Kayak Fishing Report for Pine Island Sound for the Week of 6/04/11
<p>My first trip on Sunday was with Art Harriott, from Miami, who I first fished with in April of 2010. This would be our first time in the kayaks, but Art is an experienced paddler. We met at the Circle K at John Morris, transfer his stuff to his boat cooler, and were off. It was a promise of a beautiful day for fishing.
At Castaways we had to wiggle around a big dually with a big boat with an I/O on it to get launched. It was just parked there. Don't see many I/Os in these parts any more. It was a beautiful morning and a breeze fired consecutive with our launch. I hoped it would stay with us, as the glare from the early morning sun was ferocious already. Not a cloud in the sky.
We were already well in to the tide, and opted to make our longest run first and let the water move higher as we did. Then we'd fish our way back on the tide. Although the water was very clear out on the flats, it was just full of floating seaweed. It was so bad that we literally had to reel in and clean our lures on nearly ever cast. I often couldn't get a full crank of the handle before my lure was plugged up with sea snot. But, we kept at it, and Art struck first blood with an 18 inch redfish. I had hooked one earlier, and lost it before I got it to the boat. In fact, I missed far to many fish this day, and I think it was because some of those hits were on dirty hooks. Who knows. I just know I was off my game.
I did catch a keeper red, and shortly afterward Art hooked a brute of a redfish. He had a protracted battle with that fish, but finally won. When he lifted the fish it looked every bit of 30 inches to me. It hadn't looked that big in the water. It was a deep bronze and fat as a pig, and I guess that made it look that much bigger to me. But, after careful measuring and measuring again, Art proclaimed it to be a perfect 27 inches. I helped him get it on the stringer.
Unfortunately, after landing that fish the bite quit. I have observed that happens sometimes when you fight a fish for an extended time in the shallows. The fish runs all over the place raising a ruckus, and moved the other fish off. We didn't find them, again.
The clock was becoming our enemy, as we had less than two hours of tide left to fish. We made a move to another flat closer to home hoping to find cleaner water. I'm sure we'd have caught a lot more redfish earlier if we could have kept our baits clean. But, the water was the same. I got Art set up on a great patch of redfish ground where he could also catch snook, and went off hunting for a snook bite. At one spot I missed a good hit, caught a keeper trout, and then paddled right over a pod of nice redfish. They just weren't eating. Of course, they probably don't like salad.
Finally, I stuck a hog of a snook which jumped as it hit my lure, and try though I did, I never got tight on it before the big sal tossed the lure back at me. A few casts later I caught another snook. I called Art and told him I was on a bite. He began his run to me, as I continued to fish, and caught two more snook. I was boating the last one as Art arrived. And, then the bite was over. The tide had quit, and so did the fish.
We headed home with our fish in tow. Art had to use speed four to keep up with me on speed three, as his big redfish was slowing him down!
After four reschedules trying to get a descent weather day, Dr. Stephen Ritchey, of Bradenton, and I were going to finally get out on Thursday. He drove down Wednesday evening and stayed at the Fountain Motel, which is a very inexpensive and quaint place on McGregor. We met at the Circle K at John Morris and Summerlin, got our supplies, and were on our way. We chatted as we drove to Castaways, and I wondered what the day would bring. I hoped all the floating grass we'd had to deal with days earlier would be gone. But, in talking to Steve, I could tell that no matter how the catching went, we were going to have a good time. By the time we got the boats in the water the sun was up, there was a nice breeze, and it was looking like a beautiful day on tap.
With the tide fairly low, we made our longest run early, which gave the tide some time to come in. We began looking for snook, and it was immediately obvious that it was going to be another day of fighting hook salad. The floating seaweed was so thick, it was all but impossible to get more than a turn of the reel handle before our lures were covered with the stuff. From there it was reel in and clean off the salad and try again.
Somehow, I managed to catch a snook. It took my lure almost immediately, before it had a chance to get plugged up. I called Steve to come join me on the hole I was fishing, knowing full well there were more snook to be caught there. Once Steve was set up there, I moved a short distance away to see if I could find more snook. I was sure Steve would catch another snook or two, at least, but it didn't happen.
With the tide now moving well and covering things up, it was time for us to turn our attention to redfish. We moved to another flat and went to work. There was no escaping the frustration of the seaweed. Somehow, I managed to connect with a beautiful 27 inch redfish on one of the few casts I made that stayed clean. I had found the school. I called Steve to come join me from a short distance away, thinking that if we just kept at it, we'd manage a few fish when we could pull of a clean retrieve.
Shortly after Steve arrived he had a good hit, but didn't get connected. Then we spotted a shark approaching the flat. Although it never came in make a run at my redfish that I know of, the catching was over. We didn't get another hit.
It was now time to move again and spend the rest of the morning chasing snook. I couldn't wait to get Steve anchored on one spot that has been very good to me every time I've fished if in the last month or so. I was sure that if he could make the required cast and keep his hook clean once in a while, he'd catch. And, there are some big girls that cruise that spot.
Well, Steve was certainly skilled with his tackle, and made beautiful cast after beautiful cast. He did manage to catch a redfish just under the slot, but no snook. Together that day, I think Steve and I harvested about 500 pounds of seaweed.
I had a real problem with my motor picking up turtlegrass on the prop. I hadn't had the problem before, but it was frustrating as all get-out. I couldn't go two boat-lengths without loading up the prop and loosing the thrust. I though perhaps I'd gotten a nick in it that was serving to grab the weeds, but we couldn't see that there was anything pronounced enough to cause the problem.
It was a hard day of fishing and catching, but a beautiful day to be out. Like me, Steve just loves being out there and loves the tranquility the kayaks offer. He also loved the Ultimate and the great seat, and said it was far more comfortable that the seat in his Hobe. For me it was a great week because of great guys like Steve and Art.
Art Harriott Strikes First Blood
Art With A Beautiful 27
About The Author: Captain Butch Rickey
Company: The Bar Hopp'R
Area Reporting: Backcountry fishing and flats fishing in the waters of Pine Island around Sanibel Island, Captiva Is
Bio: Capt. Butch Rickey spent much of his youth growing up on Sanibel and Captiva, near Ft. Myers, and has fished the waters of Pine Island Sound for much of his 60-plus years. Capt. Butch specializes in light tackle live-bait fishing for snook, redfish, tarpon, and trout in Pine Island Sound, but will be happy to accomodate any other type of fishing you want to do. You'll enjoy fishing the beautiful clear water of the shallow grass flats, mangrove keys, potholes, and oyster bars. You'll marvel at the wildlife on, in, and above the water. You'll see Florida as you always imagined it would be. A Barhopp'R trip will satisfy the fisherman, hunter, and sightseer in you. Capt. Butch is an instructional guide, and gives you only the best Shimano Stella reels and St. Croix Legend and G. Loomis rods to use. Butch is U.S. Coast Guard licensed, insured, experienced, and provides fishing license, bait, ice, digital camera, cell phone, and lots of advice and coaching when needed. He will work hard to put you on the fish.