Sunday, June 12, 2005
"Bobbing For Apples"
Fishing is unpredictable right now like bobbing for apples with your teeth out. When you think you’ve got them pinned down and figured out, they slip out from under you. I started out Tuesday w/Adolph Pena and guests limiting out on Trout to 27" over shallow shell in 2 to 4’ of water in SAB freelining live Croaker. I was off Wednesday and Thursday with a reschedule. Unfortunately for Capt. James Cunningham, he was working both days. He stumbled into an immediate nightmare freelining Wednesday 6/8 with gutted and shredded water at 17 to 25 knots. He tackled a shrimp boat for some "dead" and started working shorelines to piece together a solid box of middle slot Drum limits and Redfish limits, 15 and 9. James hit the same problem with gutted and shredded water in documented 17 knots steady and gusting to 25 knots on Thursday. He managed to pull together another "day saver" with 6 Redfish and 7 Drum working the same shoreline pattern. I told you the Drum were on the shorelines along with mid to upper slot Redfish. Why? Because the water in the back lakes is in the worst shape I’ve ever seen it. If they can’t get into the back country, they are going to be riding outside beaches until something changes with our water situation. It was over a month ago when I began voicing "trepidation" over the lack of quality water in our bay systems. The trepidation is growing at this point.
Kudos to James for digging the toe nails into the gelcoat and getting the rods bent! I hopped back on the water Friday for a tournament pre-fish with a Dr. and guests from Houston. We covered very little water under the conditions and managed three Trout short of limits to 22". Fishing was very spotty as evidenced by Capt. James Cunningham covering the same and similar water all the way to Mesquite for a tournament "pre-fish" for his party yielding 10 Trout and 3 Redfish. Pre-fishing numbers can be deceiving because often when fish are located, we are on the move leaving them for the big day. That is typically the wish of the customer and we are here to serve.
James and I fished a "multi-boat" party Saturday with some long time customers. We hedged our bets with Trout fishing up and down. James stuck with the Redfish and Drum program while I loaded up for freelining Trout. I chipped and chiseled my way to 40 Trout around 10:30am working shallow early then moving to deeper shell with a tide change to incoming. With the early reports on Trout, James was kicking himself as there was serious struggling with the Redfish and Drum bite. We talked several times and he wasn’t in the best mood. My only advice "stick with it Scooty". Sure enough he managed to slide into some fish after watching the area devastated early by Porpoises. He ended the day with 12 Slot Redfish limits, 1 oversized, 2 Drum, and 3 Trout.
To show you what kind of dilemma a fishing guide can get into, here is the best exmple. I felt like I was living under a silver lined cloud Friday with the success of the day. I knew the fishing was spotty in our area. Friday afternoon, after looking at wind projections for Saturday and Sunday, I called my customers for Saturday and Sunday and mentioned that things weren’t looking good. The multi-boat party for Saturday was committed regardless and appreciated the "fore-warning". My party for Sunday took the option to re-schedule. After limiting again Saturday and winds laying, I was kicking myself and felt for the customer. Enter a phone call from some very good clients that were in the area. I told them that I was off Sunday and they elected to hire me and I felt good about it. Sure enough, a combination of wind and tide had the water shredded and gutted today and the fishing was correspondingly "tough". We ended with 15 hard fought for Trout including two 23’s. Bottom line, we can’t do anything right at this time and I’m going to stop trying. Trying to outsmart these weather people has always been my weakness. Best bet now is to "prepare for the worst and hop all over anything better".