Boca Ciega Snook & Other Finny Catches
It was a warm, sunny morning as I set out with my spin tackle, a tackle box and a small bucket of bait. I paddled along the channel between Isle of Capri and the Gulf beach side of Treasure Island headed north. Shortly I was in the John’s Pass channel bearing NE towards Lighthouse point near Bay Pines VA Hospital. I saw other kayakers, fishermen in a variety of power boats and even couple of sail boats all working up & down the stretch of Boca Ciega Bay.
I pulled up, dumped a 15 lb mushroom anchor near a grass flat and an oyster bar. Baited up with several squid tentacles and made my first cast. I got a small hit in about 30 seconds. It was just a nibble. I waited then got a nice strong hit. I set the hook and began to work the fish in toward the yak. As I got it in close enough to identify I saw that it was a nice silver trout. I unhooked it, strung it on the stringer and rebaited. My next cast got hits but nothing took the bait. I noticed a swirl about 20 yards away at the end of the oyster bar.
I upped anchor paddled down that way and saw a huge snook working back & forth along the lee side of the bar. After dropping my anchor again, I cut a long strip of squid about 7” long threaded it on my hook along with 5 squid tentacles. I cast it up current from the snook and allowed it to drift down the current toward the fish. It went by the fish about 8” from its nose. At first it seemed to ignore the bait but then it turned and made a run at the bait. It took the bait and the fight was on!
I fought that snook for almost 12 minutes before I got it close enough to net it. Once I netted it I retrieved my hook then released it. That snook was 26” long and in great shape. I hope to hook that one again…!
Rebaited and ready to cast again I surveyed the area and noticed something edging along the oyster bar coming in my direction. It was huge sheephead! I watched as it edged along. Nice fish but not what I was fishing for at the time.
After catching and releasing several more fish, all under sized redfish, I upped anchor and paddled up under the Pinellas Trail Bridge. I began to catch speckled sea trout I kept 2 then began to paddle home. It was a nice, active morning. It also replenished my seafood larder.
Copyright © 2012 Donald R Houston, PhD. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without the author's consent.