Sunday, April 30, 2017

West Lake Park Fishing

Today I went fishing at West Lake Park for the first time. I have always wanted to fish there because I have heard good things about it. I went with my friends Sam and Ben and Ben’s grandfather. We used shrimp that was alive when we bought it but because the water wasn’t freshened, they died. First, we fished off of a dock next to the parking lot. At first, nothing was biting. I had a circle hook on my rod, so if a fish bit then it would be hooked as long as the shrimp was hooked on securely. Suddenly, I felt a tug and I reeled in. It was a small Lane Snapper! First fish of the day. I unhooked it and dropped it back to the water to let it keep on growing. I rebated my hook and let it go down to the bottom. I felt tugs, but then nothing. I brought it up to see if I had bait. The shrimp was still on, so I put it back in the water. Sure enough, another fish was on. I reeled in to find that it was a small Puffer. After that, nobody caught any fish for a while. Right before we were going to go to a pier, a small Mangrove Snapper bit Sam’s line. He reeled it in and caught it. He unhooked it and threw it back in. We packed up our rods and gear, and moved to the boardwalk/pier. One of the great things about fishing is learning about the environment and the ecosystem. The boardwalk took us through the mangroves and the mud flats. We saw birds, mosquitos (not surprising), and even small crabs in the branches as you can see in the pictures. We got to the end of the boardwalk and cast out our baited hooks. We had three rods with a hook and a piece of shrimp, and one line with a spoon that we had casted out near the mangroves. Ben’s grandfather talked about how that spoon was his favorite lure from where he went fishing, in New York. We took off the head and the tail of the shrimp and only used the body. We were catching nothing until Sam had a big tug on his line. He brought it in and I helped him bring it up and over the side of the pier. It was a Bluntnose Stingray! What an interesting catch! Ben’s grandfather and Sam unhooked the fish. A little while longer, a big Puffer was hooked on Ben’s line. I was trying to help Ben unhook the Puffer because they have big teeth that try to bite the hook off (which they can do) and sometimes swallow the hook. While I was getting the hook out, my rod bent. Sam got my rod set for me and he unhooked the puffer while I reeled in my fish. It was a nice blue runner! I unhooked it and let it back in the water. After that, we didn’t get anymore bites. It was nice to feel the breeze and enjoy nature while waiting. To finish the trip, we had a cool surprise. When I was reeling in my hook to go, I saw a yellow-orange figure where my hook should be. I reeled it up to find out that a blue crab had taken my bait! another species that we had caught and had a chance to learn about. It was so gentle with the bait and hook that the rod didn’t even bend when it was taking the bait. We carefully unhooked it and sent it back in the water. What a trip! Stay tuned, more trips coming soon. Tight Lines and Good Luck!

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