The day had an incoming tide, four of us launched into the dark with only moonlight guiding our path, and the relaxing feeling of knowing you’re back on the water started to fill my spirit again. Our goal was to find these reds that have been moving south and had an idea of where they were at but didn’t know exactly. A mile paddle brought us up to some bait and out launched some topwater plugs to start the morning, can’t get any better than to see a nicely worked topwater in the morning! A few small blowups from jacks and bluefish got the blood pumping almost immediately.
Amongst these little fish were some men in grey suits, which after we counted throughout the day, was a new record at seven. I was definitely not getting out of the kayak and wading much that day. After a few more casts with the topwater I thought I had a trout on as it started to reel in casually, when all of a sudden it thrashed violently in the opposite direction and out of the water came a sleek, tall dorsal fin. My first shark on topwater! After it knew it was hooked, my reel started singing a sweet tune for a few seconds until my line went limp, getting cut off. At about the same time, my friend Paul Phipps, also hooked a shark on a topwater plug perfectly in the corner of the mouth – we didn’t see him for over an hour as he fought it for a few miles and won the battle, but wisely cut the line instead of trying to get the lure back.
After bumming out a little that I had lost one of my favorite topwater lures with some fresh VMC hooks, we made our way on to search for some redfish. Moving along, there was plenty of mullet and minnows filling the flats, but all I saw and experienced for predator fish were jacks – which are fun, just wasn’t our goal for the day. We met up with Florida Sportsman Internet Associate, Chris Collins, who said he had gotten into some early morning redfish in his secret spot, but could not follow where they eluded to. As our convoy of kayaks drifted on, we ran into a slot red along some mangroves, under slot snook in a pothole, surprisingly no trout, but still no schools of bronze beauties.
As time went on and the sun got higher, we decided to start calling it a day and started to head back in. You know those times when you really don’t want to head in and you keep casting? As I was standing up while just admiring a beautiful day, I saw a good sized redfish dart towards the back of my kayak! Flipping a no look, behind-the-back pitch, which usually never gets picked up (especially with redfish), I felt a nice snap on my line but no hookup. Letting the lure drop back down to look like its retreating for the grass, it instantly gets picked back up again and a fish is on! Taking a nice run and twisting my kayak around I knew a beauty was on the line. The water was clear enough where I could see two to three more redfish start fighting over my lure! A few seconds later, an amazing first time sight for me, about thirty redfish, with big jacks mixed in, started to dart and move in every direction, it was like a bees nest had been stirred up. Quickly I started yelling to the kayak crew to throw in my direction, trying to give the best instructions I could since I could stand up and see where they were. It was just insane!
I landed a fat twenty five inch redfish, one of the biggest bellies I had seen on a red, what a beautiful fish. Since my friend Russel Loucks makes a killer redfish sandwich, I put him on the stringer and off we go to chase the school, which quickly eludes us.
Returning for a night bite, we find the school again. It was necessary to have a scented bait, such as this Logic Lures jerkbait, to entice them to eat in the dark amongst the grass.
After about twenty minutes of searching, Paul finds them again, casts out, instantly hooking up. As I peddle over and throw my lure, it wasn’t in the area where I thought the fish were, so quickly reeling in, making it skip on the surface, I see mouths just open up on the bait, a few redfish and a jack that could be seen clearly. After gasping and wide eyed, I let it set for a milli-second and BOOM, fish on!
The fish quickly pulls me past Paul, who hooks up to a nice keeper red as well as Russ, triple hookup! After reeling in my fish after a good fight, I ended up grabbing one of the jacks that were mixed in with the school of reds. This was one of those days where you could literally do nothing wrong, they were hitting on any type of bait, any color, and any type of presentation – only if every day was like that!
After some big smiles and a stringer full to bring home, we finally called it a day. It was Paul’s second time on the water in a kayak, so I was glad he had a good time and hopefully he will be back on the water in one soon. If you haven’t considered going fishing out of a kayak it can be a relaxing and fun time! If we weren’t in the kayaks, I don’t think we would have found the school because we would have simply started the boat and headed straight for the launch, not “stumbling” into them from the slow yet soothing aspect of kayak fishing.
Enjoy the video!