The second incident involved a Royal Tern affectionately named “Jerry”. Jerry decided it would be a good idea to pick up a bait while we were Red fishing. Much to our chagrin he became tangled in the line (fortunately not hooked). We carefully brought Jerry to the boat, gently untangled him, and uncovered him. Jerry apparently decided we treated him with such great care that he would hang around for a few minutes. He stood quietly in the boat, making a couple laps around the console, pecking at few stray Swedish fish that fell on the deck and generally just soaking in the great weather.
Well, a few minutes turned into about an hour. We thought our time with Jerry would end when we decided to make a run to Lemon Bay from Catfish Creek. To our surprise, Jerry hung around for the ride even at high speed. My group for the day decided this must be some trick I play on them to increase tips because he HAD to be trained. As we ran under the Causeway, Jerry continued to march around the boat, making himself at home. But, all good things must come to an end and Jerry decided it was time to get back to the family. We were sad to see him go, but he took off and faded away into the sunset.
December was very cold this year, with several sever cold fronts pushing temperatures into the 40s overnight, and several days with highs in the 50s. This really kicked off the winter with a bang. We took some time to do some catch and release Amberjack fishing on butterfly jigs when the weather cooperated. This light tackle, artificial lure, action packed day of fishing is honestly one of the most fun experiences I can think of. The AJs cooperated every time out, with the biggest fish being about 65lbs between a few trips, and an average of about 35-45 fish per trip around 25-30lb average. One trip out this month I was even taught a new fish fighting technique! If you havent ever experienced light tackle AJ fishing, then you dont understand how strong a fish can be. So strong in fact, that they found it easier to asign 2 people to each rod…one to pump, one to real! Despite my thought that it would be awkward and do more harm than good, it was in fact great. They really put the hurt on those big AJs!
Inshore we chased the Redfish around a lot, with a few stops for some great Snook action when the sun shined and waters warmed. The big trout are in full force, and when the weather dies down we will definitely take advantage of being able to once again keep trout after today’s season opener. We have been able to skip and catch some very nice pompano to about 4lbs, with limits on several days as well.
The grouper bite has been between decent and great near shore, the snapper can be described about the same way. There are still some barracuda around that can make getting 5-10lb Mangrove Snapper difficult at time, but they also offer a chance to tangle with a true light tackle speed demon. Usually sore-lipping them (catch and release) is a good way to get them to slow down on the free snapper dinners.
A few pics from recent trips: