So I survived my hell week. Tons of writing, quite a few tests…all that fun stuff. One of my final papers ended up being an absolute nightmare. I want to thank my mom (a librarian) for helping me with finding up to date papers on a subject. I’ve also gotta thank Kirk over at River Mud for helping me find material that practically invalidates one of USFW’s hypotheses for a bird kill over a decade ago (it was all part of the paper). Without them I would have probably slammed my head through the monitor in frustration. Now I just have one more test and a lab practical on Wednesday before the semester officially ends.
Since I got slightly caught up in my school business, I missed writing about the other fishing trips over Thanksgiving break. So here it goes…
The Saturday before I left to come back to school, I got a chance to head out on my brother’s boat. It would be my second time fishing on his boat. I was pretty excited since the last time I went out with him, I landed my first Dolphin which you can read about here: The Maritime Wrecking Ball
I knew we weren’t going offshore, so there was no chance for Dolphin, but I was excited just to motor around the bay and look for Reds. The wind was surprisingly strong for us -not- having the fly rods on board. Strong enough, in fact, that casting into it even with conventional tackle was nearly impossible. We drove around the bay for a few hours, looking for bird activity and trolled a bit in hopes of picking up a bull. With absolutely nothing biting, we decided to head out to the pass to see what was going on.
We were in for a rather pleasant surprise. Enormous schools of Bonito were chasing bait right on the surface. Each school went 100-200 fish easily and they lazily laid on their sides with the mouths open while they chased the bait. For some bizarre reason, I fail to take pictures while on a motor boat. Put me in a kayak, and I’ll snap pictures all day long. But put me in a boat with an engine, and I can almost guarantee no pictures will be taken. So forgive me for the lack of pictures…I was far too busy throwing everything in the tackle box at them.
It was really weird. They were next to impossible to hook. I was finally forced to break out the snatch hook just because I wanted to land -something-. Snatch hooking is still sporty…right?
What I failed to take into account was the hurricane force wind that I tried to cast a treble hook into. Unless I wanted a staggering 8 foot cast, I had to wait for the school to circle around down wind of the boat before casting. Then I had the school right where I wanted them. With the wind now at my back, I was free to unleash rocketing casts that threatened to land in Alabama and spool me before ever touching water. After multiple failed casts, I finally got the snatch hook where I wanted it. I let it sink for a moment, then snatched.
The rod quickly double over and the reel began to sing. Finally, I thought to myself. But before the thought could fully pass through my mind, I was broken off. Not wanting to give up so easily, I tied another snatch hook on, and repeated the whole process for a second time. Even the breaking off part.
Fresh out of snatch hooks, I began throwing whatever was in the tackle box at them. Diamond jigs, Mr. Champs, Gotcha’s. You name it, I threw it. And the result?
I finally opened my brother’s tackle box and found possibly the only thing I hadn’t thrown yet: A pompano jig. I quickly cast it out into the middle of the giant school and almost before it could hit the water, my drag was screaming again.
I fought the fish for maybe 30 seconds before…once again…I was cut off. I quickly tied on another pompano jig and…you guessed it…was cut off again. The 10lb test just wasn’t enough against the Bonito’s tiny little teeth. I settled for tying on a 20lb Flourocarbon leader and tried again. And tried…and tried. But never hooked into another fish. By this point, even the bay was getting too rough, so we called it a day. Fishless. Bonito: 4, Me: 0.
Hopefully over Christmas break I can get some fishing in. If I’m lucky, I can have another go at some Bonito. I absolutely -have- to get some beach fishing done. J.M over at Something’s Fishy tied me up some rigs months ago that I’ve been wanting to try out on the bull Reds, so I think it’s time I finally do so. Look for some reports soon!