Of Fishing Guides and Howling Winds
Capt. Thom Rodgers
February 25, 2012
Tampa Bay - Saltwater Fishing Report
Picked another great day for a Tarpon Time Charters-Spring Gator Trout trip. Just a bit BREEZY.
After skimming over water less than 5 inches deep for 10 minutes in my 20 foot Micro Draft, I stopped to survey the conditions out at my target area ahead. I was fishing with Ken Miller and Bill Roller of Aurora, Ill.
There was open water with an 800 foot long sandbar. Grass and potholes on one side all the way down the length of the bar out to 100 feet from the bar. It's a long area not unlike an airstrip. The wind was blowing hard but it looked like it would blow us right down that airstrip perfectly actually. I offered that we could only cast with the wind, and the guys could work these plugs by feel (forget seeing anything due to whitecaps). I felt we could get some nice hogleg Specks. We talked about it. I was right. Long casts with the wind sailed the plugs a great distance down the bar.
TIP: It's a good idea (I hope) to stop before you get to the spot you actually want to fish and visualize the battle plan and especially wind direction. Too many times I have rolled up on a spot without thinking about it and it cost me, or unerved my fishing partners.
In a somewhat calm area between two small islands I thought we might want to take a moment to have the guys try out the action on the rigs that they were about to fish with. I wanted to talk about what we were going to be faced with out at the sandbar before just blasting out there. It's easy to lose your confidence in a wind like that. I know it's prudent to take a calm water pre trial moment when working with artificials. Especially if the anglers are not familliar with the plug or your equipment provided. Just take a minute you know? In the calm water the guys could ponder the plan and watch the action on the plugs and get a "feel" for how they should work out at the acid test zone. Hopefully they would relate the lure action and how it feels on the rod hand, at distance.
Bill and Ken are experienced anglers and were about to be challenged. How should the lure work at 200 feet out in 15 MPH sustained wind?
I love this #^&% !!!
They were fine! I was relieved! We had a nice day and caught some real nice fish. The guys had been initiated into fishing the lures by "feel" at the pre stop. To hell with the wind, it actually blew us perfectly down the sandbar (luckily) with our backs to the wind. You can't take kids or women on a trip like this I promise.
We simply pulled up our POWER POLE every 50 feet, stuck it back down, and fished a new section of splotchy sand and grass thoroughly. What a great tool the POWER POLE is. Miami Mike and Ken Imrisek, of find-n-fish charters in Tampa, and I had used this same move and killed the reds a few weeks earlier. On topwaters. We could cruise down the bar easily and in command.
Bill Roller and Ken Miller really worked the bar thoroughly. They never casted more than 10 feet off center of the wind direction, and man, did they cast a mile. The long casts are great for BIG plug Speckled trout this time of year. The farther out the better. Ken Miller caught a couple of 22" fish and lost 2 really big uns' including one I estimated to have been 5 lbs no sweat. Throw in a number of smaller trout and....voila'-- a nice windy day can be not so bad if you plan your approach.
Did I mention Bill caught a coupla real nice puffer fish? I think one of em' was a state record. Bill Roller had caught a nice red and some trout a few days earlier. I only managed a few casts and hooked one hog but did'nt do so well either. Ken had the "mojo workin" for sure! For some reason he had all the action. Oh well.
Looking forward to fishing with you guys again. I had fun and laughed on a day a lot of guys would have given up on.... Capt. Thom
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