It has been a little while since we have last reported in, stuff has been getting in the way like work and life, but Team Rebel has been strong and we have been prevailing throughout it all. This report is a couple of weeks late but we promise it will be a good one. This report will be highlighting the events that took place during a period of three days, during the time in which Tropical storm Nicole blew up the coastline delivering to us much needed rain, and her winds of change...
It all began with a quick flip to the weather channel, and seeing the projected forecast for the tropical storm that was allegedly going to bring down the apocalypse upon the eastern seaboard of Florida. While most northerners and newbies in the state panic at the very thought of wind, we begin to plan an assault to seize the waters from fresh to salt with very little sleep in our limited window of opportunity when these storms grace us with their presence. Therefore, with a cooler full of energy drinks and a well full of bait, we began our assault by tapping into the always excellent bass fishing that presents itself as water management drains the canals in preparation for the "biblical" rains that are usually projected. With a bribe paid off to a security guard, we hit the super secret shiner hole to load up on some bait, and the 72 hour assault was underway.
This was going to be much different from any other storm over the past few years though, with the hellacious and relentless rain and wind that this storm presented early throughout its course , this had all the makings of a an excellent window of hardcore angling, one that most people never stick it out in. But this time a voice from a girl from New Jersey rose above the crowd, and she claimed that she was in fact down for the struggle and the difficulty this weather would be presenting. Naturally, a claim like this from a Jersey girl, I was skeptical, but all that would change by the end of the expedition that took us far and wide.
We began to hit the locations that are bass strongholds during the floods. Before the rain began I was able to raise this beastly little creature on a Bass Assassin.
But as the rain began to move in, Jersey or "Jessica" took over and started doing some damage of her own on the stick.
We hit a few more spots before sundown which didn't yield the bounty that we were after , only a couple of more small specimens before we hit the showers to re-tool a plan.
I then decided it was time to move eastward in search of the linesiders that were residing beneath the tides of the wash out, and Jessica signed her name into the late night expedition to see what the bridge snook fishing was all about. We arrived on location to find a barren bridge full of mullet pushed in from the rough surf and we had a small window to capitalize. And apparently with all the freshwater being dumped into the raging ocean, mullet weren't the only bait to be found at the bridge......
I dropped the first bait in around the tide switch, to have an instant hit, but upon the hook set the hook doubled back into the 12inch mullet, leaving us with a sense of angst, but hopeful at the same time. The very next bait, another thump was felt almost instantly, only to this time have the uni-uni connection fail, the first time this had ever happened to me, the day/ night was going to well, but I was then "promised" the next bait would yield the culprit, skeptical yet again, I proceeded to drop the bait, and within a minute another thump was felt, and a hook-up finally! After a short fight we put this over slot on the bridge, a quick pic and release and she was off back to her home, after another hour of hitless fishing it was time to rest up for the true assault that was to begin at dawn.
The next day started exactly how the first one did, a quick bribe and a trip to the shiner hole and back to the pipes in the pouring rain. But today the fish were feeding and the bites were non-stop and instant for 5 hours. Though we didn't get any of the 8lb class fish we usually get, a ton of nice healthy fish and a few 4lbers, almost all of which were tamed by Jessica in the driving rain, spirits and morale were again high and we were now in full fledged assault mode, with around thirty fish being caught during the time period.
Shortly after the all day bass assault, the rain let up a bit and we headed back to the bridge with Team member Chris and Robert to try to get on some snook and tarpon action from the heights of the bridge span. Within 15minutes of our arrival Robert had already hooked, and landed a tarpon in the 80-90lb class range, no pictures were taken as it was too larger to bring up in the net. Within the next hour the bite began to take off, Chris landed a large over slot fish around 25lbs, which after a pic was safely released as usual.
After Chris' lunker was released, it was my turn, within 15minutes I was able to get my bait down into the zone and land two nice overslot fish before we had to turn in for the night and prepare for work in the AM.
Running on only energy drinks, I was able to make it through the work-day and to the night, in which we then decided to head up north to the Flagler bridge and do a little bit of shark fishing from atop of the concrete structure. The whole team headed up for some low effort/ high output sharking. We arrived in hopes of putting Jessica on her first bull shark, that we knew were lurking throughout the mullet and bluefish schools that littered the lagoon at night time. After Tyler had landed two small bull sharks around 6ft, Chris' Avet 4/0 wide perched upon a 10ft unlimited Harnell rod with 130lb braid let out a cry from hell, a quick hook set and the rod was handed to Jersey to see if she was really as hardcore as she made herself out to be, she had proven herself through bad weather, and no sleep, all while having a fractured foot in a boot, but she hadn't tangled with the denizen in which we make our career off of, the shark. In the mean-time Robert was messing around with some of the local "Lumpys"
I have to take my hat off to her, she fought this shark on straight braid in the current like a champion, the rod never hit the railing once and after twenty grueling minutes in the raging current, we finally caught a glimpse of her first shark. A stout 6ft bull shark, but the most impressive thing was she handled this fish like a veteran, this was after we learned that she had drug the fish to the bridge in reverse due to the hook placement in the tail of the shark. We clipped the line and the shark swam away like nothing had happened.
All in all, it was a great way to spend three days during a storm while most northerners are hunkered down waiting for the impending doom that the weather channel usually forecasts. But the solitude and bounty was well worth the struggle, and my skepticism cowered away into the shadows like all the fish we had caught and released over the course of these three days, as Jersey held her own tougher than most of the team did. And we hope to see her again in the future in some more of our expeditions, who knows when she will pop up with something amazing. We have learned in the end, that maybe Jersey girls are a lot tougher than we expected, and maybe they are a misunderstood creature that can do more than just fist pump.....we will see
Until next time....
-Team Rebel Out