Another dark and early morning on the way out to Americas aqua jungle. Getting through the gate before Wilma arrives, leaves my pocket with good company. Whatever is left after gas anyway. I don’t even think I had enough money to pay for park entrance if Wilma WAS there!
Today is just Kodak and I. We meet at the ramp to the outside. I unload my Jackson Cruise space ship which I will use to explore this outer space, floating. Zoned, quit talking to me. The mosquitos make quick work of the prep. As if they were holding Tastykakes on fishing poles in front of me! Unloaded, IM OUT!
The first action comes about 50 yards short of Tarpon Point. Kodak hooks up to a young tarpon on a little top water when his “walking the dog” turned into “Run That Dog”! After 4 or 5 jumps, one of which was almost a direct hit on his deck, the young one gets loose.
That was a good start to what would become a great day, and with no time wasted, more action! The flat is loaded with movement. Wakes and crashing everywhere. You can hear the drums bumping. I start nodding my head until I see more little tarpon rolling. I want one! With a quick burst from my after burners, I’m within distance to cast. Make my cast in front of the group, and a few short twitches, I’m hooked up! Could barely even feel the hit, but once I set the hook, I knew it was a nice fish. Some good head shaking, drag peeling, followed by a really nice jump, I get to moving, a good old fish tow! After a few more good runs, I close the distance. Thats when I realize what I thought was a young tarpon, is actually a realllly nice snook. Whoa! Finally net it, get the measurement and weight. 33.5 Inches and 11 lbs on the Manley. Now thats how I want to start the day!
After a few pictures, the fish is revived and swims off and it feels great. Even better, most of all the fish movement, has not moved! There’s still action all around us. This was a few days after some decent rain storms, so there was some good water moving around, which the fish really seemed to like. We didn’t have to paddle even half as far as we normally would, and there are fish EVERYWHERE. (and biting!!!!!)
Shortly after the snook release, I’m chasing after more little tarpon which are rolling everywhere. I made my way into a group of fish, looking to hook one. I make a cast to some better sized wakes in the group, and within seconds of the drop, I’m on! A great hit, really solid thump. I’m whipping my fishing pole all over the place trying to make sure I have a good hook set, on what I think is a tarpon. Once again I’m wrong. With no jumps, and some really strong runs, I get the fish near the cruiser to see its a solid redfish. 26 inches on the measuring board. Snap a few flicks and send it back on its way. This was the bigger of the 2 I landed this day.
By this time we see a few other kayakers around tarpon point, but that was about as far as they went. I hoped they kept coming out because this was one of the best days I have ever had or seen in Snake bight.
After those 2 solid fish, I’m back to trying for the, what has now become, “elusive tarpon”. I’m going for the slam at this point. I have had a few slams recently, so it’s fresh in the mind to go for it. Which really didn’t take long. Just more casting towards the path of rolling tarpon. This one smacks my lure right below the surface, giving a good splash. YOLK!!! I yank on my plasma to set the hook and know right away this could be my slam. The tarpon jumps several times, blending my raised eyebrows into my hair line. A missed scoop with the net, followed by a jump! My cheeks clench! Still on! Another missed scoop! COME ONNNN! Scoop, landed…….phew. Third time’s a charm kind of day I guess. Landed my slam fish, got some photos of the tarpon and let it loose. Didn’t get a measurement but I’d say it was in the 6-8 lb range. Fun one.
This has turned out to be a really great day in Flamingo.
But wait, there is more! After all that action, things started to die down a little on the flat. So with the little jack that I had saved for bait from earlier in the day, I make my way towards the channel. Take out the ol’ “just in case” shark rig, throw the jack into the channel and wait… Glad I didn’t run off to the bathroom, or to get some pop corn in the kitchen, because before I knew it, the show had started! Drag peeling! Give it some line! I think. I let it take about 50-70 yards of line before I came tight, and it was on!
After an interesting time trying to stake out and get anchored up. Paddling backwards, with a shark taking line off the bow, needing just a bit shallower water to get a good hold. With much cursing, I finally get staked out and can start bringing this thing in. This was my first or 2nd time with my Spinfisher V 6500 out here, so I’m still getting used to it. One thing I can tell you without question is, this thing has drag! There was twice where the shark almost pulled me off my kayak. First time was pretty scary, to which I clicked off some pressure, right after that the 2nd time came, to which I was leaning over the side like WHOA! Let me take a few more clicks off!!!
Finally get the shark in. It was black tip in the 4-5 ft range, great fight, and beautiful fish. Those things look great really cool. Way better than ugly lemons. What a great way to end the day, nice snook, a couple nice redfish, and fun little tarpon, and a great shark fight. I think a tow in from Kodak was deserved, and man was that nice, my arms were tired!
BUT WAIT!!! I know you wish it was over. (Unless your reading this at work or bored) But I have one more fish I may as well add on while we are all here! This one was from the following day.
After the previous day being so productive, I had to venture out there by myself to try my luck again. I have never seen Snake bight how it was, with so many fish moving around, just being happy! Eating, making music, banging them drums, crashing the surface. Beautiful. And within such a close distance! We didn’t even have to cross the channel, or pass the tree. Everything was right there!
The next day was very similar, a bit quieter, but still plenty of movement, and young tarpon rolling. Just wanted to take a short trip so I decide to head towards the channel to anchor up right on the edge of the drop off and just wait for these schools of tarpon to roll by.
Current is moving pretty good and the fish are rolling my way. Backs, nothing, backs, tails, backs, nothing, backs, tails, cast, pause, twitch, pause, twitch, BAM! I don’t know how that ton of bricks kept hidden in that shallow water, but it hit my lure HARD! The fight is on! Some good head shakes on the surface, I’m still thinking I got a little tarpon until I see the side of the fish as it rolls over. NICE snook!
It took line on a few decent runs, but I try to make quick work of these bigger fish and get them in the net as a catch ASAP. Especially along the channel. Never know when that 9 ft shark that just swam under you, picks up on signals from a struggling fish and comes to collect. Got the snook in, measured at 32 inches, weighed on the Manley at 10lbs.
That was it for the follow up day, and I couldn’t complain about only getting one fish. I make my way back in and all I can think about is, “I was just out here the last 2 days pre fishing, catching everything. I hope I can continue when this kayak tournament starts in a week”.
-Superduper PA J