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jbdba01

201504 - Poon It Does A Body Good...

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Executive Details - A good start to poon season with one fish landed and some bycatch.  Having been dog sick for several days now, and high winds I finally managed to wrap up this report.  It's a couple weeks stale, but you get the idea.
 
Details - Normally the Amanda Buff is gassed up the night before, but for whatever reason I neglected to the day or so before.  So I figured a 5 am wake up was early enough to get the gas and meet up with my poon partner in crime by 6:15.  Turns out I was wrong and as we made it to Cockroach Bay we would pay the price with a 5-6 boat wait.  Fortunately this morning everyone had a feel for what they were doing and boats were spending very little time launching.  Still as my partner was walking the extra distance the no see-ums were in force.
 
With low winds, a light chop, and a bit of cloud cover the Amanda Buff had us near the bridge in about 20-25 minutes.
 
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We made our way out and quickly sabiki'ed up some bait off one of the markers near the bridge.
 
We looked for poon, but today they just didn't want to present themselves so we opted to hit our usual haunt and get some stink in the water using some previously frozen threadfins.  (AKA.  The "chumsicle".)
 
Things were pretty slow and we were pretty surprised to have sabiki'ed up the threads at a marker, but have very little bait activity  at the bridge.  Regardless we had marked a couple poon on the sonar so we stuck to the plan.
 
By mid-morning the tide started to slack off; as Rich cast towards a piling, I commented to him that I like "I like it when the tide slows down a bit; them poon seem to go walk about when the tides not ripping."  Just then his rod went due south and formed a strong C.  I cranked in my line and started to heads towards the anchor line to heave the buoy overboard, but decreased my haste.  The line was going out, but not peeling.  We held our ground and eventually Rich pulled in a really nice Gag grouper.

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It was probably a keeper, but seeing that it was April and not July this guy went back.  We'll call it lower to mid 20's.
 
I watched Rich do that a couple more times, and after one grouper too many he had to rerig.  Course I had a blank going and opted to hole jump his spot.  When I tossed in I had a whole lotta nothing going on.  I cast again , but this time I had a very subtle hit.  "Hey Rich check this out."  The rod was bouncing down about 4", so it was a bit to much for a threadfin to pull. "Whatcha think that is?  That's the weirdest bite. "  This went on for about 5-6 pops and I just kept thinking - whatever it is I'm going to land it.  I pulled just a touch up and then thwack - the subtle hit wasn't subtle any more.  The rod was arced over and as  drag started to peel, I grabbed the spool.  No way was I going to get hung up on rocks.  I yanked for all I was worth and then the rod just went limp.  I figured I was cut, but my hook came back and the line was fine. Hmmmm...whatever was thumping my bait just became lunch for something.  Reminded me of the Star Trek scene where Kirk was being chased...but I digress.
 
With the tide switching we decided to go get some more bait and sabiki'ed them up again in short order.
 
We found another "bunk" we felt comfortable in and set up again.  More of the same, pitch and wait, pitch and wait.  I opted to throw a third line out with a baitbuster under a cork - I put it waaaaaaayyyy out there so it wouldn't be in the way of our threadfins.  I figure more lines , more likelyhood of catching.  More of nothing happening...but such is early season bridge poon fishing.
 
The drama of waiting was cut with some antics.  I tried my poon dance, and switched hats.  Feeling the call of mother nature I opted to wiz in the bucket and not let them poon know that "man was near".  I figured if deer hunters don't give away their location, neither would I.  Yes...we were getting a bit desperate.  
 
20 more minutes went by and I figured this bucket of piss was just going to get in the way if we got on, so I dumped it over board.  60 seconds later Rich hollers over "Poon.  100 feet right in the eddie." 
 
5 more minutes go by and we're seeing some happy poon, and were switching out baits, but no action.  Only one thing left to do...go with the rally cap - invert the visor and wear it backwards.  "Rich I'm going with the rally cap and some more poon dancing.  Gotta get some good ju-ju going here." 
 
Rich cracked up...the poon dance is  a dance you might see after midnight at a frat party or at a Miley Cyrus concert (or so I've been told, because I've never partaken in such debauchery).  The rally cap just accentuated the effect.  Surely now the poon gods would smile upon us - especially after on the way back home the previous week we retrieved 4 wayward platic bottles from the bay.
 
Couple minutes later I tell Rich, "I sure hope that doesn't work, because I'll have to be peeing and dancing a lot."  Rich came up with the "good" idea of making scented lures if it works.  We'll call them "Piss Off!! or Pish on!" - yes this is what grown men do when awaiting Poonage.  Strange conversations arise...
 
Just them my thread did the proverbial "freak out" and next thing you know a solid thwack was arching my rod over.  The high visibility yellow 50# powerpro  was somewhat easy to see, but the situation did not look good.

Rich was cranking on his rod for all he was worth to get his bait onboard when he saw what I saw.  "Oh man...looks like he's going to go in between the pillars."  Course with the aforementioned bait buster still waaaaaaayyyy out there the situation looked dim for our heroes.  "Rich we gotta go!!"  Rich was cranking like hell on the bait buster now.  "Going to free spool him Rich."  However, at the last minute I opted to really loosen drag and hope for the best.  "Rich we gotta go NOW!!!!"  With the drag loosened drag was really screaming off now.   By Now Rich had started the boat, and had thrown the buoy.  We started backing down when I saw that the poon had headed towards the open ocean.  I tried to feather the drag, but it was screaming out so fast that my fingers got burned.

By now I was on the bow, and the situation was looking better.  I looked at  the spool and finally saw my competitor - a loooooooong way out there.  I'll go with 200-250 yards out.  With no backing on the Cabo 60 I believe I have about 400 yards of Powerpro, but boy did that spool look small.  "Rich we gotta chase this fish now - give me some gas."  Drag a bit more firmly applied, and speeding up we managed to get some line back on the reel.  

Several strong runs later, I applied some heat and Rich managed to get a pic with the rally cap employed.

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After another strong run I felt the fish was weakening, and I swapped the cap out to victory formation.

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You can barely see the newly acquired yellow CUSH-IT ROD BUTT/REST.  It beats digging in the rod into the gut for sure, but I'm not so sure how long it'll last.

Couple great jumps and some more strong runs I thought I had the fish whooped, but poon will give you the head fake, and after about 15-20 min this one was still pretty green.   The poon sounded more than once and Rich did a good job of backing off and giving me a good angle to get the fish moving again - pull that line across their back and they get to sprinting again. Fortunately I kept this one from gulping air and we put the smack down on the fish.  Interestingly I managed to catch this fish on the outside part known as the clipper.  This is the first one where I've done that, but it could certainly lead to a jigging debate if we were in Boca Grande.

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Fish leadered, I swapped out the rod with Rich and he tossed me the gloves so we could get some DNA.  

Three times we had the fish boatside and twice had my hand in it's mouth, but the fish wasn't ready to give up.  On the fourth retrieve I told Rich, "I'm holding the line this time.  I've had enough of this fish."  Sure enough the fish tail slapped the hull of the boat hard, soaked me, broke the line, and swam away strong.

Juices still flowing we hollered about it being the first fish of the year.  "That's what I'm talking about!!"

Rich gave me a thick 100# on the fish.  Big, but not a personal best.  Certainly a good way to get the juices flowing though.

Course, the annual tradition of "angler to get the first poon to the boat buys the beers" was fully enforced.  I went with the Oil Can Fosters, Rich went with the Miller Lite.

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I rounded out the night with the wifae at Fishhawk Pizza and ordered up a pitcher of beer and wings. I retold the story which she dutifully listened to, but I know she just doesn't quite get the obsession with poonage.  I suspect that escapes most people, but when you got the fever there's only one cure.
 



 

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Over the past couple years I've really been working on technique more than just landing the fish.  It's amazing the amount of heat your gear can apply. It used to take forever to get fish in - not any more.  When that fish stalls I pull left, right, or do something to make that fish move.   Anything but stay still

 

Occasionally on the bridge they'll sound - lately Rich and I we'll be on top of the fish and rev the engine up in neutral.  That normally gets 'em going.

 

A good angle really helps (hence the need for a good team mate).  He'll keep you in good position - I like to be about 30-50' away pulling right over their back.

 

At the end of the day we get the fish in quicker.  

 

Lately my axiom has been "One and done."  Meaning catch one fish for the season and for the rest of the season it's about pictures...I'm still missing that one shot with the elusive jump over the sun, angler in foreground.  I don't know if I'll ever get it, but I'll know it when I see it.  I remember that fish from the 90's...it was beyond a FL sportsman moment, it was surreal.

 

Regardless, the quest is on...where is my lance and where are those windmills?

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Well done man and thank you, its nice to get some Intel this wind has made scouting tough. Your dead on about fighting a tarpon if your worried about breaking one off your not fighting it hard enough.

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