Today I had the opportunity to guide some talented young anglers from Cocoa Beach High Schools Anglers Club Koby, Telly and Chris. Koby’s birthday was on August 27th so his dad had booked a trip with me for Koby and his 2 fishing buds. As my skiff can only fish 2 on the front deck comfortably, Eddie Oliveras was kind enough to follow me around and tote the extra anglers so he would not be left out of all the fun. Koby’s main goal was to catch a Tarpon and pose with it for a photo opportunity, so the plan was to fish a pod of Tarpon that has been roaming in my neck of the woods lately, then hit the backcountry for some super skinny redfish. Weather man has called for light winds for the first half of the day so I figured my plans would work out perfect, well as we all know…weather man lies! Winds were blowing 10-15+ mph at first light but I did not let that ruin our plans, we decided to proceed. After coaching Koby on how to bow to the King while putting to the Tarpon spot, we immediately see a couple blow ups and rolls ahead of us. Koby hooks on a live mullet and wings it down wind into the commotion…minutes later he’s hooked up to his first poon, but shortly after a couple jumps shakes the hook. I told Koby not to worry, we will stay here until you get your wish! About 30 minutes later his mullet gets blasted again and he is hooked on to his 2nd Tarpon, but unlike the 1st, this one comes to the boat after a 25 minute fight(which Koby thinks it was an hour or so). Happy Birthday Koby!
After shooting some quick photos of his present, the Tarpon was released back to roll around with it’s friends while Telly and Chris are trying to catch it’s friends on Eddie’s skiff a few yards over. Telly and Chris end up landing a few trout but no Tarpon….it was time to move on to some Redfish. Chris was the first to hook up to a Redfish right off the bat as his casting skills were on point, Koby and I worked a little mangrove island around the corner, which was a good call as we see a fat Redfish cruising along the point of the island. A well placed bait enticed the Redfish to eat and scream goes the drag on the Shimano Stradic but the Red decides to weave deeply into some mangrove roots before it heads out to the open flats. I immediately tell Koby to open the the bail and hand the rod to me while I’m jumping down from the Poling platform. I hop into the water, run through some nasty muck deep into the mangrove roots dunking and weaving my Shimano Stradic underwater through the roots in order to save Kobys hard earned Redfish, moments later I got it undone, ran back over to my skiff and handed Koby the rod with his Redfish still attached screaming more drag. (I still can’t believe I pulled that one off, I sworn it was a goner.) Here it is, the Redfish that tried to out smart us but failed!
As the trip almost comes to an end with multiple shots at cruising fish and a couple break offs, we almost call it quits until 2 Redfish were cruising straight for our skiffs as if they wanted a ride somewhere. Well, a ride they both got when both Koby and Telly hook into the 2 fish seconds apart and in comes another healthy redfish for Koby and an unusual Redfish for Telly…this beautiful Redfish had 88 spots!!!
That was a great end to the day as the talented young anglers had a trip of a lifetime! It’s days like today that I am glad I chose the path of being a professional inshore fishing guide, just the smiles on these young mens faces from being on the water and having a great time catching fish with very little stress! I definitely look forward to more days like this!
-Capt. Willy Le