Foggy Morning on the Banana River

With all the holiday activities I had not been on the water for a week and was anxious to see what was cookin’. I took my time getting started because of the heavy fog I saw outside my window. As it began to lift a little I hooked up the Maverick and headed for the dock. I was greeted by a foggy morning as I unloaded a Kiwanis Park on Merritt Island and headed south on Newfound Harbor.

With the wind light out of the west I decide to return to the docks on the west banks of the Banana River. Before Christmas lots of sheepshead (I’m still trying to catch one on fly), black drum and scattered redfish were present under and between the docks.

My first stop was an area that includes an oyster bar and usually has sheepies all over it this time of year. Not today though, so I started south scanning the bank for signs of fish. I found an occasional sheepshead, or maybe two at a time. They were all spooky and did not hang around to play.

One area has a long distance between docks and is characterized by a very sandy and shallow shoreline. About half-way down this section of shore I spotted a couple really nice spotted sea trout. I made several casts with a black fly, but no one was interested. This area, which probably warmed up much quicker than some of the other areas, was populated with at least a dozen nice trout and the only mullet I had seen all morning.

I continued my search in a southerly direction. Along the way there were a few redfish singles, more trout, more sheepshead, one juvenile tarpon (I bet there were some more around somewhere), and two really nice snook. I set a way point in my head for the dock that held the snook with the idea of coming back at lunch time.

The rest of the morning was more of the same as I continued fishing with fly rod only. As lunch time approached I headed back to the dock where I saw the monster snook earlier. The wind had switched around to the southeast, so I positioned the boat where I could float a popping cork back under the dock while I ate my lunch. I had brought some frozen shrimp along just for such an occasion.

I cast out about a foot under the dock and fed out more line so the float would continue back under the dock. With the bail open I laid the rod down and began to eat my sandwich. I guess I was paying too much attention to eating and not enough to fishing. I heard a loud splash only to look up and see a fish and my bobber airborne on the opposite side of the dock.

I quickly laid down my sandwich and reached for the rod, but it was too late! Not much to do but bait up again the send the bobber back under the dock. This time I ate with one hand and held the rod with the other. Almost as suddenly as before the bobber was gone and I began to reel expecting the circle hook to do its job. The hook did its job, but the leader did not. I have to think it had a nick in it or something, because when the line came tight it snapped under the weight of the fish.
I was zero for two and that was the last chance I had that day. Some days you just have to be satisfied with enjoying the beauty of God’s great outdoors.

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That's what it's all about. Good fishin'.

Capt. Ron Presley