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!

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Hooking Canal Giants

Today I went fishing in a saltwater canal across the street from my house. I was fishing with my brother, and because we didn't have time to get any other bait, I took some hot dogs out of the freezer. Once we arrived, we could see schools of 20+ pound Jack Crevalle swimming up and down the canal. We threw some pieces of hot dog out there and surprisingly, the Jacks actually ate them! We set out some pieces of hot dogs unweighted, and just let them sink. We were fishing with light line and tiny hooks. Even when the Jacks took our bait, we couldn't set the hook. After unsuccessfully trying to catch the Jacks, we saw a huge Snook in the water, a fish on my bucket list. We couldn't catch it either. We started to catch some Puffers, Mangrove Snappers, and Schoolmaster Snappers. While I was dropping my bait down to catch them, a huge Atlantic Spadefish came out of nowhere and took my bait. I jerked the rod up and set the hook. It ran hard, but I was able to bring it very close. It was a catch! But then, it wrapped around the piling and ran too hard to stop it. It broke off my line. The Spadefish put up a great, but fast fight. Towards the end, I was trying to catch Barracudas that were on a ledge next to the dock. They attacked my hot dog when I let it drop, waited for a second, an reeled in fast, but didn't hook up. I then threw it past the ledge, and I saw it approach the bait. I set the hook hard, and it was on! I saw it flash in the water as we both pulled hard on the line. It broke off. The final catches of the day were Jacob with a Schoolmaster, Mangrove Snapper, and two Puffers, and me with two puffers, a Schoolmaster, a Mangrove Snapper, and the Atlantic Spadefish, all on hot dogs. The hot dogs were tough to fish with because the fish would sometimes ignore our bait. We'll be back to catch those giants.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

San Diego Embarcadero Pier Fishing

I was on a trip to San Diego, and after researching the closest spots, I knew I had to get some fishing in. I chose the Embarcadero Park South Pier, a small T-shaped pier that is located on San Diego Bay. I didn’t bring any gear with me, so I rented a pole for Jacob and I for 4 bucks per hour from the shop at the head of the pier. We were only going to fish for one hour. Both rods were rigged with dropper loop rigs, and I baited them up with anchovies. I asked the staff which was the best bait, and they recommended that I use the back half of the anchovies and throw the head part in. We walked on the pier and turned to the left. I ripped off the bottom halves and baited them up. Then we dropped them. The view from the pier was nice, with a bridge to the left, the bay ahead of us, and the buildings behind us. It was relatively choppy, but it didn’t make fishing much harder. After about 10 minutes, we hooked up. Jacob called me over because he felt extra weight but not a fight he thought it was bottom for a second. I reeled up a bit to see what the problem was, and it turned out to be a Round Stingray, the smaller one of the two species of rays in the San Diego area. He brought it over, and we caught it! A woman fishing next to us offered her pliers and helped us unhook the stingray. She stepped on the tail, on which the stinger rests on, and I unhooked the Round Stingray with the pliers. We released it safely. For a while, we were not catching anything. A few other people were catching some Bass and Mackerel. Then, at about 40 minutes into the trip, I felt a sudden tug. I pulled up, and it was still tugging. Fish on! I relied up a feisty Mackerel. It put up a great fight for its size on light gear. It was still shaking violently for about a minute and a half out of the water. I used the woman’s pliers again, because Mackerel have sharp teeth, and released the fish. That was it for the trip, but I was satisfied by a new species for me and my brother, the Round Stingray, and a hard fighting Mackerel in just one hour of fishing. I liked the pier, and I’ll be back again. Good luck and tight lines!