My scheduled redfish learnament for the Gainesville Offshore Fishing Club was challenged, not so much by the weather, but by the good folks at NOAA who bring you the marine forecasts. Saturday, the scheduled day, looked to be great until Thursday night, when they called for 15 knots and 3 foot seas. Thus, we moved it to Sunday. Naturally, Saturday turned out to be the much better day, and Sunday? Well, Sunday was another story. Because of the forecast high winds on Saturday, Capt. Thompson and I decided we would do some kayaking back in some of the creeks he wrote about in this month’s Florida Sportsman magazine. We launched at daybreak at a primitive ramp in a wildlife management area and as you can see, there wasn’t a whole lot of wind….
We worked our way out to the gulf through areas that we run in our boats regularly….but that would not have happened today. The grass was floating on top of the water and the kayaks were dragging. We worked our way south to a creek entrance that we know well to find lots of mullet and baitfish, and water that was actually deep enough so we could fish. Tommy nailed this nice redfish right off the bat on a topwater, and both of us caught good numbers of mostly keeper trout.
At one point we got out and waded one of the many bars that hinder access to some of the creeks. Since redfish tend to congregate near bars to capture baitfish that are moving with the tide, Tommy found this one quickly. However, one of the finer moments was when he decided to take on a five-foot gator that took a hankerin’ to his Skitterwalk. You can see it in live action at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-QjtEN5EhOs
Sunday we took out 8 boats of people looking for redfish. Conditions had changed dramatically overnight. Gone was the soft breeze from Saturday, to be replaced by 10 to 15 knots from the east. The water temperatures had dropped about 8 to 10 degrees since the week before, and the east wind blew lots of floating grass into crucial shallow areas and blew the hordes of baitfish offshore as well. We tried to work our way into shore, and there were lots of smallish trout, but some of the boats were larger bayboats and offshore hulls, so we spread out. The fishing was tough. Although we were very close to where we were the day before, there were no schools of bait and few redfish. I think only two were caught, this one and Eric Daniels caught a 4 pounder. In general, it was a disappointing day. We fished all the way into a normally productive shoreline and just couldn’t find the fish.
After trying another location with no luck, we gave up around 3 in the afternoon. Most people had a fine time and did catch some fish, but I was disappointed and wished we had done better. On our way in, we figured we’d stop by a cobia place nearby as we had a few large pinfish in the livewell. It took about 5 seconds after the pinfish hit the water before I ended up with this big boy, after having my rear dragged around the boat for about 20 minutes. Master gaffer Thompson put this baby in the boat and we headed for home. This was a badly needed happy end to a challenging day.