Karen is better on the net than with the iPhone camera. Yes, that is her finger, upper left.
Sunday was so cold we didn’t want to venture out on the water. Not that I am a fair-weather-fisherman. But since living in Florida I’ve come to learn that 90% of the 365 days in a year are really nice. So I have 328.5 days (90% of 365) every year that I can go fishing and be warm and comfortable. Why would I go on an off day?
So we waited for the days to warm, the sun to come out and the tides to be right. Today the tides were coming in very hard from about 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM which I thought would really turn on the fish and the temperature was supposed to top out at 84 degees with a gentle breeze, perfect! But, while the weather was really nice, it was a very slow day of fishing. I got about 8 fish in the boat. Except for one I’ll describe later, the largest was a 10 inch catfish. A few mangrove snapper, the biggest was only 9 inches and a bunch of really tiny sheapshead.
But, to save the day, to make it all worthwhile, the second fish in the boat was a 23 inch black drum. That’s a nice fish. I called for the net just seconds after hooking it. No mistaking it for a little fish. I even predicted a big black drum before we got a look at it. They have a way of picking up the bait slowly and moving off slow and steady. Then they stay low, next to the bottom when you’re fighting them in and finally put on a last strong effort as they near the boat and you try to bring them up to the net.
Karen was perfect with the net and properly and verbally impressed when the fish came into view. It was another nice, warm, sunny, quiet day on the water and we’ll enjoy a nice fish meal, probably two. Who could ask for anything more?
Slow day for fishing. Plenty of action once the tide turned in but very small fish. I caught croaker, mangrove snapper, catfish, redfish and black drum but only a single snapper was legal and I let it go because it was late in the day and it didn’t seem worth bring home one 11 inch snapper. So no fish dinner tonight.
The black drum was 12-1/4 inches, legal is 14 inches, the reds were all less than 16 inches, legal is 18.
I had pinfish that I caught at a local canal before we went out and I hooked something very large on that but never got to see what it was. My first thought was a big snook because it was moving so fast. But we kept seeing these big swirls in the glassy calm water and I wonder if a small tarpon might have been what ate my pinfish. I think it had to be one or the other, or a shark?
Anyway, it was a really beautiful day. Tides were running late so we had a drink and took the above selfie before heading home under the setting sun. For those reading from the cold north, our weather has been perfect. Lows in the upper 50’s or low 60’s with highs in the low 80’s every day, including today. I nice light breeze and dry air with a bright blue sky with just a few puffy, white clouds. Who needs fish!
October 4, 2014
We kept a bunch of croaker and a few 11-12″ mangrove snapper. But fishinf was overall rather slow.
October 11, 2014
We went out with Monty and Kathy, friends that live down the canal from us. We took their boat, which is a little bit bigger and much more powerful than ours. We ran out into Charlotte Harbor, marker #1. Then down a little to Charlotte Harbor Reef and then over to the 20 ft hole. We caught piles of catfish and sail cats with about 4 small whiting. I put one of the smaller catfish on a big hook on my Penn Liveliner and let it swim around in all 3 locations all day long but nothing wanted it.
It was a fun day anyway. Quiet and sunny. Tide was outgoing all day.
Left to right Karen, Kathy and Monty
October 18, 2014
Just Karen and I again. First fish in the boat after only 15 minutes was a 20″ redfish. Great start right? But the fishing was extremely slow after that. Tiny snapper, redfish, catfish and croaker. It took hours to use up my 5 dozen shrimp and I think I fed a lot of crabs. But the last fish in the boat was a 19″ redfish, so with the 2 nice reds we had a couple nice meals. The day was beautiful, nice breeze with bright sunny sky.
As it has been for a few days now the weather was threatening rain. And we have gotten a lot of it, 4 inches on Saturday. So the tubes are running. The tubes, for anyone that doesn’t know Florida, are the drains from the gullies on the sides of all Florida streets that eventually drain out to the canals, Myakka River and finally the ocean. When we get enough rain to flood empty lots and any low land the tubes can run for days after the rain and the water carries with it a lot of tiny wildlife, like frogs, polywogs, bugs, worms, tiny fresh water fish and anoles.
Well snook love most of those creatures, so they pile up at the tubes and fight over the feast. If you sit and watch a tube you can see them popping the water to suck up the poor creature pouring into the canal. Throw the right lure in there, most are right, and you’ll probably catch a snook with every cast. So we fished the tubes on our way out. I got about 18-20 snook. The biggest was only about 23 inches so none for supper, they have to be between 28 and 33 inches to keep.
So we were a while getting down to our normal fishing hole. And before we got anchored the rain started coming down hard. And with the little wind we were getting wet, even under our bimini top. So we ran over to a nearby bridge and tied up there. Fishing was slow, only one snapper for the hour or so we had to wait. But it was a good time for lunch and then the storm moved on and the sun came out.
We went back to our normal spot and did pretty well. Lots of snapper a few redfish, sheepshead and catfish. We did bring home enough for supper. A 20” red and 4 snapper 11-13”.
Got out on Sunday. We heard there was a lot of bait in the Charlotte Harbor so we ran right out there to marker 9. Didn’t find any bait but a lot of lady fish hitting small bait with birds diving into them. So I put a few into the cooler and we headed over to the west wall.
Anchored at the edge of a point where the tide was racing over a flat and put out shrimp and some chunked lady fish. I got this nice 24 inch redfish on a chunk of lady fish. Also a 30 inch or so blacktip shark. Other than that it was pretty slow. Bait kept racing across the flat with schools of something chasing them. I couldn’t tell what they were. Some looked like ladyfish but others were larger and heavier. I did see a snook, about 30-35″ cruise across the flat and I got him to chase a Gulp but he wouldn’t pick it up.
I tried this new recipe on the redfish and it was really good so I thought I’d share it.
1/4 cup tequila
1/4 cup lime juice
1/4 lime, zest of
1/8 cup hot sauce
1/2 tbls garlic powder
1/2 tbls onion powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tbls pepper
1/8 cup brown sugar
Cut the fillets into serving sizes, I got about 6 out of the 2 fillets. Then blacken with Blackening Seasoning in a VERY HOT cast iron pan. If you are not familiar with blackening Google it. I use coconut oil in place of butter. Remove from frying pan after about 1 minute per side. Then put it on the grill on medium heat.
Brush the sauce on top of each fillet and add rosemary on the flavor plates for smoke. As smoke subsides turn the fillets and brush again with the sauce. Repeat as smoke subsides, I turn them about 4 times.
Keeping grill lid closed as much as possible. Should take about 20 minutes to finish cooking the fish.
It was very good. A bit on the spicy side, which is what we like, but you could cut the hot sauce in half if you don’t like it hot! We had leftovers the next night so this one fish, with grilled potatoes and grilled star fruit served 2 people 2 excellent meals. A glass of Pino Grigio went really well with this meal.
I know this is way out of order. But since I’m making the attempt to keep this blog up to date I just had to add this story from back in May. My Mom and I went out to our favorite spot in the canal and there was a bunch of big black drums feeding. We got a bunch, I don’t remember how many but we had a wonderful supper of grilled black drum that night. I think my Mom caught at least 3 and if I remember, and this is hard for me to say, she caught the biggest of the day.
As you can tell by the smile, we had a lot of fun! Anyone that ever caught a big black drum on very light tackle will understand the smile.
Love you Mom!
Happy New Year Everybody!
It’s been an unbelievably wonderful January. Mid to upper 80’s every day. So we invited Tom and Patty, our neighbors for an afternoon fishing trip.
Left the dock about 11:30 and just poked our nose out into the Myakka to show Patty where we were. It was very windy so we decided to stay in the canal for fishing. We’ve been doing better there anyway.
Everybody caught fish but I definitely had the luckiest day with 4 nice black drum from 16 to 23 inches. A lot of small drum were caught too, I’d say we got about 6 or 7 in the 10 to 12 inch range that we thru back. Patty caught a nice snapper about 12 inches. A funny story about that.
I was helping her get the snapper off the hook when my pole, in the pole holder, doubled over. I knew instantly it was another nice black drum. With all thought of the snapper in my hand gone, I ran for the pole to catch my drum. I was told later that I’d tossed that snapper, still hooked, at Patty. I guess I was thinking, suddenly, it was her fish she could unhook it. Sorry Patty. But I did get the very nice black drum. I have good fishing instincts but my manners could use some work.
Tom had a nice black drum right up to the boat. We got a good look at it once and then, just as it seemed we’d get it into the net the hook popped out of the water, empty. I was holding the net so I guess it was my fault. Everyone agreed on that. Charter Captains just do not make enough money!
We had a great day, fish for supper and enough left for another package in the freezer for a rainy day. If we ever get a rainy day!
The weather has been just perfect so we picked up a few dozen shrimp, our neighbor Tom and got in the bat about 1:30 PM. Hit several favorite spots in or canal system and finally found a school of black drum. Bimini and Julie hit the spot before us and did even better than we did. When we puled up along side them they were unhooking a rather large black drum, I’ll guess about 23 inches. They had both had shrimp out and that big drum ate both of their shrimp and was hooked, inside the mouth, with both their hooks. Can’t say I’ve ever seen that happen before.
They went home to clean fish and left a few black drum for us. We ended up with 1 big sail cat, 2 sheepshead about 13″ each, 1 almost 13″ mangrove snapper and 4 drum from 15″ to 18″. We got about 6 redfish but the biggest was about 14-15″. A good day. I was cleaning fish by oil lantern. Time to hook up some lights over my fish cleaning table. Although the burning oil did seem to keep the mosquitoes away.
The weather got so nice this morning we decided to buy a couple dozen shrimp and get on the water for a couple hours. We stayed in the canal and hit a few of our favorite spots.
Within 10 minutes we had our first redfish in the boat. It was small and the 6 we got over the next few hours ranged from 15″ to just under 17.” No dinner there but fun to catch anyway.
But we did get dinner when the black drum turned on. We got 5 total but only 2 were keeper sized 15″ and 16″. And one oddball sheepshead was 13″ so into the cooler it went. We did get a few snapper but they were all very small, around 8″ And no junk fish at all, I did get a blue crab to hold on until it was over the deck of the boat.
A nice day out, fish for dinner!
I think I need a new photgrapher — 22″ redfish — Photo courtesy of Karen!
I haven’t been faithful in posting my fishing trips. I’ve been out only a couple times since my last posted, 8/13/12 trip but they were rather boring trips anyway. I was out one day with Bim in the fresh water canals of North Port. We brought 3 largemouth bass home and let a few small ones go. Then a very early trip out in the dark with Karen. We left the dock about 4 AM and made our way out to Bob’s Point by the light of the full moon. Exciting, but we caught nothing important until we got back into the canal where we got a nice black drum and a couple big croaker. Enough for a meal with leftovers for fish sandwiches for the next day’s lunch.
But this trip was very exciting. We stayed in the canal and fished several different spots on the falling tide. One small mangrove snapper just over 10″, I would have let him go but he would not have survived anyway, and a 15″ black drum.
But, when the tide turned in we headed for the pole (code for those unfamiliar with canal jargon) and that’s when the fun started. When the smoke cleared we had another snapper over 12″, another black drum about 16″ and 2 redfish, 19″ & 22″. I nice day of fishing. There were a lot of other stuff between the keepers, sting ray, catfish and a nice (20″ is my guess) redfish that got off 8 feet short of the boat.
The weather is perfect here now. Mid 50’s at night and low 80’s in the afternoons. There was a light breeze and big fluffy clouds in a bright blue sky. I’m going to try harder to get out more often to bring you more stories. Somebodies got to do it. Right?