There seems to be a relationship between terrible weather and my time spent back home. Every time I drive back to Pensacola it storms and I get the thrill of freezing cold rainwater dripping on my legs through the openings in my Jeep. If, for some bizarre reason, it doesn’t storm while I’m driving to Pensacola, mother nature makes up for it by providing terrible weather for the duration of my stay.
Christmas was no exception.
The weather was decent enough on the drive back. But it wasn’t until I reached the I-10 bridge over Escambia Bay that I could see dark storm clouds rolling in from the west. It proceeded to rain, get cold, rain more, get colder, and rain a little more for the whole Christmas break. The horrible weather kept me out of the kayak for most of the break. I had one opportunity to break out the paddles and I jumped all over it. My dad and I drove down to a bayou that’s usually a winter-time honey hole for trout. It’s not uncommon to land 75+ fish within just a few hours on a fly rod. However, we’ve noticed over the years that this particular bayou is either -really- on, or -really- off. Hit or miss. Fantastic or terrible.
We landed a ‘miss’ day.
I took my ultra-light spinning reel and fished with stingray grubs for close to two hours with absolutely no success. By this time, my dad had finally managed 3 very small trout on a fly rod. I made the switch over to the fly rod and fished for another 30 minutes before I finally landed a small trout.
With that, we called it quits.
Since I failed to catch an over-slot redfish during Thanksgiving break, my dad and I headed out to Ft. Pickens to give it another try. Luckily for us, the weather was stormy with a chance of awful. However, after only being set up for a few minutes, one of the rods doubled over and began screaming out line. I was furthest away from the rod so my dad grabbed it. It turned out to be a 28 inch red! I snapped (what I thought was) a picture and we released him. Turned out I took some awesome 5 second videos of my dad grinning with a fish. Luckily, I was able to convert it into a still picture.
With such quick success, I had relatively high hopes for the rest of the afternoon.
I sat for 3 hours without the slightest nibble of a red before we headed home. Sometimes that’s just how it goes.
A few days later I attempted to right the wrong that ‘everyone I fish with has caught an over-slot red except for myself’. First Chelsea, now my dad. Now it was my turn. I took Chelsea back out to Ft. Pickens and set up in the same area. Once again, we hadn’t been there 10 minutes before one of the rods went off. I grabbed it this time and began fighting the fish. I could tell by the way it thumped that it was a big fish. Unfortunately, it was only on for a few seconds before my line broke. I reeled in my line to see that it had broken at the knot I had tied on the pompano rig.
Looking back, I remember tying that particular rig and thinking that I had messed up during the tying process. However, it looked right in the end so I left it alone. Next time I’ll just re-do the whole rig rather than lose another big red. Chelsea and I sat out there until dark with no more luck. I suppose things could have been worse. I was lucky enough to get to spend time with family and was blessed with some decent weather for my last fishing trip.