East Coast Giant Jacks, Cobia, David McCleaf, Wired Sebile Stick Shad, DOA Bait Busters

Feb 21st 2010

Yesterday Hank and I was going to go after some back drum here in Tampa Bay. We had plans of running Hank’s 22′ Patherfinder and  see if they were around. While these plans were in the works I get a call from my friend David McCleaf wanting to get on some giant jacks over on the east coast. Since I’ve done the black drum thing before and have never tried for the big jacks I opted to choose the east coast option.

Hank showed up at the house before the sun and the chance to come up and were driving across the state with all our gear packed. Changing plans in the middle of the night I know I would forget something. I packed along some offshore Sebile and Tarpon rods. I also brought along my 10wt just in case they were ravenous and not moving too fast.

Heading off and running the beach looking for fish sure sounds like and iffy plan for the most part but today it actually worked! First,we spot some triple tail on the buoy on the water out. Dave gets his underwater gear ready but by the time he jumps in they were long gone. David then spots a pod of floating cobia, as everyone scrambles for rods and tossed out the big sebile meant for giant jacks the cobia refused the offering. As David scrambles to tie a DOA bait buster on, I scramble to put the fly rod together.( I know, I know.. NOT prepared!) Then I remember I didn’t bring any flies!#$@!$!@$ REALLY NOT PREPARED!

We lost the cobia in the melee as we kept fumbling around. It wasn’t long however David spots them again. He tosses out the bait busters and one of the cobia eats almost instantly. Snap!, as he sets the hook… Double !@$!@$!@%!^. I haven’t used that combo in months as I’ve been most fly fishing so the line snapped on me. Now go back and read the lat paragraph as we did the same thing but this time tying on a new leader to boot.

We trolling motor along luckily found them floating again.. this time we stick one and go it to the boat. A nice 17lb fish to pose for photos with. After the photos we lost them for good however. Regardless, a very exciting start to the day that is for sure.

For the next two hours we didn’t see a darn thing. Isn’t that the way it usually goes though?

On the way back to the ramp we ran into them. The giant jacks,  there were big pods of them roaming around. They were all 20-30lbs easy.  Believe it or not they were very picky and spooky. I am sure they have been pressured today as it was a nice day and people were out in droves fishing. They were not chasing bait and making foam on the top of the surface as most jacks are known for. I toss in there the magic swimmer, the flats shad, and they did not want anything to do with it.  The lure of choice for them today was the big stick shad in the mackerel color.

We yanked in about 6 of these guys before we lost the pod as the sun was going down. It was an excellent day  of fishing with a couple of good friends.

On the way home Hank and I stopped at Norby’s in Lake Whales,.  If you are ever near there, it’s an Excellent  steak place. Lots of inexpensive specials particularly before 6pm. Very rustic atmosphere and good service. The sides and the salads were just ok. The steak was well cooked. Hank had the NY strip and I opted for the 24oz Rib eye. I definitely had to take some home with me. My eyeballs were bigger than my stomach that night.

The top lure got smoked while the bottom lure got ignored for the most part. If it was up to me I would think the bottom lure looked better. Good thing I brought 2 different ones.