Finally, inshore fishing success!

As mentioned in the previous post, I planned on getting back out to Guana Lake last night as a reward accomplishing some good boat work earlier this week.  Right after work I drove to the local bait shop to get a half pound of fresh dead shrimp, loaded up the car then headed up to Guana.  While driving up the coast to the boat ramp I noticed a storm cell thickening over the area and started to worry that I might get rained out.  As I wen't further North, it was apparent that Guana Lake was clear of the storm cell, but I was still unsure of the direction it was blowing. I got to the ramp at about 6:00 pm and quickly geared up to paddle out.  This time I decided to troll both lines while paddling to the fishing area, hoping to get a strike on the way.  As I began to paddle South I noticed the storm cell growing in size, getting darker and more menacing by the minute.  Only after a few minutes of paddling, the storm started to pour out rain and I could see the wall of water about 4-5 miles down the lake.  The wind was light, and it was difficult to see if the storm was moving at all and which direction it was going.  I kept my eye on the wall of water and used a few reference points on the shore to track its direction.

As I was paddling in an area that I've gone right past previously, I noticed quite a few bigger fishes moving around while I paddled by, and they didn't look like simple mullet.  I decided to reel in the trolling lines to re-bait and cast about for a few minutes.  The first cast I got hit and reeled in a baby redfish.  It was a tough little guy for its size, but I was looking for its bigger mom and dad.  I threw the fish back and was encouraged to know that redfish were around this area.

I continued to paddle South, but soon noticed that the wall of water was slowly making its way North towards me.  After stopping once more to cast around I realized the storm was going to to hit me quite soon.  Luckily I hadn't made it too far, but I still hauled back to the boat ramp as fast as I could and just barely made it in time.  I flipped the kayak over on the ramp, grabbed stuff I didn't want to get soaked and hung out in my car for about 15 minutes until the storm passed.  I could have given up, but I knew from my research that fishing can be fantastic immediately after a storm goes through.  So as soon as the rain stopped I was back out on the lake making my way South once again.

This time, I decided to troll with a gold spoon tipped with a bit of shrimp and I hoped the spinning action would attract a hungry fish.  As soon as I reached the area I last turned around, I noticed another storm cell gathering density and darkening in the distance.  It seemed a lot further South than the last one, and no wall of water was coming this way.  I chose to continue fishing, but didn't make my way as far South as I would have liked due to my worry of the developing storm.

I kept moving about a hundred yards at a time before I would stop to cast around and take bearings on the storm.  I could see the storm getting darker and darker, nastier looking than the previous one.  To make matters worse, lightning began to strike in the heart of it, but still quite a few miles away.  It became evident that the storm was making its way towards me once again, and gathering strength by the minute.  I resigned to the fact that today was just not the right day and I needed to start making my way back before the lightning and rain came close.

It was time for me to start making my way back to the boat ramp again, but it still seemed I had a bit of time to fish while backtracking.  I tossed the line rigged with the sinker out and rested it on the kayak while I used the other pole with the gold spoon to cast around.  After a few casts with the spoon, the other pole started to bend and wiggle.  I picked it up, reeled it in slowly to set the circle hook, and immediately the line tore off the reel as the fish went on a run.  I knew I had hooked a good one and the adrenaline started pumping.

The fight wasn't too long as I didn't have much line out to begin with, but he had a few runs that made it exciting.  As it got near the kayak I saw that it was a good sized redfish.  After wearing him out, I pulled it up to measure and knew for sure that it was keeper size.  I was grinning ear to ear to finally have landed a keeper, my first ever!  I've caught one huge red that we released, and a few smaller ones, but never a keeper.  At last, I had caught a good sized fish to turn into a meal.

After landing the fish and putting it out of its misery, I was giddy and happy with the trip.  I wanted to fish more, even if I had to release any other reds I caught (can only keep one per day); but the storm kept growing and the lightning kept getting closer.  I started to haul back to the ramp while noticing large tailing redfish on the way.  I stopped periodically to cast at them, but each time I stopped the storm got closer and reminded me of my peril.  In short time, the wall of water showed itself down the lake and was moving very fast towards me.

I made it back to the boat ramp with barely enough time to pull my gear into my car and gut the fish.  The downpour hit as I was putting the kayak on the roof racks, and I had to hide in the car before I could tie it down.  I had to wait about 25 minute before the rain was light enough to tie down the kayak without completely soaking myself, but the time was spent reflecting on the exciting evening and my first keeper redfish.

I plan on cooking it tonight and enjoying a great fish feast.  It measured in just shy of 19" and was a beautiful specimen.

The catch:

I can't wait to get back out there and do it again.  My next goal is to land a good trout and hopefully get some success on artificials.   Feels good to finally have some success inshore.