February 28, 2013
So you're sitting at your desk pecking away at your keyboard or putting up some sheetrock on the construction site, hard at work, when all of a sudden, you drift off and start thinking about the weekend and where you're going to go fishing. You can't wait to feel the sun on your face and possibly get your toes a little wet and salty - it can't hit Friday at 5:00 fast enough. Fishermen in general usually get up at the crack of dawn on the weekends, but why is it so hard to do it during the week? I know, I know...because it's work! Another reason is you may think you don't have enough time to get on the water for some "quality fishing". Well, today proved those ideas wrong.
I called up my buddy Russel Loucks to see if he wanted to wake up at 4:45am, in order to meet me at the local boat ramp to drop the kayaks in before work at 9:00am. Without a flinch he said I'll meet you there. The idea was to go for some snook using topwater lures, to get that amped up strike on the surface. As we made our way out in the dark, it was slightly overcast and the wind was already kicking up. Snook and jacks were already up getting breakfast bait under docks, near sea walls, and under lights.
When I saw some action near a dock I quickly threw my Zara Spook in it's direction and immediately was greeted by four consecutive hits but finally nothing. Reeling up quickly and recasting, resulted in an explosion that pulled my line tight and off to the races with my little 2500 Shimano I went. Barely able to stop the fish, it took me straight for the dock pilings and knowing I didn't have the upper hand I gave in and opened my bail, following the line through a series of structure in the Hobie, in and around pilings, and under some docks-watching the line quickly unload off my spool until I saw the backing and then finally down to the knot! Ultimately my line came to a hault under one last piling, however it had somehow got stuck on it. Unsuccessful at trying to free it with my paddle, I slowly and carefully reeled in the line little by little, inch by inch, from a completely empty spool to mostly full, all against the barnacle infected piling. All of a sudden the line pulled free and I thought I had lost the fish, until I reeled up the slack and the rod went bent again! It was a miracle! Determined to get it in before it made another run for another nearby dock, I pulled and reeled quickly. Thinking I would see the green back of a big snook, reality turned it to a greyish back with yellow highlights - a nice jack! Jack, snook, whatever, it was still one of my most epic fights around tight structure, and it was crazy the line didn't snap off at the knot. Phew!
Meanwhile, Russ told me he had a big snook go after his popper, but didn't get a hook up. After a few more casts we relocated to a different spot and within a minute Russ set the hook into an acrobatic slot snook that swirled around his kayak a few times, leaving some local fishermen on the bank with mouths agape. After taking some pics and having a few high fives we knew it was getting close to work time so one more final spot we stopped at.
Hitting the mangrove edges, I was hoping for one more bite, when I was surprised by a fleeing pilchard to within casting distance. Reeling my line in quickly I saw a set of green fins chase after the bait, which widened my eyes and temporarily left me in awe. After coming to my senses I made the cast past the bait and worked the topwater in through - BAM! Hearing the sound of the snook suck in the lure I knew it was hefty, then after the hook-set it made a three foot curling jump in the air which left me yelling out of excitement, I couldn't believe the width of this snook! I knew my topwater's rear hook had been damaged by hitting some previous structure so I played the snook carefully, letting it make it's barreling runs. Finally I put the grip in it's mouth and I was in shock of the hefty linesider, measuring in at almost 34" and probably weighing what a 40" snook would weigh. It definitely had it's share of morning breakfasts! What a morning!
We knew it was getting close to work time so in we paddled, grinning from ear to ear. So if you can't wait for the weekend, wake up a little earlier and go fishing before work - it could pay off!