On a Monday evening, I received a call from Captain Leo Hiles of Edgewater.
Leo had spent the day fishing and had really nailed 'em. That's all I had to hear to be standing on his dock Tuesday morning before the sun came up.
I knew from the photos that Leo had limited out on trout and brought in his one legal red, so my anticipation level was soaring.
We had decided to only fish lures so we could try out some of the new offerings from The Grandslam Bait Co. On the day before, the good Capt. said the trout were so thick they would eat most anything that hit the water. When Leo eased the Blue Ghost into one of the same coves that he had worked the day before it was still very early, so we both picked up our rods baited with top water. The tide was very high, but sure enough we could see a school of maybe five nice reds pushing water as they cruised back and forth. Leo threw his old favorite bone colored Zara Spook but I tried out a new lure from the Hall Co. of Orlando.
It didn't take long until we could see this was not going to be easy. The fish were not interested. Oh, they would roll up next to the lures and even take a half-hearted hit on occasion, but were just not in the feeding mode. I began to think about that old fishing saw "you should have been here yesterday." It seemed to apply.
Leo did manage to get one somewhat interested, but after a nice strike that missed, a small trout rushed in and took the bait.
We were not happy to watch the big red swim away as the trout came to the boat. After that we moved on to the trout hole from the previous day and that, too, was dead.
Now, we knew we were going to have to work to make this trip pan out. Whenever I have to get down to business I go to my old standby -- the chartreuse shrimp tail -- and Leo tied on a paddle tail swimmer, both Grandslam products.
We began catching a few 14-inch trout and Leo had a couple reds of about the same length, but fishing for keepers was tough. Working along a bank we both know very well I finally had a hookup with a nice fish. It hit so hard I immediately yelled "redfish," but pretty quickly it became apparent I had a big trout. Leo reeled in and grabbed up the landing net as I worked the fish to the boat. That may have happened a little too quickly for the big gator trout was still "green" when it saw the boat. As it made the u-turn for another run the jig pulled out.
A disappointment for sure on a slow day, but still pretty good fun. The trout had to have been between five and six pounds and around 24 inches long. A beautiful fish, it was shaded golden from the stained water.
Of course, the jig it ate was the Grandslam version of my chartreuse tail that they now call Dan Smith Special Edition.
As the morning continued we picked up a steady take of undersized trout and reds, but the big fish just would not bite. By trips end we had caught 16 trout and four reds and released them all. That was not the day that either of us envisioned, but it was a lot of fun. Sharing a boat with Capt. Leo is always a trip in itself. If you would like to get inside his head to see how he does it, call him at
(386) 345-2213 for a copy of his book. To find out where Grandslam Baits are sold call (386) 402-4789.
Dan Smith has fished the waters of Volusia County for more than 40 years. E-mail questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. His book, "I Swear the Snook Drowned," is available for $10.95 at (386) 441-7793.