Sanibel Island, Sea Trout & Ladyfish.

About 10 years ago on our family vacation I found Snook in the back channels on the mainland side Sanibel island.

I had a few hours this evening and headed out of Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge drive from the small canoe ramp.  I found no fish casting to the mangrove edges while the tide was high.  On the way back I was casting across an open water bay as a strong wind blew me back toward the ramp.  I got jolting strikes from small fish hitting my big darting White 4/0 Bullet Dog, then several more hits and hooked a ladyfish about 12 inches long.  

They are a small, slender, very aggressive schooling predator.  They hit hard and fight with blazing speed and high acrobatic leaps.  A 4 pounder would be huge.  In the failing  twilight I paddled back upwind to repeat downwind drifts, getting numerous boils and jolting hits without hooking another fish.

Lady Fish on 4/0 Bullet Dog Fly from a Kayak

The next day I paddled out upwind out toward the mailand from the Observartion Tower bay.  This bay is shaped like the expanding bell of a trumpet with many islands scattered around inside it.  Half a mile out, a long island spans across the the bay mouth, leaving passes on both corners of the bay that concentrates the tide flow.  In the wind shadow of that island I began catching lots of Seatrout and Lady Fish. 

Sea Trout on Top Water 1/0 Dive Banger from Kayak

Sea Trout on Top Water 1/0 Dive Banger Fly from a Kayak

A quick popping rhythm with a small 1/0 White Dive Banger would sometimes get rushed 3 or 4 times in one retrieve.  Towards dusk I got hits from some larger fish drifting and casting in the current of the deeper channel around the northern most end of the long island.

The following day I first tried the gulf side bay but it was too shallow.  Tide current ripping through the culvert channels under the road scour out deep holes. They concentrate the shore fishermen and the bird watches looking at the pelicans resting on the low tide sand island.  Better not to disturb all of their fun.  I portaged across Wild Life Drive and repeated Yesterdays trip to the barrier island across the mouth of the bay and caught some larger sea trout along with a couple dozen each of the smaller ladyfish and sea trout.  While out there I happened to drift over a very large creature in 4 feet of water.  It bolted away with two powerful tail strokes that looked like they came from wide horizontal tail of a manatee.  I also got some hits from larger fish.  One came at the fly with its dorsal fin exposed and I thought I saw that long trailing tail on the base of the dorsal fin like a Tarpon has.

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