View Full Version : A Shoalwater Adventure

March 28th, 2010, 12:48 AM
Some people would say taking a flatboat into the gulf is a bad idea. Friday, those objections would have fallen on deaf ears. I was off for the week and spending time fishing and enjoying the good weather. I checked the link from the website which called for 2-3 foot seas to 60 miles out. I looked out the window and things actually looked much better than that forecast. A quick call to Blackbeard, and he confirmed the gulf looked great. A plan was quickly hatched to go to Freeport and try to make a run offshore. If any day were made for an 18 foot flatboat to go gulf side, this was the day. If things were too nasty we could just fish the jetties. We stopped to grab up bait at Bright Light, and picked up a pint of live shrimp, a box of sardines, and some squid. We were in the water by 10 and in the gulf by 10:15. On the way out we passed a Greek freighter and I turned to Blackbeard could only remark “that’s a big f-ing boat.” There was a guy on the deck who waved to us and I have no doubt thought “that’s a tiny f-ing boat.” There seas were in fact a good 2-3 feet, but a 7+ second period meant there was a nice slow roll that let us clip along at about 15 knots. The first rig we stopped at, I put on a live shrimp and quickly pulled up a nice 18’’sheepshead. The water was a dark olive even though we were 5 miles out. Another 15 minutes and we only succeeded in losing bait. The executive decision was made to head 3 miles southwest to the next rig and hopefully better looking water. We tied up to the second rig and proceeded to get skunked on all baits, depths, and distances from the rig. This was shaping up to be a fairly anticlimactic fishing adventure. As we surveyed the landscape Blackbeard recommended, and I agreed, that the next rig 5 miles out in deeper water was our best bet. A nice 15 minute run and we were in emerald water and tying off to our third rig. We made the change to light tackle on our live shrimp, dropped down, and were doubled up with two sheepshead in the blink of an eye. Blackbeard also pulled up a 13’’ triggerfish that got thrown back, and I pulled up a 14’’ Spanish mackerel that got thrown back. An hour later we were throwing sheepshead back because we had our ten in the box. Blackbeard picked up a couple of croaker and whiting fishing squid 30 yards off of the rig and Blackbeard cut those up into chunks for the big rods. We went back to catching sheepshead and as I had one on and about halfway up, I hear Blackbeard yell “ROD! ROD! ROD!” I turn to see the big 50# rod doubled over and line screaming off of the reel. Blackbeard grabs my rod, with the fish still on, and says “Go”. “Go” is in fact the shortest sentence in the English language, which is funny because and I was already halfway to the back of the boat before it was out of his mouth. I grabbed the rod and did what I could to hang on for the ride. The fish on the other end proceeded to pull another 50 yards of line before a quarter turn on the drag and my thumb on the spool slowed it down. I managed to get a little line back before I noticed the fish was making a big end-around to the rig. I turned to Blackbeard but he was already two steps ahead of me and had cut the line and was firing up the boat to get away from the structure. We managed to turn the fish and chase it down enough for me to get most of my line back. I came around to the bow which was almost directly over the fish and started to heave. I’m a big guy, but with the drag cranked and by thumb on the spool as tight as I dared, it was a lot to lift this bathtub of the bottom of the gulf. After a good ten minutes of “Three steps forward, two steps back”, my forearms ached, my biceps and shoulders burned, and my back was talking to me. I had the fish maybe 20 feet under the boat when line went pop. “$&!#”. Reeling it up, I found that whatever it was had gone through the 80# leader. I collected myself as best as I could, accepted condolences from Blackbeard, and we cruised back to the rig to tie off and do it all again. We put two big rods with cut croaker out and it wasn’t five minutes before another one doubled over. Grabbing the rod, I set the hook and felt a pop. Damn, another cut leader. A quick run through of the tackle box revealed no steel leader. Offshore lesson learned. Over the next 20 minutes we had 3 more break-offs on the big rods. Another cut leader, a broken line, and a big fish I couldn’t turn away from the rig quickly enough. Things were getting serious. We wanted to know what was down there eating our tackle. It was time for us to prove we were smarter than the fish. Blackbeard let 10 yards of line out on our tie-off to get us away from the rig, and we tied extra long leaders with the 80# line. With the big rods back out it only took a couple of minutes to hook up. Blackbeard let me have it and I horsed the fish up after about 5 good minutes of fight. It was a bull red and it was the biggest I had ever caught but definitely the smallest of the fish we had hooked into that day. After some photos and handshakes we vented and revived the fish and released it back down to the green depths. Unfortunately the bite turned off and after 20 minutes we decided to head in. The original title of this article was going to be “The Shoalwater Adventure”, but halfway through I changed “The” to “A” because I’m ready to go out again and “A” definitely implies a series of adventures. I’m lucky to have had the experience, and I look forward to getting back out again soon, especially for the kings.

March 28th, 2010, 12:50 AM
For reference on the red drum pics, I'm 6-3 and weigh 205#.

March 28th, 2010, 07:26 AM
Way to go! Sounds like a blast and a lot of excitment.

March 28th, 2010, 08:38 AM
Great report. Sure would have liked tohave known what kept breaking you off.

March 28th, 2010, 08:46 AM
Eric man glad you were able to get out with Cody! I know he just got the Shoalwater back and its running like a champ! Excellent report and glad yall had a great time! Tell Cody to use some of that tie-able wire leader next time. I've had kings break off 100lb test before just a matter of time. Excellent photos nice bull red! Hmmm table fare am I being invited over this week for Sheepshead :D

March 28th, 2010, 12:21 PM
Awesome read and pics, thanks for sharing. Its good to see the macks are starting to move in

March 28th, 2010, 12:48 PM
Great read and great report.....Thanks!

March 28th, 2010, 04:08 PM
Nice Job! Great report! Should have kept that trigger -- they cook up great!

March 29th, 2010, 07:27 AM
How do you clean sheephead anyway???? I've been told they are basically trash fish, is this true?????

March 29th, 2010, 07:38 AM
How do you clean sheephead anyway???? I've been told they are basically trash fish, is this true?????

One of the best eating fish! You have to clean the shoulder portion not a ton of meat but very good!

March 29th, 2010, 07:41 AM
Great report/read.Sounds like a blast.Congrats

March 29th, 2010, 08:48 AM
Thanks for the report.

March 29th, 2010, 02:01 PM
hell yeah. I enjoyed reading that report.

March 29th, 2010, 02:38 PM
Awesome report!!

March 30th, 2010, 09:45 AM
Excellent report!! Exciting read. Thanks!!

April 3rd, 2010, 11:33 AM
Good report! Offshore any distance is always an adventure. Probably sharks cutting the leader or big AJ's breaking off.

April 9th, 2010, 07:34 PM
Great report and way to go!:cheers:

April 13th, 2010, 01:11 AM
The first fish that broke off was most likely a 100 plus lb stingray. Nothing else has that kind of slow deadweight pull. I belive all the others were bulls, caught enough of both species to call them before they come up. (most of the time) We were only 10 fathoms deep, and given the time of year, I figure a school of Reds. Hope this helps.

Captain Kyle
June 23rd, 2011, 08:04 PM
Cool i like when its nice like that offshore!

June 24th, 2011, 01:38 AM
Buy some of those cheapo topwaters at Walmart for 1.99 and tie on to 80# wire leader and slow troll...you'll hook up on kings and not waste a lot doing it. Do it quite a bit out of Matagorda when we leave the bay and make a run. Loosen the drag on that trout rod though or you'll lose it!

Nice report too!

June 24th, 2011, 08:13 AM
Great fun! Thanks for the great story, guys!

June 24th, 2011, 09:23 AM
Great report/read.Sounds like a blast

June 24th, 2011, 10:00 AM
lol.....who brought this year old thread back up?

June 24th, 2011, 12:50 PM
We have action in the nearshore forum!

June 30th, 2011, 10:17 AM
We have action in the nearshore forum!

Milkjug and I had an offshore adventure in a Shoalwater. Remember that Yan?

June 30th, 2011, 11:01 AM
lol.....who brought this year old thread back up?

Capt. Kyle :D

June 30th, 2011, 11:13 AM
Milkjug and I had an offshore adventure in a Shoalwater. Remember that Yan?

I do. The excessive chumming is the reason I don't get hammered the night before going offshore anymore. :(

Those gafftops were wall-to-wall :rofl:

June 30th, 2011, 11:23 AM
I do. The excessive chumming is the reason I don't get hammered the night before going offshore anymore. :(

Those gafftops were wall-to-wall :rofl:

We probably caught 3 dozen between 3-6 #'s on that one long drift in on pink devil eyes.