Only one glitch so far… I knew I was pushing it for time but still decided to go ahead and get a new custom rod built in all hopes it would arrive before we left. Given all the time I had on my hands through the winter, the previous one I had made just wasn’t gonna cut it for what I needed. Throughout the last month or so, always anticipating “CATCHIN’ that JIANT”, I tested my rod for exactly that and decided it needed to be tweaked. With no hesitation I decided on a super seeker blank at 5’3″ 80-130lb. It didn’t arrive by Tuesday like I had hoped. Trisha ended up getting it overnighted for me so basically it arrived in Fort Myers before we did on Weds around 4 pm. I barely got out my hello’s before I heard her Dad say, “Hey T, a box arrived for CJ & it’s on the lanai”. I opened that box and put that 80w on there before they even knew what happened. It looked awesome & I was now 100% ready to rock.
The next day after some rest we headed out to look at the spots I planned to fish and get prepared with our fishing license’s etc.. After some drive by’s and calls referring to renting a kayak for the week we basically decided it was out of the question. The amount of $ they wanted on Sanibel/Captiva to rent a floating device without a motor would be equivalent to highway robbery. This had me a little worried but I new I would figure something out. With the late start of the day we went ahead and hit the beach to chill in the sun. Parking near the spots I wanted to fish was nowhere to be found. We ended up parking as close as we could to one of the spots I picked out from looking at charts and satellite pics. I grabbed a few bait poles and we walked down the beach to one of those spots. I could not believe how calm the water was. I set up a bait pole, handed it to Trisha and before I could get another pole out she had fish on! Got a little lady fish. We caught fish on almost every cast like.
I was happy to see so much bait every where. The only thing that had me worried was a few old crab pots left behind with only about 100 yards in between them. With all the bait action I went back to the truck and grabbed a 50w. With no yak I rigged up a bait and waded through the first gut then over the sand bar swam it out a bit and dropped it off. We had a late start so it was getting dark quick. Trisha walked around a bit and got into some friendly conversation with a homeowner near where I wanted to fish. She was able to get us permission to park at there house which was only 75 yards from the beach, the people where very nice and ended up fishing with us over the next few days. As the sun went down we packed up with good feelings of what the next day would bring.
The next morning Trisha’s Mom told us that her friend had a sit in kayak we were welcome to use but that they typically only used it on the canal. As calm as the ocean was the day before, I was sure it would work if the ocean would just stay that way. After picking up the yak and some nice 12-14lb Bonita’s from the bait shop, we hit Sanibel Island for the rest of the day. Trisha’s father came along with us with big doubts that you can “CATCH JIANT” sharks from the beach. Parking was sweet and carrying all the stuff to the beach was no problem. Before I could get set up Trisha was catching fish I finally got set up and yaked out 3 rigs (1 on single strand wire, 1 cable and 1 blocker rig). As Trisha and Mike (her pops) were having a blast with the bait rods catching Pomps, Ladyfish, Sheep’s head, Whitting and Catfish, I got to sit in my happy place for a minute. It was not long before I heard the old familiar sound of a drag screaming!!! I was pumped… I ran over, picked up the rod, slammed the lever over to look up and see a beautiful shark about 5-6 foot launch from the water and spit the hook. Oh well I was super pumped just having line peeled off a reel no longer then an hour after getting baits out. We where joined by the homeowners nephew Matt, who was just seeing what was going on with all this big gear. We told him I was shark fishing and was getting ready to put a “sheepshead” on for bait and take it out about 200 yards in the Kayak. He was looking at us kinda funny until I opened the cooler and grabbed the sheep’s head fish out… He told us he literally thought we had a real head of a sheep in there & was prob thinking who are these freaks we are letting hang out in our backyard? LOL Aww man, did we have a good laugh at that one!
As the big bright moon came up I heard the buzzing drag of one of my casted spinning rigs, I hooked up and had a blast fighting this shark. I am not 100% on what it was. After having a cold one for getting the first shark of the trip, I soon heard the deep sound of the 80w alarm. I ran over, stepped into my harness and pushed the lever over… feeling good pressure I gave a couple jerk backs on the rod to make sure the circle was in deep. Fish on! I was worried about the crab pots so I did not give a thing to the shark. I basically just horsed it to the beach in 7 minutes. Nice 7’2 Bull Got a clean dehook and release.
Next day we had a B-day party for Trisha’s nephew Gabriel. After the party we met up with Fullstrut Scotty and his girlfriend at the same spot on Sanibel as the night before. Fullstrut and his girl where good company. He brought along his big 12/0 and a bait rod. After the night we had before, those damn crab pots had me worried. I decided to move down the beach a few hundred yards where there was only one pot. After the set up I yaked out 4 baits, not long after I got the last one out I was hearing the drag scream on my 80. Stepped into the harness and had a solid hook up to a good fish. I started the tuna pump with heavy drag for a short time then “POP”… GONE! I got cut off from something. After getting re-rigged I was hooked up again on another solid fish, same thing… cut off. Now I am thinking the move down the beach was no good, as another rod goes screaming. I missed this hook up. I said one more try so I rigged the 80 back up and yaked it out. As me and Scotty swapped some story’s I get slammed again. This time, I just horsed in a nice Bull with the help of fullstrut and Matt we got it tail roped dehooked and released. Fullstrut packed it up after his bait got snagged and he fought his 100lb mono till it broke. I ran one more bait out and got cut off again so we decided to pack up also.The heck with that spot.
The next time we hit the beach around 10pm and stayed all night. I cant thank Matt the homeowner where we parked (who spent a great amount of time with us & I truly consider him a friend) enough for helping me drag all the gear to the beach every time we were there. It was slow through the night with big baits but I did catch a smaller Bull on the blocker rig and a some nice shark on the casted bait. The morning bite was hot for pup sharks we got Matt on his first shark and beating his PB a few times. Trisha and I had a blast catching smaller sharks 20 yards from the beach The little black tips would jump like crazy it was really fun. The day flew by with afternoon naps and all the action. The sun dipped and we had a little more wind that nights previous. Trisha and Matt decided to grab an old canoe from the house to block the wind from us I was glad they did because the waves were a little choppy and it was a super low tide with white water on the sand bars. The small sit in yak was not the most stable thing I have ever been in and it took on a bit of water. LOL I ran the baits out in the canoe. Had never been in a canoe by myself, I paddled out with the wind at my back and was thinking to myself this is not bad at all… I dropped 2 baits and started to turn and head back in. LOL I was sitting all the way in the back of the boat and when I tried to turn the wind just keep me heading out to sea! I was paddling my butt off but still going out. I started to get a little nervous, I had to climb up to the front of the canoe spin the nose around toward shore then kneel in the middle of it to keep it going toward the beach. With the wind on me I had to paddle my butt off to make back to shore. Trisha and Matt thought I was just out there cruising around for fun… “Shoot!” I was wore out paddling that thing!!! After a little rest I heard the clicker going. I jumped into the harness and hooked up. We where back in the spot with the crab pots so I Tuna pumped this 8’3 Pig of a nurse shark to the beach That is my first Nurse…what a pain! They’re like catfish on the bank just gator rolling the leader and tail rope up as I dehooked it. With the help of Trisha and Matt we got it dehooked and released.
After some rest we where back at it, there was action of bait in the surf so I casted the net out a few times and got a bunch of smaller fresh baits. Trisha’s Dad and Matt joined the fun catching little sharks and bait fish. Mike also got his first shark on the sand. During the afternoon I was finally able to catch a sexy, bigger bait. I ran fresh baits out before it got dark and Trisha and I just chilled out relaxed by ourselves. The tide was super low and I was getting ready to fall asleep when the alarm went off. Boy I was awake now watching line strip from the Avet as I got into my harness. 12 minutes later I see the double dorsal of a nice lemon… Trisha is already at waters edge with the tail rope loaded and ready. She missed the first shot but got it on the second shot, as I put the rod back in the holder and ran down to help her drag it up on the sand a bit… Wow a very pretty 8’8 lemon We tagged and released a healthy Lemon.
The last day on the sand Trisha’s family came over to join us. I ran what was left of my Bonita’s on the Avets and had a blast catching small sharks on the bait poles. I’ve got a new “sharker” in Trisha’s nephew Gabe. He had fun catching his first sharks I even taught him how to kayak some.
Well that’s the report… Sorry I took so long getting it up. Hope everyone likes it.
I had a blast and I think for my first Gulf report and first report of 2011, it was a awesome start. I was able to REALLY test all the things I played with over the winter… Like the tooth buster leaders, the easy tail rope, the blocker rigs and much more. Oh, the Suffix 832 was awesome it casted great and I did not have a single cut off. I will post more on the Blocker rigs soon.
Thanks to my awesome Girl for making this trip GREAT