Little Kracks Can Sink Yaks!
Capt. Butch Rickey
April 11, 2014
Pine Island Sound - Saltwater Fishing Report
Week ending 3/1/14..........
I got out on Thursday of this week for a trip with Joe Haskett and his son Joey, of Hertford, North Carolina. We all watched the weather with great interest, as the forecast was very iffy after the passing of yet another big cold front. We didn't have any other options, date-wise. We had to get it done, or forget it. We waited until Thursday morning to make the call, and it was "Go!"
I was at the county ramp in Matlacha as the day was dawning, getting the boats ready. Joe and Joey arrived before the parking area was open. It was windy, but I planned to get out of it in a creek on the east side that is just full of fish on the last of the falling tide. We were out there on the last of a falling tide, and that's where I wanted to be.
We launched and made our way across to the creek, where I showed Joe and Joey the areas we would fish. We went to work. It soon became apparent that the front had the fish shut down. I caught one trout, had a red on a lost it (brought back a scale off his face), and lost a snook. I failed for some reason not like me, to make notes after the trip, and now don't remember what the guys caught in there, but I think they each got a fish or two. I do remember that Joey hooked a large mangrove tree, and it pulled so hard it broke his rod! Can't keep 'em, anyway.
I left Joey and Joe there where I knew there were fish, hoping they would bite before the tide died, while I went scouting the shoreline for reds and snook. Because of the overcast and water conditions, visibility was very poor. Still I did see a couple of big Sal snook, and a handful of reds. But, they were very spooky. I did do some casting, but couldn't draw a bite.
Once the tide changed I call the boys, and suggested we just go and try to find some trout, ladyfish, or jacks that would bite. When the fish are lock-jawed, it's often the best thing to do to put a pull on the end of your line. I hadn't found any trout willing to eat on the east side near the creek, so we moved across to the west side. We were exposed to the wind, but we did find some trout here and there. Keepers were hard to come by, and I think we only caught one. We went down the shoreline to the south slow trolling our jigs on the #1 speed setting on the Minn Kotas. When we stuck a fish we'd stop and fish the school.
We went about a two miles down the shoreline to fish a series of oyster bars that are usually productive. We did caught a few fish, but not what you would normally expect. I would estimate we caught between the three of us a couple of dozen fish all morning.
As the day wore on, my bilge pumps became increasingly active. My phantom leak was getting worse. Much worse! Toward the end of the day my 1300 gal/hr bilge pumps were coming on about every 15 minutes. I was to the point that I was afraid the leak may turn into a hole before we got back. But, it didn't.
Joe wrote me after he returned home and told me that he and Joey had enjoyed the day, in spite of the tough conditions. I promised them a pro bono trip next time they're down.
Back home after the trip it was already a long day, but I had to get to the bottom of my ever growing oyster leak. I cleaned the boats and equipment as usual, and then dried my boat off really well on the outside, and filled her with water. I got under her with a headlamp on, and as the water filled the pontoon part of the hull, my leak revealed itself. Just sitting there it wasn't bad, but with my weight in the boat sitting in the water, and the cut being right under the seat area, it had grown a little each time I was out. Mystery solved. I took her up to West Wall Boat Works in North Port Charlotte, and had Steve do the repairs. I don't trust myself with a torch or other instrument of fire around plastic. That's best left to the professionals.
Anything That Will Bite!
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