My buddy, Ken Taylor of Nort Port, Fla., is a great spin angler. And he's one of the best when it comes to lures.
Taylor knows his plastic.
He can recite model and color numbers like a third-grader reciting the alphabet.
When we launched the kayaks this morning at Bishop Harbor, Taylor toted along a red-and-black backpack loaded with lures of every size, shape and color imaginable. He had jigs, plastic shrimp and jerk worms. He had topwater plugs, swimming mullet and spoons. If it wasn't in his back, he didn't need it.
I carried my share, too. However, I had a Rapala Skitter Walk tied onto a medium heavy spinning rod. From my past four or five trips to Bishop Harbor, I knew that's all I'd need during the first part of the incoming tide.
Action started out slow as we cast around mangrove islands on the east side of the harbor. I had a fish take a swipe at my plug twice, but I didn't connect. Finally, I hooked a fairly nice snook. I lost the fish after a jump, but it was action.
Meanwhile, Taylor was casting an artificial shrimp under a popping cork.
I caught three more snook on the topwater, a nice redfish and a couple of spotted seatrout. That's a slam.
Taylor couldn't solicit any interest in his shrimp-and-float combo.
When the topwater bite ended, we paddled out of Bishop Harbo and into southern Tampa Bay. We caught a number of small spotted seatrout and each lost nice bluefish at the boat. We also had shots at several small bonnethead shark.
We had to call it day earlier than usual and paddled back to the launch. We loaded the gear into the truck, then put the kayaks on the trailer.
"Next time, I'll start out with a topwater," said Taylor.
I'm sure he will.