Monday, January 26, 2015
As we pulled up into a shallow flat outside the mouth of the Peace River, I admit that I was a little disappointed at how little seagrass was in the water - I'd guess 10-20% coverage. We got into a few small redfish using live shrimp, but the current and building wind on the open water were a little distracting. Catching my first Gulf Coast redfish was a moment of excitement I was too embarrassed to share. It felt great!
After four or five catfish in two separate parts of the mangrove swamp, one catfish measuring almost 18 inches and easily two pounds, we decided to move on back with the changing tide and a favorable wind into the mouth of the Peace River. The changing tide found a moderate amount of boat traffic at the ramp, and we continued paddling up the canal to chase snook with the now ripping tide funneling through the mangroves. This was the only negative part of an otherwise great trip, as the boat wakes (boats coming out of residential areas, into this feeder canal, into the Peace River) and heavy tidal current made it very difficult to stay put and fish a spot, even with an anchor deployed. I ended up tangling a stationary rod's lure in a mangrove while throwing a windknot from my active rod, and getting swamped by a boat wake all in about 8 seconds. That pretty much ended it for me. Capt. Mike caught up with me as I paddled back out to the mouth of the Peace River, and upstream to our put-in at Ponce de Leon Park. We broke down the gear and then enjoyed a quick beer together before saying adios.
What a great introduction to Florida flats and mangrove fishing - leaving me hungry for more.