January 5, 2013

2012 Florida Road Trip (Day 9)

Really, this was a continuation of our fishing through the night. After we changed our baits to cut herring, I was fishing the dropper loop trying to find some fresh bait to use when Michael yelled I have a fish on my rig. I couldn’t hear the clicker since a couple of trucks were passing by. When I finally got to the rod, Michael was already fighting the fish. A little tussle later, we brought a 15” Mangrove Snapper up the bridge. Strangely, it bit the heavy wire on the 5/0 hook.

That was the only excitement all night. There were a couple of short rip on the line, but I suspect it was nothing more than clumps of grass dragging our lines. We had some broken sleep since the reels were clinking every so often when grass foul up our lines.

When the sun finally rose, the fish returned to the pilings. We were once again catching a steady supply of grunts. Michael caught a couple of parrotfish, a filefish and even a Bermuda Chub! I was a bit jealous to say the least LOL.

I did have my revenge when I caught 4 Southern Puffer in a roll and Michael has yet to catch one.

By 10am, we were really too tired to fish anymore. We had been up fishing for 28 hours straight. Since we planned to head home around noon, we packed up and grabbed lunch.

We were originally planning to fish our Midas Cichlid spot to see if we can find more Oscars. I was quite fished out so I really just wanted to drive back to my uncle’s house. Along the way, Michael was begging to try the Tamarac area for Cobra Snakehead. We checked out one spot but it didn’t look promising. As we were running short of daylight, I suggested that we should fish a canal where I’ve seen Snakeheads before.

Michael was fishing a weedless plastic frog while I was fishing a special weedless prop blade hard resin frog lures I bought online from a Thailand lure maker. It was a coincidence that the morning we were planning to leave for Florida (Dec 27) we were delayed due to the snowstorm. While waiting for the highway to clear, the package of Thai lures arrived and I got them just in time to bring with me on this trip.

I was fishing this lure systematically, first casting parallel to shore running them just inches from the weed line, then I cast at 25 degree angle, 45 degree angle and 65 degree angle, before finally casting directly across the canal to work the lure from the other shore over to our side of the canal.

We were about 30 minutes into our fishing when I made a cast directly across the shore and landed the lure on the shoreline grass. I gingerly worked the lure into the water and took maybe 2 cranks when I saw a wake came at my lure and the lure disappeared. I felt the fish, set the hook and was hoping it wasn’t a Largemouth Bass. When the fish came close to shore, I saw the long shape and immediately dragged the fish up the shore and dragged it as far as I could.

Cobra Snakehead (Channa marulius) – new species #22

I had tried to catch Cobra Snakehead in April 2011 but failed miserably. I could see them all over the canals, and big ones too, but failed to get them to bite. Strangely, after some cold weather, I managed to find a small Cobra Snakehead using a topwater lure!

Michael pounded the water for a while longer but didn’t find another Snakehead in the area. I strongly believe that the cold water shut these fish off the bite. I suspect that if we return in warmer weather, these Thai lures would be absolutely deadly for the snakeheads!

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