With the change of seasons looming in the air, the time is upon us that the mullet make their suicidal migration southward in massive schools down the beach and the intra-costal waterways. Thus meaning it is now the time for football, the time for tarpon, and most of all, a time for snook ravaging baits in every body of water that mullet schools have access too. So naturally, we loaded up the truck and headed north to intercept the largest schools of mullet on the beaches, and see if we couldn't try our luck with some of the beach bound tarpon and sharks. I will spare you the details of this trip, for the fact that we didn't catch a thing. We did encounter some massive mullet schools with dozens of tarpon losing their minds on the outer edges gorging themselves with huge black mullet, never less, they were too far out for us to take a legitimate shot at one from shore. So after cleaning off the stench of failure, we packed the trucks and headed home, but not before the trip got even better, with a massive tire blow out at high speeds on the highway.
Our "Fun Meter" was having an overload after all this wonderful excitement throughout the day and early night, with a big hole left that had not yet been filled with out dreams of tarpon and snook. While barely able to function from over tiredness, Chris convinced me to take a ride over to a couple of bridges with a hot bite during the mullet run. So Tyler, myself, and Chris headed out around 2 a.m. just to take a "Peek" and see what was lurking in the shadows of the concrete links to land.
We arrived at the first location with no intention of fishing, but shortly after we ventured up onto the bridge span we witnessed a line of black shadows, darker than the shadow line being cast off the bridge from the street lights, with all these shapes prepared to pounce on any foolish little creature that wandered into the dark zone. Tyler couldn't help himself, so he ran back down to the car and grabbed a rod with a Storm lure, and within a matter of seconds he was hooked up on a nice little tarpon (his first if I may add) and pulled her up in the net to remove the hook, so she didn't have any jewlery hanging in her mouth when we lowered her back down in the net for a safe and smooth release.
After Tyler landed that tarpon, all the other ones got spooked and went down low and proceeded to get a case of "the lock jaw". So we pressed on to take a look at the mullet situation at one more bridge before heading home to central air conditioning and comfortable beds after a long day of heat and misery. But when we arrived at the bridge, something seemed oddly awry for this spot, which was very unusual to say the least. We stood around and watched the water closely for a few minutes, until a small school of finger mullet ran into the shadow line and half a dozen explosions lit the poor mullet school up, leaving them with half their family missing. So we went down to the truck and grabbed a couple of rods and the small cast net to see what damage we could do in a few minutes of fishing. I cast netted a few small mullet, one of which Chris took and dropped down into the shadow and immediately hooked into, and landed a 20-30 pound class tarpon, which was safely released without being taken out of the net.
I then was blessed by the bridge gods with a tasty, twelve inch, ladyfish morsel, and quickly tossed the "guarantee" bait into the shadow. Instantly a MASSIVE shape rose up to suck down my ladyfish off the surface, and in a mere split second, the whole ladyfish disappeared into a gigantic boil in the dark underbelly of the bridge and I was now pinned to the railing with the drag set to lockdown on the fifty-pound test line, trying to keep this beast away from the pilings. After a brutal minute or two, I got the fished head out of the water, and as Chris was getting the net the hook came flying back at the bridge after one of the most brutal head shakes I have ever seen come from any fish. As fast as it happened, the giant crept back into its barnacle ridden wood home to vast in the glory of its win. "Oh, Well" I said, "It happens" and proceeded to get another bait and drop it back into the shadow of hell. Before long, My line came tight again and pulled up this nice little guy without meeting any resistance. After a quick snap shot, we lowered it back into the water inside the net, and it was off.
Around 4:30 a.m., my morale was low along with my eyelids as I was ready to go home before any hint of light broke the horizon offshore, but Chris on the other hand was persistent and wanted to get a snook for the night. After a little teasing, Chris shouts at me from up the bridge "GET THE NET!!" so without hesitation, I bolt down the bridge to assist him in the landing of whatever is on the other end of his line, and to grab a quick snap-shot of whatever the mystery fish may be. After a VERY dicey two-three minute battle, the denizen rears it head on the surface, I was absolutely STUNNED with how big it was, especially for this particular spot. I didn't waste any time throwing the net up current and pulling tight and forcing the fish into the net which it BARELY fit inside of. As I hoisted the beast over the railing, Chris and I were both stunned on how huge this snook really was!
After a couple quick photo op's we lowered the monster back into the water inside of the net, as always, and watched her lumpy and rugged figure slowly but surely make its way back to the bottom to full-fill her destiny as a breeder and mullet destroyer. All in all it was a great way to salvage a bad day and night, not only did we not even intend on fishing these bridges, but we have a great story to tell at the end of the night. We will be back after some more lunkers this week hopefully, so until next time....
Team Rebel Out!!!!