I was after snook, spotted seatrout and redfish. Those are the eligible species for our Fall Fly Fishing Challenge on Saturday.
So, I launched my Native Watercraft Ultimate 14.5 and hit Bishop Harbor at about 7:15 this morning. No need to be on the water before dawn. Our captains' meeting is scheduled at 6:30 on Saturday and we can't leave for our destination until after it's over.
This morning was awesome. A heavy fog blanketed Bishop Harbor as I paddled to the northeast side. I had a mullet imitation tied on my 8-weight and a Super Hair Clouser on the 6. My plan was to cast for redfish and snook, then hit the trout.
I found a good snook early. The fish hit about 30 feet out from a mangrove island in about 18 inches of water. I knew it was a formidable fish. First thing it did was run for the mangroves, pulling me and the kayak with it.
I back-paddled to get the fish away from the trees and had the snook under control in just a few minutes. Turned out to be a large snook than I first thought. I estimated it at 30 inches as I was getting ready to release it. I later caught a smaller snook on the same fly.
Before I got out of Bishop Harbor, I found plenty of small seatrout around grass patches. I caught and released 15 or so, then headed out into Tampa Bay where I hoped to find a few redfish on sand bars.
Redfish were scarce. I caught several more trout and saw a few snook. But the reds eluded me.
Seems to always be that way in this tournament. I won the Trout Division one year and won the Snook Division twice. One year I did managed a slam (snook, trout and redfish), but the red was tiny. It's the only redfish I've taken in this event.
Maybe tomorrow I'll find a few hungry reds?