Brad Kayholm

Brad Kayholm holds the monster snook he caught at Ponce Inlet.

Last week I told you about the great trip I enjoyed with Capt. Brad Kayholm of Wham Bam Charters.

Catching all those giant red drum was surely something to remember, but when that bite ended, the fishing was not over. With darkness falling and the lights coming on in New Smyrna Beach, Brad idled the boat south down to the big North Causeway Bridge. Our hope was to catch the last of the outgoing tide and hook up with some snook.

When we arrived, we found it was not an original idea since at least a half dozen boats were already working that area. We moved to beneath the center of the peach colored span and allowed the trolling motor to stop us about 60 feet south.

Now we were baiting with live croakers while using the same heavy tackle we had put to work on the reds. Rick, Brad and I hooked the bait fish through the tail with our sizable 7/0 circle hooks. Yep, this is not light tackle fishing. This is serious big game fishing.

All around us we could hear large fish slapping the surface as they banged into the passing schools of bait. We knew they hit with such a fury in order to stun the small fish and would then double back to slurp them up. We also knew it was snook! People in the other boats were shouting in excitement as they either scored or missed the big line siders.

With all that going on it becomes difficult to wait your turn, but in a short time Brad was on. If you have never caught a big snook, you have a wild experience waiting in your future. In the inshore, nothing is more fun, with the possible exception of tarpon, and for that reason those two brackish water bullies are usually grouped together.

Capt. Brad’s fish was pure piscatorial power with strong runs right up until it came to the boat. What a beauty! The snook was nearly 36 inches long and weighed around 16 pounds, a trophy to be sure. Of course, on this night that snook was in luck as we released it unharmed to someday provide fun for another lucky angler.

I had to get up and move closer to admire the fish and, when I turned my attention back to my own rod, I found something was busy munching my bait as well. Fish on! I knew right away the big thumper would be a double for the one we had just released and my excitement surged.

Battling such a beast in the dark of night is enough to get anyone’s blood boiling. The splashing about of the big fish caused white water to appear on the surface. Unfortunately I never got a look at my quarry. The hook pulled free about halfway back to the boat.

Oh well, the fight had been a fun one and the fish was free to perhaps gobble up another bait. I slouched into a seat, pretty well spent. It had been one heck of an evening. Giant red drum and huge snook all in one trip was too much to hope for.

Back at the dock in Edgewater, I thanked Brad and Rick for a trip to remember and we spoke briefly of our next adventure. Sheep’s head? Speckled perch? All sounded good to me for I know when I fish with Wham Bam Charters good things will happen. To get in on this crazy action, give Capt. Brad a call at (386) 314-8553 and be sure to send me lots of photos.

Dan Smith has fished the waters of Volusia County for more than 40 years. Email questions and comments to fishwdan@att.net. His book, “I Swear the Snook Drowned,” is available for purchase for $10.95 at (386) 441-7793.

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