Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Fishing at North Bayshore Park

For this trip, my brother and I went to the fishing dock at North Bayshore Park in North Miami to catch some fish on live shrimp. After picking 2 dozen up after school at Arky's, we went over to the pier. We started off with the Houndfish on the surface stealing our bait. Since Jacob wanted to catch one, we decided to try snagging them as they bit the bait. Jacob started out catching as he brought a Houndfish over the side of the dock. We ended up catching 3 Houndfish then, the next two coming from Jacob and me. The next two fish to be caught were schoolmasters by Jacob. I decided to check out the bigger left side of the pier. I saw many people fishing there, so I decided to give a few casts into the current by some pilings. I felt a bite that I missed over the 5 or 6 casts I made, but I snagged the bottom every time, too. I was looking around, and I saw a sandy patch a few feet in front of the far right corner of this side of the pier. It looked like it might hold fish, and I would not get snagged. I made a short cast in the patch, and opened the bail. Sure enough, after about half a minute, the line started peeling out. I flipped the bail and set the hook. Fish on! I reeled in a Mangrove Snapper. I used this method to catch 3 more mangroves, too. Meanwhile, over at the right pier, Jacob caught 5 more Houndfish, bringing his total on the day to 7 Houndfish and 2 Schoolmaster. We packed up when we had one last shrimp left, and I brought him over to the right corner of the left pier. I told him where to cast and to leave the bail opened. Soon, he saw the line peel off the reel. He tried to set the hook, but he was too late. luckily, he still had the bait on the hook. He did it again, and this time he caught it. Add a Mangrove to his total. I finished with 4 Mangroves and a Houndfish, Jacob with 7 Houndfish, 2 Schoolmasters, and a Mangrove Snapper. Another fun session at North Bayshore Park, a pier that we had been wanting to try out. Tight lines!

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Dad's First Fish

Today's fishing trip was one that I have wanted to make for quite a while. Although I love to go fishing, my dad has never caught a fish before. I decided that enough was enough, and that we had to get him his first fish. My brother, Jacob, my dad, and I first head over Bait 'em Up Bait and Tackle to pick up 2 dozen live shrimp, and then went over to East Greynolds Park. We set up and dropped our baited lines in the water. The water was extremely clear, and relatively shallow close to the dock. There was lots of structure in the water because there is an artificial reef. At first, Jacob and I were fishing in hopes of bringing the fish near the docks. I was the first to hook up, it was a Mangrove Snapper. But then, something crazy happened. Just as I was preparing to bring it out of the water, a 3 foot Barracuda came speeding out of the mangroves and snatched the fighting fish right off my hook. No catch. That left me really excited. I started throwing my spoon lure out to see if it would strike again, but it didn't appear. Soon after, Jacob brought in the first fish of the day, a small Mangrove Snapper. The school that had come near the dock mostly consisted of small Mangrove Snappers, but there were also some other interesting species mixed in as well as some big snappers. I reeled in the next fish, a Blue Striped Grunt. We threw it back, and it was my dad's turn. I handed him a baited rod and instructed him. He waited with the bail unlocked as he watched the fish fighting over his shrimp. The shrimp was using its tail to swim away fast, one of its natural defenses. A bit after, we could see a fish swimming away with the hook. I told him to flip the bail and to jerk the rod up. He did so, and the fish was hooked! He reeled slowly as the fish was frantically swimming around. My dad brought it over the side of the dock, and he caught it! His first fish is a Mangrove Snapper! We were all very excited as I unhooked the fish and threw it back. Next, Jacob reeled in a new species, The Blue Runner. This one was one of the more rounder Blue Runners I've seen. A great catch. After that catch, I reeled in 2 Mangrove Snappers. Jacob tried to catch a Needlefish by hovering a piece of shrimp on a long-shanked hook on the surface of the water. One was swimming with the bait in its mouth, Jacob lightly flipped the bail and reeled it up fast to bring it out of the water. He brought it up, and caught it. It fell mid-air before it went over the dock, so we could not take pictures of it. I caught the next fish, another Mangrove Snapper. A little while later, Jacob caught the last two fish, both small Mangrove Snappers, as the bite started to slow down as it got warmer. We couldn't get the big Mangroves to bite, except for one that I hooked but swam into structure on the water that broke the line. Regardless, the trip was very successful, thanks to some interesting catches and the goal of the trip being achieved, my dad walking away having caught a fish.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

A Nice Day Across the Street

Today, Jacob and I went across the street from our house to fish in the saltwater canal connecting to Biscayne Bay. There were BIG snappers and grunts there, so we were excited to fish for them. Unfortunately, although I keep telling myself not to go back there without shrimp, we had no bait except for hot dogs and we really wanted to fish. We found it hard to entice the fish, and we only caught two. I had finished the day off with a puffer, but Jacob had the biggest catch closer to the beginning of the trip. he had a big Bluestriped Grunt on, and he reeled it up! We measured it at 0.37 kg, or 0.81 lb. Other than that catch, we tried to entice a Barracuda with the shiny spoon from Ft. DeSoto, and it was intrigued, but it just didn't bite. Another interesting day at the canal.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Red Tide Fishing

This trip was interesting, yet disappointing at the same time. It seemed like fate was against me this time. On a trip to the Tampa area with my family, I planned to fish at one of the piers at Ft. Desoto State Park. To start things off, I had forgotten to pack some extra sinkers and hooks that could have helped me rig up certain ways. When I got to the bait shop that was on the way to the park, we learned that it was closed, and because of the Red Tide. The Red Tide is an algae bloom on the gulf coat of Florida from Sanibel to Clearwater that occurs exactly when I went, late summer/early fall. It is not safe to take fish home during the Red Tide, and it also takes oxygen out of the water, something that fish don’t like. Luckily, we found another bait shop that was open, Mastry’s. The staff helped me out, and we bought some frozen shrimp and a silver spoon, as recommended by them for Spanish Mackerel. They tied on a steel leader for me, which helps because Mackerel and other fish in the area have sharp teeth that can bite through the line. Rigged up, we left for Ft. Desoto. Upon arriving, the person at the entrance booth said that any fish would most likely be at the bay pier, the shorter of the two, because it is more protected from the Red Tide. Once we got there, my dad, brother and I saw Snapper at the bottom of the clear water near the water. There was also a huge school of glass minnows. Perfect for throwing my spoon. We were casting out and dropping our shrimp, but we didn’t catch anything. While I was reeling in my shrimp that I fasted out, I felt thumps. A predator was trying to eat the bait. Jacob and I kept on throwing out our shrimp, but we couldn’t hook any. Finally, I felt a nice thump and set the hook. I brought it all the way up to the pier, and even out of the water, before it fell back in the water. It seems that I can never get some of my most interesting catches in film. Because I had brought it about halfway up the piling, it was a catch. Instead of being a Mackerel, I saw that is was long, thin, and silver. A Ladyfish, a new species for me. It is nicknamed the “Poor Man’s Tarpon” because of its look and it’s strong fight. It is a predator fish that is often overlooked because of it’s lack of meat. Surprisingly, retrieving shrimp with a sinker on the line actually worked. We kept on throwing the shrimp and the spoon, and we even saw multiple of them chasing our baits. But, we couldn’t hook another before the bite was over. We did not catch anything else for the rest of the trip. It was apparent that there wasn’t much oxygen in the water because there were barely any other fish in the water than the school of minnows and the Ladyfish and Snappers that had gone away. After seeing the sunset from the pier, over the beach, we left. It was an interesting day because I had caught a new fish, saw the Glass Minnow run, saw a great sunset, and found out a new fishing spot, but it was disappointing because of the Red Tide, lack of fish, and not landing the Ladyfish. But at least I wasn’t skunked, caught something new at a new place, and I definitely learned more about fishing and the nature of the area. There were some annoying setbacks this trip, but it was a pretty cool experience.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

My 300th Fish

Today I went fishing with my Brother and Grandfather at Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park. They have docks for fishing on the southwest part of the island, and I had heard from a successful fisherman that knows the area that live shrimp was his bait of choice. With 297 fish caught, I was looking forward to having a good time fishing a new spot and hopefully catching my 300th fish. We stopped off at Arky’s and were on our way. We Arrived at around 6:30 and had about an hour and a half to fish. The two dozen shrimp proved to be the perfect amount because we used the last one on the last drop. Once we got to one of the docks, we could see schools of Snapper in the coral right under the dock. I had set up the three rods with hooks and some egg sinkers and baited them with shrimp. The first fish to be caught was a Schoolmaster that my grandfather and I both reeled in. The second was a Porkfish that I had caught. I was one fish away. Then, my grandfather brought in another Porkfish. The sun was beginning to set. I let my bait fall all the way to the bottom and gave my line some slack. When I could see a fish take my bait and my line peeling off of my reel, I reeled in the slack and set the hook. I brought in a nice Schoolmaster Snapper, my 300th fish! After that, I tried to catch the elusive needlefish on the surface of the water I dangled my shrimp so that it would float on the surface and watched the fish approach my shrimp as it tried to move away from it. Once the needlefish got ahold of the shrimp and I felt a bump on my rod, I lifted it up and over the wall and onto the dock. It wasn’t hooked well, and it came off the hook. The floor was not flat, as it was made of metal bars. The thin needlefish, as its name explains, slid through the hole. I couldn’t get a picture. The next fish to be caught was Jacob’s first fish of the day. He brought up a Schoolmaster. The next to fish were both Schoolmasters, first by my grandfather and then by me. After the sun had set in front of us, we were facing west, we kept on fishing as we still had some light. Jacob and I felt a nice tug, reeled it in, and we caught it! A Mangrove Snapper! The last two fish to be caught were Schoolmasters by Jacob that he had reeled out of the water but fell off as he was trying to bring it over the side. We finished our shrimp and the light went out just as we got back to the car. I ended the day with 303 fish. It was a really fun day catching different fish at a new spot, including my 300th!