Giveaway   Tides   
One trip to share this week. It was with Dennis Dickerson, and his son-in-law, Richard, from Montana. Dennis and I fished together June a year ago up in Sarasota. He and his wife bought a home there about three months later and moved from Montana.

We've had a lot of rain recently, and I wondered if it would have an effect on the fishing. We met at Lovers Key ramp at 10:00 AM, and were soon on our way to find out. The first thing I notice as we launched the boats is that the water seemed unseasonably cold. Not warm at all. I reasoned it must be all the recent rains. Dennis expressed an interest in catching trout, as well as redfish and snook, so we stopped not far from the ramp to check out the trout situation. I got the guys positioned on the edge of a drop-off, and we went to work. The trout were there, but the bite was very subtle, and best on a very slow retrieve. Almost like winter fishing. We caught about 15 trout and a catfish, including several keepers. Most of the fish were right at the 15 inch minimum. We only kept 2,. as the boys weren't interested in taking any fish home.

We had two dolphins with us right from the start. They didn't bother our bite at all as they went from one of us to the next. But, once the third dolphin showed up the bite seemed to drop off, and we elected to go see if we could find some hungry redfish or snook.

For the rest of the day it was tough. The redfish just didn't want to eat. Dennis, who had gotten a 32" redfish on our previous trip was the redfish guru this day. He boated 3 nice fish, and kept one. Richard missed a couple, and I had several mangle my spoon, but never got an aggressive enough bite to get one hooked.

We had a run in with a couple of clowns in a flats boat that drove right up on top of us, while I was up on the mangrove getting my lure out. They had absolutely no regard for the fact that Dennis and I were already fishing the small key. It's too small to share with a flats boat and a couple more anglers. We let them have it.

It was a really nice day on the water, and for most of it we had a nice breeze. I was keeping a sharp eye on the weather, as we had a 70% chance of rain and storms. I kept my lightning detector on, and it marked strikes within 20 to 40 miles for most of the morning, but the cells all kept their distance off to the northwest. I didn't hear thunder until we had landed back at the ramp.

I was really puzzled at the slow redfish bite, and we never saw a snook. I got my answer while I was cleaning fish. There were a couple of commercial fishermen that launched, and I struck up a conversation with one of them. I commented on the poor redfish bite, and he shared with me that they were having a hard time catching anything, as well. Then, he showed me the rain gauge on his boat, and it showed 6 inches of rain. The fisherman said he lived right Estero Bay, straight across the ramp, and that 6 inches had fallen Tuesday night. That explained a lot. Oddly, we only got a few showers through the night at my house.

In spite of the slow bite, we had a fun day. It was Richard's first time to fish from a kayak, and he really enjoyed it. It was great to see Dennis again, and thank goodness he got some reds!


Dennis (L) and Richard (R)with the fish I kept to take home!

Captain Butch Rickey
BarHoppr Charters

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