Hello fellow fishin’ geeks (freaks n geeks? It’s a work in progress),
I admittedly haven’t been fishing as often as I planned to since coming back to teaching this school year. That being said, for someone who hasn’t been out there enough during the week to pick up on patterns, I feel like I have done pretty well finding big redfish inshore this late summer / early fall season. I’d like to take credit but since I haven’t been able to go out enough and see what’s happening for myself, I’ve been heavily relying on reports from this fishing community to eliminate water.
During my young fishing tenure, I’ve come to find out that eliminating water is just as important as finding “honey holes”. Through reading local community reports, and looking at clear satellite images from google maps or fishing points. I have been able to find sandbars with deep drop-offs nearby, or mangroves with deepwater vs shallow. When you can eliminate water ahead of your trip, you can focus on your game plan, and pick apart those spots that should be holding fish this time of year. For this trip, I ran with a report from Alex Hughey and focused on sandbars with deeper drop-offs. I found two or three flats that I could make short runs to in the boat if I needed to switch it up. With my game plan intact and baitwell jumping full of live chunky mullets, I set off to chase some of the hardest fighting fish in the river.
Using a 7ft heavy action rod, 30lb braid, 50lb fluorocarbon leader, and a 5/0 inline circle hook, I attached my chunky bait and waited as the mullet happily swam back and forth between the flat and the drop-off. After a slower start than anticipated the surface of the water started to become alive. Bait pods in the distance were sent flying in the air, fleeing. The sound of trout and snook popping baits at the surface nearby. Then about 15 minutes before sunset, my bait began the ancient ritual of dancing out of the way of its suitors. Mostly swimming in circles at the surface while occasionally jumping. At this point, I’m usually surprised how much predatory fish give up after a quick swing and a miss or two, especially when the mullet are being slowed down by afloat. Luckily for me, a monster bull redfish accepted its offer, inhaled the bait and with one hard kick, rushed 100 feet away.
As soon as I knew the hook was solidly set, I backed off on the drag just enough to keep light tension on the fish. I also have learned that if you have a trolling motor, I need to get into open water as quickly as possible. These fish make long runs quickly and if you’re not careful, you can break them off by putting too much tension on the line or wrapping around a structure. During this battle, the fishing actually dragged my 21ft boat toward the shore three times before finally getting her boat side. After testing my teacher muscles, I carefully lifted the fishing into the boat and took a quick measurement. This weeks bull redfish measured at the plus side of 40 inches, almost 41,” a new personal best for me.
After snapping a few photos I quickly returned this big breeder redfish back to its environment. It’s important to get a strong release because these big redfish can potentially produce millions of spawn. Reflecting on the day, and the success I’ve had catching these fish this year has been pretty special. I know a lot of people go to the inlets and catch these numbers or bigger, but to be 30+ miles away from any inlet, and catching these awesome fish deep inshore, makes it that much more fun.
Be safe & have fun,