5/16 – This morning I went on a last minute trip with my friend Dean Lamont. He wanted some company to break in his new engine and we ended up going Bonito Fishing. We left late and I brought 1 spinning rod, a 10 weight fly rod, no tackle, no drinks, no ice and NO CAMERA.
Notice I left my camera at home. We left late…really late. In the inlet we found a huge bait-ball being chomped on by big sharks. We tried to see if we could find a cobia in it (no dice) and moved on… It was pretty dang rough and we were the only boat fishing for most the morning.
…to some of the best spanish and bonito fishing I have ever experienced. We caught Bonito and big 17-22″ spanish on every other cast for hours. i don;t know how many we caught (we kept 2 Bonito right at the end). It was unbelievable. There were fish breaking but you didnt even need to cast to them – just blind casting flies and sting-silvers would get hits on every cast. It was so productive it was boring so we left the fish busting an went in.
I can only offer these two photos…
Bonito (one of 20 caught):
5/15 – Today was simply one of the best days of fishing I have had in a long time. Period.
Last fall I asked CCA assistant Director, Bryan Stange, to come fish with me for redfish and we decided to do it this spring. He also decided to write an article about it and bring along a professional photographer (local pro – Scott Taylor or www.scottaylorphotography). When you do things like that – typically the fishing just STINKS.
Well, today didn’t. Everything came together. No jinxes, hexes, bananas or bad luck. The fish right were I had scouted them to be, the weather co-operated (can you image that!?!) and we got all the photos we needed.
As the tailing tide was in the evening and we wanted to sight-cast, I chose a shallow flat that “bowls out” on the low new moon tides. Poling down the middle of a small cut in a huge expansive flat – we found countless balled-up schools of reds working the area.
After that, we did it on the fly. I know he thinks I was being nice, but Bryan is an absolutely exception fly caster. Exceptional. Guiding in Alaska and Montana will do that to you, apparently. 😉 In no time, we landed 2 slot reds on the fly and Scott filled up several memory cards with photos – and we left the fish biting to get him to his next appointment. What an incredible morning.
After lunch, we decided to hit the marsh again to find some tailing reds in the grass. Bryan had never seen a tailer before and had no idea what to expect.
As the tide rose and the sun went down – we found a mess of fish. We spooked countless fish and saw probably 15 true tailers. I told him, as I tell everyone, that its the hardest fly fishing you’ll ever do. But his learning curve was short and after lining a couple of fish, we went 4 for 4 – getting 4 fish to hit his fly but we had a couple come un-buttoned. It doesn’t matter. Getting 4 takes in 20 minutes is AWESOME.
In the end, Bryan was completely mistified, his eyes were huge – he had no idea that we had this type of fishing in North Carolina. But he’s of my generation – one that grew up in North Carolina when redfish were fished into the dirt and literally non-existant. That’s the root of my compassionate conservatism. Seeing those tailing reds have just about ruined him. I heard this several times: “That was probably the best fishing I have ever done.” Regardless, it’s awesome to know that we such a passionate fishermen working for the CCA here in North Carolina. You’re welcome on my boat any time.
We searched for these:
Bryan’s first tailer (on the fly!)
5/13 – After working on the boats all day, Katie and I hoped in the skiff to do some scouting for tailers for the next day. After finding two huge 100lb bull sharks thrashing around in a gill net in less than 2 foot of water (I dont think I like wading so much any more), we went up on the flats and found a ton of fish. In a quick hour, we saw easily 12 tailers and katie cast to two of them – hooking up both on a weedless-rigged riptide shrimp. The first came un-done and the 2nd she landed – a fat 28″ fish. I told you she can fish!
5/13 – Tough day. A really tough day with some of my great clients. It started out nice and we were able to hook-up a nice 25″ inch drum and a keeper gray trout jigging on one of the ARs before we went looking for Bonito…which were not on the structure today but in 10 foot of water right outside the surf zone.
But they were very spooky and up and down and while we caught probably 30 bluefish we simply could not get a Bonito on the end of our rod. …and, come 11am, it was blowing 25 out of the north. So we called it a half-day and but our loses early. Sory guys – that’s fishin; sometimes.
5/12 – Today I had the absolute pleasure of fishing with Luther and his daughter Alexandra. This chick is awesome – she’s been studying abroad for the past year, flew in at 10pm the night prior and still got up at 3am to go fishing with her dad. How cool is that?
The morning started off slow but the ocean was as slick as a pane of glass but there were few mackerel or Bonito and we wanted some on the fly. I did see NCW’er Old Yellar hook up and land a 6lb gray trout right next to me (suh-weet). After some running around and 1 small Bonito, I bit the bullet and hit a little secret spot.
And it was loaded with fish. Loaded. What we saw was schools of spanish skying and breaking the surface – but when you cast into them, BONITO would hammer your baits. Every time. In 3-4 hours of casting to spanish, we only landed 1 small spanish, a buncha blues and over a dozen Bonito from 1 to 6lbs. We also lost of a ton of fish…but it was pretty auto-matic. The ocean was so calm that were barely drifting and you could watch the fish slashing sting-silvers, top-dogs and Luth’s gummy minnows on his 8 weight with 350 grain line. Correct me if I’m wrong, but Luther managed 4 on the fly – AWESOME. They kept 5 for the table and released the rest and we rode home on slick calm seas. What and awesome day – I look forward to seeing y’all back here for some shallow water drum.
Sorry – dirty camera again 🙁
5/10 – Another epic day. No camera…left it in my Roanoke Bag as I had got back late the night prior. It was SLICK CALM and I took the Smith party out this morning…and we didnt even have to get to the wreck to find the fish. They were on the beach in less than 10 foot of water – i even saw one caught off the pier!!!!
In no time, we put close to 20 in the boat…and were at the dock before 9:30am with a bunch of very happy fishermen. Enjoy those Bonito loins guys!
As it was so calm that I went back out to see if I could find a few other fish. I did. Landed 4 bonito a few gray trout on the wrecks (no flounder today). I was home by 1pm…and it was still as calm as a pane of glass.