Bag Full of Jacks

Bag Full of Jacks

It’s Friday!  I have the day off and my good friend Bass was in from out of town on a mission.  Surprising his girlfriend. Who is in town celebrating her birthday, was first on his list.  I’m just glad I’m on the inside for this. So, knowing of his upcoming trip, we decided to get out fishing.  His last visit didn’t lend us a day to take out the kayaks, and the local trip was a dud.  At least that means whatever we do, it should easily top anything we did previously.  Starting with the weather, it’s looking good!  It’s been really nice lately despite the “chance of rain” predictions and wind.  The sky has been beautiful, and today is no different.  Calm enough to get on the yaks, with a tide that should be in our favor.

We decided on Flamingo, early. No different than any usual trip. Even though Bass slept over to get that early start, we did manage to get out the door a little bit late.  Luckily, we still made it through the gate in time to spare me the $13 dollars.

Bass and I arrive to find Kodak and Bently’s kayaks are already unloaded, loaded, and ready to go. We had to act quick unloading our stuff, to help free them from the mosquito death swarms.  They are bad. They move in waves. Yet, they are always there.  Trick is to just keep moving.

We get on the water juuuuust before the sun rises, and it’s looking good.  We are moving quick enough to keep most of the mosquitos locked in a swarm behind our backs, with a few stray buggers in your face and around your ears buzzing.  I HATE mosquitos.  What are they good for? They just fly around and suck.  Your blood gets poisoned if you get smoked by a lucky strike from a positive carrier.  Can’t stand them.

Excuse me,  there are fish busting on bait all through the water up ahead!  So I speed up and leave those bugs in their wave, catch a ride on the next one, to then soak in the next swarm, waiting still trying to zero in on the last fish movement I saw.  The only thing to make you quickly forget about the bugs, is seeing some bait splash or fighting a fish.  Quickly enough, I’m smacking myself in the head swatting them away.

In between my swings I manage to throw my skitterwalk a good 20 yards next to the mangroves where I saw the last bit of movement. Walking the dog at a steady pace, I jerk my head to the side like I’m having a seizure, this is to get the mosquito out of my face.  I’m sure a lot of us know this technique.  It can be dangerous, pull a muscle or something, so you have to take care or, BAM, my lure gets slammed!  My Plasma is bent, my blood pressure spikes and drag is peeling!  I try to stake out, but the water is too deep for my pole.  I’m thinking it’s a snook the way it has me on a high speed collision course with the mangroves!  Oh yeah, I’m gonna lose this fish!  ZING!! Phew!  It changes direction and the line is peeling off through the open water, where I finally get the fish near my yak and see it’s a redfish.  A NICE red at that. Landed, in the net. Great way to start the day with a 31″, 10# red.  I’ve been trying to get a redfish over 30 inches at Flamingo for 2 years now!! 2 years!  I’m finally a believer that not ALL of the reds in or near Snake Bight are slot fish.

After peeling my mosquito jacket off and continuing the paddle to the channel, I spot some movement nearby.  Fish are on the go, wakes all over the place.  A lot of bait, but you can tell some are definitely fish that we were looking for.  I toss out my root beer holographic DOA shrimp in front of my next target and get tapped in!  I could tell it was a little snook right away with the strike/jump combo.  A few more jumps and I had it landed.  23 inch snook isn’t too bad.  Had me already thinking about a slam.  Bad idea, as I didn’t catch anything else to make that happen.

Shortly after my snook, I look up and see Bently has his fishing rod bent over and can hear the drag clicking line off.  I can tell its a decent fish whatever it is.  No need to wonder for too long when I hear, “It’s a black drum”.   A nice one too, 21 inches, perfect for dinner, beautiful specimen.

While all this was happening, a few hundred yards away, Kodak is hooking up with redfish, followed by a nice 29″ snook.  I could tell it was decent the way it was taking line and breaking the surface further, then further away from his kayak.

Not many fish were biting on the flat so Bass and I staked out just off the channel, casting. I hook up to a little ladyfish, which comes at a perfect time.  I rig up some steel leader, hook up the freshly injured bait and toss it out there.  I’d like to see Bass get on a shark, and it doesn’t take long.

First shot was a miss, got the drag peeling, but it only took a bite.  Swapped out the left over ladyfish head with a half of a jack.  We had a trash bag full of jacks so there was no chance of running out.  Tossed the bait out there and waited.  I’d say it took about 7 minutes before the drag sounded again.  Bass let it take out a bit of line before coming tight on it.  The little Lemon shark took some line, but it wasn’t much of a challenge to wrangle it close to the kayaks.  A decent 4 footer, good way to start it off.  We quickly released it back into the channel and loaded up another jack.  Tossed it back into the channel, which was really moving, dragging the bait right along the channel edge about 40 yards down current.  Once again, it didn’t take more than 5 minutes to hook up again.  This time was different.  Bass let it take some line before going for the hook set, and it wasn’t leaving slow.

The shark quickly got down past my top shot, onto the braid.  Okay, time to tighten up.  He came tight on the shark and it wasn’t happy. Strong head jerks had the rod tip all over the place.  It’s a big one, and it’s still taking line. After a 10 minute battle with a tight drag, we could finally see the shark breaking the surface near by.  Looks like another Lemon, which is no surprise.  I’d say around 6 feet, and I don’t know weight estimates of sharks, but I’d say more than 200 pounds.  We tried to get a decent photo, which isn’t easy with a shark more than half as big as your kayaks.  Then we released it.  Bass was beat.  Those things are strong.

Not much longer after that battle, we started to head back in since we didn’t have all day out there.  I’d say it was a pretty good day for us all. We all caught fish, it was a beautiful day, out in the middle of nowhere. Us and Mother Nature at her finest.  Surprising to us, there were not very many boats out in Snake Bight that day, which made it even that much more intimate between us as and Mother Nature.  A much better fishing trip than last time, one to remember. A great success.

-Superduper PA J


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