Saturday, September 4, 2010
Lights On, Nobody Home
In life and fishing, sometimes the things you plan might not go exactly the way you envision them, but if you improvise, adapt and overcome, you can go from scratching your head.... to watching your rod bend with a fish on the other end.
Keith and I paddled out to a string of docks that I found lighted on a scouting mission earlier in the week. The plan was to concentrate on the docks that were sticking out into the incoming tide and hopefully locate a few snook.
The problem was....someone forgot to tell the folks who live there to turn their lights on for us. It was a bit like Halloween. Several residents actually saw us out there and turned their lights off! I asked Keith to go knock on a few doors and ask them to turn their dock lights on, but he wouldn't do it. These same docks were lit earlier this week....I need to remember to bring the rolls of toilet paper and burning dog shit bags me thinks.
Now, I understand why some folks might not want folks fishing around their docks. I get it. A few errant casts clanging off their boats, fishing line draped across their boardwalks, and hooks left laying exposed to bare feet. I get it. A prudent fisherman needs only to realize a bit of respect to not do these things and to remember that you're literally in someones back yard.
Ok...back to the fishing part.
Conditions were just PERFECT. The sort of night that brings on a sense of Zen peacefulness...no wind, slick, flat calm seas, painted skies, and less humidity than you'd expect for an early September night in Florida. I could have just laid back and took a nap if there wasn't fishing to do. The water temperature is a bit cooler for sure.
So lights out on the docks we planned to hit.
We paddled into a clover leaf of docks in the inlets. It seems the lights were out more than on, but we could see feeding activity along the lights that were lit. The pattern was whomever got into position and got a cast off was almost guaranteed a hook-up.....cast....plop....thunk....tension....fish! Trout were everywhere. I started with a 9 foot leader and had to keep trimming it because it would get frayed. It's probably about a 5 foot leader now. The larger specimens really tend to put up a fight and I had a few that actually leaped free of the water. There seemed to be a lot more schoolie sized fish than the last time, but we were getting a few that were in the 18-20 inch range.
We came upon a submerged amber colored light that had quite a bit of feeding activity around it. I pulled a few decent fish out and just sat back to watch the them interact with each other. I often enjoy just observing the fish as much as catching them. What was strange was, I could see the trout, who were mixed in with a gaggle of sail cats, just lazily swimming on their side. A few of them looked like flounder and would require a bit of a double take.
The last dock that we hit had a light that was placed about 10 feet above the water. There was surface action everywhere for about a 100 foot radius around this light. You could cast in any direction and immediately have a fish on. They were feeding on finger mullet, greenbacks and shrimp....but I think you could have tossed a frying pan and it would have received a strike.