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Wednesday, 04 January 2012 01:00

Last Kayak Fishing Trip of 2011

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Last Kayak Fishing Trip of 2011 Photograph by Bill Howard

For my last kayak fishing trip of 2011,I made the decision to go to a location that I hadn’t visited in quite some time. This New Year’s Eve trip would serve two purposes: finishing off a great year, and hopefully giving me some content for my next magazine article. I made the some calls and rounded up the usual suspects. Chris and Tom would be there, and I would pick Greg up along the way. As we drove over the Skyway Bridge enroute to Fort DeSoto, we could tell it was going to be a good morning. Flat calm conditions greeted us at the launch. We were soon on the water, casting Heddon “Super Spook, Jr.” topwaters into schools of mullet, looking for redfish.

After several blowups and follows, I thought of an old trick that had worked for me in the past. On my next near miss, I let the lure just sit there in the water and threw a soft plastic right in behind it. One twitch and WHAM - “Fish on!!”

Bill Howard with a tagged redfish

As soon as I got this fish close enough, I could see something odd hanging off its body. It was tagged - my first tagged fish!

Release of a tagged Redfish

I copied down the tag and phone number and released the red to fight another day. This redfish was tagged on 15 Sept 2011. It measured 22.5 inches. It spent 107 days at large before I caught it again on 31 Dec 2011. It measured 25 inches when I caught it. It traveled (as the crow flys) .49 miles from its capture site. (It could have traveled further, this is distance from capture point.)

We continued working large schools of mullet all morning. As the tide was going out Greg and I were on the lookout for tailers, and sure enough we got lucky enough to spot one.

Greg stalking a tailing redfish

In approximately a foot of water, this had to be one of the “skinniest” tailers I have seen. I normally find them in knee- deep water. This red had no clue he was being stalked, until one of us made the wrong move. Greg did hook up later in the day.

Greg fighting a nice redfish

As the day was coming to an end, we all commented on how lucky we were to be out wading on the last day of the year. I think we sometimes take it for granted that we live in the fishing capital of the world. I do not, and I’m extremely lucky to have such great friends.

L to R Greg Tom Chris Bill

It’s been a good year with good friends. Thanks for letting me share my passion for fishing with you.


About the Author: Bill Howard is a Pro Staff Member at Yakangler.com, as well as Malibu Kayaks. He is also on the Columbia Sportswear Pro Team. Bill is an avid photographer and writer, contributing to numerous websites and publications in the Tampa Bay area. In 2008 he completed a 17 day, 129 mile trip around Tampa Bay raising nearly $4000 dollars for the American Heart Association. He is also a board member for the Tampa Bay Chapter of Heroes on the Water.

Read 6012 times Last modified on Thursday, 12 January 2012 17:05


# paddletrucker 2012-01-04 07:05
Really cool report! Love those pics of the tailing fish.
# Hammerhead 2012-01-04 22:10
Great shots Bill. I wish I could have been wading on New Years Eve.

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