Playing in the mangroves
Today we wanted to head out to enjoy the beautiful weather but we also wanted to hide from the wind! Winter time in Florida has been beautiful this year, the canal systems are great for enjoying the winter months in your boat or kayak! They tend to be calmer waters, and fill up with hungry fish in the cooler months. My friend lives on a local canal and let us launch from his place today! He knew of a spot of mangroves not too far from his house that we could explore. Today I really wanted to catch my first redfish.
Bait today was live shrimp, and gulp! When we started out the morning didn’t look too promising, cold foggy and overcast! I was just hoping the rain would stay away since there were scattered showers in the area! As we headed out of the canal I was casting some gulp and was quickly hooked up on a lady fish! These are a blast to catch and always like to put on a show! I thought about keeping it for bait but I had enough already, next time I would love to try a lady fish as cut bait under the mangroves.
We arrived to a small island of mangroves as the sun was finally coming out for the day! Things were looking up, after we paddled against the tide and the wind we found ourselves in very calm waters sheltered by the mangroves. We could see some bait up in the shallows and thought this would be a pretty great place to start fishing. Andrew and I switched to live shrimp and drifted up and down the shore line throwing our shrimp as far under as we could cast! The fish were pretty active and Andrew almost caught a redfish, the target species of the day, only to be broken off almost as quickly as the bite happened. Mr redfish knew just where to hide to get away from us!
We paddled deeper into the mangroves over some beautiful flats. Lots of sheepshead swimming around and an abundance of sea stars & crabs at this location. We once again re baited our hooks and started throwing our baits up under the mangroves as we enjoyed the afternoon sun! It was warming up very quickly by around noon. The wind was picking up and we started drifting a lot faster than before, I set my rod in my lap to paddle out of some trees I was quickly drifting into when my bait got picked up! This fish took a ton of drag on the new Shimano Symetre. The reel was awesome and handled the fish well, snook are one of my favorite on light tackle. We paired it with a Teramar rod 10lb invisa-braid to a 20lb fluoro leader to a 2/0 owner live bait hook. This combo can be found at Fishin Franks! Once I was able to get him away from the mangroves I realized had a juvenile snook! Very healthy, you could tell he’s been eating well. Snook season opens March 1st for those of us on the gulf side of Florida!