Tampa trip last weekend. - Pensacola Fishing Forum

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Old 10-08-2009, 09:20 AM   #1
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Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: foley, Al
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Default Tampa trip last weekend.

Had a few days to get out of the shop so me and my buddy jack met up in Tampa to hopefully get in some snook action. I got down there Friday evening and after having dinner with some family in Tampa I met up with Jack and John (Navysnooker) for some docklight action near Johns home. John had tried to borrow a kayak but when that fell through we just borrowed a boat and left the yaks on the trailer. John brought us to some of his favorite lights in Boca Ciega bay and on the first light I hooked up with a nice snook on the fly only to have it pull the hooks quickly. Over the next few hours me and jack caught a lot of trout, big mangrove snapper, some small grouper, a few reds and lose a few more snook. Where we went there were snook but the few dumb enough to bite were smart enough to get loose. Best part was everything I caught was on fly. We fished until about 6:30AM in the morning before heading back to the launch. At the launch I netted some greenies and after dropping off the boat we headed to Ft. Desoto. I never fished there before and John recommended it so off we went.

We launched at the Ft. and quickly found some cooperative redfish and sheepshead. This is a beautiful place and I highly recommend it to anyone visiting the Tampa bay area. Its mostly no motor zones so its perfect for yakking and wading. We covered a lot of the mangroves and grassflatsandexperienced some great fishing and sceneryI somehow managed to lose my anchor through all of this so I did a lot more paddling thanI had intended to. By about 5:00 PM we headed in and now that I've been awake for almost 40 hours I think I'm ready for a nap. We got a couple hours of sleep and then its time to make a game plan. We decide to head back to the lights we fished the night with before with Johnsince we don't have the time to leave fish to find fish. We pack up and head back up there around 10:00PM.

We quickly launch and head to some of the lights John had showed us and we weren't disappointed when we got there. We caught some of the biggest trout I've ever seen in that region along with ladyfish, jacks, reds and mangrove snapper but where were the snook? Being a meat fisherman Jack was happy but I kept hopping from light to light searching for that trophy linesider. I paddled over to an underwater light I remembered from the night before but it seemed to be going out and wasn't lit up all the way. WhenI got closer I realized it was on butit was being blocked by asnook of about 25+lbs sitting in front of it! I grabbed a heavy rod and put a big live mullet on it and flipped it under the dock. SPLASH, snook spooks. G-dammit, there goes my chance at a big one.I let the mullet sit for a minute and then start reeling it in and before I get it to me here comes big boy and down goes the mullet. I bury the hook and pull back as hard as I can and after about 10 seconds of tug-o-war I yank the hook out. Well that figures. We keep trucking and at about 4:30 AM we are on our way back to the launch. We get in the canal leading to the launch and up ahead I see 4 big logs (snook) sitting under a dock. I got real quiet and took my time thinking of what to throw at them. I made up my mind and went with a 5" white/chartreuse jerk bait. I paddle just within range and take a cast. It gets hit 3 times on the way back butI take it away from them cause there is a big girl down by the bottom. I make another cast and this time she takes notice and the smaller ones clear the way. She sucks it down and Jack her jaws. That fish starts tail-walking all around and all i can do is just try to keep it out of the dock with only 10lb line. I try to find my boga-grip and can't locate it so I yell for Jack to bring his net. I finally get her close and just grab her behind the gills. She thrashes and I lose my grip. After some more thrashing I get a good solid hold on her.An easy 38 incher, probably around 15lbs or so.Jack paddles up with the net and she thrashes again, runs out, jumps and BREAKS MY DAMN LINE! SOB, I'm claiming a palm beach release on this one. Thats good enough for me. I've had 2 hours of sleep in almost 3 days I am done. We pack back up and head to a park for some sleep. we thought about fishing that morning but would only have a couple hours to fish so we throw in the towel and get ready to come home.

We ended up with a bunch of snapper, reds, trout and a few other things and hooked about a dozen snook only to lose pretty much all of them but oh well I'm still claiming a catch on the last one. Next time I go down I'm making sure we have a least 4 days to fish but this was my only chance to go for a while soI took it. We didn't take any pictures, sorry, we just don't think like that fueled on near zero sleep.

Thanks John for showing us around. You put us on the fish and made us a little less blind in a new place.

Come see me at our store below. I'm there:
Wed-Thur 1-9
Friday 7-7
Saturday 9-9
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Old 10-08-2009, 12:15 PM   #2
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Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: PENSACOLA (originally from TAMPA BAY)
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Default RE: Tampa trip last weekend.

Aytime I'm home you guys are welcome to come down.. I'm glad it worked out for us on the first night, as i haven't been home i quite some time and those lights were a gamble... Your skill with that fly rod was quite impressive.. I've never dared to pitch on snook in the lights with a flyrod.. that school of mangrove snapper was HUGE and i'm glad i was able to get ya close enough to do some damage... too bad that old bitch had to turn the lights off on us atthat other dock cause that woulda beenthe spot!!! enjoyed the heck outta having you and jack on board for sure... congrats on your first big snook.. i assure ya they get much bigger closer to the inlet... see ya in orange beach in a few days!!! thanks for the kind words
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