Hey Everyone- Thank you so much for the information. Kozlow, LOUIS, Beachbms, AtlantaKing and Jake Ace; I appreciate you taking your time to get me closer to the fish.
The fish were not all that cooperative this weekend. I think that the upper gulf needs to get a little warmer for the fishing to pick up.
Check this out: http://www.wunderground.com/MAR/GM/850.html
I wound up going to the Pensacola Beach Gulf Pier which is a really nice place to fish. I was fishing with my girlfriend and my college buddy Andrew.
Here is the link to the pier web cite: http://www.fishpensacolabeachpier.com/
(This cite has audio so turn it down if you are at work)
When we got out there; they were out of live shrimp so we bought a container of frozen squid and a few frozen minnows. The current was flowing parallel to the beach and we stopped to fish about 75% of the way down the pier. I rigged up a sabiki rig on a small spinning outfit and had my buddy Andrew try and catch some live baits around the pier pilings. Then I rigged up a long shank hook on top of a small bank sinker in the middle of some fluorocarbon leader. I gave this outfit to my girlfriend and had her try to catch some Sheepshead around pilings with some squid. Next I rigged up a frozen minnow on a circle hook with a fish-finder rig and used a Penn 7500/Penn rod combo to launch this bait down current/wind.
Then nothing really happened so we sat around drinking beer for 90 minutes.
This guy was walking the pier just observing and he walked by us and was asking; “How do you get a fish up from the water and over the rail?” There was at least 25 feet between the water and the top of the railing on this pier. There was an uncomfortable pause, followed by; “uh... that really hasn’t been a problem yet.” Nobody on the pier was catching anything; it wasn’t looking like this 25 foot drop would be an issue.
Last week one of my classmates here in Tallahassee lent me an Ugly Stick/Shakespeare outfit that he had lying around. It was just sitting on the pier looking lonely so I put on a small circle hook, 15lb mono leader, a swivel and a 3-ounce pyramid sinker. The squid had thawed out a little and I cut off one’s head, hooked the head/eyes/tentacle piece on the little circle hook. Then I dropped this rig off of the up-current side of the pier so that the bait would settle directly under the pier.
Well my two co-anglers were tired of plumbing around the pilings and we tied on some more of the circle hook/leader/swivel/egg sinker rigs and just soaked some cut squid on the down-current side of the pier while we drank beer. I finally had to go to the bathroom and the port-a-potty was way back on the land so I had a long walk in front of me. I left my buddy and my girlfriend who were sitting on a bench facing two of the three rods, the Ugly Stick/Shakespeare was behind them with the one bait right under the pier. I told them; “Keep an eye on this rod.”
I had to walk like a mile to get to this port-a-potty. On the walk back, I was about 25 yards from “our bench” when the Ugly Stick/Shakespeare outfit got that distinct bend to it which is usually what us anglers live for. The problem was that my pal Andrew is sitting with his back to the thing and drinking a beer.
I hollered out and broke into a full sprint. This random lady was walking right by my fishing rod and was like pointing at it, soaking up the excitement, squealing to her friends and just standing there. My buddy hears my cries and turns around, hurdles the bench, almost knocks over said random lady and grabs the butt of this rod about ½ a second before it was going to go over the rail. Fish on.
Well if you haven’t picked up on this yet, I don’t fish from piers all that often. I am usually on a beach or wading. Let me tell you about this Ugly Stick, it was about 6’6’’ at the most. This Ugly Stick says it’s a medium action, it feels pretty light to me, and the three ounce pyramid sinker alone bent it pretty good. Whatever had our bait went down current right under the pier. With the railing and everything Andrew had to almost bend half way over the top of the railing to keep our mainline (17lb Mono) from chaffing on the underside of the pier. Also, Andrew is from Minnesota and he is a freshwater fishing guy, all of a sudden he is fighting some pretty good sized salt water fish that’s got the current on its side. Furthermore he is using a bass rod and the he is leaning over a railing, looking straight down 25 feet.
Andrew was also in the middle of a smoke when he ran and grabbed the rod, so he had the thing in his mouth while fighting the fish, it’s a classic look, he looked like some of those stereotypical “pier locals,” I thought it gave us more credibility. He stayed patient, adjusted the drag well, and he tried to keep the rod at a good angle. I walked over to the down current side of the pier and looked over the railing. A NICE SIZED RED came boiling to the surface behind my pyramid sinker. The fish had the classic single spot, it was pretty clear, not very “red” at all (I think that’s from what color water they’ve been swimming around in). Eventually it stopped fighting and Andrew got back his line, the fish was on the surface directly below the rod, on the up-current side of the pier.
Well now that 25 feet is a major pain in the rear. Random Lady is still standing there with pals, just squealing away, Andrew and I are looking at each other not knowing what to do, no locals are around to help. After a few seconds, we just decided to go hand-over-hand with our mono to try and get this fish topside for a few pictures and then a release.
My girlfriend had the digital camera ready. We got the fish half way up and the leader broke. It was tough to take. Andrew said that would have been the biggest fish he had ever caught. That lady was like; “Awwwwwwwww, yall broke the line.” Really lady, thanks for the input. I asked Andrew how big he thought the fish was and he said maybe 28 inches, I thought it might have been closer to 30.
We threw some more baits down to that same spot on our more substantial fishing rods but we got nothing. I do have some photos but they are basically drinking pictures with fishing gear in the background, I will get them later this week and post them here if I can figure it out. I really wanted to get a shot of that red drum and post it to show my appreciation for the information. I’ll land the fish next time though.