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I knew the weather was going to be bad but Tuesday was the last weekday I was going to have off for awhile so I explored a backcountry area I'd been wanting to hit for a long time. It was drizzling rain all morning and I hit a deep area looking for baby tarpon. I found them, lots of them, but they weren't eating. I casted to several good sized rollers with no strikes. I did get fooled one time when I casted to a roller and got a strike. Almost immediately though, I knew what I had, a catfish. Knew it was time to make a move after that, so I went back out on the flats but the tide was super high and it was overcast so I couldn't see fish in time to make a cast. Then, the real rain came, a 2 hour downpour, but I stuck it out (I had raingear on) and just explored a little. After the rain stopped, I came across a channel, with light colored sand flats on both sides. Even with overcast and drizzling rain I knew I'd see fish here so I staked out and just watched for a few minutes. Sure enough, I started seeing every kind of fish you could possibly want to catch. Redfish, black drum, huge snook, and tarpon all on the same flat. I could see a fish in the distance and made a cast with a huge pinfish fly thinking it was a snook, slowly twitched a few times and it got hammered, it went straight for the groves just like a snook should and I kept it out and got it closer and saw stripes - it was a decent black drum that ate a 5" baitfish fly. After that I saw a good size poon coming towards me, I had thrown on a little black and purple baitfish fly because they wouldn't eat anything I was throwing. I stripped it as fast as I could past its face and it absolutely crushed my fly. Probably the most savage strike I've ever seen. After several jumps, good runs, and tail walks I got it in. My first ever fully sightfished tarpon (i've casted to rollers many times in deep water and caught them but never had a shot on a crystal clear shallow flat). After that, I caught some smaller reds including one lower slot and lots of little snook, all sightfished. I could've thrown on a crab fly and proably slayed blk drum because they were EVERYWHERE but I really wanted a good snook or another tarpon. The sandy areas were key to me seeing the fish and I had a strong outgoing tide and it was right before dusk. It was an epic couple hours of sightfishing, can't wait to hit it again.
This post is a bit late but I've finally gotten around to it. I just recently edited it based off Alex's recent etiquette post Last Saturday we took the boat up to the creeks in somewhere in Tampa Bay with my cousin and two good friends. We were getting skunked in the creeks for about the first two hours. After dealing with the cold and wind for a couple hours, we decided to go over to the residential canals. There, the bite picked up a little and we managed to catch a nice sized Snook and Black Drum within the first 30 minutes. The next few hours were a bit slow. After heading grabbing some lunch at a place on the canals, we decided to call it a day and head back to the ramp.
This post is a bit late but I've finally gotten around to it. Last Saturday we took the boat up to the creeks in Upper Tampa Bay with my cousin and two good friends. We were getting skunked in the creeks for about the first two hours. After dealing with the cold and wind for a couple hours, we decided to go over to the residential canals. There, the bite picked up a little and we managed to catch a nice sized Snook and Black Drum within the first 30 minutes. The next few hours were a bit slow. After heading grabbing some lunch at Bahama Breeze, we decided to call it a day and head back to the ramp.
With the cold this past week, high winds predicted with possible rains for the day, I knew that if I wanted to get out that I would have to find a protected spot, probably a creek to fish. Lucky for me, knew just the spot. Up at 4:30 and at the launch fully geared up at 6:20, I hit the water at my favorite local creek and paddled to the mouth where it empties into the bay. With the tide pushing out, I was at my first spot forty minutes later. Like I always do, I had a couple of lines out. I mix it up depending on what I have, but today I rigged one with a select shrimp under a cork and one with a dark soft plastic on a 1/8oz jig head. I did a slow loop paddling over the tip of a large oyster bar where I've caught upper slot trout many times in the past. Today was no different. As soon as I was lined up with the current, I was rewarded with a bent rod. It was the rod with soft plastic. Turned out to be a really nice fat 19+" trout, which was a great way to get the skunk off. Even better, it was the proof that the bigger trout are starting to show which is what I've been waiting for for month After that, I paddled around inside the creek mouth for a while with no other knockdowns. The tide was still moving out, and the winds weren't as bad as predicted, so I headed outside the creek. I have another spot that I like to hit, an oyster bar next to a deep channel. With the tide pushing out, I troll on the down current side on an outgoing to locate fish and then anchor on the North slope in 3' of water casting up current. Today this spot produced for nearly an hour with strikes nearly every cast. I caught on both artificials and shrimp, but the Mirrodine out caught everything else combine. Besides a couple of lady fish, all I caught in this spot were stout and aggressive trout. Most were just under slot, bit I did pick up two more keepers. Both were lower slot. After the bite died, I headed back inside the creek mouth to troll and cast with no action. The tide was now pushing out really hard, so I anchored off the same oyster bar where I caught the first fish of the day. I threw out a shrimp under a cork and cast the Mirrodine and LT Sardine upstream . No action to speak of there except short strikes and my shrimp being stolen until I pulled my float off and let my shrimp drift with a single split shot. That was the trick. Not more than 10 minutes later, I hooked into something with weight that put a really good bend in my rod and made my reel sing as it pulled drag making several short but strong runs. This brute turned out to be a 16+" black drum. I've only caught one in slot before and never eaten black drum, so I was psyched and figured I'd try for more. Well, I didn't get any more black drum, but I caught one last trout, a 17" fatty that went in the fish bag, rounding out my limit. Satisfied with that, I pulled anchor and headed back. It was a tough paddle against the last of the ripping outgoing tide, but the wind picked up some coming in from the South helping with the paddle back. I was back at the car, loaded and home before noon, in time for a hot lunch. All in all, not a bad day. In fact, it was the best day that I've had on the water in quite a while especially considering the rough conditions that were predicted.