Two Chassahowitzka Trout on One Shrimp!

Pescadores: Wintertime has arrived in the Sunshine State! The mist is rising off the spring-fed canals, the wind is howling out of the North and the tides are unbelievably shallow. We may even have our first freeze of the year this week. If you’re planning on fishing with us soon, layers are the way to go, thermals are a good thing. Actually all of this is GOOD news as the fish will continue to stack up in the warmer backwater creeks. Saturday, I took “Bare Bottoms”, to the South and was pleasantly surprised to find enough water to be able to move around the creeks and hunt for those honey holes. As I was cruising out the river the sun was rising over the tree line and marsh lands behind me and I could feel myself begin to smile. It’s still one of my all time favorite things, being on the water at sunrise! I also left a very stressful week behind me as well! Let’s go CATCHING! Going to the South is still a learning experience and challenge as I fished to the North, most of the summer. As I was cautiously entering North Blind Creek, one of the Captain’s passed me and of course, I followed him through the winding shallow creek. Arriving at the Crossroads, I positioned the boat and cast the first shrimp and it didn’t take long before I had a 13 1/2 Trout in the boat. First cast, first fish, SKUNK out of boat! I stayed there for awhile and continued to catch small Trout, until they became a pain, I stopped counting how many. They have to be 15 inches to be legal, though I’ve decided not to keep one under 17 inches. I moved around to a couple of holes, I’ve fished before but the water hadn’t warmed enough for the fish to begin feeding. As I was scouting around, I could see the front approaching and knew it was time to put the rain gear on. Persistence and perseverance, you pay your dues and put the time in, good things are bound to happen. Then I stopped at a spot I noticed one of the veteran guides fishing earlier in the day and threw a couple of lines in the water. It didn’t take long before one of them bent over and I had the first KEEPER in the boat, an 18 inch Speckled Seatrout! As soon as the fish hit the deck, it spit the hook and the shrimp and after throwing him in the box, I decided to throw the same shrimp back out and wouldn’t you know it, his twin, another 18 inch Trout inhaled it! Two keepers, one shrimp! My plan for the day was to start in North Blind Creek, come back out to the Gulf through South Blind Creek and then move up into Haulover Creek. As I was proceeding to plan, I stopped at another hole, again that I saw one of the guides fishing earlier, and put two lines in the water. The hole was probably 15 feet deep with everything else around it about 3 to 4 feet deep. This time, I didn’t have to wait long before the rod bent and drag started screaming! At first, I thought it was a Redfish but knew it was bigger then any other fish I had on so far. As that, TROPHY, 22 inch Trout swam into the net, I shouted like a little boy that just found out Santa had arrived on Christmas Day! After catching another 17 inch Trout, I decided to navigate for Haulover, stopping at a hole that Denise and I fished with Captain Bill, the day after Thanksgiving. The limit on keeper Trout in Florida is five and it’s always fun to catch your limit, so now I’m thinking limit! But it wasn’t meant to be as the only fish home in this hole were Redfish! I pulled five “Rat Red’s” or “Cobb’s”, from the hole before it was time to layer up for the cold ride back to the hacienda. So the final count for the day was 4 Trout & 5 Reds, plus who knows how many small Specs! It was definitely colder then the ride out and the first time this year, I had to put all the layers back on for the ride in. I decided to go back through the creeks instead of battling the North wind and chop on the Gulf. There really is a sense of pride when a challenge is conquered and the Chassahowitzka is as challenging as any waterway in Florida! Can you tell I’m loving being here more then I dreamed I would??? We catch fish and we tell stories!!! Feliz Navidad!!! Captain “Red ED”