Monday, June 26, 2017

CBBT Part 4 - Chum Bucket Action

Of course, our last day out, a half day really, turned out to be the best day weather wise.  We decided not to get an early start so we could rest up for the long afternoon ride home.  Yet, we still got on the water for a few hours and gave the big fish one more shot.  Light winds resulted a calm Bay, like a sheet of glass, making for a pleasant ride to the spot where we had some action the day before prior to the thunderstorm chasing us off.

When we arrived, it was slack tide again, similar conditions to the day before, but with much less wind.  After anchoring, Steve and I prepared the bait, set up the chum bucket, baited all of the rods, and cast them out out.  This time, I set up my extra heavy baitcasting rod and reel with a bottom rig.  Basically, the set up was simple, a large egg sinker, a bead, a swivel, leader material and a large enough hook to bait up almost an entire bunker minus the head and tail.

We set up rods with cut bunker, live eels, crabs and clams with the hopes of landing a big drum or cobia.  The previous year, Steve and Rodger only caught one fish on their last day right before wrapping it up, and it was a huge bull red.  So maybe today was our day.
My buddy Rodger with a bull redfish caught a year earlier on the last day of their trip.  We hoped for similar results.
I really liked the casting distance that my set up provided, not that you really needed it, but maybe it worked out in my favor.  Regardless, it didn't take long for my first bite.  I had the baitcasting reel in free spool and the clicker on.  The line stripped off the reel for a few seconds as the clicker notified me of the action.  I immediately grabbed the fishing rod out of the rod holder, turned off the clicker, engaged the reel, reeled in the slack, felt the fish as it chomped on the bait, and set the hook hard a couple times.

The fish took off on a nice run, but I turned it after about twenty seconds and gained back the line that it took.  It had to be a shark or a ray based on how it fought.  The fish bull dogged back and forth as I brought it to the boat.  After I gained enough line and brought it to the surface, we saw that it was a small shark.
This toothy critter was my first fish of the day.
These sharks aren't the prize that a cobia or drum would be, but it's always fun to catch bigger fish.
Steve netted the shark, then we took a few pics and released it carefully.  I baited my fishing rod with a live eel to see if I could coax a cobia to bite, and tossed it out to the same spot.

After my cast, I grabbed Steve's light tackle bottom rig, tipped the hooks with a couple strips of FishBites, and dropped it over the side to catch more live bait.  Sure enough, I got bites instantly when the rig hit the bottom.  I quickly caught two fish that were perfect bull redfish snacks and added them to the live well.

No sooner than that, the clicker sang off my reel and I scrambled to tend to the bite.  I reeled up the slack and felt the fish, set the hook and fish on!  The fish ran a bit, then I pumped the rod to gain line, got it near the boat and, without seeing what it was, the fish made a run and came off the hook.  We had no idea what it was, but because of the way it fought, it was most likely another shark.  I baited the hook with another eel and tossed it back out.

I tried to catch more bait fish, but before I could try for more bait, I had another bite.  There simply was too much action to try to get bait fish.  I scrambled again to tend to my fishing rod, felt the fish and set the hook.  This time, I had him.  After a nice fight, Steve netted another shark for me.  I thought to myself, I could enjoy this all day!
I could catch sharks like this all day and have a blast.  It's not the type of fishing that I do often, so I thought that I'd make the most of it.
Before I could add another eel to my rig, Steve hooked up and fought another big fish.  It was my turn to net a big fish for him.  We saw that it was another shark as he guided it to the bag and I lifted it into the boat.  He unhooked it carefully and posed for a picture.
Steve's first shark of the day.  Notice how nice and calm the water is in the background?  Of course it was like this, it was our day to leave early!  But, we'd take it!
We managed to boat a dozen sharks before deciding to pack it up and head home.  We didn't catch any drum or cobia the entire trip.  Of course, Steve was disappointed in the fishing.  This was actually the earliest in the year that he'd fished the CBBT area, and he wasn't keen on returning to fish here again before the opening of cobia season.  We did have a great time, however.  I caught several new species to add to my list in addition to catching some big fish, albeit small sharks.
Another small shark, perfect size for taking a picture.  You still have to be careful with these small ones and watch that they don't bite you on the release.
Steve with a nice size shark, one of a dozen that we caught that day.
I think that we could have caught these all day.  This was the last shark that we caught before we wrapped things up and headed home.
We're gonna need a bigger boat.  Sorry, I couldn't resist.  
As we rode back to the ramp, we had another pretty close encounter with a large pod of dolphins.  Steve cut the motor and drifted toward them.  We tried calling them close to the boat, but this time, they had no interest.  They didn't seem to be in the playful mood like they were a few days ago.  On that day, they were jumping out of the water repeatedly.  We think that this time, they were feeding, because it seemed like they were moving in different directions, not heading from one spot to another.  Still, it is always a treat to see them, in my opinion.

To wrap up our trip, we managed to catch a couple hundred sea trout, about fifty kingfish, some croaker, a few toad fish and small sea bass, a few pigfish, one flounder, one sheepshead, and perhaps a couple species of small sharks.  Although we didn't get any redfish or cobia, we still had a good time.  We caught eighteen sharks.  How often do I get a chance to do that?  Almost never.  This was a new experience for me.  Although I've caught small sharks in the surf before, I've never caught them like that with this much regularity.

I really appreciate Steve's hospitality and expertise.  He made sure that I had a good time and caught fish.  He's not only heck-uv-a good Captain, but also a good friend.

To view CBBT Part 3, click here
To view CBBT Part 2, click here
To view CBBT Part One, click here

1 comment:

Rodger Moran said...

WOW! Thanks for this write up Kevin. I felt like Ole Chum Bucket was there with you two.