Date: July 6, 2007
Time: 7 PM to 8:30 PM
Weather: Overcast, surprisingly mild, sporadic rain
Tide: High outgoing
Joe called me late this afternoon asking if I could go fishing. Naturally, I replied that I had a lot to do and that a man can’t just neglect his responsibilities. Then I drove to his house with my gear.
Weather was funky–overcast and threatening rain. Radar, however, showed little of the heavy stuff, so we rolled the dice. Turned out to be a good call. We ran back to a new stretch of shoreline while we waited for the tide to fall and the heat to wane. A light rain began to fall–enough to soak our shirts thoroughly–but no lightning accompanied it so the cooling effect was welcome. After squeezing through a tight tunnel of mangroves, we glided into an open area and began casting. A few minutes later I placed a good cast (who am I kidding–it was spectacular) into a dark little pocket, and the lure went “poof” inside a big swirl.
The fish rose to the surface and shook it’s big head once. I saw it clearly. Yowza. I was in a tight little creek surrounded by mangroves holding a small rod/reel combo loaded with 10 lb. string…and hooked up to a snook that to my eyes looked roughly the size of a Budweiser Clydesdale. Joe noted that the fish didn’t seem to know it had been hooked.
Most large snook I’ve hooked in tight back country creeks react immediately when hooked. They head straight for cover with alarming power and speed, and they consider the thin line that briefly connects them to the angler only a minor and momentary inconvenience. But this fish was different. It had flashed on the plug and engulfed it, then just lolled and bobbed on the surface. I brought the line tight and the fish came toward to boat like a big, reluctant dog. After a few moments it seemed to remember its role, and it stripped some drag and jumped a few times. But its effort never seemed earnest. In fact, it fought in an almost casual manner, as if I was not worthy of its best effort. A series of strong runs and a few jumps later and it was at the boat. Joe did a heroic job getting it into the net and we snapped a few pics. She went around 35″ — not as big as she looked at first, but hefty, nonetheless.
I realize it’s not smart to make this my first journal entry, too. Big snook on plugs are tough to come by, and I don’t want folks thinking I can do this in my sleep. Cuz I can’t. But what the hell — I’ll set the bar high.
Down the stretch we both had big fish swipe at our plugs before two yahoos came flying through the idle zone on wet-bikes, blowing things apart. (Insert your favorite expletive here – I did). We ran to a nearby flat where Joe hooked and boated a nice redfish (above). Using a Coke bottle in the foreground to skew the perspective, I carefully framed the shot so his fish would look much smaller than it actually was.
All in all a solid after-hours effort marked by the boating of a big, if nonchalant, ole snuke.