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While visiting during the Thanksgiving break and spending a couple days on the flats only catching a couple reds, my son and I decided to put our canoe in the calm gulf water near Alys Beach to try our luck. We bought a few frozen cigar minnows and rigs and headed out early the next morning. Having never done this before, our expectations were low, and figured if nothing else, we'd have a peaceful ride. After trolling a bit, we noticed birds hitting the surface pretty far out. It was very calm so we headed their direction. Attached are a couple examples of what we found...

Thanksgiving 2012 Tuna #1.jpg
Thanksgiving 2012 Tuna #3 - Small.jpg

It was madness! Double hook ups, break offs, screaming drags! We quickly decided that if we were going to actually land one (at this point we had no idea what they were) we needed to focus on one fish at a time. The tuna ended up all being caught on a single 3 1/2 " badonk-a-donk top water using 10lb braid and 20lb fluorocarbon leader (the only gear we had). The bigger ones took about 20 minutes to bring to the boat. After an hour of this the fish left so we headed back toward our condo, only to see more birds hitting the water and this time much closer to shore. I did a quick kid swap (traded in my 15 year old for my 11 year old) and went back out.

Disappointingly, the birds left, and we sat there a 100 yards from the beach wondering if we should head back. Then, within 20 feet of the boat, something hit near the surface. A quick cast and the battle was on, this time with some type of Bonito.

Thanksgiving 2012 Bonita #2.jpg Thanksgiving 2012 Bonita #1 - Small.jpg

25-30 minutes later we had landed 5. As quickly as they came, they were gone.

I should also note a shark at least 7ft long came up right next to our canoe as we were headed toward the tuna. A bit scary, but at the same time fascinating. Overall a fantastic day on the water. All the fish were returned in great shape to fight another day. We are all still smiling!

Now a question for you. Is this normal? Are these types of fish out there on a regular basis? Are there certain times in the year that they make their runs? Nothing against trout or redfish, but this took light tackle fishing to a whole new level for me. And I want more… Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
 

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In a canoe, in the gulf, with a kid, AND treble hooks.....As a friend of mine would say, "you sir, have a syrup bucket full of nuts" LOL Those boys will never forget their respective fishing trips from that day. Great job!!
 

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There are generally some species running along the coast throughout the year. Some times they are closer to the beach than others. Sounds like you guys hit an ideal day and were in the right place at the right time. Fishing is just that - fishing, not always catching. Anyway congrats on the big day. I was fishing off the beach a bit to the west from there about a month ago and saw a huge shark sky out of the water about 40 yards away and then I lost three baits in about 5 minutes to him and his friends.
 

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Outstanding post...pics and report! Your hooked like those fish lol. Just rig your canoe with a couple Scotty, ram...rod holders, bottom finder, big cooler and paint a sharks mouth on the front of your canoe and fly a small pirates flag.:)
 
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