April 03, 2013
Adrian Gray, whose photography has previously been featured on Sportsman HD, is a writer, painter, photographer and media production coordinator for the International Game Fish Association.
“About 15 years ago while studying at the University of Miami,” say Gray of his shot of a redfish under water,” I was volunteering my time at U. of M.'s Rosenstiel School of Marine Science Experimental Redfish Hatchery. Then, Hatchery Manager Tom Capo was trying to reintroduce redfish back into Biscayne Bay since they had virtually disappeared for a number of possible reasons, perhaps due to changes in the Bay's water patterns and the amount of fresh water entering the Bay. South Bay guides Jimmy Hixon and Dave Sutton fished the west side of Biscayne Bay regularly and caught them on occasion in the early 2000s. From then on I wanted to catch one too, and I spent countless days fishing the western side and only had one confirmed opportunity in 2005 on a nice fish we pulled from a big school near Black Point Marina. That fish unfortunately was sharked and since then we had never come across them again. Recently, in December 2012, while bonefishing the Cutter Bank area of South Bay we intercepted a small school of bonefish working a mangrove edge. One of the fish in the school looked odd and was bigger by comparison. Friend Alexy Milian called it a redfish straight off the bat and I second guessed him, thinking, “No way, not on the eastern side of the bay.” Luckily, the bigger fish ate the shrimp I tossed ahead of them. The fish put up an incredible fight, perhaps because it thought it was a bonefish. Seeing that in fact it was a redfish, I was ecstatic. I had always wanted to catch a redfish in Biscayne Bay since the days I was volunteering at the hatchery. I took a couple of photos with Alex and the fish and released it near the mangroves where I followed it with an underwater camera to capture a few images and to make sure it swam off healthy. Sometimes it's not how many fish we catch that makes a good day of fishing but it's the meaning of a single catch that makes it much more memorable and worthwhile.”
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