Another Beautiful Redfish by Ed Valitutto

Just when I thought the winter of extremes in Southwest Florida was over (coolest, rainiest & windiest), my second trip with Dragonfly Charters experienced the lowest water levels anyone can remember. The reasons are the same as up north – strong east winds since we are on the west side of FL and a full moon.
Undeterred, Captain Mike and I set off in his 16′ skiff into the backwaters searching for redfish and snook. It didn’t take long before the 70 hp motor was lifted and the trolling motor was deployed. Shortly after, the captain had to use a pole but we still bottomed out. The captain went into the water and started to pull us along. I offered to join him but at his suggestion, manned the pole as we moved ~150 yds to deeper water – 3 feet deep!
Unfortunately, with the shallow water, the fish were really spooky. Large snook scattered as we neared them or cast nearby. At least the smaller ones took our shrimp along with several reds. Then I saw a disturbance and threw my shrimp ahead of it. Immediately my line went tight, and the fight was on. After several minutes, multiples swirls, tail slaps and several drag screaming runs, the beautiful red came alongside the boat. After a quick photo and measurement (~33″), the fish went back into the water, The captain commented that the only two overs caught this year so far, were today and on my last trip 4 weeks ago.
I had several short reds including one that was 1/4″ shy of the 18″ minimum size. It was an amazing experience including watching several ospreys diving and capturing fish all around us.

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