Got out on the Banana River No Motor Zone last week. This is a very unique part of the Banana River that has been off limits to any motors, electric or combustible, for over 20 years. This offers paddlers a great haven to fish where they don't have to worry about Capt. FlatBurner screaming up on them in a motorized skiff like what commonly happens in other areas here on the Space Coast of Florida. Aside from that, the fishing is exceptional. Redfish exceeding 40" in very shallow water is a common thing to run into in this area.
I set out at 6am, beginning the paddle north. This area is a big long 6 mile flat which is mostly the same with a few small exceptions. I approach areas like this by simply paddling until I run into fish since there is such a huge expanse to cover. I slowly made my way north, not seeing much of anything. About 4 miles from the launch you run into a nice little creek known as Buck Creek. More often than not, you will usually find fish here if you make it up that far. About a mile from there is a ditch on the shoreline that leads to the flats. This ditch usually holds good numbers of finger mullet who venture out onto the flats and the predator fish stack up at the mouth and wait for the easy meal.
Today was no exception, as a group of slot Redfish were there destroying the helpless little finger mullet, coming completely out of the water after them at times. I staked the kayak off about 50 feet from the fish and pulled out 5 fish in short order throwing a 4" MrWiffelure in Chartreuse.
Left em biting to head for greener pastures, which in this case was Buck Creek. Paddled the last mile north and fished the mouth of the creek hard with nothing to show for it except 7 or 8 small trout that weren't even worth flipping out the camera for except this one.
They were small, but I had 2/3's of the East Central Florida slam, which consists of catching a Spotted Seatrout, a Redfish, and a Snook all in the same day. They are tough to pull off. So now my mission was to get a Snook to complete the slam. Worked the mouth of the creek for another hour with no results. This puzzled me, as the week before the Snook bite up this way was absolutely on fire. Disappointed, I started making my way back south, figuring my chance for a Snook was nearly zero at this point. Snook get a little more elusive when the water temperature goes down. They are a tropical fish and can react negatively to temperature changes.
I was on the way back, approaching the same ditch I found the school of Reds in earlier in the morning. From a distance, I saw fish in the mouth wreaking havoc on the baitfish. As I got closer, I started to hear "snook pops". Snook pops are what happens when they are chasing baitfish with their mouth open and their mouth breaks the surface and breaks the suction, resulting in a distinctive pop. Largemouth bass do the same thing. There were several Snook feeding and popping heavily at the mouth and I carefully and quietly got the yak into position and staked off.
The very first cast with the MrWiffelure resulted in an almost instant hookup. Snook are spirited fighters, making fast runs and jumping frequently. This one was no exception as he was in the air several times during the fight. After a couple minutes and a nice fight, he came aboard for a quick photo op and promptly released.
Awesome, I thought to myself.. Got the slam. Since I had 5 reds and more than 5 trout, I could get another Snook and make a double slam. They were still popping off in the mouth of the ditch like nothing ever happened. I sat in the same spot and within 30 minutes, boated 5 Snook total for a slam x5! My previous record before that was a triple slam, so getting the quintuple slam was awesome.
I didn't land any heroes (big fish) but it was really awesome to have a day full of catching like that and keep the rod bent all day! Trips like that are the ones you remember and it was truly an Adventure On The Water that I will never forget!