I’ve had a few trips that I haven’t really had time to report so I thought I’d combine a few. Several weeks ago I had the opportunity to take several folks out for a fun trip, and we got to use Doug Barrett’s Gulfshore 20 (more about that later). We took Drs. Fred Alt and Rob Hromas out to try and find some redfish and trout. Fred was visiting from Harvard and Rob is the chair of medicine at UF and both are experienced fisherman; in fact, Fred is a licensed headboat captain in Massachusetts. We had a tough day, but managed a few nice fish, including this nice redfish that Fred managed on a topwater and Rob caught several trout including this very reasonable specimen. We brought all our fish with us for a great fresh fish dinner at Fiddler’s Restaurant. There is nobody that grills redfish like Chef Jim Hunt.
After picking up my very own Young Gulfshore, I had the great opportunity to take out well-known kayak angler John Donohue (JD). Living in Venice, Florida, JD represent Hobie Kayaks and writes for several national magazines including Coastal Angler. I first met him last year at a Hobie sponsored event in Jensen Beach that I described in a previous post. He was invited up to speak at the Gainesville Offshore Fishing Club about kayak fishing and we took a few days to break in the new boat. He and I have similar fishing styles (except that I use a boat) in that we love fishing topwater plugs more than anything else, and with the warming waters we were hoping for a good topwater bite. We got to the Sea Hag Marina around 1 PM and hit the water, first time in the new boat. We found some nice trout south of the river, with one excellent 5 pound trout that managed to escape when JD put him in the water to make sure he was doing well in preparation for a picture. He was doing well enough to escape. We found several other nice trout, fishing both topwaters and suspending lures. JD represents Sebile Lures and they were very effective in finding some nice fish. I was using the Paul Brown Devil and the Mirrolure Mirrominnow. The trout pictured below wasn’t spectacular but it was the first fish caught on the new boat so we documented it. There was a vicious seabreeze that sent us back in a little earlier than anticipated, but we were looking forward to the next morning with a great forecast.
Thursday morning was glassy with a early morning low tide. We worked our way into some oyster bars and rock clusters that were exposed and surrounded by mullet and whitebait. it looked like topwater heaven, and we started finding some fine fish. I managed a nice 25 inch red, shortly followed by JD’s tournament fish (27 inches, 6.7 pounds).
We also found some very nice trout, also on topwaters.
As the tide flooded in we tried several other locations south of the river but other than scaring away a 30 pound cobia that swam right up to the boat, we didn’t find much else and came in around noon so that JD could drive back to Venice. It was a great couple of days with a fine fisherman and I hope we can get him back up to Steinhatchee for a few more trips.