I had a few extras added to the boat (hydraulic steering and a new throttle controller), plus the weather’s been so bad that the fishing has been rare, but looked pretty good for this weekend. Given the circumstance, I felt obligated to go over to the cabin and test-run the boat and maybe get in some casts. None of my regular fishing buddies were available, so I did the “solo fisherman” bit. I arrived at the Seahag Marina around 3 on Saturday to find sunny and wind-free conditions at the dock. As per usual, however, looks can be deceiving. By the time I got to the mouth of the river, I was in moderately heavy fog and the temperature had dropped about ten degrees. The new steering system is a dream, and the throttle control is much better than the OEM version. I ran to the mouth of the creek just south of the Steinhatchee River and tried a few casts with topwater plugs. On the third cast I caught a fine five-pounder, followed a few minutes later by another. Obviously I had found a nice school of cookie-cutter fish, and I had them all to myself. The bite slowed down after two more fish, and I switched to our favorite suspending lure, a Corky. The bite continued with the new plug; the first fish I caught went a little over five pounds and was around 25 inches long…
My total catch for the day (which was actually about two hours) was 9 trout and four bluefish. All the trout were over five pounds except for two which weighed in at 4.5 pounds. It was a great day for catching big trout.
I don’t keep fish as a rule, especially the larger ones. They are all breeder females, and they need to be around to provide lots more five-pounders. When I caught one fish, however, she inhaled the Corky Devil and the treble got hooked into the gills. I put the fish in the livewell to try and revive it, but no go, so I figured I’d put it to good use. My usual hang-out for comestibles and libation is Fiddler’s Restaurant in Steinhatchee. Jim and Joyce Hunt run the restaurant, which has a fine bar (try the special Davidson Rum Punch). They will also prepare your fish if you bring it in cleaned….so I did. I always let Jim surprise me when he cooks something up, and this time he surprised me with a bronzed trout that was perfect…
There was no way I could eat all that, so half came home with me today and is about to be eaten for dinner. Jim can prepare your fish any way you would like…I particularly like his blackened redfish dish (of course, you have to supply the redfish) and his smoked ribs and chicken wings are mighty fine. Give Fiddler’s a try when you’re in town.
Monday the forecast called for calm winds . There was a severe low tide and fog advisory warnings…they weren’t kidding.
It was a beautiful morning, given I couldn’t see fifty feet in front of the boat. I remember trying to get around in heavy fog before mapping GPS units and all I can say is that this is quite a bit better. There were no other boats out at 7 AM, and there was a negative .5 tide, so moving around was a challenge, but I managed to get close enough to shore to fish some oyster bars. I caught several bluefish, but only managed two trout….but they were both over five pounds, and both were caught on Corky lures. Both were released in fine health.
I only fished a few hours and as it started to clear I suddenly had more company than I prefer, especially when they run their kickers right in front of my drift, so I headed in.
There’s a serenity to fishing in a heavy fog. With no other boats around, all I could hear were ducks and other water birds, mullet slapping the water with their tails, and the occasional bluefish tearing into a school of baitfish. It has to be one of the most pleasant times I’ve spent on the water in a while. Hoping that everyone has a great holiday season…I intend to fish as much as possible if the weather keeps up….that’s my favorite Christmas present.