Launching the Green Peanut west of High Bridge meant dipping my flip flop shod feet into chilly swamp water.
That’s the price I pay for being a kayak fisherman. As I paddled out, a fine mist began to fall from solid gray skies. A bit earlier, as I had my morning coffee, Amy Sweezy had not mentioned that might be in my future.
That thought caused a smile as I thought about my five year old grandson Oliver’s recent visit to a mall Santa. First on his list was something to let him know what the weather outside was like each morning before he left his room. That probably stopped Old Saint Nick in his tracks. No doubt that kid will be a fine fisherman someday.
On my first cast I had a hook up with a feisty sea trout. Once in the boat, I covered the fish with a cloth to keep it from jumping back in and began to think of the hush puppies and cole slaw that would join the nice 17-inch trout on our table. A good beginning.
After that, three undersized trout hit to help me forget about the rain. Nothing to keep, but good fun. The overcast sky was keeping the sun at bay and making for a slow daylight.
The tide was running out strong and floating toward me in the dim light was a large gator. I beat a hasty retreat until I realized the gator was actually a palm log.
Drifting toward the Halifax, my casts soon brought in a fat, 16-inch sea trout. I passed a sandbar that held at least 30 large white pelicans. I wondered where they had spent the summer. Perhaps the outer banks of North Carolina. Here they are only snowbirds.
Out on a shallow flat, I hooked a small fish that was obviously stronger than its size. At the net, I admired a 17-inch, copper-colored red drum before turning it back. In a few minutes, I had caught a trout and a red of the same size, but it was clear the red was much stronger than the trout. Not better tasting, just stronger.
When it comes to a fight, sea trout are no match for the powerful red fish. I always love to catch spotted trout for they are Lana’s favorite meal, but for fun you cannot top a red.
Trying to duplicate that fun kept me casting the shallows. With the tide dropping I could see movement and knew there was other fish there. Both the trout and the red had hit my chartreuse jig, but now I would switch to the Grandslam Baits Lite Beer shrimp, a more natural color. The jig splashed down and, as I hesitated before the retrieve, I saw a wake heading right for it. The fish picked it up without stopping and was off on a long run. When I set the hook, the nice red rolled and turned to head back while I worked to take up the slack. The 20-inch red passed within three feet of the boat and in the clear water I had a good look at it ( the brown jig hanging from its jaw.)
After that I paddled hard west against the tide to do another drift. When the jig dragging behind my rod bent hard, I was on with a beautiful 18-inch trout that had no spots. A weakfish or maybe a silver trout.
By then the north wind had kicked up and the temperature was dropping. That would do it for me. I had three trout and a red to take home and had seen a flock of white pelicans while running from a palm log. Another great trip in beautiful Volusia County.
Dan Smith has fished the waters of Volusia County for more than 40 years. Email questions and comments to email@example.com. His book, “I Swear the Snook Drowned,” is available for purchase for $10.95 at (386) 441-7793.