Southwest Florida Report – Capt. Butch Rickey


    May 1, 2013


    Week Ending 4/27/13……….


    Had a trip with an old friend, Ed Mahoney, this week that I hadn’t seen in ten years.  Me, Ed, and a couple of his friends had some serious redfish trips back in the day.  One day the reds were splitting our popping corks in half, and then striking at the pieces of cork!  What a day.  Good memories.


    Ed was over from him home in Boca Raton for a week of vacation, and decided he wanted to try the kayak fishing.  I believe Ed told me he’d kayaked and canoed, but had never fished from one.  I’d been waiting on a chance to get back down to Estero Bay, and thought it might be heating up by now.  I had hopes of putting Ed on some reds with lures similar to the way we used to catch them with live bait. 


    I couldn’t believe how many cars and trailers were already there on a Friday morning!  I know there was at least one tournament going on that weekend, and figured we might have a bunch of guys out prefishing for that.  It turned out to be more than that, though.


    I’d met Ed at the local Circle K, and we rode to Lovers Key ramp in my van.  We were in the water pretty quickly, and on our way.  I thought we’d start the day off with some trout action while we were waiting on the tide to fill things up a bit.  We stopped at a spot that always has trout, ladyfish, and jacks, and neither of us got the first hit.  Not a good harbinger for the rest of the day.


    We moved on to a couple of my favorite redfish and snook haunts.  We hit a redfish and a jack right off the bat, but after that, nothing.  We fished the area over, very well.  I had several other hits that didn’t connect.  I noticed that the boat traffic was heavy.  Real heavy.  As we fished through the morning, there were all manner of boats, guides, jet ski armadas, and kayaks going every which direction.  It was a zoo.


    We made a move to the east side to fish the mangroves and hopefully get away from some of the traffic.  I parked Ed on a key that has never failed to give me and my customers snook, redfish, and trout, sometimes all in the same day.  Not happening.  Ed couldn’t buy a bite, and I got one blowup on a topwater bait, and that was it. 


    Our cause certainly wasn’t helped by a very inconsiderate mullet net fisherman that came in and worked over every bit of cover that I was fishing and planned to fish.  He exercised a total lack of concern for me and the rest of the other anglers that were already all over that area.  I watched and listened to him throw his mullet net and then drag it in and bang it around on the deck of his beater Carolina Skiff, scaring everything for a mile in every direction.  I was admittedly pleased to see that he wasn’t catching much, either.  He finally left the area, but the damage had been done.  Ed and I left, as well.


    We headed back to the west side to wrap up the day, in hopes that we could pull it out at a couple of my favorite spots.  I gave Ed instructions on how to fish one of my very favorite spots, and then turned him loose on it.  I went to another great spot nearby.  Ed said he never got a hit.  I had one redfish follow me right to the end of my rod, but never ate the bait. 


    Ed told me he wanted to try to be back home by 1 PM.  That meant we wouldn’t get to fish the last hour or so of the tide, which on a full moon tide, can be the best part of the tide.  I hated to leave before the tide was done, but my gut told me we wouldn’t have caught anything else, anyway.  Those fish just did not want to eat. 


    We still had fun, though.  It’s always fun fishing in the kayaks, even when the fish aren’t playing.  And, it was good to see Ed after ten years!  Hard to believe it had been that long.  It sure goes by fast!