Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Should have been here yesterday

The cliche has been around as long as fishing has been a viable sport. But, yes, we should have been there yesterday. Or was it the day before?

For reasons unknown to fishing guides and boy scouts, the fish weren't on a feed when I joined my friend Pete Greenan on a trip to Charlotte Harbor.

We launched his Maverick HPX flats skiff at Uncle Henry's at Boca Grande shortly after daylight and headed for the backcountry. Our plan was to cast for some large snook that Pete ( had located a few days earlier. He said one of his clients, a former touring bass pro, had caught and released eight slot-size snook on topwater plugs around mangrove islands in Bull Bay.

Gasparilla Sound was calm as we headed toward Bull Bay. A beautiful sunrise greeted us as we neared the mangrove backcountry.

When Pete pulled back on the throttle and eased the skiff toward the flat, it was evident something was amiss. There were no mullet, no stingrays, bait or other life. I cast a topwater plug for about five minutes with no result.

That scenario played out over the next few spots. Finally, off a mangrove island in Bull Bay, we found a few fish. I hooked several, but lost each. I managed a 20-inch red on a Rapala Skitter Walk. That's when I decided to grab the fly rod and cast a Gartside Gurgler.

The fish weren't interested in the fly.

"Something's changed today," said Pete. "I know that we had a front move through. Could be high pressure. It'd different, for sure."

We added a few spotted seatrout over the next couple of hours. We were back at the dock at 1 p.m. and headed home.

"Great day," said Pete.

I agreed.

It's not always about the catch. It's about nature, friendship and fun.

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