November 15, 2012
Esteban with a snook to round out his slam.
I have been out of the kayak fishing game for a while due to a death in the family. Recently, my good friend Esteban (FS forum member Capt. Blackbeard) talked me into getting out to fish. We went to a local spot and he informed me that we would only be using topwater bait. I am always up for a challenge so I dusted off my Zara Spook Jr. in bone and laughed when I saw him tying on the same lure. I commented that the fish were not going to have much to choose from.
The water was somewhat milky in the area we wanted to fish, so the bone color was a good choice. In clearer water we may have chosen a shiny chrome color or something similar. The great thing about using topwater lures is they make a lot of noise so even if a fish doesn't see it, it will hear it. “Chugging” type lures have the same effect by causing deep gulping sounds that are similar to a large fish gulping down a baitfish at the surface. The Spook, and other similar lures have rattles the create lots of noise during a “walk the dog” retrieval. Either of these types work well for any predatory fish.
Right, Esteban with a nice topwater redfish.
The morning started off promising with trout. We simply casted out in open water about 3 to 5 feet deep and the fish began blowing up on the surface. Many times, fish will inexplicably hit the surface up to two feet away from the lure. Eventually they zeroed in on the lure and we had fish on. The important thing was to keep the retrieval steady until the fish got the lure. Any variation or stopping caused the fish to leave the bait.
As the tide began to rise, Esteban and I started working the shoreline. Almost instantly, he hooked into a slot-sized redfish. Redfish love topwater lures and it truly is a very exciting thing to see a redfish crush a lure on the surface. I commented to Esteban that it would be a very cool thing to slam on topwater. We kept moving along the shoreline skip casting our Spooks under mangroves. The morning hours were moving on and I wondered if the fish were losing interest in our offering.
Esteban called out “snook!” and I turned around just in time to see a decent snook jump out of the water, head shaking. Esteban landed him while I took pictures. He had managed to catch a slam on the same topwater lure. After reviving the fish, we headed off to one of my favorite redfish spots a short paddle away. Even though he didn't mention it, I noticed that Esteban, always the consummate professional, filed in back behind me giving me the best chance to find my slam. I landed a small snook on the Spook and it looked like I had a chance to slam as well.
Author, Bob Bramblet, with a nice topwater redfish.
Moving along a mangrove shoreline, I skipped my lure under the branches and walked it out. Suddenly, the unmistakable boil of a redfish appeared and my lure was gone. I set the hook and the fish started taking drag. I worked him for a while and got him in the net while he was still a little green. After a picture or two, the fish revived quickly and swam off.
Esteban and I sat there a while talking about our morning. We were both done fishing as we had both slammed on the same lures. There was nothing else to be done. I looked at my watch and it was 11:30. Not a bad morning. I thanked Esteban for talking me into getting back out there and catching fish with topwater only!