Thursday, March 03, 2011

A Day No Redfish Would Die

Color me happy.
I'm fishing.

Above, a likely redfish hangout. It has all the elements ... moving water, varying water depths, and oyster bars full of redfish prey.

Last week, Captain Denny and I went in search of new redfish spots. We took his backwater boat with it's welded metal hull and jetfoot outboard so we could scoot into the backcountry around Cedar Key.

It's like having an airboat without the annoying noise. This is a boat that is not afraid of oyster shells and skinny water.

Oyster bars attract reds because every oyster bar supports a huge population of small crabs which reds love to munch on.

Plus, there are usually small fish taking cover among the oysters too.

Here is just one of the many reds we landed that day. This one was caught by Denny and it has an unusual face for a red.

Here's a closer look.

That little dip in his profile is usually a symmetrical curve.

I don't know the reason for this, perhaps a reader does.

A few seatrout volunteered that day too. February is a closed season for seatrout here, so it was in no danger. We took a quick shot of it's working end before releasing it.

Now, you probably noticed the size difference between my young redfish and Denny's. I think he caught about two for every one I caught and all of his were bigger than mine.

This is our SOP.

He invites me to go fishing and then always outfishes me.

I hear the reverse is true for paying customers, so don't be afraid to hire him if you are planning to fish Cedar Key. You won't be sorry.

He is the fishiest guy I know ... if there are fish to be found, Denny can do it.

Legally, we could have each kept a red for the dinner table and they are pretty tasty, but it had been a spectacular day of wildly diverse marine habitats (this post is just the inshore bits), dolphins hunting, giant mixed flocks of white pelicans and cormorants, stingrays, trout, ospreys, and a bald eagle.

The day had been too perfect to end with cleaning a fish we didn't really need and the reds were so beautiful in the late afternoon light ... like burnished copper kettles.

It just wasn't the day for it and all of them were quickly released in good health.

Some days on the water, you are the predator and others, ... you just interact briefly and then go your separate ways.

It was that kind of day.


threecollie said...

Beautiful! We catch and release too, almost always. Once in a while we keep a couple, but usually they just visit the air universe for a few seconds and a photo op...burnished copper kettles....I love that

Island Rider said...

Does your shirt say, "Got Ammo?"

Sayre said...

I love redfish - to eat and to look at. The one you're holding in that picture must just barely be legal (if it IS legal)... I'm glad you let him go to get bigger (and become Capt. Denny's fish one day)!

Floridacracker said...

I like to see them swim off most days!
Glad you do too!

Yes it does, but I'm an ex LE who still shoots in competitions, so if the shirt fits, wear it!

I don't think that baby was even the 17 inch minimum. Like a big whiting!
Everybody went back regardless.

Island Rider said...

I know some guys who would like a shirt like that! Oldes son is halfway through his NPS LE training in Colorado. Some mornings it has been so cold, his eyes have frozen shut while doing PT.

kevin said...

Most days I'm the anti-Denny, I couldn't catch fish at Marineland. I keep trying though, swearing I'm going to get better. Unfortunately I never have to worry about limits.

robin andrea said...

Love knowing that all those beautiful redfish were released. I'm sure it made them happy too!

Floridacracker said...

Go to the Picket Weaponry website. You can probably order one. It's a gun store in Newberry.

You and me both.
Some people have the knack.

They deserved it for showing up at the end of our day on the water and making it even more memorable.
They seemed happy about it to me.

Miz S said...

You and Cap'n Denny have some good times out there. I get a hankering for Florida every time I read one of these posts.

Zachary said...

I just found out about this blog...LOVE IT!! I grew up on the beach, and miss being able to go fishing and enjoy the water every single day.

Julie Zickefoose said...

Nice to know that even if you'd kept a couple of the lucky redfish, they'd have gone right onto ice and wouldn't remember a thing.

Tuff shirt!

Floridacracker said...

Miz S,
Come on down, the water is fine.

Welcome to PF then!!
Glad you found us. I hope to do a real, surf fishing post after the water warms just a wee bit.

I extra love it that a bird watching, sensitive soul artist can appreciate that shirt.
And yes, we always respect the fish.