Relegated to the weekends now, I was looking forward to Sunday, February 3, as I would be back out on Cow Creek looking for my favorite quarry, redfish. Our last trip was a total bust, but it that’s what happens sometimes. We went looking for giant snook; all we found was fog, beavers, and big lizards.
Now as far as I know, there are no beavers in Florida, but my fishing buddy Bill Ambrose doesn’t know that. As we paddled down, tarpon and huge gar were slapping the surface. One particular slap caught his attention and he yelled out “What was that?” I told him it was another gar, and he quickly replied “It sounded like a beaver!” All day long, anytime we heard something we blamed it on the beavers. I guess you just had to be there. Taking a break in the bend of the river, we all noticed a small alligator taking an interest in Bill’s Heddon “Super Spook Jr.” Like a bunch of eight year olds, we all started laughing and cracking jokes once it was hooked.
After a humorous conversation on who would get to get the hook out, it came flying back at us and the little guy went flying back into the water. No harm, no foul. With our sides aching from laughing so hard, we headed off to another spot. With Greg Becker in the lead we rounded a corner of the river, only to see Greg paddling back towards us. “Uh fellas, there is something you ought to see…”
This picture doesn’t do the gator any justice. He was an easy ten footer, wider than my kayak - maybe 800 lbs? Who knows - all I know is he was big. Maybe it’s time to rethink fishing in this river? No giants were caught this day; I only had one hit all day long. Felt more like an eco-tour than a fishing trip.
Sunday comes along, and my buddies decide they don’t want to launch early because of the cold temperatures. Not me. My favorite time is day break, just as the sun is coming up. It’s just a personal thing with me; I like to watch from the water as the world wakes up. I did a bit of trolling at first, looking for a river tarpon, but again I had no luck. I was joined by my friends Rik and Dave, and we started looking for mudders. Seeing no movement, I broke out the topwater and got an immediate strike. Not a huge fish, but at least it took the skunk off.
I was trying out my new “TOAD SHIELDZ” from Tailin’ Toads. I guess I looked too much like a redfish, because Rik was casting at my kayak all day (either that or he doesn’t like me, not sure). Dave was next to hook up while blind casting along the shore line with a jig. He pulled up a frisky little rat red.
Moving to another small bay, Dave and I saw some movement along the shore and slowly started towards it. Standing up in my Malibu “Stealth 14”, I caught a glimpse of a tail just ahead of me. Sure enough, I spotted a nice redfish feeding along a hard oyster bottom. Squatting down, I made a quick cast of about 30’, reeled it in and dropped right in front of this red. One twitch was all it took. I saw him inhale the Slayer Inc. “SST” in Bounty Hunter, and the fight was on. Right away I could tell this was a good fish, and I was not disappointed. Measuring 28” without a tail pinch, it was my biggest red so far for 2013.
The wind picked up and we headed in. Ten more days and I’ll be heading to the BOONDOGGLE.