Last week, fishing was great! Catching was below average but the fishing was great. How is this so? Great fishing is not about what you catch but who you go fishing with. If you are spending the day with people that you enjoy, then catching a fish is simply a bonus. The day is already great.
On Wednesday and Friday, I fished with friends that I have not seen for a long time. On both days, we fished the afternoon falling tide. The weather was warm and windy. So, windy that fishing in the Wando was not a good option. We fished sub-optimal locations that were out of the wind. The Trout bite was steady casting Z-Man Finesse TRD lures on 1/5-ounce NedLockZ jigs to creek mouths and submerged oyster bars. We caught some Trout. More importantly, we caught up. We joked. We laughed. We reconnected. Yes, those were great days of fishing!
On Saturday, Elliott and my brother Dave joined mw for our first offshore trip of the season. Seas were calm and the 50-mile run to the 30-fathom curve was easy. Upon arrival, we deployed our trolling spread of rigged Ballyhoo and began working towards a temperature break a bit further out. After a few minutes, a school of Bonito crashed our baits. Not the target species but they were good practice for us. After releasing the Bonito and resetting our trolling spread, our movement to the temperature break resumed. Soon as we hit the break, we started catching Mahi. Most were smaller and released but we kept a couple of larger specimens for dinner.
To keep the 50-mile ride back to the harbor interesting, we always stop at some ledges in 100 to 125 feet of water and vertical jig with Shimano Flat Fall jigs. This usually produces a few bottom fish for the table. With Grouper and Red Snapper season closed, our target was big Amber Jack. They did not disappoint. After releasing several in the 30-to-40-pound range, our arms were tired. With 30-miles yet to run, we left them biting and headed for home.
If you want to have a great fishing trip, gather the people you care about and go. You may not catch any fish, but you will have a great day.
Pro Tip Number 128 is to always keep hair products on your boat. You never know when you may encounter the catch of a lifetime and you want to look your best in the selfie. Case in point, a few evenings ago it was super windy and a bit cool. Not the best conditions for targeting Trout with a top water lure. However, given the choice of doing yard work or going fishing, I selected the latter. Without much preparation, I jumped in the boat and headed out. As I drove to my fishing spot, the sun was low on the horizon and I was struggling to see due to the glare on the water. About then I realized I had forgotten my hat. Shortly thereafter, I realized that I had left my top water lures at the dock.
Pro Tip Number 129 is to always prepare before going fishing. Pro Tip Number 130 is to always leave a bunch of stuff on the boat just in case you forget 129. Pro Tip Number 130 saved the trip because I found a Zara Spook Junior (top water lure) in the Pathfinder’s tackle locker. After tying the lure on, I made a cast to a series of shallow oyster bars with deeper channels between them. Trout like to hang out in the channel and ambush baitfish that stray too far from the safety of the oyster bar. Without a hat, the glare made it difficult to see the Zara Spook. Undeterred, I began a slow twitch, twitch, pause retrieve. When the lure hit the channel, I was startled by a huge explosion and dead weight at the end of my line. At first, I thought a Trout and struck the lure and then gotten it stuck on the oyster bar. But then, my line started to move. Fish on and it was a big one. The battle was epic on 8-pound class spinning tackle. For several minutes, the outcome was in doubt. Eventually, a large Redfish came to the boat.
After the hard-fought battle, the Redfish was exhausted. So, I quickly took a selfie and began to revive it in the water. It took a few minutes for the big fish to regain its strength, but it healthily swam away. For a few minutes, I just stood there and savored the moment. Then, it was time to look at the pictures.
Pro Tip Number 131 is to always look at the pictures before releasing the fish. Clearly, I had forgotten Pro Tip Number 128!