It's Spring SomewhereBy Dave Duwe - March 1, 2014
The set up was relatively light for saltwater, 15 lb Invisa-braid with a 20 lb fluorocarbon leader. The length of the leader was about 20 inches, the leader material was attached to the main line by a double uni-knot. The benefit to tying a leader on instead of using a swivel is less terminal tackle and you can reel the leader through the rod tip.
The rods were Abu Garcia Volatile 7' medium heavy teamed with a Penn Conflict 2500 reel. Fishing in ultra shallow water made very long casts a necessity. The fish were spooky and getting close scared them off. To move around the sand flat Billy used a 101 lb. bow mount Riptide made by Minn-kota and anchored the boat with a Minn-kota Talon. This was the perfect application for the electric anchoring system. If I guided in Florida, it would be a must have in my arsenal.
The sand flat action was very slow, the fish knew that master angler, Nate Duwe (age 11) was on- board. We caught a Florida stingray and had a few redfish on that pulled the hook. The most excitement came when Nate hooked up with a 3' Bonnethead shark. Billy was thinking about grilling it when the hook pulled out.
With limited success, we switched patterns and headed to the deeper cuts along the mangrove lined shorelines. We keyed in on the deep troughs near shore that these fish use as a highway. The fish here were also very easily spooked so we again had to use long casts to have any success. We finally hooked with our first redfish. The biggest of the day was a nice fat one just below the 27 inch slot limit. There was no way Nate was going to put our first legal fish back, it was dinner. It was not the best day fishing but Billy really tried and sometimes you just can't make them bite. As a guide, I can appreciate the effort knowing that some days are better than others.
As with the spring bite at home in Wisconsin, once the water temperatures increase the fishing will improve in Port Charlotte as well. Regardless of the numbers, we had a great day in the sun with pleasant 80 degree temps, a far cry from the negative temps we have back home, so who has any right to complain!