I will begin today by re-iterating my fears the fisherman who died from bacterial infection after cast netting near High Bridge contracted the disease by taking in water through his mouth.
We all know that is a hazard to using a net. I don't have any documentation, only common sense tells me that while the water is warm a cast net might not be a good call. I have set my own net aside for a while to be sure.
When the snook season re-opened on Sept. 1, I mistakenly reported that it remained closed in our area. That bad information came my way via an official looking email. I do apologize for getting that wrong, but I still encourage you to release all snook.
After a long drought, my own snook catch has picked up as of late. I told you of a nice 24-inch fish I landed near the spoil islands and just recently I got into a school of baby snook in that same area. The fish were all 12 to 14 inches, but still possessed of the spunk that made those critters famous. Hopefully this will be a mild winter so their recovery will continue.
I suppose the summer flounder season can now be declared over.
For me, it was not the banner year I experienced in 2011 and 2012, but I still took home 43 fish. The one pictured was the largest and the last that I caught. That big guy was caught near Ames Park just south of the Ormond Beach City Hall. It fell for my old faithful chartreuse shrimp tail that has been named "Dan Smith Special Edition" by the Grandslam Bait Company. You can pick them up at Granada Bait and Tackle, which was very visible when I landed the fish.
Catching that 24-inch flounder that weighed seven pounds was no simple matter.
I was in my kayak when I noticed something had spooked a small minnow. When I threw my jig there I had a very light hit that was little more than a taste. Now I was thinking flounder and made another cast that missed the spot by about two feet and felt nothing. Three more casts produced zilch. By then the Green Peanut had drifted away some and I was turned about.
My parting cast was a kind of over the shoulder affair but it splashed down exactly where I hoped. I felt the big fish chew and then gulp before setting the hook hard. As flounder will do this heavyweight began swimming about unaware that it was hooked but once it discovered the hook it went nuts. A long straight run sent up slick "footprints" to the surface and the size of those made me smile. I knew I had a doormat. When it turned to come back toward me I had to work hard to take up the slack to keep on the pressure.
The flounder passed the boat to my rear, causing me to whip the rod over my head like a cowboy's lariat. The little landing net I had brought was over matched and I had to maneuver the fish so I could get it headfirst into the net. Once in the boat, I discovered that the barb had never sunk in and only the point of the hook held the fish. Any slack and my prize would have been lost.
Although my flounder season did not match up to the fast few years I heard from others who really did great.
Two fellows told me they had 50 in one month and a man and wife said they had caught the 20 fish limit several times. For whatever reason, about seven years ago our flounder fishing picked up in amazing fashion.
Let's hope 2014 is as good.
Dan Smith has fished the waters of Volusia County for more than 40 years. Email questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. His book, "I Swear the Snook Drowned," is available for $10.95 at (386) 441-7793.