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The Classic Slam and the Silver King!



 

It's that time of year again! When the water warms up and our silver sided fighters flock through our water with other overgrown species coming up on the flats, one of the best times of year! The first experience I want to share involves launching the 'yaks in some local Port St Lucie waters where I knew tarpon were pushing through, usually at the same time every year. As my friend Jean McElroy and I paddled we almost immediately had some rollers, just feet from the kayaks, but like normal tarpon behavior, snubbed their noses at our offers. We made our way to a spillway where bigger tarpon were rolling but all I could manage was a baby snook from under a dock. As the wind started to pick up we were forced to find shelter in narrow canals where we could actually spot rollers, small, but appeared everywhere out of the blue. I was able to get a bite with a Gulp crab, letting it sink slowly, hoping the scent would attract, but the first hookup and jump was by Jean, followed by an excited hoot and holler. Immediately I switched over to a DOA shrimp, which she had luck with and also jumped a juvenile, but quickly shook it off. Not long after, Jean was able to keep one on the line and I was able to get some GoPro stills from the film!



 

The second trip worth sharing was an outing in Stuart with a whole crew of kayaks, including my friend Nestor who had asked if I would take him kayak fishing for the first time. It was great to relive the time when I first started, watching him learn to balance then getting confident enough to gain speed, casting distance, and properly working the baits. It was an evening trip and all different sorts of bait had pushed up in the shallow flat on an outgoing tide. Mullet were scattering as minnows were bouncing up out of the water - you could tell there were predators on the hunt. It felt like every cast should have gotten a hit but surprisingly the bite was slow, although with quality. As I hooked up to a hefty fish throwing a Logic Lure from about fifty feet away, the fish pushed to the top of the water, gave me a few good head shakes, and rolled over, flopping it's wide tail and girthy body out of the water, probably one of my biggest trout ever! Unfortunately, a few seconds later I felt my line go limp and let out a frustrating howl.

My friend Russ was throwing a long 6" rubber with paddle tail, and at one point I watched him hook up. As he was reeling it in I saw a wake some behind his small trout and I yelled over to him, "shark!" As he carefully got the fish closer he felt a thump on the line and the bigger fish apparently swallowed the trout and took off for a nice run. A minute or two later he got it close enough to yell "it's a big trout!" Yep, I have heard it happen before, a >28" trout came up and inhaled the smaller trout, meanwhile luckily hooking up to the bigger one and landing it - what an awesome site to see!







 

As I helped Nestor spot where some fish were feeding I hooked up to a mid-sized trout that put up a good fight, a few casts later and he was reeling in his first trout. Smiles all around!

It was one of the most beautiful sunsets I have seen on the water, light rays fanning out of the clouds, and made for a perfect background setting for next fish that Jean showcased. Mullet had started to get tossed around by some goliath size snook that I was able to site cast to but no takers with a topwater. The next thing I hear is Jean again, yelling away and having her kayak spin around in circles as the 38" snook took off with a, you guess it, curly tail DOA. It was too good of an opportunity to snap some good pics but as we could hear the bait getting hammered in the background, quickly we released the big girl and tossed some more plugs until the sun set. I would say less than five casts later some more shouts came from her kayak with the sweet sound of drag peeling off her Ci4. Dumbfounded by not getting any explosions from the topwater, I put away the rod and got out the camera yet again to take her picture. It was getting pretty old being her personal photographer! As she held up a beauty redfish, I took a few quick ones before it was time to head in and talk about the quality catches we had got in just a few hours of floating on the water. Another great time with good friends!







 

 




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