder as we headed into the Sound. Finally, we were at our destination.

I wanted to try to catch a redfish or two while we had some water covering things, but we didn't have a very wide window. Our spot was covered with mullet by the millions, but I didn't see anything resembling a redfish or push. We looked all over the area, and I never saw a snook or red. Just millions of mullet!

We moved on to another spot that most always has redfish on it. I cut a couple of pinfish and put them out with rods in the holders. It wasn't long before we had a rod bowed up and a redfish on. It was Mike's first, I think, and he landed a perfect eating fish of just under 22 inches. He thought it was a big fish with a big pull, and reminded me that most of the fish he catches back home are much smaller. I though surely we'd catch a few more, but that was the only fish that ate. After patiently waiting a reasonable time for another fish to find our baits, we moved on when none did.

There was a boat already in the area I wanted to fish next. We could have gone in quietly without bothering him, but I elected to keep on going. We had a breeze, so I should be able to park us in the mangroves without being eaten alive by no-seeums.

Once in our spot I did a lot of chumming to try to draw the snook out. We were fishing a very poor tide, and so far the fish hadn't shown much interest. It was still foggy and overcast, and we weren't getting much warming from the sun. We did get some interest with the chum, and Mike boated 3 snook, 3 big trout, and a couple of jacks. Then is just shut down.

We moved on with Mike's West Coast Slam on the board. At our next spot I didn't find the action I'd hoped for, although the fish were certainly there. We fished all over the pothole and Mike caught one small redfish, and a couple more snook and trout. But, basically they just didn't want to play.

We were fast running out of tide, and I wanted to try to get Mike on some kind of action. I moved to one of my favorite winter trout potholes and went to work. The fish were there, but they were fickle. Mike fished live bait and I fished an Exude RT Slug. We both caught fish, but the were mostly small, and we just didn't have a good bite. After some trout and ladyfish we moved on to another hole a quarter mile away. That hole was better. We caught quite a few keeper trout that we couldn't keep and had lots of ladyfish knocking our baits around. We stayed with it until the tide was done, and headed to lunch. It had been a great morning of fishing, and the catching had been about what I expected on a poor tide behind a cold front. But, we'd made it work and had fun. Mike turned out to be a very nice, laid back guy, who was great to have in the boat.

Best Fishes! Capt. Butch
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