Matlacha

Matlacha

I got out Wednesday, with my friend Jim Hider. Hadn't seen him in some time. He had just bought a beautiful Canyon Bay 21 ft. skiff the last time I saw him, and I was excited about spending a day with Jim in her. From the topside, it looks like a 21 ft. version of my Talon F-16.

I met Jim at his home near Matlacha at 7:30. He was ready to go, and we were on our way to the Matlacha ramp as soon as I got my gear loaded. We were quickly in the water and headed north in the general area of Burnt Store.

Our first objective was to catch some bait. I haven't thrown a castnet since the last trip I did in my Talon before switching to kayak fishing. I was excited to throw the net again, as I always enjoyed it, even on the tough bait days.

Jim idled his way into the shallows, and finally stopped. Magically, there was bait flipping all around us in an instant. Jim had the chum out, but we never used it. I threw the net three times and the well was loaded with shiners and some threadfin herring. We were ready to fish.

Jim fired up the 140 Suzuki, and we headed a bit further north to a place where there was an inlet to a creek and lots of small mangrove islands and keys. He'd been on a great snook bite there recently, and was looking to duplicate the feat. But, we were now fishing an outgoing tide, instead of an incoming like he had fished then. There wasn't a lot of water around, and it was getting lower.

We worked a few spots with no luck, and then found a good trout bite. We caught trout for a while, but none of them were quite keeping size. We moved on. A short time later Jim anchored us on a point that got great current flow. We did some live chumming, and before you knew it we had some snook popping our baits. We had fun with the snook until the tide quit running somewhere around noon. It was time to rest and eat.

Matlacha-fishing-report

Here's Jim with one of the snook we caught. Note: All snook were released!

From there we went further north to see if we could find some redfish. I had several hits that were hard enough to mash the weedguard on my spoon flatter than a pancake, but never did connect with one.

The water was coming in hard now, and Jim decided to go back to the area where we'd caught our snook and see if they might be willing to eat again on the incoming tide. They weren't.

We headed back south toward home, and were going to make our last stop a couple of small islands near Matlacha, where Jim often finds redfish. We worked hard trying to catch a redfish, but it wasn't to be. They just weren't playing. It didn't matter. I had been a wonderful day. And, his Canyon Bay performed beautifully. What a sweet skiff.

It was a great day on the water with Jim. He's got a great sense of humor, and is a great conversationalist and just fun to be with. I was amazed at how he has polished his casting skills over the time since I last fished with him. He's deadly fishing the bushes. I've been fishing the short sticks in the kayaks long enough that I felt very strange trying to cast my 7 ft. Stella rigs that I dug out of mothballs. Jim has also taken up fly fishing and tying. He's enjoying his retirement as one should.

I can't wait to get out with Jim, again. Next time I want to introduce him to kayak fishing.

Captain Butch Rickey
Barhopp'R Charters

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