Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Lead Off Home Run

It was a beautiful morning when I met Shawn Boggs and his 11 year old son Jackson at the Big Talbot Island Boat Ramp at 7am today.  The bait shop was out of live bait, but I had a bag full of fresh dead shrimp, so we headed up the Nassau River to fish some oyster outcrops on the last of an outgoing tide.  The anglers warmed up tossing jigs and shrimp to the exposed oysters. We had very few real bites but when we pulled up we were able to catch a few live finger mullet with the cast net.  Our next stop was at Bubblegum Reef and after I positioned the boat Jackson placed one of the live mullet up next to the stucture.  Over my shoulder I advised him to let the mullet wiggle around for a while and maybe a fish would find it when I heard him ask, "Like this?"  RIIIIIIIIP the drag went and FISH ON!  He played the fish perfectly, keeping it turned away from the structure and eventually fighting it to the back of the boat.  It made a number of hard runs but he kept the pressure on and brought him to the waiting net.  We celebrated the "thrill of victory" with some high fives on the "home run" of a first fish and got some pictures.  When we measured it we found out that it was over the slot, a 27 1/2 fish, placing Jackson tied for 3rd in The Anglers Mark Bragging Rights Tournament!  We made sure he swam off to be caught another day.  Shawn joined in by picking up some fiesty Redfish, then Jackson hooked up again using a finger mullet.  He worked this big fish to the boat  and net and this one measured 24", in the Slot! And again, his drag ripped out, his rod bent, and another Big FISH ON!  Jackson did great, working the fish away from the structure, but this fish hadn't gotten oversized without learning a few tricks.  He headed for deep water behind the boat and took the line right under the boarding ladder, snapping the line, FISH OFF!  Aaah, "the agony of defeat"!  But these anglers fished on and caught a couple of more feisty Redfish and Jackson also added nice Puppy Drum.  We caught another couple of dozen finger mullet then headed for Broward Island to fish the very first of an incoming tide.  The bait was moving along the shoreline and fish were busting it so we set up about 40 feet from the bank and offered some mullet on our jigs.  Shawn was the first to hookup, catching a nice Trout then both anglers were catching them.  Some were fat but undersized but they were able to get a couple over the 15" size limit.  The sun had gotten up and the breeze that we had enjoyed all morning seemed to die, so we headed in, counting it as another great day to be out on Amelia Island waters!

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