Its been a while since we since we have done an official write-up on the page here (since it has all been on Facebook and Instagram on a daily basis) but as we roll into the fabled Atlantic hurricane season, there is no better place to start than a report from the first named storm of the season.
As usual here at Team Rebl hq, when the bad weather starts rolling in and the normal people go inside to complain about how "crappy" the weather is , that is when we are at our best. We thrive on bad weather, mainly because it keeps everybody else in their home, the fishing is always good, and of course, no sun burn or sweat.
With the news coming down the pipe about the surprise first named storm of the year springing up just East of our primary location, Arthur had my and my tackles full attention. It was time to head out the day before the heaviest of the wind arrived and do a little surveying to see where it was we were going to strike when the weather turned.
After bit of driving around and trying to get back in the local loop of what has been going on (as we have been pretty lazy this year aside from some lame bass fishing and pathetic snook) we rolled up onto one of our favorite haunts, only to find some large numbers of unusually large snook lining a very small area. Almost anybody could have missed the, as the water was brown from all the freshwater dumping, but nonetheless, they were there and it was time to act.
Myself and Mike immediately started throwing our arsenal at these leviathan Snook,but to our dismay, no followers or takers. Ontop of that they wre acting very strange, rolling backwards and moving with each other in odd patterns, we soon realized tonight wouldnt be our night...
The next night the heaviest winds we received from Arthur had rolled in from the North, and with 90% chance of rain forecasted, I knew I couldn't sit at home with all this amazing weather keeping idiots in their homes, and the memory of all those massive, odd Snook was still fresh in my mind. At 11 p.m. I called Mike and told him I was headed back to the spot we found the fish, which he relayed his lack of enthusiasm about this plan. But solo or not I had to go back nd at least try for these out of place giants. Upon arrival at the bridge, I noticed that there was even more freshwater than the night before, and for some reason a few football fields of summertime mullet present with flying fish mixed in. Now I was confused, but as soon as I walked up, all I heard coming from the shadow is what sounded like gunshots of Snook feeding on the unfortunate baits getting pushed into the shadow line. I knew instantly it was going to go off on this night, and we probably only had once chance. I called Mike and told him to stop eating chips, get in his truck, and get here ASAP before I even dropped a bait, but again, he was hesitant to leave the confines of his house. So I said screw it, and began fishing.
I rigged up my trusty 4/0 senator with straight 80lb on it and netted some bait and started dodging traffic on the wet and dangerous road to make my first drift. And it didnt take long until I watched my 10" mullet disappear off the surface and I was in a serious throwdown with straight 80lb and the 4/0 on lockdown on my Barrett Rod terminator unlimited stick. I couldn't see the fish, but it had been beat, and I was the only person within miles that could net it. I tie my bridge net to the railing with one hand and threw it off into the darkness, while trying to keep the fishes head from going under water to let it regain traction. But I couldn't see what I was doing in the darkness. The first pass the net got wrapped all in my line, and I thought I was finished, but after some blind luck, and me standing 6ft off the railing just yanking the rope blindly, I all of a sudden felt some serious weight in the net. I free spooled my reel with one hand and dropped it to the ground and pulled up, noticing that this fish was much bigger than I had expected.
I got the net to the top of the railing, and it took A LOT to pull it up over the high railing, revealing an absolute beast of a Snook. At over 40"long, 12" tall and over 30lbs, this was a night mare scenario. Nobody there to take a picture, and my phone was acting up. Sadly, this is the only picture I could come up with of the behemoth. Just take note of the 4/0 laying on the side of it for size reference....
I put it back in the net and dropped it back down and watched her swim off with relative ease. So I called Mike again and told him he needed to get his ass to the bridge because it is going off. But in the time it took him to get there, I had already lost one, and hooked and landed the smallest fish of the bite, this fat 38" range girl. Which hit so hard heading up tide it almost took my rod out of my hand, an left me thinking it was a big jack, until I was able to net this one on a solo job as well. And of course, phone started working on this one (figures)
Now Mike had finally arrived on scene, and the fish were still chewing. He busted out the spinning rod with a jig and decided to go that route while I was hunting down more bait. And after about 10 cast he was hooked up on one that was kicking his ass up and down the shadow line. But luckily, it gave up before it got into the pilings, and I was able to get some fresh bait in the well while I was in the act netting his 40" class fish.
Mike said he had enough of the jig thing and decided to get onboard with some 10" mullet live bait man fishing to have a batter chance at getting a few more. And it only took another 15 min or so until I was bowed up again on a big mullet. This might have been the shortest fight in the history of Snook fishing, because as soon as I set the hook, I yanked the fish right out of the water and it it could do was dance helplessly on the surface until Mike was able to fit yet another 40" Snook into the net, and raise her up to Rebel land for a quick photo shoot.
We lowered her back in, and before the bubbles even settled in the shadow line, we pulled the hooks on two more monster fish, and not long after that Mike was hooked up to his number 2, and ANOTHER 40" Snook.
It was officially ridiculous, and this short bite window of massive fish we stumbled across is something that is pretty rare in this day and age around here. The tide was going slack, and we knew it was over for the night, but we went out with one last bang on slack tide, by me losing a 30 plus pound fish that I sight fished with a jig up on top. Mike and I watched it raise up and suck it off the surface and we almost had strokes, but as soon as I jacked it with everything I had, I pulled her head out of the water and we had a 2oz furry lead missle flying at our heads.
The final tally for the few hours of fishing the storm surge was 5, with 4 being over 40", one clearing 30lbs, one 38" fish (the runt) and 4 more lost (which still hurts). But if thats all we have to complain about besides a shotty pic of the biggest one, I think I'll take the 5 pigs and lose 4 anytime.
I had to go home and sleep off the ass kicking I got that night, and wash the stench of mullet and Snook off everything I owned, but Mike decided to take the party to the spillway in the morning while it was still dumping in anticipation of the rain that never came. And though the fishing was slow, I woke up to a picture of him getting his 3rd fish as well, and what a Snook it was, a monster over 40" on a jig and probably around the 35lb mark, another absolute trophy Snook. Bringing out half night/morning tally to 6, and 5 clearing 40".
Who knows the next time we will see a bite this good on MONSTER Snook again, in recent years the numbers of Snook on some of our trips have eclipsed 60, but never more than one or MAYBE two clearing the 40" mark, but for a few hours we were able to get a glimpse of how it "use" to be back in the day, but hopefully we can get a few more chances to get on bites like this, its all about connecting the dots, and praying for weather when nobody else wants it...In the end, we can only help whatever the next system is that will be ironically named "Bertha", comes and lays a beat down right on top of us....If we can only be so lucky....
Until next time....
-Team Rebel Out