After the website being dormant for an unusually long time, we decided it was best to get back to our roots for a minute and actually do a hand written report for a kind of nostalgic change. Though our consistency has not been present whatsoever, along with some seriously bad luck ( to a degree we have never experienced before) we have had some shining moments that have filled the void of bullshit here and there since the year has begun.
It was a long, weird, boring winter...
*Bad Luck Note # 1- Still under investigation by 3 different agency's regarding our triple unexpected Sawfish encounter from last July. Waiting to hear final judgement which will be handed down soon.
Ok, not the way you want to kick off a new year, but sometimes you draw the unlucky card, and a person who doesn't like you very much goes WAY out of their way to try to inconvenience your life as much as they can. But life goes on right? The Team Rebel train will NOT be de-railed under any circumstance, even though we stand firm on our stance, and the truth, about what had happened during the situation.
However, there were fish to be found, and ladders to be perched on, in search of some high intensity shark action! We have only been able to stand our ladders twice since we have rung in the New Year, but at least one of the trips was extremely productive.
Myself and Paper Shredder had formulated a plan to go on a ladder mission a little while back, in which we enlisted the help of good friend and ladder enthusiast Lynard Gentry to come out for a "Stand Along" on the flats.
*Badluck Note #2- I fell extremely ill the night before the trip, but I am not in the business of bailing out when something awesome is going on, so I put on my big boy shorts and ascended onto the flats with our ladder brigade in search of some vicious shallow water razor-toothed residents.
We arrived at the flat around 10 a.m. and got our ladders set-up and ready for some high flying action. I was pretty much useless, and conditions were cold and windy, so I pretty much just stayed on my ladder, occasionally commenting on some extremely American dialogues we were having, when Shredders rod suddenly took off. The battle was very short lived, and we knew the fish was small before Lynard grabbed the leader to release the shark. But nonetheless, a 5ft lemon shark on a ladder, is still a shark on ladder, so we were happy to have the skunk off early.
The weather started warming up a bit with the tide, thus pushing out the clean water, and bringing in the dirty water which usually brings a good shark bite along with its arrival. Not long after the first shark was released, Shredder was rigged up and already fighting his second fish of the day. This one was putting up a pretty valiant fight, which we immediately knew that this was a better fish. After about a 15 minute battle, the mystery shark made its first showing behind Shredders ladder, revealing itself as a nice 7 to 7 1/2 ft feisty Lemon shark. Being the excellent American he is, Lynard decided he was going to leader this one as well and cut the girl off. No big deal right? FALSE! On a ladder we have learned apparently everything we do is a big deal and not as easy as it seems. Lynard did in fact leader the girl up to the side of his ladder to cut the shark off, but his hillbilly gene kicked in, and he decided to grab the tip of its tail on its way out, and it didn't go to well.
I didn't think it was possible, but the shark turned around with its mouth WIDE open, barely missing Lynards foot and latching onto the ladder with no intentions of releasing its lock until it realized it was shredding fiberglass and not Gentrys leg. (The video below contains the clip, as well as the rest of the action from this trip)
As you can see from the look on my face I was in complete shock over the incident myself.
We laughed it off and continued fishing, and again, Shredder hooked up to his third shark of the morning, a Lemon shark of about 6ft. It fought with the heart of a monster, and this one also tried hard to maim Gentrys hand during release, but all was good still in ladder land and the bite was hot as the tide was coming to an end. But we were not done, and Gentry had a personal score to settle..
We began discussing packing up and leaving so I could go find medication and hot sauce, but during this dialogue, Gentrys rod went off by means of a hellish scream. His line went slack almost immediately, and as he was trying to get tight to the fish. I maneuvered to our most unstable ladder to retriever the Go Pro, as Shredder was at the kayak base cutting up some fresh baits. But when I made this transition, I could hear the line scoping in front of my ladder, against the tide, and heading directly for my new station. Gentry finally caught up to the shark, and when the shark got the memo, it leaped completely out of the water missing the ladder by mere feet! It was pretty incredible to see up close, but luckily not to close. He was now in the heat of battle with this nasty giant black-tip shark, and it was getting sketchy fast. Gentry was position on the middle ladder, and the signature of the black-tips on the flats is that they love to circle and bull dog. So around and around and around he went, with the line constantly flying over our heads while trying to get the fish under control. That was until the first time that it did not clear the ladder, and decided to bludgeon my unstable ladder with its tail, rocking it violently back and forth. We did recover from that incident quickly, but the next pass was even worse, this time it didn't;t clear the ladder again, but it had a new approach, to swim right under my ladder and take off! All hell broke lose as we began jockey to free the line from the ladder and continuing to fight the shark. After some colorful words, we regained our composure again, and on its final pass it decided to bludgeon Shredders "fortress" Werner ladder wit hits tail, in which I don't think he even felt the impact. But it was here where the fight ended, with a rather smooth cut off, and us declaring the ladder trip finally over.
I was contacted a week later by Field & Stream magazine, looking to do a write-up about ladder fishing for their April issue (which I pain stakingly obliged), but there was a dead line to meet, and the weather had gotten very cold, way to cold to be standing out there soaked on ladders, but we had to give it a shot.
Bad Luck Note #3- My trailer that I used to transport kayaks, ladders, and equipment for work, was stolen the day before this trip, which made this that much harder to be able to attempt.
No matter the cost, we had to try, so we returned to the flat with the odds stacked against us and morale low. To keep it short, it went exactly as I expected, nothing. I had one small fish that was on for a short while that came off, but you cant win them all sadly. Luckily we had enough content from previous trips to get the job done though for the April issue.
River Monster Phase-
We had been doing some recon while failing at snook fishing in early January at various spots late night, when we came into an extremely mysterious large Jack bite happening inside the river. All my years of bridge hopping I had never really seen this occur, so naturally my first thought was that there had to be Bull Sharks around with all the jacks laying in the darkness and off the radar. So during the Black-tip Challenge, we thought the best game plan we had was to go try for a river monster while the teams were struggling to find fish and clam surf to fish ocean side. The first night we setup our gear at the location we had chosen to find it vacant of any other form of angler, which is always a major plus. We were feeling good about our chances, and as Adam kayaked out and dropped his first bait, before he made it back to shore the bait had already been taken. Sadly the hook set was missed, and the bait just drifted away in the absolutely raging current. Adam quickly re-baited and re-deployed to the same spot, and this time the result was almost identical. He had just made it back to shore and the reel was going off again. This time we were certain we were not going to miss the fish again, especially if it was dumb enough to come back for seconds. We had a plan set, that I would set the hook and Adam would be waiting with the harness behind me to be strapped in, because there is literally NO time to screw up because there are so many obstacle for your line to hit in the insanely fast current. I let the shark eat for a healthy amount of time, said a Hail Mary, and did the point of the cross, and hit the fish with the ever pleasing running-man hook set. After only about 6 strides, I was stopped dead in my tracks, as I handed the rod off to Adam and the team to lock him in the harness.
While this was occurring, I reached over and put the drag to absolute lockdown. We grabbed onto Adam who was getting drug forward violently by the freight training fish in the current and tried to settle in for a war. Only a few minutes into the fight, the Braid Power-play harness plate SNAPPED down the center from the downward pressure, which meant we had to somehow switch the plates out with the fool-proof Barrett Harness plate, without letting up on the pressure on the fish. It was a dicey few moments, but we pulled it off without a hitch.
About 25 minutes into the fight, we saw its dorsal pop up close to shore. We already knew it was a bull shark, now the question was how big it was. Myself and Shredder navigated the dangerously rocky flat to be able to guide the shark to the sandy beach, and when we finally secured a rope on her, we realized she was a river studette, not quite yet a river monster.
A few quick shots and she was on her way after a little help out to deeper water, and she menacingly took her time to submerge back into the still river water.
The next night Adam wanted to return back for another shot at a bigger fish. We thought this was an excellent idea, especially due to the fact that it had been raining now for almost 20 hours. Adam deployed his first two baits and quickly got a pick-up. Adams friend Scott got tight in the harness and once the shark felt the hook and the immense pressure, it literally came flying out of the water, absolutely losing all its composure and wearing itself out on the surface. The fight only lasted a few minutes, but they were rewarded with this 7 ft + future snook eater.
Note* Neither of these fish were submitted for the BTC tourney.
We thought things were beginning to look-up now, little did we know that the slide was about to get much worse than we had ever experienced. The land-based fishing had gotten very stagnant, with myself and Cody experiencing the worst snook fishing we have encountered in a long time, with probably 20 nights fished between the both of us, and not a single bite to even show for it. Adam on the other hand decided to get back to his roots and keep pounding the kayak scene offshore. He was able to obtain this nice Sailfish from the kayak while I was at home moping around and trying to teach myself how to play guitar during my hiatus.
I kept sneaking out on a friend of mines flats boat, but we were engaging in mostly non-metal activity, like light tackle fishing for Pompano on the flats. Yeah I know, its terrible, but fishing for everything else every time was just beyond horrible. Luckily the ocean laid down one day and we were able to get on on the beach side and get into an out of control Black-tip bite. We had as many as 80 around the boat multiple times, with free jumpers almost every second in any direction you could look. We had them frenzied up behind the boat and hand feeding them, and in a few hours we probably hooked 30 or so between the two of us. It was fast easy action and entertaining when you are slumping hard. We took a few pictures and video, but the camera died very early into the bite, and sadly we missed the true insanity when the bite was in full swing.
After laying dormant for the most part in my house for the past month. I have had enough, and decided to try to get out and find some fish, and somehow try to break out of the worst fishing slump of my entire existence. I had a little bit of motivation, due to the fact that we hooked up with a new Jig company and we had a bunch of product to try out on the bridges. The first night out I got a 20in snook, it doesn't sound like much, but that was a big deal because I have been doing that bad in all honesty. I had a little bit of confidence now to go back out the next night, and with that I was able to get a snook that was keeper size but I released it due to the fact I was to lazy to get my tape measure, plus killing it might have ruined my slowly rising ju-ju. But it was just this Saturday that my fortunes may have finally changed. Lynard Gentry called me and said he wanted to go try to fish even though it was very cold and extremely windy. I obliged just to get out of the house, but once we got to our target destination to find it loaded with people (which is very unusual) we devised a plan to go check out a place we never go unless people are everywhere. We pulled up on the bridge and made the trek out, and as usual it appeared to be void of life. But we were there and had to give it a try, so I tied on one of the new Jetty Rat Redfish/Snook Jigs, and started bumping the muddy bottom. Halfway through my first throw, I had a thump on my jig that felt like a bow being dry fired. I set the hook and absolutely jacked this unsuspecting fish with the new Jetty Rat custom jigging rod, but I was not prepared for the response I would get from the jig eating assailant.
It rose to the surface thrashing more violently than anything I had ever hooked on a jig before, and I was fearing that the hook would get thrown or my 100lb leader would be frayed through from the massive pressure and insane head shakes that would just not stop. I knew if I let this fishes head go back underwater I wouldn't have a chance, so I was pushing all of my gear to the absolute limit. After about 20 violent head shakes, the fish had tired enough to be brought to the net that Gentry was waiting to scoop her up with. But when the fish was being hoisted up to the bridge, I noticed she started losing her cool in the net, and throwing the jig out of her mouth! It was getting dicey now, and it was a race to the top! With a little bit of luck, we were able to hoist this monster snook over the railing, and absolute giant for any form of artificial, and especially on a bridge. She was between 30-35 lbs (didn't weigh) and we took a couple of quick shots before lowering her back down in the net and letting her coast back into the dark shadows of the bridge. Now that's a way to break out of a legendary bad luck streak!
Disregard the serial killer eyes
Little did I know that Adam was hitting the backwaters in his kayak that next morning, with intentions of looking for some backwater bull sharks. He was unsuccessful on that front (though he hooked two) but on his way back in his was able to doom this 40" class daytime backwater snook from the kayak! Truly an awesome accomplishment!
Where the Hell is Shredder?
Good question, as he hasn't been spotted with any fish since he completely destroyed the lemon sharks on his last ladder trip. But he has been busy doing important things as well, such as promoting one of our videos that has began accompanying one of our sponsor Aquatic Nutritions product launches in various Bass Pro Shop stores, along with giving various seminars about basic Shark Fishing and Snook fishing. It will only be a matter of time before the skunk is off his back and something ridiculous happens to him, as that is one thing that never seems to fail. Oh, Can't forget spamming the Mac Store with Team Rebel propaganda!
We are now in March, and even though things have been looking grim, we have a few things to hang our hats on for the time being. We also have some MAJOR updates coming in the near future that we can't wait to share with everybody. We are excited to usher in a new year, with a fresh face, and a fresh facelift for the website, we now have updated our Press page, Media page, we have conformed and now have an Instagram, and are getting ready to drop a bunch of shirts and hats and official logo soon. But that's only the stuff I am allowed to talk about right now! We hope everybody else out there is coming out of their winter,football-less funk, and getting ready to get out there and get some fishing in with the warm weather now officially on the horizon. Wondering what is going to happen next....
Until next time.....
- Team Rebel out