Catch Fish with
For anyone unfamiliar with the site always check the FRESHWATER, SALTWATER and TACK-TICS pages. The Saltwater page now extends back as a record of over several years of (mostly) sea fishing and may be a useful guide as to when to fish. The Freshwater stuff is also up to date now. I keep adding to both. These pages are effectively my diary and the latest will usually be about fishing in the previous day or two. As you see I also add the odd piece from my friends and correspondents if I've not been doing much. The Tactics pages which are chiefly 'how I do it' plus a bit of science are also updated regularly and (I think) worth a read (the earlier ones are mostly tackle and 'how to do it' stuff).
Just as I was about to write up the second episode of my trip to Tobago I had the following email from my third son Richard who lives in Brazil. Rich has been living in a coastal town, Maceio, for about a year and to be honest, although he has caught a fair number of fish, many of them have been small and most were caught on bait. Rich is a keen lure angler and more recently he has started to get the hang of catching fish on his spinning gear. These efforts culminated, at the end of April, in him hooking and losing a 'monster' while fishing from his kayak (Saltwater page 402). The story continues:-
While you were sunning yourself and losing giant tarpon in Tobago Ive been continuing to explore the kayak fishing just outside my house. Ive had two notable successes and one oddity since my last report.
First the oddity. I was trolling over the sand near the reef with a slow sinking, trout pattern Rapala when the rod gave a small twang. It looked like the lure had caught a bit of weed but as I wound in I thought I felt the odd fishy knock. Much to my surprise a small peacock flounder was attached to the lure. I remember you catching one of these on a Rapala from a sandy beach in Tobago, but unlike yours my one was quite dull possibly because the water tends to be a bit murky?
My first 'success' was that I finally managed to land a Sennet I think Ive already told you that I lost one at the boat a while back, so it was good to finally get one in my hands. It jumped around a bit but was much like a jack barracuda a couple of fast runs followed by a bit of jumping and wriggling. I caught another one a few days later both taken on a jointed Rapala fairly close to the reef (I ate the first one - delicious fried whole).
Finally, my big success... As you know, after losing a really good fish a couple of months ago I decided to beef the tackle-up. Out went the old Okuma reel and in came the Stella complete with 50lb braid and 25lb monofilament traces. However, up until yesterday I was still waiting for another bite from something worth catching. It came just as the sun was going down and I was gently drifting into shore, across the sea grass beds where I had had lost the monster fish that dumped me out of the kayak. This time I was spinning from the kayak with the unjointed trout-coloured Rapala, plopping the lure about 15m away and winding it back with a steady retrieve. On my last cast of the night the lure was grabbed and the line hissed through the water as a big fish started ripping line from the clutch.
Mindfull of my previous pratfall, I hunkered down in the kayak and slowly increased the drag on the Stella the fish was still making powerful surges but, crucially, I was gaining line in between successive runs and, combined with dragging the kayak against the wind, it was clearly tiring. After 5 minutes I got my first glimpse as a giant silver shape jumped in the gathering murk about 20m away from the kayak. After another 5 minutes it was at the boat a gigantic snook, even bigger than the twenty pounder I caught at Turtle beach a couple of years ago.
Finally, I managed to bring the exhausted fish along the side of the kayak, but was (understandably, I think) nervous about sliding my hands through its gills in case I got caught on the lure. However, by this time the wind had blown me closer to the beach and after 5 more minutes I was able to slide into the water and drag the kayak and the fish towards the shore (about 50 m away). After what seemed like an eternity I finally managed to beach the monster snook I quickly dragged it up the beach, unhooked it, and offered various thanks to the God of Small Fishermen.
As an interesting aside to this story I decided to keep the snook, they taste wonderful and retail for about £12 a kilo. When I gutted it I found it was full of half-beaks (small needle-fish). It had obviously been up in the eel grass hunting for these tasty little fish. I guess that if I keep flogging away at dusk and dawn I might catch more big snook. This one was a touch under 12kg and just a few pounds short of the Brazilian record.
Hope to see you in Brazil soon,
Well, there you have it. In my mind Rich well deserves his big fish and I expect it will be the first of many. Putting myself in his shoes I would be rarin to get out there and (a)Give plugging another go and (b)Find some more patches of seagrass. I must write up my next Tobago page before he catches another.
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