This week was a little different. Terry Segraves and I went flats fishing for redfish and speckled trout on Mosquito Lagoon in Florida. I was surprised by what I learned. It was more like bass fishing than I thought, but it was also different.
The first thing that caught me off-guard was how the fish reacted to our boat. They basically drifted off ahead of us as we moved along in the clear water. When we were moving we couldn’t get a bite. They were more worried about our boat than they were about eating. Just a few minutes after we stopped, however, they’d calm down and start swimming around in front of us. Once that happened we could catch them.
It would be interesting to know if bass would do the same thing. Mostly I always thought that if you ran them off they were gone. Maybe that’s not the case. It might be if you stayed still in your boat for a few minutes they’d come back.
Another thing I learned was that redfish and speckled trout will hit bass lures and bass rigs. I caught a 27 inch speckled trout and an 8 pound redfish on a Berkley Gulp Alive Jerk Shad rigged with a 4/0 EWG hook. That’s an ordinary shallow water bass rig that’s been around forever.
One thing that was different, though, was how we handled the boat. I pushed with the pole for a while — maybe 10 minutes — but then wimped-out and went to the electric trolling motor. All I can say is that it looks pretty cool to be up high on the platform with that big, long pole in your hands. “Looks” is the operative word, however. In truth, it gets real ugly, real fast. I thought my shoulders were going to fall off at one point.
And speaking of looking cool — we saw a boat with a guy pushing it with a pole from the platform while another guy was fly fishing from the front. It was picture perfect. He caught a couple of big fish, too. We weren’t close enough to see what kind they were but we could tell by the way they fought that they had some size to them.
I really respect anglers who can use a fly rod. It’s as much art as it is fishing. If I could live three or four lifetimes I’d learn how to do it. They just look like they’re having fun. Besides, in most of the pictures I see they have a Land Rover and a black lab with them. How cool is that?
No matter all that, we used spinning tackle. Our stuff was light enough to give us a thrill but it was also something we were familiar with so we could handle everything. All in all it was a fun experience, one I can recommend to anyone without hesitation.
No, it won’t replace bass fishing. That’s always been my first love and I suspect it’ll be my last. At the same time, however, there’s nothing wrong with doing something a little different every now and again.