• Anthony Watson

Friday Night Fights

Both my sons and I went out one evening earlier this summer after work with the intention of the fishing flats for redfish.

As we were leaving the landing, we saw a couple of schools of menhaden known as el-y or elway. We stopped, threw the net and caught about 5 dozen, which was a game changer. Once the menhaden were on board, we scratched the flats and headed for an oyster bar in about 6 feet of water, where we normally catch anywhere from 20-inch to 42-inch reds with live and dead menhaden.

We rigged up with some on the bottom and some flat line to keep our options open for reds and whatever else was following the menhaden. The schools of menhaden started moving through by the boat and we cast by them looking for the reds.

The water was popping all around and finally we hooked up. Trouble erupted when 10 seconds into the hook-up we were broken off. We are using 7-foot-6 medium action St. Croix Triumph and Hookspit Guide Rods with 10-pound Powerpro braid with a 20-pound flourocarbon liter. We re-rig, cast back out, got a hit, set the hook, and — pop — the line broke again.

Jake loving his 23.5" trout

I tried bigger hooks, and hooking the elway in the mouth instead of the back. We continued to re-rig, cast out and get broken off. My oldest hooked up and fought the fish without it breaking, got it to the boat, and I was thinking we had found our culprit for the broken lines.

It ended up being a 23.5-inch trout, weighing in just under 4 pounds, a great fish and his personal best but not what kept breaking our lines. We continued to fish for about two more hours, landing nine more trout. We never caught the culprit; our best guess is it was a shark or jack.

After we got home and cleaned up for the night, we were talking and re-examining why we didn’t catch any reds, which was odd. We came up with two reasons that may have influenced the red fishing.

The first reason: We didn’t catch enough menhaden to throw a lot overboard and trigger a frenzy. The other was this front coming in changed the pressure and caused the reds to change patterns or go lockjaw.

Either way, watching my oldest catch his personal best speckled trout and being able to spend that time and make those memories with my sons was better than any redfish we would have caught.


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