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Old 03-31-2008, 01:37 PM   #1
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Default Almost a Year's Worth......

....... of trips on the [email protected] as of this past weekend! Mike keeps count of all of the trips made on the boat, and Friday was...

TRIP #360

Uncle Ultralite had not taken Mike and I off restriction yet, so we "had" to do an impromptu afternoon trip Friday. The crew was me, Mike, and the son of one of Mike's buddies. Byron was happy to join in, especially since he's taking a job that carries him away from Pensacola's great fishing and this was a super way to send him off.

We got on the water a bit after 3, armed with some live shrimp and ready for sheepshead- off to Fort Pickens we went, the afternoon sun golden and warm. We found the current ripping through the pier and the water stirred up where we couldn't see fish. A free diver was swimming around the pilings, and he gave us the news- plenty of sheepies down there, and even a few redfish. We tied up, but waited for him to clear the water before we fished, and though the sheepie report from the diver had sounded promising, they just weren't fired up. Instead, we found other bait stealers.....

Byron gets the "blues"....

Ah, well, the bluefish were fun to play with for a bit and we brought about a dozen to the boat, many of them "self-releasing". We did put a couple on ice, destined to become shark food for the lab. All of the blues were about 15-16" or so. Neat thing about bluefish is that in any given school, all of the fish will be about the same size. Bluefish are rather active cannibals, and it is not to one's advantage to be the smallest bluefish in the school.....:hungry

We also caught and released a few pinfish, when finally I found a sheepie either hungry or dumb enough to take a shrimp with a hook attached:

This was the only sheep we pulled off Pickens, and the pinfish were getting hungrier by the minute, so we tried another spot across the bay where the current wasn't ripping quite so fast. We marked many fish, but we couldn't sell a bait there, so on to one more spot. This is a spot that Mike has been fishing for years, and he knows how to fish it in any condition. The current was moving rather quickly here, so the strategy was to move well ahead of the spot and drift back over it. We had to be on the ball and ready to cast in order to make this work. Byron hooked up his dinner:

....and made his contribution to the fishbox. Nice sheepie!

Another drift, another one for me......

On the next pass over our hole, my bait took off with a headshaking run.....

A sunset redfish for me!

Byron checked out this beauty before we returned it to the bay:

Next pass, and my next shrimp heads for the bottom and digs down. The fish found structure, so Mike turned the boat and I pulled this one out of the wreck:

Too bad this gag wasn't at least one inch larger. Ah well, we put a couple more sheepies on ice and as the sun sank lower, we decided to call it a day. It was dark by the time we got to the Famous Dock, and there were people fishing on it. Had to give them a little guff as I couldn't see who it was at first..... turned out to be Rick and a couple of his friends who were fishing for something to make cut bait. I gave them the bluefish we'd saved, and Rick was happy to take a few dock shots of our catch:

The crew on Trip #360 poses with the catch:

Glad we could get Byron out on the water and into some fish before he made his journey away from Pensacola!

Mike and I made the trip back to Milton to rest up.... after all, Uncle Ultralite STILL hadn't released us from our restriction, so we HAD to fish the next day for....

TRIP #361

This was an extra-special trip. Those who know me well know that fishing is in my very genetic makeup, embedded in my DNA with knowledge and lorepassed down from several generations. My dad fostered it in me well before I was even in kindergarten, and I am grateful every day that he did. Sadly, even though my folks only live a county away in Ft. Walton Bch, due to schedules and life in generalI do not get to fish with my Dad very often these days. Dad doesn't get to fish much at all as it is. Last timehe and Iwere on a boat together was over a year ago, so what a treat it was that Dad was able to come over Saturday and we were able to take him out!

Dad met us in Milton before the clock hit 5am, and we trekked through blankets of fog to Perdido to launch the boat. There's just something neat about foggy mornings- yeah, it's chilly, yeah it's a little damp and it sucks trying to drive through it, but it is the very silence and calm of a foggy morning that makes me want to just hold my breath so as not to disturb anything and take it all in..... something eerie and ethereal about the mist that filters out all background noise and makes you focus on just what's immediately around you.....

Sunrise over Grand Lagoon shot light through the mist and showed us glassy waters stretching out before us, the fog and horizon blending so that it looked as if the water went on into eternity...

We skated over slick water all the way to Fort Pickens under a brightening sunrise, though the sun failed to burn off the thick blankets of fog that rolled over the bay. The current through the pierwasn't ripping as hard, and the water was clear enough for us to see sheepies swirling around the pilings. This looked promising! We tied off and dropped baits. We found instead more pinfish and bluefish, and the shrimp thievery was rampant. Enough of Pickens, we headed towards the Pass.

We used 30-pound flourocarbon leaders tied to varying strengths of mainline (mine was 15#), 1/0 Owner hooks, and 2oz egg sinkers, and drifted this spot as we had done the night before. First down, and my drag goes singing. What a great sound early in the morning!! Mike, too, had a hookup. Now,Mike and I love to dance together, but it's even more fun around and around the deck of a boat with a fish pulling at the end of the line..... and after some fancy footwork we had twins!

Redfish of 35" and 36", released to the bay. Next drift, it was a father-daughter hookup.

We aren't having any fun at all......

Our two fish kept wanting to cross paths with each other but we worked them to the boat. Even better than a father-daughter double hookup is a father-daughter pair of redfish!

Nah, we didn't enjoy this one bit.

I think this made Dad's day, and if we had packed up and headed home right then, it still would have been a great trip for the both of us. But...... we didn't head for home- the fish were on fire!

Dad and Mike bringing in one of many sheepies:

Mike shows off a nice fish:

At this point, the fishbox looked like this:

Our bait-to-landing ratio was way better than it had been at Pickens the previous weekend- almost every bait meant a fish in the box with very few thefts.

Next drift, Dad gets slammed and the fish holds to the bottom. This was no sheepie, and we had a pretty good idea what was on the end of Dad's line, so we got a chant going... "Come on grouper, come on grouper....."

It worked like a charm. Dad put his patience to work and Mike maneuvered the boat just right to give Dad enough leverage to finesse the fish out of its hole, and on that light tackle and a pinkie-sized shrimp, Dad boats a real beauty:

This gag had a yellow bucktail jig in its throat and a length of about 30# line trailing- he'd cut someone off in the wreck recently. It made my day that Dad put him in the boat!! Mike was really proud, too:

About that time, a familiar boat is making its way through the Pass. It's got a duck on the bowrail, it's loaded for bear, someone on board is talking trash oke.... it's Bonita Dan! :toast

He joins the rest of us in the Pass, and drifts the spot kind of in sync with us, and we see him bowed up on fish after fish:

Good fun seeing Dan and his buddyout and having some friendly chatter back and forth. And getting proof (here ya go,bamasam!!oke)that Dan's boat is on the water fishing (no fires, no SeaTow.... ).... just good times! Glad to see ya out there, Danno.:toast

The drift strategy was obviously working well- I hook into another drag-pulling fish and boat Bull Number Three for the day!

Darn you, Uncle Ultralite, for keeping us on restriction. This just ain't no fun.:letsparty

We boated fish after fish on drift after drift, and I know I broke my sheepshead record on this trip. I also got into a couple of Spanish about halfway from the bottom- put two on ice about 16". At about 1pm, the fish were still on fire, but Mike brought reality into check when he reminded us that we had several hours of fish cleaning ahead of us. So we packed up and left the fish hungry and headed for the Famous Dock.

Sorting the catch- "Now what????"

Uncle Ultralite came down to take dock pictures and to remind Mike and I that we will probably be on restriction for at least another weekend.....

Here we are with the catch- it's been a while since Dad has been in a pile of fish like this!

Here's the pile as close as we could get a picture:

Dad's grouper measured out at 30" (based on the online fish weight calculator, just over 17 pounds!)

Here's a closeup of the sheepie that broke my previous record- 23" and according to the calculator, just over 10 pounds!!

Cleaning the fish was actually a pleasure. We had a system going- Mike and I would fillet for a bit and when Mike went up to clean the boat, I filleted. Dad skinned, and we kept the table and dock rinsed, and we fed a multitude of birds. The pelicans must know this dock and that we serve up a birdie buffet for kings!!

Mike and Dad making one of many piles of fillets:

This fellow was quite friendly- looks like he's ready to run the boat back out and get some more fish:

We actually cleaned so many fish that eventually the birds were apparently no longer hungry and we were left alone!

The "assembly line":

Tally for the weekend:

TRIP #360-

Total shrimp used- about 8 dozen

Total sheepies- 6

Total other thieving fishes- way too many

Great memories and fun with Byron!

TRIP #361-

Total shrimp used- about 8 dozen

Total fish- 1 stud bay gag grouper, 2 Spanish, couple more bluefish, and 33 sheepies, none under 4-5 pounds!

Best of all, a precious day with Dad which I will always cherish. Thanks to Mike for being able to make possible this wonderful father-daughter day- I can't say enough how much it meant to spend the time together. Dad taught me how to fish when I was very young and nurtured the ethic and the love I have for time spent on the water, and it is wonderful to be able to give at least some of that time back to him. Can't wait for the next time!!!!
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Old 03-31-2008, 01:58 PM   #2
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Default RE: Almost a Year's Worth......

Karon- Very well-done post. I have some specific questions about an obscure little fish- squirrel fish- which I caught in the Pass this past weekend. Could you help me? Thanks- Ed Mashburn
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Old 03-31-2008, 01:58 PM   #3
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Default RE: Almost a Year's Worth......

Thats awesome I always like your reports! Congrats on breaking your sheepy record. Must have been nice to have your dad fishing with you, those are always the best memories. Hopefully with that gag he'll try to make it more of ahabit to fish with you. Once again, good job.
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Old 03-31-2008, 02:07 PM   #4
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Default RE: Almost a Year's Worth......

hellava report as usual, we passed by sat afternoon and saw ya'll cleaning them. we had a small reunion of guys from college at my house this past weekend and i took them on a little booze cruise. when we passed going back west i saw you wave.

your reports are great.....:bowdown
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Old 03-31-2008, 02:37 PM   #5
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Default RE: Almost a Year's Worth......

nice report karon...nice to have met your dad Mr. Radzik...thanks for the fillets...

i know being on restriction is unbearable for you at times but, a 2 hour trip to wallyworld that should have taken an hour was inexcusable...what were ya'll doing all that time??? i guess a spring & summer of fishing is punishment enoughoke...
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Old 03-31-2008, 02:48 PM   #6
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Default RE: Almost a Year's Worth......

Sweet Gag, sounds like you had as much fun as I did this weekend. Somehow I missed you guys out there again. I'm glad you got to put your dad on some nice fish.
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Old 03-31-2008, 06:31 PM   #7
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Default RE: Almost a Year's Worth......

Your reports are the best Karon. Thanks to the [email protected] for letting us feable minded offshore guys drift along side ya. That was a stud grouper your dad caught,congrats to him:bowdown Hope to see yall out on the water again next weekend if Uncle "U",the dean of dicipline puts ya on restriction again:shedevil
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Old 03-31-2008, 06:37 PM   #8
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Default RE: Almost a Year's Worth......

Well, we heard it from the "boss's" mouth a few posts back-Mike and Iare still in trouble. Walmart will do that to you. Guess we'll see you out there..... aw, shucks.... :hotsun

Talked to my Mom this morning- she said that my Dad was a liiiitle tired when he got back to FWB that night......... but he had a great time and is still talking about it! Hope Dad can make it over again soon.
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Old 03-31-2008, 08:37 PM   #9
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Default RE: Almost a Year's Worth......

Glad you got to do some fishing with your dad Karon !! Thanks for the report and pictures. As alway a very nice read :clap
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Old 03-31-2008, 09:13 PM   #10
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Default RE: Almost a Year's Worth......

Absolutely fabulous post there Karon.

I've learned a bit from your replies and posts. But when we scanned through your gallery, I knew there was real experience behind all that fun. I hope I have the honor of drifting along side in the pass some day.

relentlessly searching for that heavy pull-down


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