Fishing with Dan: Two goalies on a pitch | Columns

With the High Bridge boat launch out of service, I launched my kayak a quarter mile west.

It was a warm morning, but the water was still freezing from a recent cold snap. After paddling a hundred yards, I saw fish feeding around the oyster bars in the middle of the creek. To avoid blockages, I switched from my jig to a MirrOlure top water.

I continued after half an hour of casting without result. The area around the toilet bowl was occupied by four other kayaks fishing there. As I paddled west I never saw a fish caught. Not good. There were lots of birds around and that told me there must be bait in the water. A good sign.

After lots of drifting and casting I caught a baby snook at about 16 inches. I was able to release it without taking it out of the water and that’s always a plus. The slightest manipulation gives them a better chance of survival.

I wasn’t surprised to catch the snub. When the water gets very cold, line conductors pile up in deeper water to take advantage of a degree or two of warmth. A few days earlier, the mercury had dropped to near zero and remained there for several hours. Not enough to stun the snooker, but enough to chase it into deeper waters.

Staying with the centreboard, I landed a pair of undersized sea trout. Both had a golden hue from the tannin-stained water. After drifting almost to the Halifax River, I had a good hit on my chartreuse jig of a nice trout. The fish was strong and I tried to wear it down with a prolonged fight. Spotted sea trout have a somewhat soft mouth and it is easy to lose one that is too green.

My kayak had come to rest against dead limbs, where I started dragging trout back into the boat. As I lifted it, something big hit my grip, causing the water to boil. I was surprised, but pretty quickly decided to leave the trout in the water for a while and opened the bait on my reel.

The fish headed straight for the bottom in seven feet of water. Immediately, the line took off west to the center of the creek. As soon as I could, I backed up hard and a big snub jumped out. I hung on, thinking my trout spat out the jig and the snooker took it.

Once near the boat, I could see that a 30 inch snooker had swallowed my 15 inch trout head first. My oh my!

In fact, it’s not the first time something like this has happened to me. Some of you who have my book may remember a chapter on two-headed trout. In this story, I was fishing with Captain Leo Hiles about 10 years ago when I caught a small 13 inch trout. When I brought it back to the boat, a 24 inch trout swallowed it tail first. All you could see of the smaller fish was its head. Like the two-headed trout.

That day when my trout headed to the bottom the big snooker must have been there waiting and swallowed the fish whole. Once in the boat, I couldn’t separate the two and took both home. One for the books to be sure. Keep fishing people. You never know what might happen.

Dan Smith has fished the waters of Volusia County for over 40 years. Email your questions and comments to [email protected] His book, “I Swear the Snook Drowned,” is available for purchase for $10.95 at (386) 441-7793.

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