Last night a friend and I were discussing how our life plans don’t often lead in the direction we intend or thought possible. which evolved into discussing the importance of observing all that is around and not having a spotlight view of our world.
But let’s talk fishing for a minute.
In search for snook
Earlier that evening, I had gone kayak fishing behind the Tip Top Isles, my home while staying here in Florida, with the intent of fishing for snook. The 10-15 MPH Northeast wind kept me from paddling out the normal mile or two to my fishing grounds. The plan was to focus on the side canals out of the wind pitching a soft plastic bait in the overhanging mangroves and around the boat docks. I planned to fish a small amount of water, thoroughly working every nook and cranny attempting to find hiding snook.
The first short canal was void of snook. Or if they were there, they didn’t hit my offerings. The second canal looked very promising with a rip rap bank, a boat dock in need of repair falling into the water and a large back pool that just had that fishy look and feel.
Finding Jack Crevalle
As with the first canal, I backed out of the second canal fishless. Leaving the canal, I pitched my soft plastic bait toward the hanging mangroves at the entrance point of the canal. The rod jerked on the retrieve. Not a normal, “oh, I got a fish”, I mean a yank on the line almost hard enough to pull the rod out of my hand.
Pulling drag from the reel and towing the kayak toward a boat lift, the three pound jack crevalle put up a good fight. While I enjoy my river smallmouth fishing and always will, these warm water monsters of the Florida variety fight like nothing I have experienced. I released the fish thankful for the catch, but wishing for snook.
A few casts later, I hooked another Jack, then another. Exploring the mangrove bank running toward the end of the main canal, I caught several jacks in the open water between me and the mangroves. As I would begin a fast retrieve to bring my soft plastic bait back to the boat because it was no longer in the fish catching zone for snook, a jack would slam the bait.
Fighting the wind that was quickly pushing me closer toward a large hatteras style boat docked at the end of the canal, I made one more cast ready to call it an evening.
Bam! He hit. The drag sang out as this sea monster tore line from the spool. I’ve had fish move the kayak before, but this guy really was towing me. Right toward a boat dock he swam. I could feel the torque of the fighting fish twisting the reel in the rod seat. I lowered the rod and side pulled as hard as the light rod would allow in an attempt to keep the fish out of the dock plies. The bow of the kayak rammed into one of the piles as the fishing line drug across one of the other piles. I reached out with my free hand and pushed off the dock.
The huge jack made another run for the open water. Towing the boat and me, he soon tired and began to circle. I let him tire for a minute longer, then swung the rod bringing him boat-side. Wow, what a fight.
With the setting sun, the feeding frenzy continued. I fished well into the dark, hooking and fighting jacks on every couple casts. Finally in full darkness of night, one of the eyelets on my rod gave up and broke thus ending the night of awesome fishing.
Slowly paddling the short distance back to my hotel, I reflected on the evening. The plan was to slowly pick apart the mangrove banks and boat docks in search for snook, however, but the path of the evening took a turn in a totally different direction when a different opportunity presented itself.
Often times, we set our sights in one direction and with blinders walk down the path never seeing all that is possible. Edward Abby is quoted as saying, “There’s another disadvantage to the use of the flashlight: like many other mechanical gadgets it tends to separate a man from the world around him. If I switch it on my eyes adapt to it and I can see only the small pool of light it makes in front of me; I am isolated. Leaving the flashlight in my pocket where it belongs, I remain a part of the environment I walk through and my vision though limited has no sharp or definite boundary.”
So, when snook fishing but find the jacks biting, fish for jack crevalle.